Com­mu­nity events main fo­cus of pop­u­lar so­ci­ety

Cape Breton Post - - 50+ Expo - SHERRY MULLEY MACDON­ALD

The peo­ple of Whit­ney Pier have a lot to be proud of. With more than 15 dif­fer­ent eth­nic and re­li­gious groups call­ing the area home, it has been rec­og­nized as one of the most dis­tinc­tively multi-eth­nic dis­tricts in the re­gion. For­tu­nately, a group of ded­i­cated vol­un­teers re­main com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing there re­mains a lot to see and do in the com­mu­nity.

The Friends of Neville Park So­ci­ety is a not-for-profit, reg­is­tered so­ci­ety ded­i­cated to show­cas­ing events of spe­cial in­ter­est to res­i­dents of Whit­ney Pier and sur­round­ing ar­eas. Alan Nathanson is the president of the So­ci­ety and he said it was about fif­teen years ago when res­i­dents came to­gether to dis­cuss ways to breathe new life into one of the CBRM’s most uniquely rec­og­nized com­mu­ni­ties. “We were see­ing groups in other part of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity plan suc­cess­ful events that were fo­cus­ing on their com­mu­ni­ties so we de­cided we wanted to use their ex­am­ple and try that in Whit­ney Pier.” Since its in­cep­tion, the Friends of Neville Park So­ci­ety has re­mained com­mit­ted to or­ga­niz­ing events that they feel will ap­peal to peo­ple of all ages. “We were try­ing to put com­mu­nity back into the com­mu­nity and we felt the best way to do that was to just roll up our sleeves and get to work,” Nathanson said.

Like most suc­cess­ful non­profit so­ci­eties, The Friends of Neville Park rely heav­ily on a group of vol­un­teers to get the job done. “The so­ci­ety is in­volved in a num­ber of events through­out the year. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do with­out the ded­i­ca­tion of our core group.” Nathanson said they have 10 very ac­tive mem­bers who are al­ways will­ing to give of their time to help with events. “We sim­ply couldn’t do what we do with­out the sup­port of those who know ex­actly what it is they want to achieve.” Nathanson added that in ad­di­tion to the mem­bers of the So­ci­ety, there are a num­ber of other vol­un­teers from the com­mu­nity who give of their time to pro­vide as­sis­tance as well. “We all have a com­mon goal and that is to of­fer events that will bring peo­ple to­gether, not just peo­ple from Whit­ney Pier, but peo­ple from all over the CBRM.”

Nathanson said there are tried and true events or­ga­nized by the So­ci­ety and en­joyed by many each year like the an­nual Canada Day Party and the Neville Park Car Show, and he said mem­bers of the so­ci­ety are open to or­ga­niz­ing new ac­tiv­i­ties. In re­cent years they have mar­keted and pro­moted Pier Melt­ing Pot Fes­ti­val, Neville Park Car Show and BOO-Fest Fire­works. “Our events are al­ways very well at­tended. The crowds seem to get big­ger each year so we know that we are giv­ing peo­ple what they want. We love see­ing Vic­to­ria Street jammed with ve­hi­cles filled with peo­ple ready to en­joy the event be­ing of­fered. “

Whit­ney Pier has long en­joyed a well-de­fined iden­tity, due in large part to the di­ver­sity of its peo­ple and the tra­di­tions that they have man­aged to carve out over the years. Mem­bers of the So­ci­ety agree that the part they play in pre­serv­ing the qual­i­ties that en­cour­age a sense of unity within the com­mu­nity is some­thing they are proud to be a part of.

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