BRISTOL – At their monthly meeting, July 7, Bristol Council voted in favour of the creation of an Elections Committee to examine ways to improve voter turnout in municipal elections by improving procedures and communications. The possibility of a mail-in vote for non-resident property owners will be examined and the Committee will make recommendations to council based on their findings. The Committee is made up of two councillors and members of the public who expressed concern following the last election. Voting list information was mailed to civic addresses instead of addresses on file at the municipal office resulting in a number of people being excluded from the list for unknown reasons.
A motion of support was passed for a proposal to examine the possibility of establishing a municipal court in the MRC Pontiac, which came from the municipality of Isle-aux-Allumettes. There are currently close to 90 municipal courts located across Québec that hear cases involving offences under municipal by-laws and Québec statutes such as the Highway Safety Code.
Ken Bernard thanked the municipality on behalf of the Norway Bay Municipal Association for the use of equipment to install the new swimming docks at the pier. The NBMA will also be building a storage facility for kayaks on municipal property at the beach using a grant from the Rural Pact.
Councillor Philip Holmes spoke of work to improve the beach area at Norway Bay. While sand has been dumped and spread annually at the beach in the past, the Ministry of the Environment is requiring Bristol to take measures to reduce the erosion of the beach sand before it will consider allowing more sand to be placed. Holmes is in contact with the Ministry to look at solutions.
Buoys with warning signs will be installed at the beach to discourage boats from anchoring in the swimming area. Due to problems finding lifeguards, the beach is unsupervised and the swimming area had not been marked off this year as it was last year. Whether water quality will be tested at the beach and pier as it was last year remains an unanswered question although Bristol indicated a willingness to pay for the testing if the NBMA would organize sample collection and delivery for lab testing.
To improve communications in Bristol, Mayor Brent Orr announced a cell phone signal booster will be installed at the town hall and that a letter had been sent to Telebec asking what their plans were for improving internet service in the area. According to Councillor Brian Drummond, there was also a problem with WIFI access at the pier where Picanoc had installed a small tower on the basis that it would provide free WIFI.