Sackville is getting ready to throw a year-long party to celebrate turning 250 years old in 2012 and local residents are encouraged to provide their input into how the community might commemorate the occasion.
A public meeting is scheduled for next Wednesday, June 22 at the Legion where citizens will have the opportunity to offer their ideas and feedback for next year’s anniversary.
The meeting will feature a presentation from the Sackville 250 organizing committee, followed up by discussions that will centre around the celebration events. Everyone is welcome to attend the meeting, which will get under way at 7 p.m.
Cheryl Veinotte, a research associate with the Rural and Small Town Program at Mount Allison University and a member of the Sackville 250 organizing committee, said she hopes to be able to engage young people in the community to take part in the planning.
“I really want to have youth there at that meeting on the 22nd,” said Veinotte, who has sent out invitations to local schools in the hopes that students will attend the public meeting.
Pat Joyce, a member of the steering committee who is representing the students’ administrative council at Mount A, will also be asking any university students who stayed in Sackville this summer to attend the meeting.
“We really should have input from the youth because I think it’s important they’re given the opportunity to participate,” said Veinotte.
Following the meeting, the committee will also be appealing to local organizations and groups to submit project proposals for 2012, encouraging them to come up with initiatives that are linked to the historical events of the founding of the township or that are celebratory in nature.
The funding for some of these events is anticipated to come from a Canadian Heritage Grant. The committee, in collaboration with the Tantramar Heritage Trust, will submit a grant application later this year in hopes of receiving up to $200,000 for these potential events.
The committee is also hoping to sign on a full-time coordinator over the next few months to help pull all the events together.
“We’re preparing for a major celebration and we want to make sure it’s a great one,” said Rebekah Cant, Sackville’s director of tourism.
Cant said although town staff members will certainly be assisting in the planning process, she pointed out the events would be better organized with one person committed to that job.
“If there’s one person dedicated to a specific event, they can do more,” she said.
The contract position would involve generating community awareness and support for the anniversary year, collaborating with local groups and individuals on their projects, and raising the profile of Sackville’s 250th outside of the community, among other things.
The funds for the position will come from the operating budgets of both the community development and tourism departments.
Sackville’s celebrations will mark the beginnings of the township, which, according to local researchers has a basis in the early 1760s.
Although evidence has revealed that the township of Sackville was actually named as early as 1759 and New Englanders began to settle here a year or two later, it was in 1762 that official meetings actually began to take place and land boundaries began to be drawn.