Thursday, June 13, 2013

Halifax Company Remains Quiet On Appeal Decision

A Halifax company won't comment on a recent decision by the Municipality of Lunenburg. Council rejected a development agreement for a proposed construction and demolition diversion facility in Blockhouse. In a brief email exchange, Halifax C and D President Dan Chassie wouldn't comment if the company would appeal the matter. The company has the right to appeal council's decision with the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board.

Committee Identifies Carding Mill As Potential Heritage Property

The chair of Bridgewater's Heritage Advisory Committee says the Wile Carding Mill has been identified as a possible heritage property. Patrick Hirtle says the mill underwent an initial assessment on its heritage value and architectural significance and ranked high enough to meet criteria. Hirtle says they hope to recognize the mill later this year.

From 1860 to 1968, the water-powered mill lightened the workload for farm families by carding a week’s worth of wool in an hour. It ceased operation around 1968 and was sold to the province in 1973. A year later, the mill was restored and reopened as a museum.

New Liverpool School Could Be Delayed

The new school in Liverpool may not be ready to open for classes in September. Sod was turned on the $15 million South Queens Junior High School in November with plans for the school to open in time for the upcoming school year. However, interim superintendent Jim Gunn revealed last night the building may not be finished in time. In his report, Gunn says the school board will make a decision on when the school will be ready in the coming days. The new middle school would be home to students in grades 6-8. Board spokesperson, Trish Smith confirmed they will issue a media release on the status of the school and what it will mean for parents and students next week.

School Board Balances Tough Budget

The South Shore Regional School Board has passed another difficult budget. The $73.4 million (revenue/expenditures) document was approved in a 7-1 vote last night. African Nova Scotia member Vernon Simms was the lone member to oppose the document. Simms felt the board wasn't involved in the budget process as much as he would have liked. Provincial funding was slashed again this year by nearly $1 million. However, staff were able to juggle the numbers to balance the books. The board saw its biggest savings in staff reductions, school closures and nearly $300,000 through a reduction of pension expenditures. The board was able to increase funding in the key area of skilled trades to the tune of $180,000.

How SSRSB balanced its 2013-14 budget:
  • Reduced 17 school based teaching positions
  • Reduced 2.5 non-teaching support staff due to school closures and realignment
  • Reduced 2.2 regional office positions
  • Reduced operating capital maintenance expenditures
  • Reduced transportation expenditures
  • Reduced telecommunications expenditures
  • Increased 2.55 school-based externally funded positions
  • Increased two school-based specialists to meet student services standards
  • Revenue received from the Province of Nova Scotia for targeted initiatives
  • Cost savings from defined benefit pension plan (non-teaching staff)
  • Operational cost savings from school closures
  • Cost savings from staffing cuts made in 2012-13 budget – August 2012 to July 2013 savings.

Queens County Park Prepped For Summer

Pine Grove Park is the Region of Queens' latest swath of parkland that was once among Bowater Mersey's prized holdings. The 57-acre site on Route 8 near Liverpool was aquired by the province last year when the paper mill closed. The former owner, Resolute Forest Products, also provided a quarter million dollars ($250,000.) to help with upkeep on the park over the next decade. District of Queens Mayor Christopher Clarke says crews have been busy this spring getting Pine Grove ready for use after years of neglect.

The park was developed in the 1980's and '90's with the help of Captn Richard Steele, Q.C., one of eastern North America's most noted plantsmen. There are extensive rhododendron and azalea plantings throughout the site. More than three kilometers of walking, hiking and biking trails wind their way through the woodland garden that is, Pine Grove Park. The mayor says its a natural resource like no other in the region.

Fresh Air Films Looking For Volunteers

A group of people helping to bring outdoor movies in Bridgewater are looking for volunteers. The group, known as Fresh Air Films, will begin showing movies later this month at Shipyards Landing. They're hosting a volunteer information session for people to learn about the group's plans and how they can get involved with the project. The meeting will be held Thursday night at 7pm at Town Hall.