Development association receives citizen of the year award
The Neil’s Harbour/New Haven Development Association has been awarded the Cabot Trail Lion’s Club 2015 Citizen of the Year Award.
Members of the Lion's club presented the award at the Nov. 23 meeting of the development association.
The award is given yearly to an outstanding citizen or group of citizens that have made significant contributions to benefit the communities North of Smokey.
The Neil’s Harbour/New Haven Development Association was dormant for several years and in 2007 was reorganized to address the needs of the community.
Sheila Fricker, who has served as a board member since 2007, said the main focus is on reviving the area and addressing the needs of the community.
“From where we started and what we have now, the board has accomplished quite a bit for the area,” she said. “The focal point in Neil's Harbour is the lighthouse. It was important that the association obtained ownership of this heritage property.”
The lighthouse is leased to a local business and operated as an ice-cream eatery during the summer season.
Fricker said the board can count on volunteers from the community to help out with major events.
The association developed a multi-purpose community recreation area (The Fun Centre) that includes a skating park with a 50 by 85 foot pad, a warmup room, hockey nets, basketball poles and nets, volleyball poles and nets, badminton posts and nets, a skate sharpener, a green gym and privacy fencing.
A comfort station, including coin-operated showers, toilets, washers and dryers, was built adjacent to The Fun Centre.
“It's a great honour for the association to recieve this award. We are very fortunate that we have people we can count on to help, both from the board and the community,” said Alisha Lillington, who joined the board a year ago. “It's made a big difference being able to provide public services through the comfort station. The washing and shower facilities have made a huge difference because there is nothing North of Smokey. It's been a great success.”
Developing partnerships within the community has been a priority for the association. Scotiabank, Victoria County and the North Victoria Community Centre partnered with the association in developing the recreation area and comfort station, and Neil’s Harbour/New Haven Fire Department donated the property.
The Heart and Stroke Association of Nova Scotia provided an automated external defibrillator to be kept at the recreation area.
Parks Canada partnered with the association to complete tourism signage on the Cabot Trail, which attracts tourists to the local businesses. Local businesses and Victoria County worked with the association in 2012 to host the Linger by the Sea summer festival that included a spectacular fireworks display over the ocean. The goal is to host more summer festivals in the future.
The development association recently acquired the Royal Canadian Legion ocean front property and is currently formulating ideas for the development of this scenic area. It maintains the cenotaph, a monument that was erected to honour the local men and women who gave their lives while serving in the Canadian armed services.
“The Neil’s Harbour/New Haven Development Association has made huge accomplishments to make their community a better place for its inhabitants and a better experience for visitors to the North of Smokey area,” said Cabot Trail Lion's club member Mark Stullenburger. “All of this has been possible almost entirely due to the community spirit and hard work of its many volunteers.”
From left, chairman David Donovan, Alisha Lillington, Karen Hatcher, Sheldon MacKinnon, Steve Coutts, Greg Organ, Billy Hogan and secretary-treasurer Sheila Fricker, members of the Neil’s Harbour/New Haven Development Association.