Natural Resources Strategy: The Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is proceeding with a review of the Mineral Resources Act and is consulting with municipalities on this initiative. As part of the Natural Resources Strategy “The Path We Share” (2011), the department committed to reviewing at least half of its legislation by 2020. The Mineral Resources Act sets out the framework for the administration of mineral exploration, development and production in the province of Nova Scotia. This includes provisions for various licences and leases, reclamation requirements, and collection of royalties. The goal of the review is to provide a modern and responsive legislative framework to support and promote sustainable mineral resource management for the future. Much of the exploration, development and production work takes place in rural Nova Scotia. A discussion paper (http://novascotia.ca/natr/meb/legislation-review/) provides background on some of the topic areas that the review is expected to focus on.
In addition to consulting with the UNSM, the department will also consult with industry organizations and associations, various ENGOs, the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia, as well as public and other stakeholder groups over the coming weeks. The results of these consultations will assist in the development of amendments that are to be tabled in the legislature this spring. In order to respond to the discussion paper visit the website (on or after January 2, 2015) and respond on-line to the questions contained in the document. You will also have an opportunity to upload a written response to the document or position paper. You can access the questionnaire and upload documents at: www.nocascotia.ca/natr. Responses must be submitted by February 2, 2015.
If you would like to meet with the department to present your position paper and/or make suggestions for the revision of the Mineral Resources Act , please contact the department at the coordinates below to set a date and time to meet.
Mineral Resources Act Review
Strategic Policy and Planning Division
Department of Natural Resources
Phone: (902) 424-8186
Vegetation Management: The UARB has directed Nova Scotia Power to work with municipalities to develop a mutually agreeable vegetation management plan by early February, recognizing that power outages (frequency and duration) are related to the management of trees and other vegetation. UNSM is facilitating this discussion, which is the purpose of the workshop on January 9 noted above. If any municipality has comments, please pass them along to UNSM.
Aquaculture Regulatory Review: Released on December 16, the report calls for an overhaul of the rules surrounding aquaculture operations, but recommends against banning salmon farms in Nova Scotia. It calls for a classification system where coastal areas are rated as green, yellow or red based on their relative suitability for fin fish aquaculture. The classification of a coastal area would determine how applications for a fin fish licence would be evaluated and the likelihood of an application for such a licence being approved.
The overhaul would give Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister — or an independent board — the right to revoke an operation, require an evaluation of suitability upon a site renewal and bring existing operations under new regulations as soon as practically possible. The authors of the report−Doelle and Lahey− also recommend no new licenses be issued until the new rules are in place. The new rules would also put monitoring of fish farms under the purview of the provincial Environment Department. For a copy of the report, click here: http://www.aquaculturereview.ca/sites/default/files/Aquaculture_Regulatory_Framework_Final_04Dec14.pdf
Accessibility Strategy: The Province issued a discussion paper in November leading to accessibility legislation which will impact all municipalities. UNSM wrote the Minister of Community Services with comments.
Animal Control: The Province released new animal control regulations aimed at better protection of cats and dogs. Majority of enforcement will be done through the SPCA. No costs will be downloaded onto municipalities as a result of these changes.