De­vel­op­ment as­so­ci­a­tion re­ceives cit­i­zen of the year award

Cape Breton Post - - NEWS | NORTHSIDE / VICTORIA - BY CAPE BRE­TON POST STAFF

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.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

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.

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