Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bridgewater: Deputy Mayor Looking To Reduce Special Tax Rate

Bridgewater's deputy mayor wants to reduce the special tax rate. Councillors reviewed their draft budget for the upcoming year on Monday night. The town is proposing an operating budget of $18.5-million and a capital budget of $3.3-million. It also includes holding the line on residential and commercial tax rates, and a 15 per cent increase in the sewer rate. The town is also dealing with $2.2-million in new debt to pay for things like new LED streetlights. Bill McInnis says he would like to see the special tax rate cut from eight cents to four cents.

The special tax rate was put in place to repay $5-million that the town borrowed for the Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre. Town council will further debate the budget on April 22. It is expected to approve its final budget on April 28.

New Multi-Purpose Centre For Caledonia

A new $1.9 million multi-purpose centre will be built in Caledonia. The North Queens Fire Association and North Queens Board of Trade is partnering to build the new facility which will house a new fire hall and innovation centre. The project is being helped by various investors including a $750,000 contribution coming from the federal government. Fire Chief David Lohnes says it's a good day for residents of the area.

Lohnes says the building will be home to the fire department, office space, training rooms and also have high speed Internet. The Region of Queens is contributing $375,000 and the provincial government is contributing $100,000 toward the project. The remaining money came through a significant commitment by the District of Annapolis and fundraising. The 14,600 square foot facility should be open next summer.

Bridgewater: BMO Aquatic Centre Set To Open

The general manager of the Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre says its been a long time coming. The BMO Financial Group Aquatic Centre will open its doors on Thursday. It features a 25-metre, six-lane pool with a diving board, a shallow leisure pool, and a therapeutic pool. The facility is the final component of the LCLC to open following the launch of the Clearwater Seafoods Arena last September and the Margaret Hennigar Public Library in January. Kevin Benjamin says it's nice to see the fruits of labour.

There will be programming available for all ages including a synchronized swimming club and fitness classes. The aquatic centre will be closed Good Friday before it holds open swims all weekend.

Lumberjacks Land Eddie Shack For Celebrity Dinner

Hockey fans on the South Shore will want to "clear the track" on May 23rd. That's when four-time Stanley Cup winner Eddie Shack will be coming to Bridgewater for the CIBC Wood Gundy Lumberjacks Celebrity Dinner and Auction. Shack, known as "The Entertainer" played for six NHL teams during his 17-year career. He was a member of the Maple Leafs last championship team in 1967. The annual event will take place at the Bridgewater Best Western Plus Hotel and Convention Centre.

Municipal Units Approve REMO Budget

An emergency management group in Lunenburg County is looking for funding for contingency plans. REMO is provided money by the municipalities of Chester and Lunenburg along with the towns of Mahone Bay and Bridgewater. The group is asking for $10,000 more in their budget for 2014-15 to help create plans in case of emergencies. Coordinator Heather MacKenzie-Carey says the plans would help answer questions.

MacKenzie-Carey says they have identified nine potential weather situations to prepare for including coastal storm surge, hurricanes, inland flooding and blizzards. Each municipal unit has agreed to the funding increase. REMO has a total budget of $88,151 for 2014-15.

Valley Grow-Op Busted

A man in Annapolis County faces numerous drug charges as a result of an RCMP search of a home in North Williamston. Police dismantled a marijuana grow-op, seized grow equipment and more than 9 kilograms of dried pot. 49 year old Kenneth Lohnes has been charged with Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking, Cultivation of Marijuana and Possession of Hashish. He will appear in court in Annapolis Royal in July.

New Program Will Keep Long Term Patients Active

A Bridgewater native is leading a new initiative to help long term patients stay active at the South Shore Regional Hospital. Sophie Church is a second year psychology student at Queens University in Ontario. She is organizing a recreation program to keep patients minds and bodies more active while they are getting treatment.

Church is hoping to launch the program in May or June. However, before that can happen she says volunteers are needed to get the program off the ground. If interested in volunteering email Judy Miller at jmiller@ssdha.nshealth.ca or call 543-2365. Donation for the program are also being accepted - like cards, crafts and board games - they can be dropped off at the Volunteer Services office at the South Shore Regional Hospital.

Trial Involving Dog Dealer Underway In Bridgewater

A two-day trial involving the illegal sale of two boxers dogs is underway in Bridgewater. Gail Benoit is facing charges of fraud, identity fraud and theft under $5,000. She was charged last year after a New Brunswick woman left her dogs in Benoit's care - however, they were later sold. The prosecution called several witnesses during the first day of the trial including the original owner of the dogs  - Cassie Craft of Saint John. The trial continues today, when the defence presents its case. Benoit has a long history of selling puppies and was convicted in 2009 of animal cruelty for selling sick dogs.

Yarmouth Mayor Ready For New Ferry

The new Yarmouth to Maine ferry will pull into Yarmouth today on a courtesy call, its first official stop since leaving Singapore a month ago. Area residents, town and provincial officials are invited to go aboard the NovaStar and check it out. Yarmouth mayor Pam Mood says a lot of people have been involved in bringing back the ferry service.

When it leaves Yarmouth tomorrow, the NovaStar will head to Portland to prepare for the May 15th startup of the new ferry service.