What We Do

What is the difference between Municipal and Provincial governments?

Municipal government is responsonsible for local issues:
municipal property (wharves, parks, lands for public use);
dangerous and unsightly premises;
waste disposal (landfill operations, regular and special collections, recycling);
property tax administration;
systems (sewer, water);
planning (zoning, land use);
building and fire safety;
by-laws (dogs, noise, civic addressing);
policies (active transportation, kennels);
anything the Province delegates.

Most of our services are the result of Provincial legislation and programs. For example, when the provincial government passed a law banning certain materials from the landfill, they made municipalities responsible for ensuring that those materials did not end up in the waste stream. Municipal units across the Province devised recycling and composting programs. The Province provided help from their staff as well as funding for some projects.

Provincial government is responsible for, you guessed it, all of Nova Scotia. They govern:

  • provincial legislation (Motor Vehicle Act, Environment Act, Labour Board Act);
  • Crown land (provincial parks, protected areas, public lands);
  • corrections (justice system, some jails);
  • services like employment, healthcare, land registry and assessment, tourism, housing;
  • roads and highways (construction, maintenance, snow plowing of public roads as well as ditching, tree/bush trimming, setbacks and driveway approvals);
  • programs for seniors, children, businesses, families, etc.;
  • housing and tenancy issues;
  • education (schools, school boards);
  • permits, licenses, and certification;
  • many, many more initiatives (check out

They are also responsible for municipalities (as per the Municipal Government Act); which is why we collect property taxes for things such as, education, policing/corrections, and road maintenance.

The Municipality is responsible for:

  • Property tax rates and area rates
  • Waste collection & disposal
  • Private road signs and civic numbers
  • Municipal planning
  • Building and demolition permits
  • Central sewer systems and treatment
  • By-Law enforcement
  • Fire inspections
  • Animal control
  • Blown/broken street lights

If you have a local issue, please contact the Municipality and we will help you.

If you still aren’t sure if your issue is municipal or provincial, please call us and we will try to point you in the right direction.

New Brandmark Selected

Thanks to the many who cast their vote for one of the two proposed brandmarks, Council officially selected one at their June 9, 2016 Council meeting held at Forest Heights Community School.

Between the two, the image below led by a substantial margin. To view the results, please click here. Council will now move forward with the remainder of the branding project, which is reviewing the final report from our consultant, developing brand use policies, and official launch. Look for updates in future editions of the municipal insight.


Municipal Government 101

Municipal Government is often called "local government" or "grassroots government" because it's the level of government that is perceived to be closest to citizens. In a three-level system, municipal government is on the bottom floor. The Federal Government governs the whole nation; the Provincial Government governs individual provinces, like Nova Scotia; and Municipal Government governs municipalities (districts and towns). Each are responsible for different programs, services, and types of infrastructure. The Provincial Government is responsible for Municipal Governments.

The Municipality of the District of Chester is one of 51 municipal units in Nova Scotia incorporated under The Municipal Government Act (MGA). The MGA lists all of the rules that municipalities must follow. The Municipality was incorporated in 1879.

The Municipality is divided into "districts" (sections of land) that are each represented by one Councillor that is elected by that district's residents. The number of districts that the Municipality has is based on population and density. Each district has to represent a fairly equal number of citizens (+/- 10%). District boundaries are periodically reviewed to ensure that each Councillor isn't representing too many or too few residents than their fellow Councillors. Currently, we have seven districts.

During a Municipal Election (every four years in Nova Scotia), one person is elected to represent a district. If only one person is nominated in a district, they are "elected by acclamation" and automatically a Councillor. After the Election, successful candidates gather on the next regularly scheduled Council meeting and they are sworn in. Once that happens, they are officially Councillors and select a Warden to chair meetings. From there, Council makes policy decisions, such as by-laws and resolutions; prioritizes direction; presides over public hearings; and much more.

In our organizational chart, Council is at the top. They are supported by staff and advised by Standing and Special Committees. Each Councillor is expected to sit on Committees and report back to Council. Committees fully discuss and explore issues, consequences, and options. Once discussions reach a conclusion, a recommendation is given to Council in hopes that they will pass a resolution (decision). If Council agrees with the recommendation and are satisfied with the supporting information, they approve the recommendation. If they don't agree, the issue may be sent back to the Committee level for further investigation or alternate options; or, Council may choose their own option.

In the Municipality of Chester, Council adopted a "CAO System", which means that the CAO has the autonomy to manage staff during day-to-day operations. Staff will report to Council if they need supporting data, background reports, or any information that will provide clarity to an issue.

Chester Municipal Council meets twice per month: the second Thursday and the last Thursday. You can sign up for Agenda Alerts or view Agenda Packages and Minutes online.

Public Hearings

Public Hearings are held to provide the public an official avenue for input for certain instances, such as proposed changes to the Land-Use By-Law

Upcoming Public Hearings:



Upcoming Public Information Meetings: