2023: A Year In Review

Warden Alex Morrison looks back at 2023 with gratitude, as he revisits Council’s journey throughout the year.

“It was an eventful time with tough challenges and noteworthy accomplishments,” said Warden Morrison. “We (Council and staff) are aware that there will be lots to do as we prepare for a busy year ahead, including the upcoming municipal election in autumn. We look forward to seeing what 2024 will bring.”

A look back at 2023:

Warden’s Words We introduced a new monthly feature, Warden’s Words, that was distributed at the end of each month. It was an opportunity to connect with residents and provide highlights experienced by the Warden.

New Councillor - Dustin Enslow was officially welcomed as a member of Municipal Council. Enslow won the seat for District 3 after a Special Election was held in January.

Newly Appointed Chief Administraive Officer (CAO) – We were pleased to welcome Chris McNeill as Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for the Municipality of the County of Annapolis. McNeill brought with him 30 years of municipal and provincial government experience and has proven to be a capable and strong leader for our municipal team.

Annapolis County Community Events Guide Returns – It was wonderful to see our popular Annapolis County Community Events Guide make its comeback after a three-year hiatus due to Covid. Make sure you get your events in for the 2024 edition which is currently under production. Please visit our website (www.annapoliscounty.ca) to learn more.

New Parks and Trails:

Upper Clements Trails – Annapolis County added to its list of “must try” trail destinations as this new trail system officially opened. The Annapolis Basin Outdoor Adventures Society (ABOAS) partnered with the County to create an amazing trail system in Upper Clements that is sure to be one of the top destination trails in Nova Scotia. Keep your eye on this one as it continues to grow.

Annapolis Basin Tidal Beach Park – In August 2023, we held the official opening of our newest park located in Cornwallis Park. Council was pleased to offer a safe and accessible area where people can go and enjoy a hidden gem with amazing views of the Annapolis Basin and North Mountain. It is already proving to be a popular destination spot for residents and tourists alike. It was also the location for a New Year Kick-off Polar Dip extravaganza that attracted hundreds of people…some to dip, many to show support.

Annapolis Valley Exhibition – The County was proud to have a display at the 97th Annapolis Valley Exhibition where Councillors and staff were able to mingle and chat with residents and visitors to the area.

Annapolis County Volunteer Expo – It was an enjoyable experience to host our very first Volunteer Expo. It was held on Saturday, September 23, 2023. There were 40 community groups that participated in the event sharing information and recruiting volunteers, with approximately 250 people in attendance. The event was followed by a Volunteer Recognition Ceremony in honour of the 2023 Annapolis County Volunteers. It was a great success!

Bear River’s New Water System - During a Municipal Council session in July, Councillors voted unanimously to approve the budget (approx. $2.6 million) to start the process for the long-awaited new water system for Bear River. 

County-Wide Plan - County staff continued to work with Stantec Ltd. throughout 2023 to complete the provincially-mandated County-Wide Plan. The Plan encompassed all lands within the Municipality, with exception to the areas where the County has existing secondary plans that govern land-use and development. A public hearing was held on January 18, 2024, providing the public opportunity to speak to the draft plan. Immediately following, a Special Council meeting was held where Councillors voted to move forward with the Plan. It has been forwarded to the NS Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing for review and approval. Upon ministerial approval, an advertisement will be placed in the local newspaper, with the date of the advertisement being the effective date of the document.

Valley Waste-Resource Management - The County of Annapolis renewed its collaboration with Valley Waste-Resources Management (VWRM) and entered into an agreement with them to manage all aspects of solid waste for Annapolis County under a service contract.

Bridgetown Parking Lot Project - Municipal Council approved funds collected from the sale of the former Bridgetown Town Hall be used to develop the adjacent land. The result of the paving project created a functionable and visually spectacular addition to the Bridgetown community.

Ecological Management of Woodland PropertiesThe County engaged with Western Woodlot Services Co-op (WWSC) of Nova Scotia for assistance in implementing ecologically based management of municipally-owned woodland properties to improve ecosystem health, diversity, and resilience to County woodlots. It provided a wonderful opportunity to lead by example and become more active in ecologically based forest management with a long-term outlook. The starting location was Graywood (just off Hwy#8).

NS Utility & Review Board (UARB) Decision on Boundary Review - Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board approved the County’s application (October 19, 2023) and set the number of councillors and polling districts at 11. The UARB directed the Municipality to conduct further public consultations on the issue before December 31, 2025, at which time the size of Council and the polling district boundaries will be revisited. The 2024 boundary maps are currently being placed on our website (www.annapoliscounty.ca).

Community Grants Information Sessions – It was great to see the return of the Community Grants Information Session. This year we offered two sessions to better accommodate people wanting to attend - one in Nictaux and one in Clementsport. We had speakers from the Province, Sport NS, Volunteer NS, and our own municipal staff to share their knowledge on the various grants and services available to our community groups.