CBRM Council: About Last Night

I hadn’t meant to make this week’s an “all-council” edition of the Spectator but between catching up on last week’s budget deliberations and watching last night’s regular monthly meeting, I have council on the brain.

So here (with the exception of the volunteer awards, which I will cover on Friday) is what happened during the surprisingly short and sweet April 11th meeting of CBRM council:


Closing Beach Street

Last night was the public hearing for a plan to close Beach Street in Glace Bay, a move necessitated by the construction of the community’s new wastewater treatment plant.

Regional solicitor Demetri Kachafanas presented the issue to council, noting that an existing encroachment on the property for Cameron’s Building Supplies will remain in place and the CBRM will build a perimeter road on the water side of the property for trucks.

Map showing street to be closed in CBRM

No one took the opportunity to speak to the closure, so council went ahead and voted to approve it.


Passenger Vehicle for Hire By-law

Council also passed, in second and final reading, its amended Taxi by-law, now the Passenger Vehicle for Hire By-law.

A photo of a man at a podium.

Paul Burt during the 11 April 2023 CBRM council meeting.

Council had called for a staff review of the regulations in November 2019, a working group was struck to do the review in June 2021, the group’s recommendations were presented to council in July 2022 and a draft of the final by-law came to council in January 2023.

The by-law passed first reading but hit a sticky wicket during the public hearing in February when taxi owners, particularly Sheila Penney of Bud’s Taxi in Glace Bay and Jim Donohue of City Wide Taxi in Sydney, expressed concerns that Preferred Taxi, a new company formed by the merger of three old companies by businessman Craig Boudreau, had been operating in three taxi districts with a single dispatcher, based in Sydney. Penney and Donohue claimed this was a violation of the old Taxi By-law which, they said, required companies operating in multiple districts to employ multiple dispatchers.

Burt says the by-law never said that, although he seemed to admit it may have been interpreted this way by CBRM staff in the past.

Burt told council last night that he had met again with a group of taxi owners and while they’d “had a pretty good discussion” and were in agreement on the municipality’s decision to treat ride-share companies, should they ever arrive upon our shores, as taxis, there “was not consensus on every issue.” (That is an understatement. See Donohue’s email, which is attached to the meeting agenda.)

Basically, the dispatcher question remains a very sore point.

One interesting fact about the revised by-law is that Burt took into account a submission from “citizen Joe Ward,” who pointed out that the group had inadvertently opened the door to discount pricing—which they stated they opposed—in the wording of the rate card.

In his email, which was part of the package attached to the agenda, Ward said:

excerpt from an email

As Ward noted:

excerpt from an email

This wasn’t discussed during last night’s presentation, but the final draft of the Passenger Vehicle for Hire By-law omits that reference to “persons.” It was a nice catch, although it makes one wonder about other problems with the by-law (Ward says this is just one example of the “gaping holes” it contains).

But holes or not, it’s now law—council passed it on second reading last night.

Burt also told council that taxi owners want to charge a $2 service fee on debit and credit card transactions and council called for an issue paper on the legality of such fees, so stay tuned: the Passenger Vehicle for Hire By-law may be back in the shop sooner than you think.



Cover of a 1954 rat control pamphlet

Cover of a 1954 rat-control pamphlet from Alberta.

Planning Director Michael Ruus, in response to a January request from District 1 Councilor Gordon MacDonald, presented an issue paper on “Municipal Rodent Control (Rats).”

After explaining that, in the province of Nova Scotia, rat control is generally the responsibility of property owners, Ruus recommended the CBRM undertake a public education campaign “about the risks of rats and how to prevent and control infestations.”

The campaign will offer advice on rodent-proofing buildings, eliminating potential habitats and removing food sources.

Council approved a motion to implement said campaign.