Syrian refugee family one step closer to Baddeck
Cindy MacRae says a Syrian refugee family is one step closer to Baddeck.
Ever since that horrible attack on a Quebec City mosque I have been fighting the urge to knock on my neighbor’s door and give him a hug.
I don’t know him very well and we don’t really have anything in common but we are neighbors and members of the same community. You see he and his family are Muslim. They are also immigrants. After living in Ontario for more than 20 years they bought a business and moved here less than a year ago. One of the first things he told me is that he loves this country. So that is one thing we have in common. Since he would probably think me a crazy Cape Bretoner, I decided to forgo the awkward group hug in favor of the candlelight vigil at the Civic Centre in Sydney Tuesday evening. From what I witnessed the best thing Cape Bretoners have in common is a desire to welcome and support people of all races and religions.
The “Syria To Baddeck” initiative is perhaps the best example of what can happen when caring Canadians come together. Formed in November of 2015, the group raised tens of thousands of dollars by March of 2016 to privately sponsor a refugee family from Syria. Jennifer MacDonald, a member of the steering committee, says they have finally heard from Citizenship and Immigration Canada about the application that was submitted last summer. A family of six is currently being processed, and MacDonald says they are “cautiously” hoping for a September arrival. The committee is now looking at housing options and hoping to secure a three-bedroom rental in Baddeck that is within walking distance to the school and grocery store.
MacDonald says there are so many people hoping to come to Canada they were able to network with other sponsorship agencies in order to pick a family. It consists of a husband and wife along with four children between the ages of three and 13. The husband has a brother in Halifax who came here a few years ago as an immigrant. His wife was able to do all the translation. The family knows where they are going and have even seen photos of the Baddeck area. Although they have United Nations Refugee status, they are not living in a camp. They left Daraa, Syria in April, 2013, and are living outside a camp in Irbid, Jordan. There they wait to come to Canada, unable to legally work or send their children to school. For more information go to the ‘Syria To Baddeck” page on Facebook.
Public Works Christmas closure may not have “worked” for some residents. From all accounts, the Public Works Christmas closure at the Baddeck transfer station and recycling depot was not well received.
Chief Administrative Officer Sandy Hudson says the pilot project, which saw no waste collection between December 24 and January 2, “could have been done better.” Henotes it was a “hardship” for some businesses although special arrangements were made to accommodate the Victoria County Memorial Hospital and Alderwood Long-term Care facility.
The transfer station and recycling depot closed at noon on December 24 and did not reopen until January 3 and 4 respectively.
Hudson says the majority of complaints came from Facebook, and most were from the Baddeck area. His recommendation would be that it not be done again.
Warden Bruce Morrison admits there were some lessons learned from the experience, but says there were very few “direct complaints” to individual council members. When I suggested we are all way better at grumbling than actually complaining, myself included, Morrison agreed, but said the amount of griping means council would have “an extended conversation about whether we would ever do it again.” He also said council is still open to feedback on the topic and that there was only one verbal complaint. There was also only one e-mail according to Public Works Communications Officer Jocelyn Bethune. However, there were 16 inquiries and more than three dozen complaints in various Facebook postings.
Public works closures over the holiday season have left some upset. This photo is courtesy of Victoria County Public Works.
This is the logo of the “Syria To Baddeck” initiative.