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Sackville hires new bylaw officer, awards contract for natural playground

Sackville town council has deferred approval of the community’s 2018 operating budget until January.
Sackville Town Hall

Here are five noteworthy takeaways from Sackville Town Council’s October meetings

1. New ball shed will be built in-house

With the bids coming in significantly over budget for a new ball shed, the town will use its own staff, equipment and resources to take on the project in-house – along with some help from a few local tradespeople.

Work will get under way this fall on the shed, with Sackville’s public works staff doing some of the preliminary work such as readying the site, getting the slab poured and “hopefully the frame up and the roof tight for the winter,” said Superintendent of Public Works Todd Hicks at council’s recent monthly discussion meeting.

Hicks explained that the tenders came in last month significantly over the budget allotted for the project, which was $83,800. So after discussions with staff, it was decided to complete the project in house and to work with local subcontractors to complete items such as plumbing and electrical.

“I think this is great. It came in over budget . . . and we have staff that are very highly-skilled that can take on this endeavor,” said Coun. Andrew Black.

Coun. Bill Evans agreed, saying this ball shed, which will replace the aging building on Dufferin Street, has been set as a priority for the town for a couple years so he’s pleased staff is able to find a way to do the project instead of putting it off for another year.

During its regular monthly meeting last week, council approved the project – and authorized the necessary materials and required subtrades to be purchased from: Payzant Home Hardware, Oliver Earle Contracting, Cory Allen’s Plumbing & Heating, and Tantramar Electric.

RELATED: New ball shed to be installed this summer

2. New bylaw officer comes on board

The town has hired a new bylaw enforcement officer.

Council appointed Corey Springer as the town’s new bylaw officer, who will take on the role Oct. 29. Springer will replace Brian Bell, who resigned this summer after three years on the job. Brooke Wilson filled the job on an interim basis until the town found a permanent replacement.

Eighty-two applicants applied for the bylaw position and interviews took place earlier this month. 

Sackville’s bylaw officer position was established in Oct. 2003 to enforce any town bylaws not dealt with by the RCMP.

3. Contract awarded for natural playground

Sackville will soon be getting its first-ever natural playground.

Town council awarded a contract this month to a Nova Scotia firm, Cobequid Trail Consulting Ltd., for the design and installation of a natural playground at Lillas Fawcett Park. With a pricetag of about $47,000, the new playground pieces to be incorporated in the park will replace the metal and plastic equipment currently in the park next to Silver Lake.

Matt Pryde, Sackville’s manager of recreation programs and events, explained last month that the playground project will be phased in as the town awaits word of whether it will receive a grant through the federal Accessibility Fund. The town has sourced some funding for the playground already, to the tune of about $60,000 to start work on the project. The total cost is estimated at about $97,000.

Pryde said the new equipment will include a swing set with a bird’s nest swing, a log jam climber, and a “sand kitchen,” which is a play area for younger children.

4. Councillor resigns her seat

Megan Mitton has officially resigned her seat on Sackville town council.

Mitton, who was elected as Memramcook-Tantramar’s new MLA in the Sept. 24 provincial election, submitted her resignation to council in a letter read at October’s regular council meeting.

Mitton wrote that it was an honour to serve on council this term and said she has had the opportunity to learn from her fellow councillors, town staff and residents and she will use this experience to continue to serve the people of Sackville and the riding at the provincial level.

“Everyone is working hard to make Sackville such a special place and I will miss working with you at town hall,” she stated in her letter.

Council then approved a motion to accept Mitton’s resignation and declare a vacant seat on council. This motion will be forwarded on to the Minister of Local Government and Elections New Brunswick so that a municipal by-election can be called.

“When that will be, we have no idea,” said Deputy Mayor Ron Aiken of the uncertainty at the provincial level with the minority government.

RELATED: Mitton ready to take on new role as MLA

5. Sackville will not enact grass bylaw

Sackville will not move ahead on a bylaw that would force property owners to keep their lawns mowed short.

Although Coun. Joyce O’Neil brought forward a motion to start the process of establishing a bylaw similar to the one passed in Moncton this summer, saying she felt strongly on this issue, the motion died when no other councillor would second it.

The issue was first brought up for debate during council’s August meeting. Then, during council’s Oct. 1 discussion meeting, town manager Jamie Burke gave a staff report on the regulations involved in enacting such a bylaw, as well as the costs involved. He reported that, in the last two years, the town has only received three complaints about long grass. And in the time since O’Neil had brought up her concern, the town has received four letters against the implementation of such legislation (and none in favour).

O’Neil said her concern was sparked in particular by a property near hers on Bridge Street – where the long, dried grass had gotten to the point where she feels it is not only unsightly but a fire hazard.

Moncton’s bylaw requires all properties to keep lawns, weeds and other grasses under 20 centimetres in length or face fines between $140 and $2,100.

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