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Annapolis Valley Register - - FEA­TURE -

Put in Hours

“Oh my soul, it’s mind-bog­gling, when I think of those hours I put in on that old track with Bob Lock­ett and John MacIsaac,” said Hir­tle, who coached track for 20 years, in­clud­ing stars Jack­son, Lock­ett, and MacIsaac. “It’s hard to put into words. I lugged them around in my car in the sum­mer. Took my sum­mers. On the track. And the last year was MacIsaac and Lock­ett. It was six nights a week.”

They went to the Cana­dian Age Class Cham­pi­onships and came first and sec­ond in the 3,000 me­tres.

Hir­tle, who started coach­ing in 1951, de­scribed the planned new Bridgetown track as world class.

Ryan said thoughts of a new track started when the com­mu­nity came to her and asked if there could be im­prove­ments to the track and field. It ended up a dis­cus­sion on the fu­ture of sports in Bridgetown.

She said there was a lot of syn­ergy and de­scribed the whole ex­pe­ri­ence and new track as epic. “To be part of this has been ab­so­lutely amaz­ing,” she said, adding peo­ple are al­ready talk­ing about dis­tricts and provin­cials and maybe even na­tion­als.

“I hope it will be a place that this town and sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties will take pride in,” McNeil said. “To make it hap­pen it took a lot of hands, it took a lot of hard work. The province has com­mit­ted $2.3 mil­lion to add to the fed­eral govern­ment con­tri­bu­tion. I don’t have any prob­lem de­fend­ing this in­vest­ment across this province. This will be an in­vest­ment that will make a huge dif­fer­ence not only in this town but in other parts (of the province).”

Mu­nic­i­pal­ity

McNeil thanked the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of the County of An­napo­lis whose coun­cil and staff he said were part of the jour­ney.

“They will take on part of man­ag­ing this fa­cil­ity, mak­ing sure that we can main­tain it, mak­ing sure that the ten­nis courts … we’ll resur­face them and put a new fences around them, con­tinue to make sure the lights are work­ing – that that fa­cil­ity will come alive again.”

He said the new fa­cil­ity will thrive not only as a great ath­let­ics fa­cil­ity but as an eco­nomic gener- ator for the town and sur­round­ing area.

“Ath­let­ics is one of the defin­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics of this com­mu­nity, so we’re cap­i­tal­iz­ing on an ex­ist­ing strength,” said An­napo­lis County War­den Ti­mothy Habin­ski. “The sec­ond thing is this is re­ally a com­mu­nity-led ini­tia­tive. The peo­ple who par­tic­i­pated and brain­stormed to de­velop the idea, we’re so grate­ful for the work you’ve done on be­half of your com­mu­nity. With­out your pas­sion this sort of pro­ject would never take shape. And third, it in­volves par­tic­i­pa­tion from all three or­ders of govern­ment. That’s es­sen­tial, the fact we have such a good work­ing re­la­tion­ship with Stephen (McNeil), with the good work­ing re­la­tion­ship with Colin (Fraser) at the provin­cial and fed­eral lev­els. We couldn’t be do­ing the things that we’re do­ing if we didn’t have that strength of part­ner­ships.”

McNeil, Fraser, and Hir­tle un­veiled an ar­chi­tec­tural draw­ing of the fa­cil­ity.

LAWRENCE POW­ELL

For­mer track and field coach Bill Hir­tle and Nova Sco­tia Premier Stephen McNeil stand be­side an im­age of the new $3.5-mil­lion ath­let­ics com­plex that will be built in Bridgetown on the site of the old high school where Hir­tle was an orig­i­nal staff mem­ber, coach, and prin­ci­pal.

FILE PHOTO

Cen­tral Kings basketball play­ers have been see­ing a lot of ac­tion on the court this month.

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