Beyond the Horizon
Horizon Achievement Centre unveils next step in fundraising efforts
Employees, clients and volunteers alike helped launch a new fundraising campaign for Horizon Achievement Centre at a news conference, Tuesday.
Dana Farrell, 45, from Sydney has been with the centre for almost 21 years. She works in the bakery and mailroom of the general contracts department. She said it was a great sight to see over 100 people show up to the conference to show their support for the development of a new building.
“I was feeling pretty fantastic. This is a huge day for us all. It really was one good day. What a huge day for the staff and the clients,” she said.
The organization is the biggest vocational training and employment service centre for adults with mental disabilities, or those facing multiple barriers to employment, within the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.
Another client of the centre, 26-year-old Caitlin Cox from Sydney, works in the bakery and mailroom of the general contracts department as well. She said the best part of the day was witnessing the crowd, both in person and watching online.
“It was so awesome seeing everybody and how many people were watching online. It was phenomenal. It went over 200 people watching live today. With having my family here and my friends – I have no words,” said Cox.
In the meantime, the Canadian Armed Forces agreed to restore the church’s decaying roof through Exercise Nihilo Sapper 2017, however, Sampson said the diocese’s delays put this in jeopardy, as the society needed proof of ownership.
Sampson said in Aug. 2017 the diocese produced a purchase and sale agreement but it didn’t include the land initially agreed upon at the time of the sale.
Last week, Sampson said she had no choice but to sign it as the military were waiting to begin the roof project.
“I signed it with regret,” she said.
“We’re hoping the diocese is going to do the right thing and give us exactly what we agreed to. They said they would revisit it.”
Sampson said they were also eligible to have the military update the electricity and heating, but because the society didn’t have a deed and weren’t the property owners, they weren’t eligible for grants.
“We are so upset, we could have had so much work done by the military, but because of the diocese have lost this opportunity.”
Sampson said the society is extremely grateful to the military. “This is one of Canada’s top 10 endangered buildings and it’s so wonderful the Canadian military has come forth to help save the stone church.”
Rev. Donald MacGillivray , spokesperson with the Diocese of Antigonish, said the Stone Church Restoration Society signed the purchase agreement and because of that the Canadian Armed Forces is able to make repairs to the church. When the society will have the deed, he couldn’t say.
“They can deal with that with the people who are dealing with the sale of the building.”
When asked about the delays, MacGillivray said maybe any delays weren’t just on the side of the diocese. When a sale is being completed there’s sometimes unexpected things that need to be worked out, he added.
When asking MacGillivray about the society feeling the purchase agreement wasn’t what was originally agreed upon at the time of the sale, he said it must have been satisfactory as they signed it. In matters such as this, you try to work out what is beneficial to both parties, he added.
MacGillivray said if the society has concerns they should bring them to the diocese.
“Other than that we’re not going to be negotiating the sale of this building in the press.”
MacGillivray declined hearing the other issues the society has.
“It would be best for them to talk to the people who have been negotiating the sale of the building a very long time. If they’re not interested in a deal anymore they’re welcome to withdraw.”
Caitlin Cox, left, and Dana Farrell stand in the bakery of the Horizon Achievement Centre. The two are longtime clients and workers at the centre.
Melanie Sampson, president of the Stone Church Restoration Society, chats with Sapper Zach Sanders of the 4 Engineer Support Regiment of the Canadian Armed Forces, while kit bags of the soldiers are laid out on the ground.