Spread the word about liv­ing in Amherst

The Amherst News - - OP-ED - Leslie Childs is a mem­ber of the Amherst News Com­mu­nity Ed­i­to­rial Panel

Nova Sco­tia is see­ing a grow­ing in­ter­est in a new kind of mi­gra­tion; this time it’s mov­ing west to east, not east to west as we’ve seen in the last 200 years.

Per­haps it’s be­cause work­place dy­nam­ics are chang­ing.

Many are tir­ing of the big city’s fast pace and long for slower, more mean­ing­ful ex­pe­ri­ences.

Peo­ple with chil­dren want a safer place to raise their kids, a town where the cost of a roof over your head doesn’t leave them stag­ger­ing un­der a life­time of debt, and re­tirees want smaller homes with fewer chores.

Ev­ery­where I go, I hear about peo­ple from other parts of Canada “mov­ing east”.

Many have cho­sen to live in older homes, homes with char­ac­ter and a his­tory, homes like those Amherst has so many of.

Off the top of my head, I can think of at least ten new­com­ers to Amherst who are buy­ing, ren­o­vat­ing or re­pur­pos­ing old build­ings.

Hal­i­fax writer, Ha­ley Ryan, ref­er­enced a New York Times front page ar­ti­cle from De­cem­ber 27, 2017, that de­scribes a house on Hal­i­fax’s Young Av­enue of­fered for sale at $2.99 mil­lion dol­lars Cana­dian.

Amherst has many her­itage build­ings, large or small. Clearly, mul­ti­mil­lion dol­lar real es­tate sales are not likely here but what does be­gins to look pos­si­ble is a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease of in-mi­gra­tion num­bers to take ad­van­tage of our cen­tral Mar­itime lo­ca­tion, our small town life style and our in­ven­tory of beau­ti­ful homes.

We have so much to of­fer right here on the edge of the Tantra­mar, and peo­ple from all sorts of back­grounds might just be start­ing to fig­ure it out.

The com­pany houses that line Amherst’s streets are won­der­ful ex­am­ples of a dif­fer­ent world that of­fers lovely lots, great ren­o­va­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties, smaller foot­prints…… and all for a tiny frac­tion of that $2.99 mil­lion Hal­i­fax man­sion.

Some of our larger homes are el­e­gant enough for a cen­tre-fold in Ar­chi­tec­tural Digest.

They too have po­ten­tial and a rea­son­able pur­chase price that might just start call­ing more peo­ple back to their roots.

Who doesn’t know some­one in the “re­turnee” cat­e­gory?

Re­turnees are those who moved away 30+ years ago and are now back home, or at least con­sid­er­ing it.

Then, there are all those “newly ar­rived folks”, peo­ple from across Canada, Bel­gium, the United States, Costa Rica, Korea, In­dia, Le­banon, and China, not to men­tion the sev­eral Syr­ian fam­i­lies who have cho­sen Amherst.

They all have res­i­dences, dol­lars to spend, and are all look­ing for a com­fort­able life.

More peo­ple here mean more vi­tal­ity, more in­no­va­tion, more en­trepreneurs, more youth… and soon more jobs to serve these folks.

And don’t for­get the com­mer­cial build­ings that are be­ing given a new lease on life.

Right now, there are at least seven early 20th cen­tury re­fur­bished in­dus­trial prop­er­ties that are bring­ing peo­ple and dol­lars to Amherst: At­lantic Whole­sale (for­merly Amherst Pi­ano) has be­come Greasy Groove, a suc­cess­ful in­ter­na­tional sup­plier to the mu­sic world; Amherst Boot and Shoe stands proud and tall on Sta­tion Street: Mar­go­lian’s is now Dayle’s Grand Mar­ket, home to four new lo­cal busi­nesses; the Cus­toms House, Amherst’s iconic trade­mark, is now Mrs. Pugs­ley’s, a des­ti­na­tion for quilters. And, of course, don’t for­get the re­cently re­mod­eled Man­sour’s Menswear that has pro­vided clients with qual­ity and per­sonal care since 1915. Add in Deanne Fitz­patrick’s yarn, fi­bre and women’s cloth­ing and we’ve got some good things here, right now!

What’s the next step?

Be proud of Amherst. Talk pos­i­tively about it of­ten.

Find out how our new cit­i­zens found Amherst, what made choose this town.

Talk to them. Get to know them so they feel com­fort­able and “at home” here.

They can be our best am­bas­sadors.

Noth­ing’s beats “word of mouth”.

En­cour­age our lo­cal lead­ers to get the word out through more of­fi­cial chan­nels: TV news fea­tures, mag­a­zine ar­ti­cles, ac­tive post­ing on other web­sites and pages about our homes and life styles, news­pa­per cov­er­age about our sport­ing ac­tiv­i­ties and ameni­ties.

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