Dippers rang in New Year with icy plunge
■ Dippers rang in New Year – Twenty-nine brave souls kicked off New Year’s Day in style by taking part in the Village of Dorchester’s 24th annual polar bear dip. Held at Palmer’s Pond at 1 p.m. on Jan. 1, the event is a joint project of the Dorchester Lions Club and the Dorchester Volunteer Fire Department.
Funds raised go to the Dorchester Volunteer Fire Department, the 681 Tantramar Squadron Royal Air Cadet Squadron, minor baseball, the Dorchester Food Bank and other local projects through the year.
■ Tantramar Seniors College earned Lieutenant Governor Award – The Tantramar Seniors College was recognized for its work when New Brunswick Lieutenant Governor Jocelyn Roy Vienneau presented the organization with the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Healthy Aging and Care.
In accepting the award as vicepresident of the TSC, Heather Patterson pointed out this is the first time it has been presented to an organization of this kind.
Marking its 10th anniversary this year, the college, which runs programs and courses in Amherst, Moncton, Shediac and Sackville, has expanded markedly and offers courses varying in length and has a membership in excess of 400.
New fire station opened in Port Elgin – After 17 years in the works, the Port Elgin fire department finally moved into its new building on East Main Street in the village.
A large crowd of local residents, firefighters from surrounding communities and invited guests joined members of Port Elgin village council and Port Elgin volunteer firefighters on New Year’s Day for a hose-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the new facility.
Fire Chief Steve Alward thanked the community for its support during the building project, which began in the spring of 2017
The new fire hall came with a $1.2 million price tag, a cost which was shared among the Village of Port Elgin and the Local Service Districts serviced by the Port Elgin fire department.
■ Titans head coach, two sons headed to U.S. as members of Team Canada – There is an old saying “the family that plays together stays together.”
That saying accurately demonstrated the Scott O’neal family as he and his two sons, Aidan and Owen, both members of the Tantramar Titans football team, headed to Arlington, Texas to represent the country as members of Team Canada in early January to compete in international games.
Scott was with the U16 team in 2017 on a mentorship program and would serve in 2018 as the running back coach with the same team. He said an experience like accompanying the national team is a true learning experience as he not only observes the other members of the staff but also how coaches on opposing teams run their programs. Owen would be a player on the U16 team.
Aidan, being a U18 team member last season, was drafted to return to that team.
■ EOS, Pedvac earn environmental awards – EOS EcoEnergy was named the winner of the top prize during the first annual Eco360 Environmental Awards ceremony. The Eco360 Environmental Awards recognize outstanding environmental contributions by individuals, groups, organizations, institutions, businesses and municipalities in Southeastern New Brunswick. The award came with a $10,000 prize.
“This award means EOS can also start to dream a little bigger and do even more to help our local communities in Tantramar reduce and adapt to climate change and be more sustainable,” said Amanda Marlin, executive director for EOS.
Also honoured during the awards ceremony was Port Elgin’s Pedvac Foundation, which was named a runner-up, earning them a $1,000 prize.
Mount Allison prof appointed to Order of Canada – A Mount Allison University professor and author was among the latest inductees named to the Order of Canada.
Christl Verduyn was set to be inducted “for her contributions to Canadian studies, notably as a professor and author, and for her commitment to making Canadian literature accessible to a broader audience,” Gov. Gen. Julie Payette announced in early January.
Verduyn, who taught English and Canadian studies at Mount Allison University for more than a decade, said she was honoured to receive this appointment.
“It feels very humbling to be named alongside all of these people. It doesn’t actually feel real.”
■ Town approved $1.5 million in capital spending for 2018 – Extensive roadwork on a section of Main Street and a project that would see the Sackville quarry converted into a park were two of the bigger-ticket items approved in January as part of the town’s 2018 capital budget, which would see approximately $1.5 million in funding spread out among various sectors in the community.
Town treasurer Michael Beal said this year’s spending was “in line” with what the municipality has spent on its capital projects over the past five years,
The Main Street road reconstruction project would come with an estimated $850,000 price tag but the project was contingent on nearly half of that amount coming through from the provincial government.
About $200,000 was also set aside for the Quarry project. This project was also contingent on partner funding coming through, but through the federal government.
■ Former Moloney plant was set to come under new ownership – Excitement was in the air in Sackville as electrical transformer maker Cam Tran Co., announced it would soon be buying the former Moloney Electric plant, bringing with it the prospect of new jobs and renewed economic activity.
Mayor John Higham, who worked closely with a couple of companies to try to get the plant re-opened, said ahead of the deal closing he was on pins and needles.
“It’s been a long, hard process with a lot of sharp turns,” he said.
When Moloney Electric shut down, it threw 60 out of work. Mayor Higham’s team stepped in, worked with former Moloney Electric employees and other stakeholders in the community to identify the market for the now-defunct plant’s transformers. Then, they sought out companies to step in to manufacture them in Sackville.
Cam Tran’s purchase of the plant’s assets was given the nod in Ontario’s bankruptcy court in early January, paving the way for the company to take possession of the property Jan. 25.
“We envisage starting with eight to 10 people and then just knocking on doors (to get more business),” said Cam Tran president Kyle Campbell.
■ New memorial rink opened in Port Elgin – Blistering cold weather didn’t deter the many local residents who joined students and staff outside of the Port Elgin Regional School in January for the official opening of the Chad and Colby Memorial Rink.
The new facility replaced the old rink, which had been located on East Main Street in the village, dismantled in 2016 to make room for construction of the new fire hall.
The new rink was dedicated in honour of two area teens, Colby Callender and Chad Alder, who were killed in a tragic automobile accident just outside of Port Elgin in Nov. 2015 that also left then17-year-old Jason Bourque critically injured. At the opening, PERS principal Christoph Becker talked about the youths and their love of skating on the community rink with their families and friends.
Atlantic Windows donated $30,000 to the rink-building project, while funding also came through from a Farm Credit Canada rural assistance program and the Canada 150 infrastructure grant initiative.
■ $2.2 million announced for Westford Nursing Home renovations – New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant was in Port Elgin in early February to announce funding for the Westford Nursing Home – $2.2 million over five years to complete renovations to the 31-year-old, 30-bed care facility.
“If we want to tackle one of the challenges we have as a province with an aging population, we need to innovate and invest to ensure that we have the best senior care possible in our province ... Investing in senior care now will help ensure that we’re able to have strong com- munities, and we’ll be able to actually reduce costs when it comes to health care,” said Gallant.
The upgrades were expected to include the updating of sprinkler and ventilation systems, increases in some room sizes and improvements in outdoor space for resident and staff use.
■ Sackville’s Chamber of Commerce closed doors – The Greater Sackville Chamber of Commerce folded after being a voice for the local business community for more than two-and-ahalf decades.
The decision to dissolve the chamber’s operations came in early February, with the reasons outlined in an email sent out to GSCC members – although the news likely came as no surprise to anyone.
GSCC’S executive director Gwen Zwicker said despite ongoing efforts to revive the chamber, which had been inactive for several years, the support just wasn’t there to get it going again.
Faced with financial struggles since 2014, the chamber had trouble maintaining an active board, said Zwicker, and membership continued to decline over that time.
Organizers of the 27th annual Sackville Curl for Cancer fundraiser on Feb. 3 came in just shy of their $15,000 goal.
“The bonspiel raised $14,240 as of Saturday night,” said Wayne Harper, a member of the 2018 Curl for Cancer committee, who added “some small amounts might still trickle in.”
The 2018 event saw 30 teams registered, with many representing local businesses, while others were comprised of family members and friends.
■ O’neil earned Crown of Winterfest – A committed volunteer in the community, Sackville Coun. Joyce O’neil, was honoured with the ‘ Crown of Winterfest’ during Sackville’s winter festival celebrations.
From serving on the hospital auxiliary to volunteering with the Saint John Ambulance, to organizing the annual car shows in town, all while being a dedicated mom and grandmother throughout the years, O’neil’s long list of contributions and achievements over the years have not gone unnoticed.
“Joyce has a very passionate heart and will do anything for anyone, no matter the time or day,” said O’neil’s granddaughter Jessica Novak in her nomination.
■ Father disappointed with forgotten memorial playground – Family and friends began expressing their disappointment over a forgotten memorial playground, named in honour of a 12-year-old boy who was murdered in the area in November 1995.
Larry Mills, the boy’s father, spoke out about the fact that the playground at Marshview Middle School, which was dedicated to Larry Mills Jr. during a ceremony in June 1996, now shows no signs of the memorial tribute. He said a plaque, which had originally been affixed to a piece of playground equipment, was removed several years ago and was never replaced.
“That was supposed to be there forever … or at least that’s what I thought,” said Mills. “It was a memorial; it’s supposed to be there for life.”
A couple of weeks after speaking out, Mills began seeing encouraging signs after getting assurances from school district officials that some type of action would be taken to correct the mistake.
Mills said he would like to see a new plaque erected (the old one is in rough shape) in a more visible location, either at its current location or at the new site if construction of a new middle school is approved.
■ Proposed rezoning shot down – A rezoning request that would have allowed for another multi-unit development in an area of town neighbours say is already congested with student housing was shot down by council.
In a 5-3 decision, council voted against the rezoning application to allow for a six-unit, threestorey building at 40 King St., a property that is already home to about 30 university students.
The decision came after a group of residents voiced their objections to the proposed re-zoning, saying they were concerned about excessive noise and partying as well as the increased traffic congestion.
Opposing council members said they felt the proposed development didn’t fit with the town’s municipal plan objectives.
■ New plan proposed for Exit 506 – Two new parks. Walking trails. Bicycle lanes. New sidewalks. More street trees. And the potential for new commercial and residential development.
These were some of the key features included in the new design proposed for Sackville’s Exit 506 area, a plan that would see a pedestrian-friendly “village centre” developed in that part of town.
“Essentially we’re talking about a small downtown cluster that would happen in this area,” said Rob Leblanc of Ekistics Planning and Design during a meeting to outline the plan.
Leblanc said most of the ideas presented in the plan were generated from feedback provided by the community – through an open house workshop and an online survey.
“That just goes to show the level of interest in this area,” he said.
The cost to the town was estimated at about $600,000, but Leblanc said the work could be done in phases.
■ Blue Roof Vodka earned national recognition – Just one year into production, Blue Roof Vodka 1855 was already proving to be a winner. The spirit product, produced by Blue Roof Distillery in Malden, copped two silver medals at the Canadian Artisan Spirit Competition. The event, the largest artisan spirits event in Canada, focuses on local distilleries across the country.
Company CEO Devon Strang said he was pleased and surprised to hear their product had won a silver medal award in two judging categories in the competition.
“We were really happy with the results … originally we didn’t plan to submit our product due to the timing. We hadn’t been open that long and things were really busy here. But we ended up sending samples from our first or second batch to the competition.”
■ Mount A hosted women’s basketball nationals – Mount Allison University hosted its first national championship, bringing eight teams from across the nation to town from March 14-17 to determine the best of the best in women’s basketball played at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association level.
The event brought more than 150 players, coaches and managers to Sackville for the four days of competition in Mccormack Gymnasium. This was expected to be a mini bonanza for the local economy.
The organization of the tournament was being led under the direction of Norval Mcconnell, an educator, athlete and community leader.
The Mounties headed into the CCAA championship as Atlantic conference champions following a hair-raising 77-71 overtime victory over the highly-favoured Mount Saint Vincent Mystics in the conference final.
■ New president announced at Mount Allison – Mount Allison University’s board of regents agreed to appoint Jean-paul Boudreau as the university’s 15th president at a meeting on March 12. Boudreau was expected to begin his five-year term as presi- dent on July 1, 2018.
“Jean-paul brings exceptionally strong academic and administrative experience to this role, proven skills in innovation through collaboration, and a commitment to experiential learning opportunities for students,” said Ron Outerbridge, chair of Mount Allison’s board of regents and of the presidential search committee. The presidential search committee was comprised of student, faculty, staff, and alumni representatives.
A proud Acadian who grew up in Moncton, Boudreau joins Mount Allison from Ryerson University in Toronto where he was a professor of psychology and served as special advisor and executive lead for social innovation.
■ First annual Mount Allison University Powwow celebrated Indigenous culture – Traditional Indigenous drumming, singing, dancing, and arts and crafts were just a few of the sights and sounds that were on display when Mount Allison hosted its first Powwow on March 22.
First-year student Talon Simon from Elsipogtog First Nation served as project manager and MTA Powwow social chair. He said the event, which was open to everyone in the Mount Allison and surrounding communities, would be an important turning point for the university.
One of the highlights of the Powwow saw the Mi’kmaq flag permanently installed on campus.
■ Major upgrade announced for Shepody Healing Centre – The future of the Shepody Healing Centre was looking a bit brighter.
Local MP and federal cabinet Minister Dominic Leblanc visited Dorchester in mid-march to announce plans were in the works to create a national ‘Health Centre of Excellence’ that would modernize and transform the outdated and cramped facilities at the existing Shepody Centre, located within the Dorchester Penitentiary.
Leblanc said Correctional Service Canada (CSC) would undertake a study as the first step in the process, which would be led by a working group of Shepody Healing Centre staff, CSC senior management, and other health experts.
The working group would then bring forward an interim report by October, offering recommendations on the various models that could be adopted, the costs, and an implementation plan.
He said the working group will essentially determine whether the existing facility can be renovated or if an entirely new state-of- theart building will be required.
■ Winegarden Estate won gold, silver in spirit competition – 2018 was a very good year for Winegarden Estate. The winery/distillery located in Baie Verte garnered one gold and two silver medals in a country-wide spirit competition.
Winegarden Estate picked up a gold medal for its Anis, Eau de Vie, as well as silver medals for Brother Herble liqueur and the very popular Johnny Ziegler brandy in the Canadian Artisan Spirit Competition.
“It’s always good to know where you stand within the industry,” said company president Elke Muessle. “We, of course, think our products are the best but, realistically, when you go into a competition, you get a true reading of the quality.
■ Sears family made significant land donation to AWI – It has sat vacant for more than seven decades but a 156-acre piece of property in Centre Village would soon be put to good use again.
The large parcel of forested land was gifted in March to the Atlantic Wildlife Institute (AWI), a donation that came from lifelong Sackville residents Wallie and Norma Sears and their daughters Paula and Janet.
Wallie said he is confident the property, which has been in his family since the late 1800s, would now be in good hands under the caring ownership of AWI founders Barry Rothfuss and Pam Novak.
The land, located about three kilometres away from AWI’S existing facility in Cookville, would become part of the institute’s inventory of protected spaces for wildlife species.
■ SMHF launched new fundraising campaign – The Sackville Memorial Hospital (SMH) Foundation launched its Accuracy is the Best Result Good Chemistry Campaign 2018, with an ambitious $100,000 fundraising goal.
With the funds, the foundation aimed to purchase a sophisticated chemistry analyzer for the lab at the SMH. The new unit, which provides analysis of blood samples, would replace an aging unit that is reaching the end of its lifespan.
The lab, which performs more than 61,000 tests per year, is arguably the hospital’s most vital service. Diagnostic tests are often the least expensive component of the health care-pathway, yet they influence more than 70 per cent of all health-care decisions.
■ Titans hockey team won provincials – March 25 proved to be the culmination of a fiveyear dream held by Ernie Austin as his Tantramar Titans put the icing on the cake in gritty fashion by carving out a well-played 5-1 victory over the Carleton North Stars to add another banner to the school gymnasium.
Austin’s dream began his first season at the helm of the Titans as they failed to register a victory in 20 tries. But they have gradually improved each season, and 2018 was the one in which they ran roughshod over opponents in league play.
The provincial title was the first the hockey team has won since 1997 when Ted Doncaster was coach.
The Titans hosted the provincial tournament at the civic centre.
■ Town celebrated Mountie Day – Garnet and gold was out in full splendor in Sackville as the town celebrated its annual Mountie Day. The event, which puts Mount Allison’s student-athletes in the spotlight, is held to recognize the important contribution university athletics makes to the community.
Sackville’s Deputy Mayor Ron Aiken applauded university students and staff for another successful year, one which included an outstanding season for the men’ and women’s basketball teams, as well as the swimming and curling teams, and one which was capped off with Mount A hosting the CCAA women’s basketball championship for the first time in its history.
Another successful Mountie season was highlighted during the annual Night of the Mounties at Jennings Hall with hundreds in attendance to hear of the successes accomplished by team and individuals.
A feature of the Night of the Mounties award presentation was the role played by a trio of former Tantramar Titans. Hockey star Abby Beale was named not only rookie of the year with the team but was also the winner of the women’s rookie of the year for all sports. Jaryd Morrisey received the MVP award for badminton and was also recognized as player of the year in the ACAA. And varsity soccer and basketball player Kate Ollerhead received a $1,000 athletic bursary.
Male and female athletes of the year were: Kiersten Mangold, who led her Mounties to the Atlantic basketball championship and earned the league’s outstanding player award; and Geraint Berger of Halifax, who rewrote the university swimming record books, outdistancing several other candidates.
■ Seniors complex proposed for downtown – A local developer was hoping to get the ball rolling on a new seniors’ development in downtown Sackville, pending town council approval of a rezoning for a small piece of property that’s part of the former United Church site.
Developer John Lafford was hoping to build a new apartment building for the 55- and- over crowd on the property located on the corner of Main and York Streets.
The proposed new apartment building was expected to feature between 28 and 34 units, depending on how much underground parking could be included in the site plan, said Lafford.
Although Lafford didn’t specifically term his development as a “luxury” apartment building, he did say the units would be “really nice and really spacious,” with the units sized at about 1,200 to 1,350 square feet.
“I’m pretty confident there’s a need in the market for this type of housing,” he said.
A public hearing was set for May to hear about the proposed rezoning and to allow residents to raise any objections to the project.
■ Support was strong for Humboldt – Local schools, businesses, municipalities and individuals throughout the Tantramar area joined Canadians across the country in April to show their support for the families and friends of the victims of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.
Residents of all ages donned their sports jerseys or green ribbons last Thursday as part of ‘Jersey Day,’ an initiative to honour the young players, coaches, trainer and broadcaster who tragically lost their lives in a bus crash along a Saskatchewan highway on Friday, April 6.
Many in the community also left hockey sticks outside their front doors as part of the #Sticksoutforhumboldt tribute, a way for Canadians to show their hearts were with the Humboldt community.
■ Baie Verte woman celebrates 100 years – Family and friends came together in April to help Baie Verte resident Net- tie Wells celebrate her 100th birthday. Nettie, born in Upper Tidnish, was the youngest of 11 children born to Minnie and Elijah Kirby.
Nettie still lived in the family home and remained the active person she’s always been.
“Well, it takes me longer to do things now, but I still enjoy getting out.”
After completing Grade 10 at Tidnish Bridge School, Nettie worked for some years keeping house for local people. “What else could you do? It was the Depression and everyone was out of work. My sisters and I were trained to do housework, we could make a cake, make bread, we knew how to clean the house, look after kids, all that,” she recalled, adding that years later she moved to Moncton and worked at the old T. Eaton Company.
Nettie got married when she was 27 to Robert Wells, the brother of her sister Jenny’s husband Hazen.
As for the secret to her longevity, Nettie said she didn’t have one, other than remaining active and trying to live her life the best she could.
■ Proposed development raised concerns – A proposed development for the former United Church site in downtown Sackville drew concerns from both members of town council and the community.
The rezoning request from JN Lafford Realty Inc., was set to go to a public hearing in May but questions over traffic congestion and overcrowding on the site were already being raised.
Coun. Bruce Phinney stated he opposed the development because of its potential to add to the traffic congestion in the parking lots that exit onto both Main and York Streets.
“I look at the fact that, even myself going in and out of there, it’s dangerous,” he said.
Sackville resident Erna Ricciuto raised questions over what size of building the Laffords would develop on the site if the rezoning is denied.
“It would be nice to have more detailed drawings showing exactly, if it isn’t put through the rezoning, what it would look like,” she said.
■ Lorne Street project delayed by EIA process - The next step in the Lorne Street project was being held up as the town awaited the final approval on an Environmental Impact Assessment by the province.
Work was initially anticipated to get under way months before on phase two of the project, which focuses on stormwater mitigation efforts to help ease the flooding issues in that area of town. But town engineer Dwayne Acton said the EIA process was taking longer than expected as there were several unforeseen hold-ups, including a changeover a few months ago of Department of Environment staff working on the file as well as waiting on the federal government to review the EIA.
Acton said his department had recently received the draft conditions from the EIA and advised the DELG that the town agreed to the terms.
Most of the conditions, he said, relate to the bird nesting season for the area between Lorne Street and the Tantramar River.
Drew received $2.3 million for renovations – The Drew Nursing Home was about to get an upgrade.
Memramcook-tantramar MLA Bernard Leblanc announced in April that the nursing home facility in Sackville was being granted $2.3 million for renovations over the next five years.
He said the Drew is “a fabulous facility that does amazing work” and this funding will provide the boost the facility needs to continue offering that top-level senior care.
Linda Shannon, executive director of the Drew, said she wasn’t sure of exactly what renovations would be done on the home, which was built in 1968, but was excited for the upgrades to get under way. She expected the floors and windows would be first on the list.
Shannon said an assessment was done last year on 34 of the oldest nursing homes throughout the province, and the resulting report provided a long list of needed renovations to those facilities.
May 2018 ■ Tantramar area awarded $330,000 for environmental projects – The Tantramar region was once again set to receive a significant chunk of provincial funding to invest in environmentally-friendly projects.
More than $330,000 was expected be injected into the local region for a variety of environmental initiatives in 2018, ranging from wetlands education to climate change adaptation to water quality monitoring.
The money comes from Environmental Trust Fund (ETF), which will see investments of more than $6.5 million put into 227 community-based projects throughout the province.
EOS Eco-energy Inc., the Tantramar Regional Centre of Expertise on Education, the town of Sackville, the Tantramar Wetlands Centre, Community Forests International, the Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network, Mount Allison researchers, Cape Jourimain Nature Centre, and Nature NB were all awarded grants for their upcoming projects.
■ New Mounties head coach pleased with depth of talent – Peter Fraser left the five-day Mount Allison Mountie spring camp in a happy mood, pleased with what he had observed during the four days of solid workouts and hinting quietly that he was hopeful of returning the team to the Loney Bowl come October.
Heading up his first camp in Sackville after having spent eight years with Acadia and one with Windsor, Fraser said he is confident there are talented and capable players in all the key positions on offence and, while it may take some rejigging, believes that there will be sufficient able bodies on defence to hold their own against the best in the Atlantic Universities Football Conference (AUFC).
Offensive co-ordinator Gaetan Richard noted that all three prospects for the quarterback position — returnees Troy Downton, Graham Kelly and Brandon Smyk — conducted themselves well during the camp and looked comfortable in the pivot role, each showing a strong arm.
The Owens Art Gallery at Mount Allison University received a grant of $540,000, to be doled out over a three-year period, from the Canada Council for the Arts in support of its program of contemporary Canadian Art.
The grant was awarded in a national competition in which the Owens was assessed along with other major galleries in Canada.
Gallery director Gemey Kelly noted this grant is important not only for the major infusion of funds to the gallery, but as a gauge of the Owens’ performance in a national context.
“The Owens is recognized across Canada as a significant venue for research and presentation of contemporary visual art, and for the quality of its programs and its collection” she said.
■ RCMP investigating human remains found near Port Elgin – Southeast RCMP were investigating the discovery of human remains near Port Elgin.
On May 5 at around 1 p.m., the RCMP received a call from a person who was fishing in the area and discovered the remains. The remains were found on the bank of the Timber River.
Police say an autopsy was being conducted and the investigation was ongoing to determine the identity of the person and the cause of death.
■ Mount Allison celebrated Class of 2018 – The Mount Allison University campus was a busy place on May 14 as hundreds of family members and friends gathered in Sackville to celebrate the graduates of the Class of 2018.
Mount A bestowed nearly 400 students with science, commerce, arts, fine arts or music degrees during the spring convocation ceremonies, each of them ready to begin a new chapter of their life.
“Here we sit, nervous and excited, eager and unsure, readying ourselves to leave the Sackville bubble and come face to face with a rapidly-changing world,” said class valedictorian Hannah Mackellar.
Waneek Horn- Miller, guest speaker for the morning ceremony and honorary degree recipient, urged the students to be courageous as they head out into a world with so much opportunity in front of them.
■ Can Tram welcomed to Sackville – It was an exciting day for Sackville as Cam Tran was officially welcomed to town on May 11, bringing back much-needed and long-awaited manufacturing jobs to the community with the promise of many more to come.
“I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity and what we’re about to build here,” said Kyle Campbell, Cam-tran’s president and CEO, during the grand opening of the company’s transformer plant on Bridge Street, at the site where Moloney Electric once operated.
Cam Tran purchased the assets of the former Moloney plant earlier in 2018 and hired about 15 of its former employees to run the new facility. The plant had been up and running for a couple of months and jobs that had been filled include a plant manager, welders, coil winders, wire assembly technicians, machine operators and administrative staff. Campbell said the hope was to have 35 employed at the 36,000-square foot facility by 2020 and up to 60 within the next five years.
■ Tantramar Titans make cut to Team NB – Seven members of the Tantramar Titan nation were named to New Brunswick’s U18 football team.
Titan mastermind Scott O’neal is a coach of the U18 group and he said this year’s team seems to be somewhat improved over previous seasons.
In 2017, the Titans had a low number of four on the provincial U18 team but this year would dot the lineup from top to bottom. Calling the shots from the key quarterback position would be Justin Vogels. Oliver Longpre, Lucas Cormier, Owen O’neal, Riley Estabrooks, Simon Dean and Tristan Mccluskey are the other Titans selected to the squad.
The final cuts for the U16 team were also announced and four Titans were selected for the summer squad. Terence Carter, Ethan Cormier, Evan Phinney and Justin Smith were all chosen to represent New Brunswick team.
■ Human remains identified as those of missing Upper Cape man – Southeast District RCMP positively identified human remains discovered on the bank of the Timber River near Port Elgin on May 5 as those of Tyler Fillmore.
Police said the investigation was still ongoing; however foul play was not suspected in Fillmore’s death.
The Upper Cape man, a father of four, had been reported missing to police on Nov. 26, 2017. The same day, his vehicle was located off John A Trenholm Road in Port Elgin, and some of his personal belongings were found on a nearby wooded trail.
In the days that followed, Ground Search and Rescue crews, police dog services, RCMP dive teams, helicopters and local fire departments were deployed and searched the area. Fillmore’s family and friends, as well as a number of community members, also assisted in the search.
■ $700,000 study to explore options for Chignecto Isthmus – The effort to protect a vital transportation corridor along the Tantramar Marsh from rising sea levels received a significant boost in May.
Cumberland- Colchester MP Bill Casey was in Amherst May 14 to announce a $700,000 study that would explore viable options to climate change impacts on the Chignecto Isthmus trade corridor that links Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
The federal government is providing $350,000 for the study through its $2-billion, 11-year Trade and Transportation Initiative while the governments of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are each providing $175,000.
Casey, who has been working on the issue since 2009 along with his New Brunswick counterparts, said climate change, specifically rising sea levels and storm surges, pose a significant risk to critical infrastructure along the Isthmus of Chignecto and the Tantramar marshes that run between Amherst and Sackville.
■ Public hearing drew large crowd – It was a full house in council chambers on May 15 as residents on both sides of the debate came to speak out on a proposed 36- unit luxury seniors’ development for the former United Church property in downtown Sackville.
Many voiced their opposition to the project during the public hearing while others expressed support for the proposal, giving councillors lots to consider as they prepared to make a final decision on the requested rezoning.
The loss of a valued green space as well as the potential for increased traffic congestion in the York/main Street area were among the top concerns raised, while those in favour of the project spoke of their excitement over a seniors’ development of this kind as well as the added tax revenue it will bring to the town.
■ Funding denied for Quarry project – Sackville’s historic Pickard Quarry wouldn’t be converted into a community park in 2018 after all.
Town officials voiced their frustration in May over the news that their funding application for the project had been denied.
“We are obviously disappointed in the result, given the amount of time staff put into this application,” said councilllor Megan Mitton.
The town had applied for a $1-million grant through the Federation of Canadian Muni- cipalities’ (FCM) municipal Climate Innovation Program for the project. If successful, the town had anticipated pitching in $200,000 towards the $1.2-million project and had set money aside in the 2018 budget.
■ Rezoning approved for ambulance station – Town council gave the green light to a rezoning that would allow an ambulance station to be built on a piece of property on Robson Avenue.
Council approved second and third reading in May of a zoning bylaw amendment that calls for the property to be changed from Highway Commercial to Institutional, a designation that will permit the operation of an ambulance service on the site.
The application comes from Parsons Investment Ltd., which was planning to build a two-bay ambulance station on an approximately half-acre section of a 6.6-acre property on Robson.
■ Student with Down Syndrome scored first try at high school rugby game – It was a moment Sierra Holmes and her teammates won’t soon forget. A lot of tries had been scored so far during Tantramar Regional High School’s women’s rugby season; but none as touching as the one Sierra scored in May.
Sierra, a Grade 9 student at Tantramar who has Down Syndrome, came into the game during the second half of the Titans’ final home game and, in cooperation with both teams, had the chance to run down the field and cross the goal line to score her first-ever try.
■ Town recommended scrapping heritage bylaw – Citing it as weak and ineffective, town officials recommended scrapping the community’s heritage bylaw.
Sackville Coun. Megan Mitton announced in May the town was proposing to repeal its heritage bylaw, saying the legislation wasn’t working and “achieving very little in terms of heritage conservation and preservation.”
The recommendation comes after a comprehensive five-month review of the heritage program. Jamie Burke, senior manager of corporate projects, noted that the bylaw has been difficult to administer because of the legislative framework from which it operates; and it has also been challenging to recruit volunteers to serve on the heritage board.
The proposal was set to come forward to a public hearing for residents’ views on June 11.
■ Suspect arrested in N.S. after stealing truck – A man who allegedly stole a pick-up truck and attempted to elude police along the highway between Sackville and Aulac was later located and arrested.
Sgt. Paul Gagne of the Sackville RCMP detachment said Nova Scotia RCMP took the suspect into custody in the East Hants area about four hours after he fled from police near the Aulac exit on May 31.
Gagne said the incident began around 11:45 a.m., when a member of the local highway patrol pulled a male driver over for speeding at the Walker Road exit. The police officer was talking to the driver, who was driving a white volkswagen Jetta, but when he turned his back, the driver took off.
Shortly after, however, the driver was involved in an accident near the Aulac exit. When a pickup truck pulled over and the driver was getting out of the vehicle, the man got out of his Volkswagen, which was badly damaged, and ran over to the truck and took off.
Nova Scotia RCMP were quickly put on alert about the suspect heading their way and he was arrested a few hours later.
With seven boats and more than 170 students competing, Tantramar Regional High School once again showed true Titan spirit at the annual Greater Moncton Dragon Boat Festival.
Out of the total $90,000 raised for local charities at the June 1 event, TRHS contributed more than $31,000 to the final amount and also brought home the first annual Phillip Barton School Spirit Award.
The Titans also captured gold for the second year in a row – with the Vitamin Sea boat bringing home the honours.
■ Trip to Washington inspired Sackville minister – A Sackville minister returned home feeling inspired and moved following a week-long conference in Washington, D.C. that brought together hundreds of pastors from across North America looking to renew their spirits through discussions about preaching in contemporary times.
“To have an opportunity to hear that many preachers all at once, it fires you up, it inspires you,” said Rev. Lloyd Bruce, minister of the Sackville United Church.
The conference, entitled the Festival of Homiletics, is an annual event that got its start back in 1992 and now draws hundreds of preachers and seminary students with the goal of engaging in conversations about preaching and worship, as well as issues related to congregations in the 21st century.
This year’s event focused on the theme ‘ Politics and Preaching,’ which Bruce felt was apt as it was a good time to put the spotlight on how to navigate politics in the pulpit amidst the current culture and climate in the U.S.
Town was seeking ideas to bring new life to empty train station – The town was seeking ideas on potential uses for Sackville’s historic train station.
Jamie Burke, senior manager of corporate projects for the town, said the municipality was encouraging interested individuals to bring forward a vision or business plan for the building, which has sat vacant since the fall of 2012 when VIA Rail closed it as part of cost-cutting measures to rail service in the Maritimes.
Burke said town staff have had a number of discussions with VIA representatives about the station over the past couple of years and the company, which still owns the building and the property around it, is interested in working with the municipality to reopen and repurpose the building.
Because of its designation under the Heritage Railway Protection Act, the building can’t actually be turned over to a private enterprise. But it can be transferred over to a provincial or municipal entity.
Burke said the town is not interested in purchasing the building itself because of the operational and maintenance costs involved. But he said there is potential for an agreement to be worked out where the town could acquire the building if there is an interested party coming forward with a viable proposal.
■ Rezoning approved – A rezoning request that had been met with some opposition earlier in 2018 was given the green light by town council, clearing the way for a new 36-unit seniors’ development in downtown Sackville.
Developer John Lafford of JN Lafford Realty Inc., said he was pleased the rezoning was approved by council, despite all the objections raised against the project, and was looking forward to moving forward.
The new three-storey seniors’ complex is expected to feature both one and two-bedroom units ranging in size from 960 to 1,300 square feet. The proposed design calls for balconies included on each unit, a shared fitness centre and recreation room, and underground parking.
Despite concerns raised over the project, some councillors pointed to the fact that the request was simply for a rezoning of a piece of land within a larger parcel, not for whether the developer could cut down the stand of birch trees on his property or what type of building he could construct.
■ Hospital fundraising campaign exceeded goal – The Sackville Memorial Hospital Foundation (SMHF) surpassed its $100,000 fundraising goal for the Accuracy is the Best Result Good Chemistry Campaign 2018.
Donor dollars were set to be used to purchase a sophisticated chemistry analyzer to ensure Sackville Memorial Hospital laboratory professionals have the best technology to provide the most accurate results for patients.
■ Dorchester roads get $850,000 upgrade – Memramcook-tantramar MLA Bernard Leblanc was in Dorchester on June 13 to announce a significant infrastructure investment in the village by the province of New Brunswick.
Under the Municipal Designated Highway Program, the province and village have partnered to fund storm sewer, curb and gutter work, as well as paving, on a 500-metre section of Main Street between Harrop Avenue and Water Street, a continuation of work completed in the village last year during phase one.
The province will cover $850,000 of the $914,000 infrastructure upgrade, while the village of Dorchester will invest the remaining $64,000.
■ Proposal to scrap heritage bylaw drew mixed reviews – Sackville residents expressed mixed reactions to the town’s proposal to get rid of its heritage bylaw during a public hearing on the issue in June.
While some citizens encouraged council to keep the bylaw and instead find ways to improve it, others suggested the municipality is better off without it and the town is on the right path in scrapping it.
Brian Lane questioned why council was in such a rush to scrap this legislation, saying there are other measures the town could take that could strengthen the bylaw and make it more effective.
“I get it, heritage is hard. Maybe you should try harder,” said Lane. “I just think it would be a shameful event on this town, giving up on heritage.”
Others were less supportive, saying the bylaw has caused more headaches than it is worth.
“The heritage bylaw thing has been a problem and a pain in the butt in this town for a long time,” said former Sackville Mayor Bob Berry.
Berry, who said he received a number of threats during the controversy over the demolition of the Sackville United Church in 2015, said there has been too much expense and emotion involved in the administration of the bylaw to outweigh the benefits.
■ Local athlete, builders inducted into Sackville Sports Wall of Fame – A trio of outstanding individuals – two athletes and one builder – were inducted into the Sackville Sports Wall of Fame (SSWF) on June 14.
Inducted in the athlete category was a lady who lays claim to no fewer than 17 provincial and national curling championships – Heather Smith.
Inducted in the builder category was: Earl Thompson, a veteran athlete, coach, trainer and tutor who has devoted his entire life to sport; and Steve Ridlington, another local man who has devoted more than 45 years to organizing, supporting, encouraging and communicating the exploits of Mount Allison and Sackville sportspeople.
■ TRHS Class of 2018 encouraged to show resilience – As Tantramar Regional High School’s Class of 2018 crossed the stage of Convocation Hall on June 23, they were encouraged to show resilience in facing life’s challenges.
Guest speaker Peter Hess reflected on a conversation he had in the fall with a member of the Tantramar Titans football team after they suffered their first defeat in two seasons, noting he told the students “losing this game will win you the championship.”
Hess said the team showed resilience following the loss, learned to work harder in order to succeed and did go on to win the provincial championship.
“The life lesson is that nothing can be taken for granted.”
He told the graduates resilience was important not only in sports but in all aspects of their lives.
“You will be facing situations you are not prepared for. Have faith. You will survive. You are a Titan.”
More than $240,000 in scholarships and bursaries were handed out during the ceremony, as well as a number of other prestigious awards.
■ Loss of downtown parking spaces continued to cause concern – As another local business prepared to set up a sidewalk café for the summer season, a couple of Sackville councillors continued to voice concerns over the loss of more parking spaces downtown.
“How many more parking spaces are we going to lose?” asked Coun. Bruce Phinney during July’s discussion meeting. “We have lost so many now there’s nowhere to park.”
Phinney said he was not opposed to sidewalk cafés in general; in fact, he said they’re a great idea. But he was against the idea of blocking any more parking spaces with the temporary walkways that need to go up around the outdoor café area.
He said he had been hearing from a number of seniors and residents with limited mobility about the lack of on-street parking in the downtown and didn’t want to continue the trend.
Coun. Joyce O’neil shared Phinney’s concern and also voted to turn down the application.
In particular, the two latest parking spaces set be lost were prime spots, providing easy access to either drugstore or the bank, said O’neil.
■ Sackville volunteers honoured at annual recognition event – Six dedicated and longtime community volunteers were honoured on the evening of June 28 for their devoted efforts in making Sackville a better place.
Audrey Hicks and the late Kathy Pooley were recipients of the Golden Long-term Service Volunteer Award, while Cy Bernard and husband-and-wife team Gloria and Nelson Estabrooks were honoured with Long-term Service Awards, and Kimberly Cadman was the winner of the Titan Community Achievement Award.
The awards were presented at the third annual Volunteer Recognition Night, hosted by the Town of Sackville.
■ Friends heading to Rockport for Canada Day bonfire found missing couple from Quebec – A group of friends who were heading out to Rockport for a bonfire ended up having a Canada Day they likely won’t soon forget.
Six Sackville residents, who loaded into a pickup truck and a CR-V and were on their way to meet other friends for a bonfire around 10:30 p.m., became unwitting rescuers of an elderly couple from Quebec who had been reported missing that morning.
Kaitlyn Barkley, Chad Steeves and Chris Wilson were in the truck and were the first to spot the elderly man on the side of the road, waving his hands, just as they were nearing Slack’s Cove.
“We stopped and he collapsed in relief that someone had stopped,” said 18-year-old Barkley.
Barkley said they had a difficult time understanding much of what the man was saying because he was exhausted and spoke mostly French. Steeves sat him on the tailgate of the truck while Barkley called 911. RCMP arrived about 25 minutes later and Barkley said the officer started to pick out bits and pieces of what he was saying.
The three friends headed out and found the van five or six kilometres up the road, stuck in a mud hole, with the elderly woman inside, safe but scared.
Wilson and Steeves got the van out of the mud hole, and Steeves then drove the vehicle out to the police and paramedics, while Wilson and Barkley followed in the truck with the woman.
According to the Montreal Gazette, 81-year-old Laurier Dupuis and 83-year-old Irene Bolduc, had been reported missing Sunday morning when they failed to return home the night before after attending a family reception in Shannon, near Quebec City. When found in Rockport, the couple was almost 850 kilometres from their St-gédéon-de-beauce home. Quebec provincial police could not explain why the couple had wandered so far off course while driving home, other than to say they must have gotten lost.
Sackville town councillors were floored during July’s discussion meeting when they heard the news that bids for the second phase of the Lorne Street project came in at more than double the projected cost.
“This is huge,” said councilor Bill Evans. “Finding out something that we thought would be $3 million is actually $6 million. Gobsmacked would be an accurate description of my response.”
Evans said often times tenders come in over budget “and we need to regroup,” but it’s a different story when it’s a project that’s in the millions of dollars.
He questioned what staff plans to do about the significant discrepancy.
Town engineer Dwayne Acton reported during the meeting that the lowest bid on Phase 2 of the Lorne Street project, which is part of storm water mitigation efforts and includes the installation of a new retention pond and a new aboiteau structure, came in at just over $5.9 million. Approximately $2.9 million in municipal, provincial and federal funds had been set aside for the work.
Acton said since the bids were “substantially over budget,” the consultant – Crandall Engineering of Moncton – is reassessing the project to determine if there is a way to rejig the project while still being able to get the desired end result – draining flood waters from the Lorne Street area to the Tantramar River.
■ Trio of goats caused stir in Dorchester – Bill Steele said he had no intention of finding a new home for his goats.
“I’m keeping my goats, it’s as simple as that,” said the Dorchester resident and business owner.
Steele, who acquired his three new pets a couple of months ago via a Kijiji ad from a woman in Sussex, was ordered by the village and the local planning commission to remove his goats from his property. The letter from the Southeast Regional Service Commission stated that keeping farm animals is an agricultural activity, not permitted in the village centre zone.
Steele, the owner of Dorchester’s historic jail, which he turned into a bed and breakfast within the heart of the community, said he was disheartened by the letter, which stated he had until July 20 to find alternative accommodations for his goats or legal action might be taken.
According to the zoning bylaw, the goats were not considered pets.
Village officials stated they were simply following the bylaws in place, which include zoning requirements, although residents are free to request amendments to those bylaws.
Mayor Jerome Bear said the village had worked with others in the past to amend a bylaw and this had been done through the proper channels.
■ Town of Sackville scrapped heritage bylaw – The status quo was not an option.
That was the clear message that came from members of town council last Monday night as they
voted unanimously to scrap Sackville’s heritage bylaw.
Calling out the legislation as weak and ineffective, councillors agreed with town staff’s recommendation to repeal the bylaw, saying it has achieved very little in terms of heritage preservation in the eight years it had been in place.
“I’ve had a number of people telling me it’s not working, so either fix it or get rid of it. And I support the idea of getting rid of it,” said Coun. Mike Tower.
Tower said he has seen too many cases where the bylaw has created hardship for property owners in the Heritage Conservation Areas, where they are faced with making expensive repairs and upgrades that don’t seem to make sense.
Coun. Bill Evans said unfortunately the bylaw had never been as effective as originally hoped and, in fact, had created more divisiveness and problems than an- ticipated. In particular, he noted how the experiences surrounding the demolition of the former United Church several years ago exposed some of the weaknesses that existed with the bylaw.
With the bylaw repealed, the heritage board was dissolved effective immediately and the two designated heritage conservation areas in downtown Sackville were eliminated.
■ Rezoning approved for York Street boxing club – The final step in getting a property rezoned for a much-anticipated new boxing club on York Street was approved.
Town council passed final reading for a rezoning request during its July meeting, which called for the property at 203 York St., to be rezoned from Urban Residential 1 (R1) to Institutional. This designation would allow for a new clubhouse to be built on the site.
The new 30’ x 60’ clubhouse is anticipated to be slightly larger than the existing building, which lacks bathrooms, running water and storage areas.
■ Edgett honoured posthumously with Community Advocate Award – The late Bob Edgett, who mentored thousands of youth throughout the Tantramar region and beyond for nearly six decades, was honoured with a Community Advocate Award posthumously from the MultiEthnic Sports Hall of Fame at an awards ceremony in Amherst on July 18.
In accepting the award for his father, Ben Edgett said his dad taught young people to respect others in the community and praised him for making a difference in the lives of so many.
“Bob would have been 88 this year and still to this day he would be pleased that so many young men and women have continued to participate in the boxing club,” Ben said. “Bob believed that by teaching respect, discipline and a sense of community, the young people who went through the club could change the world for the better.”
August 2018 ■ Sackville’s Live Bait Theatre celebrated 30 years – The laughs, the tears, the joy and the live music. For 30 years, Sackville’s Live Bait Theatre had captivated audiences with so many magical moments – making us cry, making us feel, making fans chuckle, tap their feet, and sometimes, even sing along as they were drawn in by the rich talent and colourful characters the company has brought to the stage.
From Elvis to Patsy, Hank to Anne, Rita to Granma Krazy, Live Bait has done it all, or so it would seem. And yet, as it prepared to celebrate its third decade of bringing independent, Canadian and professional productions to Maritime audiences, the company showed no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
■ Sackville swimmers braved Northumberland Strait – Before most had poured their first cup of coffee Sunday, Aug. 12, Sackville’s Peter Smith had dipped his toes in the waters of Northumberland Strait, ready to take on one of the biggest challenges of his life.
Smith was one of about 50 swimmers who participated in the weekend’s Big Swim, a 14-kilometre trek across the strait from New Brunswick to P.E.I.
It’s an event that raises funds for Brigadoon Village in Nova Scotia, a camp for children with a chronic illness or a chronic condition, and Smith said he was excited to be part of it all.
“I love to swim,” he said from the starting point at Cape Jourimain at about 7 a.m. “But knowing that I’m helping out with such a good cause makes it that much better.”
Smith was joined by fellow Sackville swimmers Scott Harris and Sean Lemoine. Harris was accompanied by kayaker Emilie Mcbride, also of Sackville.
The 2018 Big Swim raised
Dorchester goat dispute was elevated to the legal realm – A dispute over backyard goats
in the Village of Dorchester was now in the hands of lawyers.
“The deadline has passed and the resident is still in violation of the bylaw and it is now a legal matter in which we cannot comment on,” said Dorchester Mayor Jerome Bear.
Bear said he was not sure what specific legal action might be taken at that point. He did point
out the village was simply following the process set out when someone refuses to follow a municipal bylaw or has not made a request to amend the bylaw.
The issue began earlier in the summer when Dorchester resident Bill Steele acquired three goats to house on his property.
Steele, owner of Dorchester’s historic jail, which he turned into a bed and breakfast, said he purchased the goats and five chickens in the hopes of attracting more visitors to his Airbnb.
Nearly three weeks after the deadline, however, Steele said he had yet to receive any further notices or orders from the village or the planning commission.
Bear said the village remained open for discussion with Steele on the issue but noted there were procedures to follow, outlined in the Community Planning Act and the zoning bylaw.
■ Oulton honoured as Farmer of the Year – It came as a surprise to no one but the recipient himself when Terry Oulton was honoured as Farmer of the Year at the Port Elgin Exhibition, held over the Aug. 18-19 weekend in the village.
Oulton, who has been the driving force behind the resurrection of the Botsford and Westmorland Agricultural Society and the exhibition ground facilities in Port Elgin (ongoing since 1993), has been a part-time farmer for most of his life.
Now retired from his day job, Oulton is still working hard at his 60-acre farm, but he’s not alone.
In addition to the support of his wife Gail, the couple’s grandsons – Connor Walton and Anthony Field – are now involved in the operation of the family farm.
■ Consultant receives additional $ 105,000 to redesign Sackville flood control project – It was learned new plan for Sackville’s flood control project on Lorne Street would come with a hefty price tag.
Crandall Engineering had gone back to the drawing board for a redesign that would end up costing the town $105,000.
Town council approved the expenditure to Crandall during its August regular meeting, but not all councillors were pleased with the decision.
Councillors were surprised to learn in July that the bids for the flood control project – which is the second phase of the larger Lorne Street reconstruction project and was expected to include the installation of a new retention pond and a new aboiteau structure – came in at more than double the projected cost. The lowest bid for the project came in at just over $5.9 million, although only about $2.9 million in municipal, provincial and federal funds was set aside for the work.
■ Land gift to enhance Sackville Waterfowl Park – The Sackville Waterfowl Park was about to get a whole lot bigger.
The town was preparing to open up a 20-acre addition to the park in the fall of 2018, land that was bequeathed to the town by the late Daniel Lund.
Jamie Burke, senior manager of corporate projects, said staff had been working with the Lund family on getting the series of properties transferred over to the town through the Ecological Gifts Program. The federal program offers a tax break to landowners who donate ecologically sensitive land, while the recipients must ensure the land’s biodiversity and environmental heritage are conserved.
Burke said although the process had taken several years, it was in its final stages and “we’re
really pleased to say we’re in the home stretch now.”
Once the town acquires full ownership, work will begin on a number of improvements to the property, including the installation of a cairn to commemorate the gift from Lund, a long-time
resident who died in 2013 at the age of 92.
The 20 acres of marshy and wooded land is adjacent to the park, located near the Trans-canada Trail and around the Squire Street area.
■ Titans trounced Greyhounds in season opener – Scott O’neal may have breathed a sigh of relief following the Titan’s 35-7 victory over the visiting Saint John High Greyhounds on the afternoon of Saturday, Sept. 8, but he was scratching his head in wonder over some of his team’s play.
“We will definitely have to improve, especially in our aerial game,” he said, referring to the number of times quarterback Justin Vogels had delivered the ball into receivers’ hands only to watch them bobble and drop the pigskin.
The win was the 29th victory in 30 tries since the beginning of the 2015 season – the only loss
coming by a single point to Riverview in 2017.
Sackville was putting its original plan for flood control in the Lorne Street area back on the shelf, at least in the short term.
But the consultant who was reworking the proposal to bring it within budget said some of the elements being eliminated from the project still needed to be considered by the town as part of a long-term strategy.
“We really need the full concept to be able to manage the stormwater effectively,” said Crandall Engineering consultant Pierre Plourde.
During a presentation at town council’s September monthly meeting, Plourde brought a new option to the table that he termed as a “short-term approach” that would still manage the floodwaters effectively – but maybe not to the extent the town had hoped.
The new, reworked plan came after council learned in early August the bids for the project
came in at more than double the projected cost. The bids ranged from $5.9 million to $8.02 million, although only about $2.9 million in municipal, provincial and federal funds had been set aside for the work.
Plourde speculated contractors were likely concerned over the risks involved in the project and they bid higher to deal with the unknown costs they were facing in trying to build a ditching system on marshland that would allow water to flow from a retention pond to a new aboiteau.
Crandall was asked to go back to the drawing board and return to council with a new plan that would better fit the budget.
Among the major components scrapped from the original plan were one of the two retention ponds, the new ditching system, and the new double-gated aboiteau.
Instead, the water would be routed from a new stormwater retention pond in behind St. James Street through existing ditches to culverts under the CN tracks at Crescent Street where it will connect to ditching systems in the marshy fields and sent to the river using provincially-owned aboiteau.
The short-term plan would also see the Sackville Quarry pond being converted for use as a retention pond.
Plourde said having the capability of storing water is an important part of the overall plan as it helps to minimize the flooding impacts in the community.
Mayor John Higham said the town was attempting to secure more funding from the provincial and federal governments in order to be able to carry out the original plan.
■ New Mount Allison president wanted to be more accessible – As he took on the top post at Mount Allison University, JeanPaul Boudreau said his first priority was to make connections.
Whether it be with students and staff on campus, or the municipal officials and residents in the surrounding communities, the new president said he wanted to engage with people and initiate conversations as he took on the new role.
“I want to spend time learning more about the campus and about the community . . . to talk
to people directly and hear their stories; find out what their goals are,” said Boudreau.
He said rather than waiting for people to come to him, he was making it his mission to go to them.
■ Mitton elected in Memramcook-tantramar riding – Memramcook-tantramar voters made history in the Sept. 24 provincial election, when they opted to send the riding’s first Green Party candidate to the provincial legislature, although by the slightest of margins.
When the final results were tallied, Megan Mitton took the local seat by a mere 11 votes.
The inside of the Sackville Commons went from hushed silence to elated cheering when Elections New Brunswick released the final vote tally, as supporters helped Mitton celebrate her win.
Mitton earned a total of 3,148 votes, trailed closely by Liberal candidate Bernard Leblanc with 3,137 votes. Representing the PC party, Etienne Gaudet earned 1,518 votes, while NDP candidate Hélène Boudreau finished with 410 votes.
At the provincial level, the Progressive Conservatives took 22 seats and the Liberals took 21. The Green Party and the People’s Alliance each claimed three seats.
In order to form a majority government, a party must secure 25 of the 49 available seats. Although the PCS took more seats in the Sept. 24 election, the Liberals won the most votes overall. Immediately following election night, both Liberal leader Brian Gallant and PC leader Blaine Higgs indicated they would attempt to form a minority government. Higgs would later go on to form government after Gallant failed to gain the confidence of the house.
■ Citizen of the Year Awards presented – An enthusiastic and dedicated high school teacher and volunteer from Sackville earned Citizen-of-the-year honours for 2018.
Janice Hicks was named Sack- ville’s Citizen of the Year during the opening ceremonies of the community’s annual Fall Fair celebration on Friday, Sept. 21, an award presented and sponsored by Renaissance Sackville.
Also honoured were more than a dozen young students from Marshview Middle School, who were recognized for their contributions to the community with the Youth Citizens of the
Year Award during the ceremony.
The students were members of the Environment Club at Marshview, with one of the club’s top priorities being to reduce waste that leaves the school, and students had worked hard to implement the three-stream sorting system.
■ Melrose church closed its doors – It’s long and vibrant history first took root around 1820 with the migration of some 60 families to the Melrose area – in those early days called the ‘Emigrant Road.’
In 2018, however, declining numbers made it impossible to keep the doors open and the diocese announced earlier in the year that the church would close. Members will continue
to share worship at St. Clement’s church in Port Elgin.
The final church service and mass was held at St. Bartholomew’s church on Sunday after- noon, Sept. 16. A large number of past and present members joined other local residents and friends of the church to say a formal ‘goodbye’ to St. Bartholomew’s.
■ Sackville came together to celebrate Pride Week – It was a celebration of diversity and acceptance in Sackville on Friday, Sept. 28 as the town and university communities came together once again to host a Pride Parade and raise the rainbow flag to help mark Pride Week.
The event attracted over 200 people who came out dressed in their rainbow colours to celebrate, raise awareness and show support for the 2SLGBTQA+ community.
It also shone a light on how far society has come in the fight against homophobia; but also
served as a reminder that there is still a lot of work to be done on that front.
■ Sink or swim? Sackville Commons was on a precipice – The Sackville Commons was on the cusp of becoming a real success story.
Envisioned to be a dynamic and thriving co-working space where local entrepreneurs, artists, nonprofits and community groups can come together to network, share ideas and resources, and build a sense of community, that dream was within reach.
It was just going to need a little more community support to make it happen.
“In some ways we’ve made the mistake of treating this like a private enterprise. But it’s not, it’s a co-op … and we have to start asking our community to help us out,” said Julia Feltham, a founder and director of the Commons.
The Sackville Commons had been a busy place since it opened its doors in the fall of 2016 out of the former fire hall and police station on Main Street, blooming with so much potential and possibilities, said Feltham.
The space had obviously been meeting a need, said Feltham, but it had yet to thrive the way she imagined it could.
There was a need for more sponsorships, more members and more meeting space rentals – in other words, a more reliable cash flow coming in each month. And she believed it was time to turn over some of these responsibilities to the community, instead of the same core group of volunteers who had spent the last two years donating countless hours to try and grow the non-profit cooperative.
■ Mount Allison top undergraduate school – Mount Allison University had once again been named the top undergraduate school in the country.
The 2019 Maclean’s University Rankings were released in October week, putting Mount Allison in the top spot for the 20th time since 1991.
Mount Allison ranked first in its category for faculty awards, calculating the number of professors who have won major awards over the past five years. The university also ranked first in the reputational survey for primarily undergraduate schools.
■ Gas line break forced evacuation – Homes, businesses and a local school within a 200metre radius of a gas line break at the corner of Main and Union streets in Sackville were evacuated on the morning of Monday, Oct. 22, shortly before 10:30 a.m.
Late that afternoon, Jamie Burke, senior manager of corporate projects for the Town of Sackville, explained employees with Bowser’s Construction Ltd. Ruptured the gas line as part of their ongoing work on the Main Street reconstruction project.
Area residents were initially notified through an alert issued by the town’s Sentinel emergency alert system just before 10:30 a.m., Burke explained, adding emergency services personnel and public works employees canvassed the area to ensure affected residents were aware of the situation.
In addition to area residences, town hall, Moneris, Marshview Middle School and Ben’s Service Station were evacuated, Burke said.
Shortly after 11: 30 a. m., a second Sentinel alert advised the evacuation area had been reduced to a 30-metre radius around the gas line break, as utility personnel were on site working to repair the leak, leaving only the construction site, Ben’s Service Station and a handful of residences affected.
The gas line was repaired at approximately 9 p.m. that evening.
■ Titans headed into semifinal with unbeaten record intact – It was Titan playoff time after the Sackville squad defeated Leo Hayes 52-0.
Coach Scott O’neal said in spite of what his team had accomplished over the previous seven weeks the boys would simply have to keep their heads in the game if they were to complete a perfect unbeaten run to their fourth provincial high school football championship.
Up to that point in the 2018 season, the Titans had scored 275 points, while allowing just eight in their six consecutive victories.
It was a resounding victory but that didn’t mean Tantramar Titans coach Scott O’neal was taking anything for granted.
“We played well enough to win,” Scott O’neal said, following the Titans’ 47-7 defeat of the Fredericton Black Kats in high school football semifinal playoff action in Sackville on Saturday, Oct. 27.
The New Brunswick High School football championship between the Titans and Riverview Royals was set for Saturday, Nov. 3, at David Jardine Field.
■ Mounties’ season ended with loss to X-men – It may have taken the Saturday, Oct. 27 results to convince the powers that be the Mount Allison Mounties had reached a point where they must be totally reconfigured if they are to return to the glory days they’ve enjoyed in the Atlantic Universities Football Conference (AUFC) over the years.
They were easily defeated in Antigonish by a vastly improved St. Francis Xavier X-men machine to the tune of 38-15.
The latest defeat left them entrenched in fourth place in the five-team circuit with just two wins in eight outings. Their two victories over the winless Bishop’s Gaiters were the lone bright spots for rookie head coach Peter Fraser.
November 2018 ■ Volatile storm brought heavy rain, high winds to Tantramar Region – In early November many residents throughout the Tantramar region continued to feel the impact of a wild weekend storm, which left thousands in the cold and dark following widespread power outages and countless flooded basements.
By Monday afternoon, more than 1,600 homes in the area were still without power following the blast that downed trees, broke power poles, flooded roads and closed the highway.
The storm, which was at its peak on Saturday night withwind gusts in excess of 100 km/h, also brought heavy rains that caused extensive flooding in many parts of the region, particularly West Sackville.
“Our public works crew was busy through the night tending to a variety of issues, including several large trees down and several road closures,” said Jamie Burke, senior manager of corporate projects for the town of Sackville.
Burke said town crews spent the night monitoring water levels and ensuring public streets were passable and safe.
Burke said the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DTI) was forced to close Route 935, at the intersection heading toward Woodpoint/ Westcock. DTI has been working at the site for several months to install new concrete culverts to alleviate the flood situation there; the detour road, which had been built to move traffic around the project, flooded following the heavy rains and incoming tide.
Route 106 at Queens Road was also closed due to flooding.
■ Flooding once again closed Route 935 – Frustration continued to mount for residents in West Sackville as they dealt with a road closure once again that cut them off from services and left many facing long detours to work and school every day.
A storm on the Nov. 3-4 weekend that brought high winds and heavy rains flooded the temporary access road that was built this summer to move traffic around a construction project that, ironically, is expected to alleviate flooding problems at the intersection of Route 935, in the Carters Brook area of West Sackville.
“The current conditions in Westcock, British Settlement, Woodpoint and beyond are pretty bad and (Saturday) night it was just plain dangerous,” said West- cock resident Ann Mitton. “These communities were completely cut off.”
At the height of the storm Saturday night and into Sunday morning, all routes in and out of West Sackville were either flooded or blocked by downed trees. And while all but Route 935 has since been re-opened, Mitton said many residents were left nervous of what would happen in case of an emergency.
Flooding problems have plagued the area for decades and the New Brunswick Department of Transportation and Infrastructure had begun a construction project in July to fix the issues.
Titans took fourth straight provincial title – The Titans kept it simple and in workmanlike fashion, waltzed to a one-sided 42-0 victory over the Riverview Royals to clinch their fourth consecutive New Brunswick high school football championship.
There had been considerable hype leading up to the Saturday, Nov. 3, game but it didn’t take long for the undefeated Sackville school to exert its superiority. By the end of the opening quarter the Titans were up by 14 and took a 28-0 lead into the break.
An early third-quarter touchdown sent the game into straight time and they notched another major in the final quarter.
■ Titans named 2018 allstars – Eight Tantramar Regional High School football players were named to the New Brunswick High School Football League allstar team.
The Titans placed three on the offensive squad: quarterback Justin Vogels, tailback Oliver Longpre and lineman Tristan Mccluskey. For a defence that rarely bent and never came close to breaking, there were five: lineman Thomas Allen, linebacker Jacob Estabrooks, corner Owen O’neal, linebacker Riley Estabrooks and safety Lucas Cormier.
A problem arose in selecting the outstanding players of the year since the Titans dominated throughout. Ultimately, Cormier was named Player of the Year for his outstanding work, both in keeping the opposition out of his own end zone and for his brilliance as a slotback on offence, as he made life much easier for Longpre in moving the ball.
■ Mount Allison professor inducted into the Royal Society of Canada – Mount Allison University research professor and renowned artist Thaddeus Holownia was officially inducted as a Fellow of The Royal Society of Canada at the Society’s Celebration of Excellence and Engagement recently in Halifax.
“It is an overwhelming honour to be named a Fellow with the RSC,” says Holownia. “The induction ceremony is very formal, almost like Convocation. When I looked around the room at the new Fellows, all representing so many different fields and areas of expertise from across the country, it was a very humbling experience
to be part of.”
■ Atom football Titans enjoyed perfect season – The Atom Titans completed their 2018 season with a perfect 6-0 record, competing in the Greater Moncton Conference. And like their big brothers from the local high school, they also dominated their opponents to the tune of a total score of 268-7.
Actually, the atoms outdid the work of the high school team, which also went 6-0 but gave up more points – eight – while scoring 275 during regular- season play.
December 2018 ■ Tantramar Family Resource Centre earned literacy Award – It was learned the Tantramar Family Resource Centre (TFRC) had recently been recognized by the Literacy Coalition of New Brunswick, earning the 2018 Dr. Marilyn Trenholme Counsell Literacy Award in the community literacy program category.
The TFRC is a not-for-profit organization located in Sackville that works in partnership with other area organizations to present free workshops and events to promote literacy, food security and family well-being.
■ Local MLA voted against Throne Speech – Another New Brunswick election has been averted – at least for the time being – as the Progressive Conservatives managed to hang on to power when they won a key confidence vote on the Throne Speech in the Legislature on Friday, Nov. 30.
In a 25-23 decision, the PCS were propped up by votes from the three People’s Alliance MLAS, who agreed last month to support a Progressive Conservative government on confidence votes for the next 18 months.
But for Memramcook-tantramar MLA Megan Mitton, it wasn’t a vote she could get behind. Mitton and the other two Green Party members voted against the speech along with the Liberal MLAS.
The reason? A “sub-amendment” that the PCS put forward last week, which earned enough support to pass, was added into the Throne Speech to exempt communities in and around the town of Sussex from the provincewide fracking moratorium.
■ Football Titans landed in 26th spot in national rankings – Because of their impeccable record over the previous four months, the Tantramar football Titans learned they had climbed the top50 high school football teams in Canada rankings to hold down the 26th spot, as compiled by canadafootballchat.com.
The rankings are issued each week during the season and the Titans rose from No. 32 to 26 to become the first Atlantic squad to be accorded such an honour.
■ DEC voted to close Marshview Middle School – Members of the District Education Council (DEC) voted 9-1 in favour of a recommendation to close Marshview during a Dec. 4 meeting at Lou Macnarin School in Dieppe. The motion also called for a building assessment at Salem Elementary School to consider the feasibility of a mid-life upgrade and expansion to convert it to a K-8 school. If that isn’t viable and the 270-plus extra students from Marshview can’t fit into an upgraded Salem, the DEC has recommended building a new K-8 school.
Tantramar Regional High School will remain as is.
The decision wasn’t easy for DEC members, who said they had plenty of debate and discussion before bringing forward a recommendation.
The DEC’S decision essentially ignored Sackville Schools 2020’s proposal to create a “community learning campus” to replace the three local schools.
The campus model the committee envisioned would have seen students from kindergarten to Grade 12 sharing facilities and resources with one another as well as the wider community. The facilities could incorporate features such as community kitchens, health services, a community library, performance space, and shared athletic space. It also proposed bringing in partners such as Mount Allison University, the Town of Sackville, the Tantramar Seniors’ College, Tantramar Family Resource Centre and local businesses.
Shawn Mesheau learned he would be returning to council once again.
Mesheau, who served three previous terms on Sackville town council, was victorious in a Monday, Dec. 10 byelection with 470 ballots cast in his direction – making him the top vote-getter of the five candidates who were vying for the vacant seat.
Sabine Dietz was his next closest competitor, earning 296 votes, while Dylan Wooley-berry earned 216, Brian Neilson 113, and Julia Feltham 104.
Mesheau said he was overwhelmed by his numbers and thanked his supporters as well as his family and friends, including his wife Angie, for helping him achieve such a high margin of victory.
■ Sackville council approved ‘status quo’ budget for 2019 – Sackville residents learned they can expect the same services and programs in 2019 as they enjoyed this year – and without any additional hikes to their municipal tax rate.
Town council approved its 2019 general operating budget at their December meeting, bringing with it news that the tax rate will remain unchanged at $1.56 per $100 of assessment.
“That means for a $100,000 home, the property owner would be paying $1,560 in taxes,” said treasurer Michael Beal.
The $10.99-million budget is up slightly from the previous year, with about $153,000 more in oper- ating costs expected. Although those increased costs will be offset by a 2.36 per cent increase in property assessment values, resulting in an additional $228,000 to Sackville’s tax base, Beal pointed out last year’s numbers weren’t so good and the town took a significant hit with a $144,000 reduction to its tax base. So if you factor in the two years, he said the town has only seen a less than one per cent increase. But this will still allow the town to maintain its usual services at relatively the same level for the coming year.
Meanwhile, in presenting the 2019 utility budget, Beal said water and sewer rates will go up again in 2019, part of a rate increase that was approved by council back in 2017.
“2019 will be the third year of the five-year rate increase to cover the necessary expense of the water/sewer utility as well as allocate money into the reserve fund to build and plan for the future (sewer) lagoon upgrades.”
Starting in 2017, the water and sewer rates have been increasing incrementally and will continue to do so until 2021 to pay for what could potentially be a $10-million project. Under the 2019 rate hike, the largest single group of residential water users, those who pay the minimum charge, will see their quarterly bills increase by $9.10 ($36.40 annually) – going up to $99.30 per quarter.
■ Flooding issues led West Sackville residents to plan Local Service District advisory committee, EMO – West Sackville residents were tired of their voices not being heard.
After years of persistent flooding issues and road closures in their community, they said they were frustrated by the lack of support they’d gotten from the provincial government over the years. And some of them were ready to step up and take matters into their own hands in the hopes it will provide them with a stronger voice.
A small group of community members banded together to work towards establishing a Local Service District advisory committee in the area as well as an Emergency Measures Organization unit.
The move came following a community meeting with Memramcook-tantramar MLA Megan Mitton, at which residents had an opportunity to express their concerns and ask questions about why their community has been left out in the cold during floods that have left residents feeling trapped and scared.
Flooding problems have plagued the area for decades and the New Brunswick Department of Transportation and Infrastructure began a construction project at the Route 935 intersection in July to fix the issues.
Twenty-nine brave souls rang in the New Year by taking part in the Village of Dorchester’s annual polar dip, which was held at Palmer’s Pond on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. The annual fundraiser is sponsored by the Dorchester Lions Club. Here, Dorchester Volunteer Fire Department member Jacques Poirier reacts to the frigid water temperature after taking the plunge.
It was learned in mid-january the doors to the former Moloney Electric plant would soon be open once again as electrical transformer maker Cam Tran Co., was buying the property. Mark Stillman, project manager and local operations leader, said the first area that would start up would be the winding area.
Sackville and area residents got into the spirit of the season Saturday, Feb. 24, as they took part in the 109th Sackville Firemen’s Carnival. As part of the annual event, this year’s winners of the 2018 Creative Skate Award were Marilyn and John Stokes from Midgic, with their entry, “Cousin Minnie Pearl and Grampa Jones.” Sponsored by the Fog Forest Gallery, the award recognizes individuals or groups who make the effort to all appear in costume and, if possible, on skates. Marilyn, left, and John are presented with the award by Janet Crawford.
Sackville councillor and long-time volunteer Joyce O’neil was honoured with the 2018 Crown of Winterfest in February.
Memramcook-tantramar MLA Bernard Leblanc provides details on the Drew Nursing Home in Sackville being granted $2.3-million for renovations over the next five years during an announcement in April.
With her teammates proudly cheering her on, Sierra Holmes, a Grade 9 student at Tantramar Regional High School with Down Syndrome, runs down the field to score her first try during last Thursday’s final home game of the season for the TRHS women’s rugby Titans.
Tantramar residents had plenty of options when it came to celebrating Canada Day in 2018, with celebrations held from Dorchester right through to Cape Tormentine. As part of Sackville’s activities on Sunday afternoon, a celebration of the new George Stanley sculpture was held, which included a play celebrating Stanley’s maple leaf flag design called Flag Flap! Residents were then invited to visit the sculpture on Main Street and get a free polaroid photo taken with him. Above, Town Crier David Fullerton and Hélène Boudreau pose for a photo.
Lindsay Acton, captain of the Leviathan dragon boat Team from Tantramar Regional High School, presents Sackville Memorial Hospital Foundation chair Elaine Smith a donation in the amount of $2,366.22. This donation put the campaign over the top of the Foundation’s $100,000 goal.
Sackville’s Peter Smith applauds as the first wave of swimmers heads out across the Northumberland Strait Sunday morning for the Big Swim. Smith, who was among the second group of swimmers, was excited yet nervous as he prepared to head out across the water, accompanied by his dad and kayaker Brenton Smith.
Ben Edgett, right, accepts the Multi-ethnic Sports Hall of Fame Community Advocate Award on behalf of his late father, Bob. Also taking part in the presentation are, from left, Geoff degannes and Elizabeth Cooke-sumbu from CANSA and Nova Scotia Works, and Arif Khatib from the Multi-sport Hall of Fame.
Memramcook-tantramar Green Party candidate Megan Mitton hugs her campaign manager Sabine Dietz after learning she was elected as the riding’s new MLA. Mitton won by a mere 11 votes.
The annual fireworks show is always a crowd pleaser, delighting young and old alike as part of the annual Sackville Fall Fair.
Russell Cole, a member of the Sackville Legion, leads a procession of fellow Legion members, local veterans, military members, RCMP, air cadets, firefighters and other dignitaries down Bridge Street toward Memorial Park for Sunday morning’s Remembrance Day ceremony.
Several Tantramar Titan football seniors hoist their fourth consecutive provincial championship trophy in November. The Titans took the championship over the Riverview Royals 42-0.
Shawn Mesheau was victorious in the Dec. 10 byelection, taking over the vacant seat on Sackville town council.