Councillor Martin E. Bell
District 2 - MODL
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About Martin Bell

Councillor Profile // Biography

Councillor Profile

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 the new boundaries of District 2. In November 2009 and 2017 he was elected to serve as Deputy Mayor for a one year term. On July 20th 2020 Martin announced that he would seek re-election in October of 2020 to District 2 which includes West Dublin, Dublin Shore, Mount Pleasant, Lake Centre, New Cumberland, LaHave, Pentz, West LaHave, Pleasantville, Conquerall Bank and part of Conquerall Mills.

He was born in, and remained in Nova Scotia. Martin has resided in Conquerall Bank for over 60 years where he and his wife Cheryl of forty-three 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 over four decades.

Martin Bell 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. In 2018 Martin retired from EMC-EHS and dedicated himself as a full time Councillor.

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 ten 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 previous Audit & Finance Standing Committee; Finance Committee; CAO Evaluation Committee, (previous Chairperson); Communications & Public Relations Standing Committee; Dangerous & Unsightly Property Committee, (previous Chairperson); Fire & Emergency Services Committee, (18 terms including Vice Chair); Growing Green Sustainability Festival (TOB); and the RCMP Police Advisory Board; Hebbville Village Ad Hoc Committee on flooding issues; Bridgewater Source Water Protection Advisory Committee; and the Planning Advisory Committee. 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.One of Martin’s pet projects was to push for and serve on a sub-committee to proceed with a proposal for a Group Personnel Insurance including a $250,000 lump-sum benefit and a weekly indemnity coverage. He was successful to see this put in place in February 2020. Martin has worked with this committee for eighteen years and draws from his 45 years of experience as a volunteer firefighter of which 15 years he served as Fire Chief. He also served twenty years on the Board of Directors of the national firefighters’ association, the CVFSA.

Audit & Finance Standing Committee was made up of 6 councillors, the mayor and several staff members of the MODL team. Martin had 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 $30M 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 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 broken into two committees to meet new provincial changes to finance requirements. Martin is now on both the Audit Committee and the Finance Committee. In 2021 the MODL will become only the second municipality in the province to be debt-free! Also, to note the residential and commercial tax rates remained constant with no increases.

Stella Bowles Martin Bell receives EHS AwardChief 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. Martin was also, one of four Councillors who hired the new CAO in 2019.

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.

Tourism and Investment: A few years back Martin pushed hard for a VIC (Visitor Information Center) and was one of the leads pushing towards a partnership with TOB and MODL to share expenses on a VIC placed near the 103 Highway. First there was one at exit 12 and now it is in Blockhouse as a partnership. Since then MODL has increased the promotion and awareness of the Municipality’s tourism sector with improvements to the Lunenburg Region website and new online mapping and signage on Highway 103. None of these things happen by themselves, they need someone who is willing to take an idea and push for change and be willing to be part of that change.

Planning Advisory Committee: After many years of citizens who lived in sub-divisions voicing concerns over private road and municipal road conditions and limiting flag lots. Martin took a few terms on this committee and took abuse from some who wanted to limit open space regarding access or were concerned over what might increase road construction costs but the much-needed updated subdivision by-law came into effect. Since then we have seen improvements in road construction and those serviced by private and municipal roads feel much better.