Dixville’s Dynamic Mayor
Dixville, a tiny town that’s practically hidden off of route 147 just south of Coaticook, seems to be reinventing itself. The seven hundred and eleven Dixville mayor Martin Saindon wants young person community has families to discover Dixville and its many resources.
made headlines in the last few years, fighting the government over its ancient dam, working out a special arrangement with the Dixville Home to deal with the empty buildings, initiating an ambitious home development project and, just last spring, being featured on the popular French language television show, La Petite Seduction.
One of the driving forces behind Dixville’s process of rejuvenation is its energetic and friendly mayor, Martin Saindon. “My wife and I were living in Coaticook in a small house and we wanted to start a family. She knew of Dixville so we came in April, of 2001, to take a tour of the town,” explained Mr. Saindon, who grew up in Sherbrooke. “After looking around for a while, we were about to leave when we saw the cross on Parker Hill light up. So we drove to take a look at the cross and there was a house for sale just across the street! We called about the house right away and were moving here by the end of June. It was love at first sight.”
Eight years later, with his family well under way and feeling like a true ‘Dixvillian’, Martin joined the town’s government as a councilor. “I think that people who come from the outside can sometimes have a new vision, see the potential of a town,” he said.
Elected mayor in 2013 by acclamation, Mr. Saindon has been busy, along with the entire council and the town’s staff, he is quick to admit, working on the revitalization and re-branding of the small community. The Dixville Home dossier, the project to deal with the several abandoned properties and facilities of that organization, is almost complete. “One building was sold to our Cooperative, another was made into apartments, and many other properties were sold. The town bought the pool for $1 and two garages for a little more money,” mentioned the mayor.
Dixville’s Cooperative de Solidarité is another important step towards renewal. With one hun- dred and twenty-four members and counting, and after several brunch and spaghetti dinner fundraisers and many grant applications, its plans are to open a general store and restaurant in the heart of the town, just like in the old days. “The administrators of the Coop are all local volunteers and, because it’s a Cooperative de ‘Solidarité’, members can come from anywhere. Everyone, not just Dixville residents, will be able to shop at the store,” he explained.
The town’s new home development project, located on land going up Parker Hill, will hopefully see the building of about seventy ‘environmentally friendly’ homes. The new construction is crucial if the town is to meet one of its objectives: to increase its population by 20% by 2020.
“What’s also important to our revitalization project is to continue with special events. We were on La Petite Seduction and we had the Fete du Peche here for the first time this year. We held a special ride through the forest with eighty horses, we hold a village mechoui, and we hosted visits with Place aux Jeunes this year. A young couple from Longueil just bought a house in Dixville and they will be moving here soon,” said Mr. Saindon.
Always enthusiastic in his role as mayor, Mr. Saindon explained what he liked about the position: “I want to be of service, and I like being mayor not for the title, but because it is like a key to get into places. I feel like an agent of development for the community, an agent of change.”
Mayor Martin Saindon sees himself as a development agent for the town of Dixville.