Municipality of the County of Antigonish council has passed first reading of a new dog bylaw.
Because of changes to wording in the bylaw over the years, officials decided to revisit the policy.
“We reached out to the public and asked for input from them. We received seven written inquiries and staff responded, and then, kind of, got to the understanding of what will make a good bylaw,” Warden Owen McCarron told reporters after council’s regular monthly meeting Jan. 15.
“We’re fairly comfortable now moving forward with the new bylaw.”
The first reading included a bylaw covering lawful ownership of dogs and a policy change to the dog control bylaw.
“When a dog is picked up, the timeline for getting owners contacted – rather than 72 hours – it is three business days,” McCarron said, when asked about proposed changes, adding “but some discretion will be used there.”
McCarron noted there is “not a huge issue in the county,” when it comes to roaming dogs.
“We just felt it was time to update the bylaw and we took the appropriate amount of time to do that,” he said.
Final reading for the new dog bylaw is scheduled for council’s regular monthly meeting in February.
County officials plan to take a more active role in helping recruit physicians to St. Martha’s Regional Hospital.
During the Jan. 15 monthly meeting, McCarron touched on a recent gathering, which included him, Town of Antigonish Mayor Laurie Boucher and representatives of the St. Martha’s Regional Hospital Foundation.
“I think it is important that both the town and county recognize – anytime we are looking at trying to get physicians to relocate to this area – that we need to take a proactive role and we look at showcasing our community,” he said.
“I think we recognize that we need to do a better job and we need to be involved in that process.”
McCarron added that he and Boucher are pleased to contribute and work with the foundation.
“It is critically important,” he noted.
Noting Antigonish is a “great community,” McCarron said “we want to make sure that we attract people.”
The parties will continue meeting to discuss physician recruitment, which he called “an ongoing process.”
“Like everything in recruitment, there is always competition and we think we have a lot of things to showcase in Antigonish town and county,” McCarron said.
He said discussion on the issue began a few months ago.
“We are starting to ramp it up a bit – getting ourselves prepared for the eventuality when physicians start to retire,” McCarron added.
“Again, we see the need to be very proactive in encouraging new physicians to come to this area.”
Earlier in the day, McCarron was one of the dignitaries who participated in a celebration to mark the opening of the Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation Highway 104 interchange.
“I think it is a great step forward for the municipality – we see a lot of opportunity,” he said.
McCarron noted the importance of the milestone for “our friends at Paqtnkek.”
“When you look at the history of their community, being severed from their lands to the south, this finally rights that wrong,” he added.
McCarron said the county looks forward “to the opportunity to continue to work with Paqtnkek.”
He called the development planned for the interchange “huge.”
“We know that there will be benefits that will accrue to residents of the County of Antigonish, as well as the residents of Paqtnkek,” McCarron said.
He added the development will not only be a “great attraction” for the area, but also provide employment.
“It will create a great deal of economic opportunity,” McCarron said.