e-News Bulletin - November-December 2012

President's Message


Councillor Russell Walker


On behalf of the UNSM Board of Directors, I want to welcome all newly elected officials to our organization. I look forward to meeting you over the course of the year at various UNSM sessions. Feel free to contact me directly should you have any questions or concerns. My email address is ; my cell number is 497-7215.

The orientation for newly elected officials recently held in Truro was a huge success with well over 100 new councillors in attendance. I provided welcoming remarks on behalf of UNSM. As someone with 18 years experience in municipal politics, my main piece of advice to the delegates was not to get too stressed out with all the information put before you. The role of a municipal elected official is one of constant learning and it takes time to get up to speed. Attending the orientation was a good first step as it provided the delegates with important information on council-staff relations, municipal finance, communications and municipal law. A special thanks to SNSMR staff for organizing this important session.

On November 29 the inaugural Ken Simpson Municipal Lecture Series took place at Dalhousie University's Potter Auditorium. This free event promotes topics of municipal interest and honours the life of Ken Simpson who served as UNSM Executive Director for 19 years, from 1990-2009. Ken passed away tragically from cancer on April 17, 2011 at the age of 51. With approximately 100 in the crowd, the event was well attended. Our keynote speaker was Dr. Linda Duxbury, Professor, Sprott School of Business, Carleton University. Dr. Duxbury gave an excellent talk on strategies municipalities can use to retain and attract employees given current conditions of an aging workforce and youth out-migration. The lecture series was presented by the UNSM in partnership with the Province of Nova Scotia and Dalhousie University. A special thank you to SNSMR's Mark Peck who served as Master of Ceremonies for this event.

Province Releases Report - New Economic Development Model

The decision of the federal government not to continue funding the core functions of the Regional Development Authorities (RDAs) in May, 2013 means the status quo cannot continue and we need to develop a new approach to encouraging economic development in our communities.   The Province appointed an independent panel to consult with stakeholders, and to recommend a new model based on a provincial/municipal partnership.

UNSM is working closely with Economic and Rural Development (ERDT), Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations (SNSMR) and the Association of Municipal Administrators (AMA)  to facilitate discussion amongst municipalities and the province around the recommendations of the independent review panel.  The panel has recommended the establishment of six Regional Enterprise Networks (RENS) to focus on business development.  UNSM and the province will host meetings in January with the municipalities in each of the proposed RENS to discuss how the RENS might support communities in growing their economies, to identify issues, opportunities and alternatives.  Municipalities are asked not to reject the proposal to set up RENs at this time, but to participate in the January meetings and to put forward their issues, concerns, suggestions.  You are encouraged to forward these to UNSM in advance of the January meeting, so that we can make sure they are raised at the meeting.

Program Announced - Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage

Does your municipality organize a local community festival? The Local Festivals component of the Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage (BCAH) program of the Department of Canadian Heritage is accepting applications for festivals occurring between September 1 - December 31. The deadline is January 30th, 2013.

Is there a significant local anniversary in your municipality in 2014? If the anniversary marks a 100th anniversary or greater, in increments of 25 years (e.g., 125th, 150th) and it commemorates a significant local historical event or pays tribute to a significant local historical personality, consider applying to the Community Anniversaries component of BCAH.  The deadline is January 30th, 2013.

The Bowater Transition Team Releases Final Report

The Bowater Transition Advisory Team released its final report on December 7. Titled "Our Community, Our Future", the report makes a number of recommendations including:

  • Using the former Bowater mill property as a research and demonstration site to develop value-added wood products such as biofuels and engineered wood products
  • making government support programs more flexible and simpler to access for the former workers
  • making it easier for small business to access capital
  • creating small business hubs to support new and home-based businesses
  • working with both the construction and the agricultural industries to introduce new products.

For a copy of the report, click here: http://novascotia.ca/bowatertransition.

NS Seeks Input on Innovative Housing Strategy

Nova Scotia families, people, municipal governments, community groups and others will be able to help craft the province's first long-term affordable housing strategy.

Community Services Minister Denise Peterson-Rafuse, on November 7, announced the launch of a public consultation that will include several public meetings in communities across the province. Consultation will also take place with housing partners.

Nova Scotians can learn more and submit input online at http://novascotia.ca/coms/hs.

Translation Assistance Program

NB Translation is offering financial assistance to Nova Scotia municipalities who wish to translate their promotional material into one of Canada's two official languages. Multilingual translation projects could also qualify. The Program, funded by the ACOA, pays 75 % of the successful applicant’s translation cost, up to an amount of $ 8,000. Municipalities interested in receiving this service should submit applications by mid February, 2013. For more information, contact Program Coordinator Jana Allain Boudreau () (ph: 506-753-3329). You can also visit: www.tnbt.ca.

The Province Purchases Bowater Lands

Premier Darrell Dexter announced on December 10 that the Province has negotiated an agreement with Resolute Forest Products and the Washington Post Company to purchase all Bowater Mersey shares for $1.

The province gains all of the company's assets, excluding the Oakhill Sawmill. The province takes compliance with the softwood lumber agreement seriously, and excluded the purchase of the Oakhill Sawmill on this basis. These key pieces of economic infrastructure will bring significant and lasting benefits to Nova Scotians and will cover the company's liabilities, including a fully funded pension plan.

New Funding for Provincial Parks

On December 4, the Province announced it is adding $1 million annually to the provincial parks' budget.

The funding comes from the province's tangible capital asset fund and will be used to build or enhance large scale projects in parks, such as washroom and administration buildings, and to redevelop some camping parks.

Magder Vs. Ford: Case Comment

By Kevin Latimer, Q.C. and Mark Mills, Articled Clerk, Cox & Palmer

On September 5th and 6th of 2012 Justice Hackland of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice heard the matter of Magder v. Ford, 2012 ONSC 5615, a court application taken by a municipal voter against the Mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, for an order declaring his seat on Toronto City Council vacant for breaches of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, RSO 1990, CM.50, (“MCIA”) which prohibits members of Council from speaking or voting on matters in which they have a pecuniary interest. 

The decision on this matter was released on November 26th, 2012 and ruled in favour of the applicant. Ford’s conduct was found to have been in contravention of the Act, requiring that he vacate his seat on Council.  Below is a factual summary of the case, an analysis of the arguments made, and a comment on the findings of the judge.

Green Toolbox - Growing Sustainable Municipalities - December 2012

From UNSM’s Municipal Sustainability Office December 2012December Green Toolbox--Christmas Tree

For more information about the initiatives included in the Green Toolbox, please contact Debbie Nielsen, Municipal Sustainability Coordinator at 423-8312 or e-mail: .

Green Toolbox - Events & Awards - December 2012



Join leading climate change adaptation experts from across Canada for a series of informative and educational webinars on best practices and novel approaches to the completion of the Municipal Climate Change Action Plan (MCCAP). This adaptation webinar series provides a supplementary training opportunity on the steps from the MCCAP guide.

Webinar Three: Developing & evaluating adaptation options
Wednesday, January 16, 1 – 2 pm

Case studies in municipalities’ ways of evaluating and selecting adaptation options. This webinar will highlight how to respond to impacts and climate risks of interest to NS municipalities.


Webinar Four: Implementation & monitoring
Wednesday, February 13, 1 – 2 pm

This webinar will showcase examples of adaptive management approaches for climate adaptation, including approaches to implementation and monitoring of climate change action planning.

To register for the webinar series, please click here.

This adaptation outreach and education webinar series is made possible through the financial assistance of the Nova Scotia Department of Environment Adaptation Fund and with the support of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities and Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

Green Toolbox - News and Resources - December 2012



It’s estimated that Canadians exchange more than two billion Christmas cards each year and spend over $4 billion on wrapping, decorating and giving gifts. During this holiday season, remember to reduce, re-use, and recycle when possible. Here are a few borrowed tips to help make this holiday season a bit greener:

  • Send an e-card to wish your staff and constituents happy holidays:  it’s cost-effective, can be personalized and produces no waste.
  • Buy recycled wrapping paper and use natural materials such as raffia, string and dried flowers to decorate presents. You can even try wrapping gifts in old maps, comic pages or reusable items such as scarves or tea towels (for other creative ideas, click here).
  • Green your office party - choose a green venue, select organic and local food, send out e-invites, avoid using disposable crockery, cutlery and glassware, ask AV suppliers to use LED lighting only and/or create a Christmas tree by using recycled material (a great team challenge).
  • Consider buying fair-trade products, organic treats and other eco-friendly gifts for your co-workers, such as an iPhone solar recharging case or solar powered bike lights for getting back and forth to work safely (for more green gift ideas, visit Daily Green, and Living Green
  • Consider donating to a charity or environmental organization rather than exchanging gifts with co-workers.
  • Organize a recycling gift drive by inviting your co-workers to bring in any gifts they do not want or never use, or old toys their kids have grown and donate them to a local charity.Decorations
  • Use LED lights to decorate your office and municipal Christmas tree as they are 90% more energy efficient than incandescent lights.
  • Remember to turn off your holiday lights when you leave at night. This will save money on your energy bill and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Regenerate over the holidays - make sure you take time with family and friends to reinvigorate and recharge over the holiday season.
  • Make a green New Year's resolution before returning to work in 2013.