At the Grand Manan's village council’s meeting on January 4, the main subject of discussion was the removal and disposal of road‑killed animals. Councillor Kirk Cheney summed up a story that became a hot topic on island social media. On December 23 a deer was struck by a car in North Head. Some phone calls were made, and about three hours later an RCMP officer shot the injured animal. However, no one seemed to be available to remove it. The property owner and her friend covered it up with a plastic mattress cover. "No one tried to stuff it inside because no one is allowed to touch it," Cheney said. According to Councillor Jayne Turner, only a Department of Natural Resources officer has the authority to remove it.
The property owner was not interested in media attention, but after a friend posted the story on an island Facebook page much debate ensued about the legality of residents removing roadkill from private properties and why it was left so long. Holidays and cold weather were factors. The carcass was finally removed 12 days later, on January 4.
RCMP Constable Christopher Stoddard pointed out that in British Columbia, where he previously worked, the transportation department would remove the animal. Greene said they could not do so here, as they would be charged with possession of an untagged deer.
Cheney noted that several people had been willing to remove it, and he expressed concern about such incidents happening where children are present. He said local conservation officer Justin Galloway told him the matter should be addressed to his mainland supervisor, Sgt. Jason MacIntyre. Councillors discussed the possibility of a firefighter being "deputized" to deal with roadkill when Galloway is not available, and it was voted to ask MacIntyre to come to Grand Manan for a meeting as soon as possible.
At the beginning of the meeting, Mayor Dennis Greene remarked on the many positive comments he has heard about the Santa Claus parade and again congratulated the recipients of volunteerism certificates at the New Year's Levee.
In other business, there was a request for streetlight installation at a "dark spot" in Woodwards Cove near the self‑storage and mailboxes. Councillors discussed whether it is the village's responsibility to illuminate all Canada Post's boxes and whether others on the island are sufficiently lighted. The item was tabled until all the boxes can be looked at, and a nearby streetlight will be checked to determine if it is an LED upgrade and if moving it will meet the lighting needs.
Councillors revisited the idea of adding a ferry crossing on Christmas and New Year's days. Some residents have objected to the fact that going to the mainland for New Year's Eve takes three days. Business owners who were surveyed in the past were in favor of the New Year's Day crossing; seafood shippers would have a faster turnaround of trucks. Turner noted that beyond economic development, added crossings would help families get together by allowing people who have to work the next day to join family for the holidays. It was voted to renew discussion with the province. The motion was amended by Councillor Phil Ells Jr. to include "a small inventory of items," such as the ferry consultant's report, which was expected in September.
The village received a letter from provincial Transportation Minister Roger Melanson outlining the Municipal Designated Highway Program in response to inquiries about road improvements. There was some discussion about whether the municipality is responsible for some of the funding. They will review the road agreement from the 1995 amalgamation.
A proposition from the museum was also received regarding coordination of Canada sesquicentennial celebrations in 2017. The museum's director will be invited to meet with councillors.
Cheney gave an arena update. The new compressors are working well and in November electricity cost $1,000 less than last year. All minor hockey divisions are doing well. The peewee team, "which didn't win a game two years ago, won a Christmas tournament." They were undefeated in a Kennebecasis Valley tournament and won the banner in a post‑overtime shootout. Cheney said this has given the players a great boost in confidence. The A and B leagues are also improving, and their seasons will begin this month. The ladies' Sirens team will host a tournament later in January.
Constable Stoddard gave the RCMP report, commenting on an ongoing problem with false alarms occurring on windy and rainy days. Residents have been encouraged to contact Bell Aliant about problems with phone lines, and the RCMP will be considering solutions. Two federal statute files involving drug seizures were reported; Stoddard said they will be working toward "more visibility" and reducing transportation of drugs. Eight checkstops were conducted in December, with 82 tickets or warnings issued.
Matters scheduled for closed session included property, personnel and the 2016 budget.
The next regular council meeting is scheduled for Monday, February 1, at 7:30 p.m. at the village office.