Many changes come with the fall season, but a slowdown in Town activity is certainly not one of them. And as the Parks and Public Works team ready us for the upcoming winter, we thank them and wish them well. The plants and flowers must be put to rest, fountains drained, systems flushed and much more. It’s a busy time of year.
It was busy in Kamloops, BC where the Communities in Bloom National and International Awards were held. The Town of Yarmouth received 5 Blooms - Bronze and a special mention for Streetscape Upgrades on Hawthorne Street. We also received an Outstanding Achievement Award for the Butchart Gardens Land Reclamation Award. The Town participated in the Circle of Excellent category. As Councillor Langille, Chair of our Communities in Bloom Committee, stated, "This award is for everyone. The Town, the volunteers, the committee, the Parks department - everyone had a hand in bringing these awards home." Thanks to everyone!
The Nova Star will make her last voyage of the season next week, and a decision will be made soon by the Province as to the future operator. We’re looking forward to the tens of thousands of visitors that will come our way next season, and much time will be spent over the coming months to ensure we are ready for them.
The work continues on the facade program. Those businesses in the designated area still interested in the program have until the end of October to apply for this year’s funding. It’s important to note that every program has to start somewhere, and the obvious success of this program thus far means enables us to expand next season.
It’s also exciting to see the Neighbourhood Improvement Program in full swing. Thank you to the local residents who teamed up with Housing Nova Scotia to knock on doors and bring the program to over 200 homes. Our sincere hope is that each of the 200 homes takes advantage of the program. It won’t make its way here again and it’s a beautiful gift for the entire town!
Many of you have asked about the transit system. The bus has been ordered and will be here in December. We are looking at an early January startup for the new system.
If your mode of transportation for work or leisure is walking, perhaps you’ve taken advantage of the Maud Lewis Trail that runs from Starrs Road, beside Subway, to Parade Street. A recent announcement brought us $50,000 which will be applied to the new crossing lights at Starrs Road so that those using the trail will be able to cross safely.
As always, the Planning Department is very busy. We are in the midst of a Municipal Planning Strategy (MPS) review, which is on schedule. To bring us to this point, stakeholder interviews took place, “Planners on the street” elicited feedback from residents, there has been a public process, Starrs Road was engaged in June, and a web survey is still available for input, available on our website. As the process continues, a public hearing will be held in March for further input. Planning is a complex and intricate process. To help residents walk through the workings of the department and its mission, a series of podcasts is being developed. You can find “Episode 1: Planning Advisory
Committees: Who Does That?” on the Town of Yarmouth website or you can subscribe to the podcast on itunes. It’s a great way to learn more about the workings of that department.
Another review that is being undertaken is the Municipal Government Act (MGA), which is the “law” that municipalities are guided by. Working groups have been set up and we are really pleased that our CAO Jeff Gushue and other staff will be a part of that process. If you wish to have input or simply follow the process, go to the Department of Municipal Affairs website where you will have access to the ongoing review.
The Western Regional Enterprise Network (WREN), the economic development agency for our region, held its AGM last week in Digby with a full house attending. The Strategic Plan was released and we are excited to continue moving forward on an economic front. A huge thank you is extended to the volunteer Board of Directors and the entire WREN team for their ongoing efforts.
As part of the economic development efforts, an RFP was issued to look at the feasibility of re-establishing a scheduled airline passenger service at the Yarmouth International Airport. The request for proposals will look at the market assessment and route development. Travel patterns of people in the region will determine if there is a business case for the service.
We want to extend a warm welcome to our new Police Chief, Staff Sergeant Michel Lacroix. He is very familiar with the Town of Yarmouth and is looking forward to serving in his new position. Perhaps he’ll be successful in apprehending the lamppost bandits. This past weekend someone vandalized the street lights from Tim Hortons to Brown Street. The eagles were removed from the top of the globes, and they hold the whole top together. It’s hard to find replacements. So if anyone out there has any information, please pass it on to us. Frankly we would love to catch those who trash all the good work being done.
Well, it’s going to be a busy fall. The Chamber of Commerce Business Awards are upcoming, as is Music Week, which puts Yarmouth and area on the map in a big way. A little over a month from now we’ll have our Santa Parade, tree lighting and of course the lights in Frost Park will usher in another holiday season. As a side note, if you join us in Frost Park for some of these festivities, you’ll be able to upload the photos you take faster as the wifi in the park has been enhanced. This is part of the ongoing wifi project of the Waterfront Development Corporation and we thank them for that!
Lots going on and lots more to do. Glad we’re all in this together!