Martin Bell

About Martin Bell

Martin Bell was elected to MODL Council in October 2000, representing District 13 Conquerall Bank, Pleasantville, West Lahave, New Cumberland, Mount Pleasant, Lake Center, Conquerall Mills and part of Hebbville. Martin was re-elected in October 2004 to represent District 13. In October 2008 Martin was elected, representing District 11 after the boundaries were changed. He was also re-elected in 2012 and 2016. In November 2009 and 2017 he was elected to serve as Deputy Mayor for a one year terms.

He was born in, and remained in Nova Scotia. Martin has resided in Conquerall Bank for nearly 60 years where he and his wife Cheryl of forty years had their three children. As a firm believer in personal community involvement he has assumed leadership roles both in his local fire department, community and provincial Boards. He has served in senior positions on provincial and national Boards as well. On several occasions he has provided leadership on financial strategies such as his work on the Audit and Finance committees for the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation where he served six terms. While serving several years as president of the Canadian Volunteer Fire Services Association he helped to move the once debt-laden-association forward and into the black again. He has continued his leadership role here for nearly two decades.

Martin Bell served two terms as Deputy Mayor
Martin Bell served two terms as Deputy Mayor
With a genuine interest in the well-being of his community and its residents, he listens to people and works to bring about great results. This is the philosophy he brings to the job as Councillor for District 2. With over 35 years in pre-hospital care both as a Field Paramedic and as a Medical Dispatcher at the Provincial (911) Medical Dispatch Center he has had to make life critical decisions on a daily basis with split second accuracy. He was one of the first to have received his Emergency Medical Dispatcher Certification with International/Quality Distinction within the Province of Nova Scotia.

For years Martin promoted community groups like the local community fire departments, local home-based businesses and promoted buying local goods and services whenever possible. (See website tab “Local Business”). During the “Your Government, Your Ideas” initiative over the past eight years Martin tried to make sure he was in all areas of the municipality to hear local concerns. This also included attending community events in other districts just to meet the people and engage in conversation.

Martin serves or has served on a number of municipal committees such as the Audit & Finance Standing Committee, CAO Evaluation Committee, Communications & Public Relations Standing Committee, Dangerous & Unsightly Property Committee, Fire & Emergency Services Committee, Growing Green Sustainability Festival (TOB), and the RCMP Police Advisory Board. So his work load is extensive. Here are a few brief notes on those committees:

Our Fire and Emergency Services Committee: consists of 4 representatives from Fire Service Providers, 2 members at large and 4 Councillors. We meet on a regular basis reviewing fire service matters and related rules and regulations. All areas of the municipality are covered by volunteer fire departments. Assisting these departments with their financial needs, the Municipality collects money separately from the general tax rate. The amount of money collected is based upon a budget that has been submitted by the individual Fire Service Providers. This money is shown on your tax bill notice and is referred to as your “Fire Area Rate” charge. The money collected by the Municipality is then forwarded to the individual Fire Service Providers so that they can maintain and purchase equipment; upkeep their facilities; train their volunteers; pay for subcontracted providers; and pay for insurance. Martin has worked with this committee for eighteen years and draws from his 42 years of experience as a volunteer firefighter of which 15 years he served as Fire Chief.

Audit & Finance Standing Committee:was made up of 6 councillors, the mayor and several staff members of the MODL team. Martin has requested he be appointed to this committee for many years as the budget must respond to the needs of the community in a fiscally responsible manner. Martin supports an aggressive debt repayment policy in the same manner he promoted for the CVFSA, a national Board on which he serves. The municipality has an operating budget of over $29M and for several years has avoided doing any borrowing for capital projects. By comparison in Nova Scotia, MODL's financial health scores very well against other municipalities in the province and Martin is very pleased with this. Martin points out that we can always try to do better and states that MODL will be debt free by 2021. In April of 2018 this committee was broke into two committees to meet new provincial changes to finance requirements. Martin is now on both the Audit Committee and the Finance Committee.

Martin Bell receives EHS Award
Martin Bell receives EHS Award
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Evaluation Committee: The CAO is the senior staff person, head of the administrative branch of the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg and is accountable to the Mayor and Council. This office is responsible for providing leadership development, implementation and administration of all council-approved policies, programs and responsibilities as legislated through by-laws and regulations of the District and the Municipal Government Act (MGA) of Nova Scotia. However, this individual is subject to an annual performance management check. Each year council appoints three elected councillors plus the mayor to do this review. As a graduate from Dalhousie University's Municipal Governing program, Martin is well versed in the Municipal Government Act and has been one of the anchor councillors who gets reappointed to CAO Evaluation Committee year after year and adds continuity to the review process. The results from this committee are then reviewed by the entire council who will either approve or make changes to the final report.

RCMP Advisory Board: Serving as member between 2008 and 2016, Martin drew from his 35(+) years working as a paramedic and serving as a volunteer firefighter to understand what communities want and need as they rely on the three first-response-services in their daily lives. This committee needs to ensure MODL is getting value for money as they have contracted policing out to the RCMP. This is balanced with responsiveness, excellence, fairness and accountability. Three councillors are appointed to this committee, three members at large and one provincial-appointed individual. Members of this committee are required to take training provided by the Justice Department.

Dangerous & Unsightly Property Committee: Martin requested to be appointed to this committee as it is a newly formed committee for 2015-16 and may take MODL into a different direction as they review Dangerous & Unsightly properties throughout our municipality. Martin was Chairperson for this committee for the first two years.
A graduate from Dalhousie University's Municipal Governing program, Martin Bell is well versed in Nova Scotia politics. Currently in his fourth term (18th year) as Municipal Councillor for the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg. (Upcoming Challenges facing MODL include Broadband Delivery, Business Attraction/Economic Development and Amalgamation.) Martin also is in his second term as Deputy Mayor for the MODL.

Martin Bell at Fallen Firefighters Memorial 2000 - Certificate in Fire Service Leadership. Launching of Martin's professional fire service volunteer career.
  • President of Nova Scotia Fire Officers Association
  • President of Maritime Fire Chiefs Association
  • National President of the Canadian Volunteer Fire Services Association
  • Board Member of the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation (appointed to Finance and Audit Committee)
  • Organizing Chair of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial weekend in Ottawa
  • Canadian Firefighter Municipal Long Service Award launched in Dec. 2013. Created Terms of Reference on this National Initiative
  • Provincial Pioneer for Fire Service Medical First Response Program
South Shore Residential Tenancies Board – served several terms

Municipal Council (elected 2000)

Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation, Director (volunteer) – environmental concerns with LaHave River and other waterbodies. Promoted the concept of LaHave River Watershed Project (2007) in response to public concerns. Promoted initial municipal funding through our Wastewater Management Committee. This program continues annually in attempts to try and eradicate negative impacts on our LaHave River.

Visitor Information Centre – after the closing of the Bridgewater Tourist Centre, Martin began to promote the idea of a new cost-shared Visitor Information Centre which would service the needs of the Regional interests. This was initiated by Martin through the Tourism Focus Group. After two years of negotiation, a temporary site at Exit 12 was acquired followed by the permanent site which is now located at Exit 11 in Blockhouse. The current site is jointly funded by the Town of Bridgewater and the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg.

700 MHz Radio Spectrum – In April of 2006, Martin began an initiative that would take persistence over 9 years to accomplish. The local fire departments were facing increasing costs for radio licensing fees when Industry Canada began selling off the 700MHz radio spectrum to the increasing cellphone market. Martin presented the report to James Rajotte, Edmonton MP and Chairman for Standing Committee with Industry Canada requesting dedicated space for emergency service providers. It needed to be affordable and it needed to be protected. In April 2015 the Federal Government announced that a Public Safety Broadband Network using 20 MHz of a dedicated 700 MHz radio spectrum would be protected for the fire service and other emergency service providers. (This initiative was worth millions of dollars.)

Martin asked to serve on both the Municipal Audit Committee and Council's standing committee for finance. He served several years as chairman of the Audit Committee. During this period the municipality did zero borrowing and self-funded capital projects. Martin wanted to ensure MODL promoted debt payments and fund Capital Projects from reserves and operating funds and use partner contributions and grants to fund the rest. His biggest accomplishment was to have Council accept the Global Area Rates for sewer rates. It has accomplished two things; first has put all areas on one rate for the same service and two, will build reserves for future repairs and upgrades. Council also appointed him to serve on the Fire & Emergency Services Committee, where again he pushed for a study to be completed on fire service delivery which has been started. Martin also serves on the Municipal Police Advisory Committee, the Public Relations Committee, and chairs the CAO Evaluation committee.

With his extensive municipal service background and time volunteering for his municipal constituency and province, Martin is focused on engaging and encouraging participation. With his years of talking to constituents and helping them to resolve issues, Martin believes in setting achievable goals and innovative solutions to the issues facing the South Shore and all of Nova Scotia. For nearly four decades Martin has served his community locally and abroad as a volunteer and as an elected councillor. His work can be seen all across Canada in the projects and events he takes on. Martin has said there are two things that will define who you are. Your determination when you have nothing and your attitude when you have everything. Martin's practical experience lends comfort to tackling the complexity that is within the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg and beyond. In order to function as an effective Councillor, Martin has stepped down to part time in 2012 as an EMD-Paramedic answering a different type of call for assistance from the general public.