This week a question that is often posed to me was asked by a Provincial reporter visiting our fine town. He asked if Yarmouth had turned the proverbial corner. I didn’t hesitate. We have. While there’s lots more to be done, and much hinders on future decisions that will be made by this Council as well as by Provincial and Federal levels of government, there is no doubt that change is happening and more is on the way. And it’s due is great part to you as citizens as you continue to bring forth ideas, participate in forums, sit on committees and more. The future is bright because we are in this together and committed to what’s ahead.
This week and last saw not one, but two cruise ferries in our harbour. The Nova Star continues to bring visitors across with better numbers than last year, and we were fortunate to have the St. Laurent visit us, bringing with her close to 110 visitors on each trip. While they had only a few hours on shore, they spent their time visiting our local shops, eating in our restaurants, exploring our heritage district and talking with locals. Many have said they will return. It is such things that allow businesses to hire extra people and keeps their doors open. A local small business owner actually stopped and excitedly reported to me that she did twice as much business in one week as was done in three weeks last year. That business is not alone and this aspect of our town will only grow as long as we ensure we’re “open for business” both as individual shop owners and as a town.
Both the Tourism Association of Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Garden Association held their conferences here, with rave reviews. Again, hundreds of visitors in our town exploring and realizing just how much we have to offer.
Changes and additions in the business world continue to happen. We welcome Todd and Amy Shea as they purchased McDonalds and are excited about the changes they’ll make there including a new McCafe façade by next spring! Congratulations are also extended to Jeff Little and his team on the opening of the new Dodge Dealership. Winners is advertising for jobs and their store will be in place by the end of August. Giant Tiger is up and running. And a new department store, Rossy’s, will go into the mall as well. We’ve all noticed the signs that Freshco has put up around town indicating where work will be ongoing and new businesses set up. It creates excitement but even more important, it speaks loudly to the fact that Yarmouth truly is open to business and that investors, developers, entrepreneurs and individuals believe in this town enough to set up shop.
To further encourage the openness, our Planner Caroline King and MMM Group together with some councillors and Planning Advisory members took to the streets on the weekend and encouraged dialogue with regard to the municipal planning strategy. It was exciting, engaging, many people took part and some great ideas have been put forward.
The paving plants are now open and work is progressing nicely with the potholes and more. Continued patience is encouraged as the teams work hard to clean up a big mess left from the winter.
If you haven’t wandered down to Hawthorne Street we hope you will. The project is finished and it looks amazing. The facade program is getting more buyin weekly and we’re starting to see some very bright, welcome changes on Main Street.
If you haven’t picked up a copy of Progress Magazine, now is the time to do so. Yarmouth has a 16-page spread celebrating who we are. This magazine goes throughout the Atlantic Provinces, into the rest of Canada and can be found as far away as Brazil. It truly is something to celebrate: “Yarmouth – on the edge of everywhere” is fast becoming a well known brand.
The All Hands On Deck initiatives continue to be worked on. In the next couple weeks meetings will be held to put together a Splash Park committee and a Murals Team. While representatives of the Town will be available to answer questions regarding bylaws and logistics, these are ultimately community led initiatives. If you’re interested, we encourage you to get involved! Updates to follow shortly!
Housing continues to be an issue here in Yarmouth and area and it’s important to advise everyone that work is ongoing and moving forward with a number of initiatives to take care of what is a desperate situation for many. Add to that homelessness that we can’t always see, but exists, and many other issues that leave some of our citizens without, and it’s very important that we are both aware of the situations and work towards solutions. We continue to do that. It goes without saying that we need to check in on those we know are in need. The bigger picture is being worked out, but what we do as individuals defines us and our community. And I believe in us.
It’s going to be a tremendously busy summer. Lots of façade work on Main Street, the Nova Star daily, smaller cruise ships making stops, Seafest, the Antique Car Show, Shark Scramble, Multicultural Festival, ball tournaments and so very much more. There’s so much to do, there are not enough hours in the day nor months in the summer to take it all in.
Enjoy your summer!