Published on January 02, 2014
Chris Metallic’s father Dean Martin hangs a missing poster in Sackville in early 2013. Metallic’s parents continued the search for their son, who has been missing since late November 2012.
Published on January 02, 2014
Katrina Clair, an organizer of January’s Idle No More protest in Sackville speaks to fellow those in attendance. Idle No More activists were joined on Jan. 28 by Mount Allison University students, Sackville town councillors, members of the Maritime United Church of Canada, and many other concerned residents as they took part in a ‘Justice for All’ traffic slowdown along the Trans-Canada Highway.
Published on January 02, 2014
Sackville Mayor Bob Berry was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for the contributions he has made to his community.
Published on January 02, 2014
An RCMP officer speaks to pedestrians on Weldon Street in mid-March as police searched for suspects in an armed robbey at Jean Coutu Pharmacy.
Published on January 02, 2014
Tantramar MLA Mike Olscamp, left, speaks to those in attendance at a special meeting in Sackville in April on shale gas exploration in the province.
Published on January 02, 2014
Proposed designs for Sackville’s new downtown park were unvieled in May.
Published on January 02, 2014
TRHS valedictorian Nick Crossman addresses the class of 2013 during Tantramar Regional High School graduation ceremonies in June.
Published on January 02, 2014
Rev. Vernon Vickruck of the Middle Sackville Baptist Church speaks to those in attendance at a special ceremony at the monument at Slack's Cove to commemorate the landing of the 13 Baptist settlers from Swansea, Massachusetts 250 years ago.
Published on January 02, 2014
Local youth look on as Steve Lennox performs an aerial stunt during last year’s launch of Sackville’s new bike park.
Published on January 02, 2014
Sackville's 2014 Fall Fair was a resounding success, featuring a wide variety of activities for people of all ages, including the ever-popular Fall Fair Parade, pictured above.
Published on January 02, 2014
Participants in the 2013 Sackville Mount Allison Relay for Life take part in warm-up exercises at the start of the overnight fundraising event.
Published on January 02, 2014
A local cadet stands in the foreground while members of the local Legion and other VIPs observe a moment of silence in the background during 2013 Remembrance Day ceremonies in Sackville.
Published on January 02, 2014
The Mount Allison football Mounties charge onto MacAuley Field prepared to face the Laval Rouges et Or in the Uteck Bowl in November 2013.
Published on January 02, 2014
Twelve-year-old Danika Fawcett, who has brought in several thousand dollars for the Lillian Albion Animal Shelter over the past six years, was presented with an award from the Atlantic Award Group, a volunteer-based organization that celebrates people across the Maritimes who have made a significant impact on those around them. Presenting the ward is Alex Maine, project director.
Sports field restoration set to get under way – After nearly a year out of commission, Sackville’s sports field on Lorne Street would be rebuilt during the month of September, with the facility anticipated to re-open sometime next spring or summer.
“If everything goes according to plan, the kids should be playing on the field next season,” said Todd Cole, director of parks and recreation facilities.
The sports field, which is used during the summer and fall months for soccer and football, was shut down in the fall of 2012 when the public works department replaced aging sanitary and storm sewers.
With a pricetag of just over $157,000, the work consisted of: placing screened fill to crown the field; installing a French drain down both sides of the field; relocating one of the goal posts; as well as putting on topsoil, fertilizer and seed to finish it off. Another part of the job includes landscaping in behind the town hall parking lot, which was also dug up during the storm/sanitary sewer replacement.
Town renewed Veolia contract – Veolia will continue to operate Sackville’s water treatment plant until 2019. Town council renewed its agreement with Veolia Water Canada for another five-year period for the continued operation and maintenance of the water treatment facility.
George Woodburn, Sackville’s director of public works and engineering, recommended council renew the agreement with Veolia, saying the company has been doing a first-rate job of operating the plant and providing clean water to the residents.
Woodburn said the new agreement is based on the same annual costs approved back in 2007 ($177,600) but with the consumer price index rate factored in each year over that time.
Coun. Bill Evans said he was disappointed the town still hasn’t considered any other options beyond re-hiring Veolia. Evans said the current service provided by Veolia is outstanding “but we are certainly paying for it.”
“Could we be getting adequate treatment for less money?” he asked.
Sackville PeeWee Hurricanes won provincials – The Sackville PeeWee A Hurricanes faced the top teams in the province in Caraquet over the Labour Day weekend and brought home the gold after defeating a tough Chatham Head team in the finals of a double-elimination tournament.
The Hurricanes had made it to the finals undefeated; but in the first game of the championships against Chatham Head got destroyed 15-0, with outstanding pitching by the Tigers their undoing. But unfazed by the first-game blowout, the Sackville team battled back in the second game of the finals to pull off the upset with a 19-14 victory to win the provincial title.
Two men charged in robbery – Two Amherst-area men would head to court in late September to face robbery charges related to an incident in early August in Sackville.
Local RCMP say on Aug. 9, at approximately 10:30 p.m., two males approached another male walking on Lorne Street. The victim was then assaulted and had his backpack stolen, which contained an undisclosed amount of money.
A witness was able to provide a description to police of one of the two suspects and he was arrested on Main Street shortly after the robbery. The second suspect was arrested at a later date.
Toys for Tots Run raised $15,000 – Celebrating the 25th annual Tantramar Toys for Tots Motorcycle Run on Sept. 7, approximately 750 people on 500 motorcycles from Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes came out in full force in support of less advantaged kids and families in surrounding areas.
With the help of corporate donations, individual sponsors, the motorcyclists and the evening concert, organizers were able to raise approximately $15,000 in new toys and financial assistance for families at Christmas and families experiencing difficult times in their lives. Toys for Tots supports Moncton Headstart, Sackville Christmas Cheer, Port Elgin Voluntary Action Group, Dorchester Volunteer Association and Amherst Christmas for Kids Campaign and several other causes over the years.
New communication system for fire department – Sackville’s fire department has a new way to keep in touch with its members.
The local volunteer fire department implemented a new web-based communication system in September that can send out mass text and e-mail messages to all firefighters when there is an emergency call, as well as to keep the members up-to-date on the activities and events happening at the station.
Fire Chief Craig Bowser said the new system, called ‘I Am Responding’, would also allow firefighters to reply back as to whether they will be responding to a fire call. This will be useful, in particular, for those members working out of town and will help the department better prepare as they head to the scene of a fire or accident.
New role proposed for sustainability committee – Sackville’s sustainability committee was expected to take on a new look and a new mandate.
Coun. Ron Aiken reported that the committee, which had been in flux since April, would undergo some changes, including switching the group’s role from an action-based committee to an advisory capacity.
“We will be putting forward new terms of reference for the committee, probably in October,” said Aiken.
Aiken said the new committee would consist of less members and meet less frequently but said its main goal would be to educate the public on sustainability and look at projects that are already ongoing in the community to ensure they are sustainability-based.
“This committee won’t be involved in generating projects anymore, just vetting them,” he said.
Town revoked patio license – A much-loved café in downtown Sackville closed its doors in September after town council voted to revoke its patio license – a move that seemed to be the last straw for the young owners of Black Duck Inn who only opened their business last year.
Alan Barbour and Sarah Evans said they decided to “re-evaluate” running their coffee shop in Sackville after they could not come to a satisfactory resolution with the town, admitting they were frustrated by what they saw as a lack of support for budding entrepreneurs.
Barbour said it becomes even more challenging when you’re made to feel the council and staff are “not only unhelpful but actively working against our best efforts.”
The main issue that seemed to have the owners and the town at odds was with whether the business was complying properly with the requirements set out in the original sidewalk cafe plan.
Coun. Ron Aiken said he is disappointed the issue couldn’t be resolved.
“I don’t understand how it got to the point it got to,” he said, “when compliance seemed to be a matter of putting up 10 feet of rope.”
Local health care workers protested layoffs – Local health care workers said recent layoffs at Sackville Memorial Hospital was putting patient care at risk and they wanted the public to know how they will be impacted by the provincial government cutbacks.
“We’re here to let people know what’s going on,” said Bob Partridge, president of local CUPE 720-1, the union representing licensed practical nurses (LPNs), food service, housekeeping, maintenance and clerk admin workers at SMH, during a demonstration rally outside the local MLAs office on Sept. 16.
Partridge said six of the 12 LPNs at the Sackville Memorial Hospital had been given layoff notices. One-and-a-half clerk positions were also cut as well as a ward aid. The hospital has also seen the loss of a lab technician, a physio worker and an occupational therapist in recent months.
Partridge said it was expected the now-vacant LPN positions would be filled by patient care attendants, who could be paid lower wages but have less training than the practical nurses.
“They (the government) said the layoffs wouldn’t affect patient care but they certainly do.”
Soccer player was headed to nationals – Sackville has produced some very good soccer players over the years, with the most recent addition being Kate Ollerhead, who was getting set to head to the Canadian U16 Women’s National Championships in Kamloops, B.C.
Representing New Brunswick from Oct. 9-14, Ollerhead is a member of the Codiac First Touch Girls Premier Division team. This team draws players from Moncton, Dieppe, Riverview, Cocagne and Sackville. Ollerhead has played on this team for the past three years and was this year’s co-captain.
Ollerhead, a Grade 11 student at Tantramar Regional High School, has been playing on the lady Titans soccer team since her Grade 9 year. She was a member of the U15 women’s New Brunswick team and the U16 women’s New Brunswick team, which competed in New England and across the Maritimes throughout April, May and June.
Lobster season ended early for some fishers – It was a dismal lobster fishing season for many area fishermen. With prices lower than they had been for many years and catches poor in many areas of the Northumberland Strait, some fishermen had already begun pulling in their traps and ending the season.
“It just isn’t worth it; we just keep going in the hole, week after week after week,” lobster fisherman Carl Trenholm said at his home in Cape Spear a few days after pulling in his traps.
Fishermen were getting paid just $3.25 per pound for market size lobsters and only $2.75 for canners. He admitted to landing only 1,100 pounds of lobster during the last week he had fished, not even enough to pay the overhead costs for going out onto the water.
Although the season began on Aug. 9 and would wind up for the year on Oct. 10, Trenholm doubted there would still be many men fishing that long.
Fox named Citizen of Year – He’s had a significant impact on improving ‘town and gown’ relations, has been a tireless volunteer in the community in the 12 years he has lived here, and has encouraged hundreds of Mount Allison students to contribute their time to make Sackville a better place right along with him.
For these reasons, and many others, Michael Fox was named this year’s recipient of the Sackville Citizen of the Year award. Fox was presented the honour during Sackville Fall Fair’s opening ceremonies.
Local resident John Higham, who nominated Fox for the award, says “Sackville is a better place for Mike Fox’s varied and rich volunteer and professional efforts.”
Three local youths were also honoured during Sackville’s Fall Fair weekend for their outstanding volunteering efforts.
Cody Steeves, Christian Watts and Ryan Reid took home Sackville Youth Citizen of the Year honours. Steeves and Watts both volunteered at Open Sky Co-operative, while Reid contributed to the local Relay for Life and Curl for Cancer events.
Sackville man set to compete in world championships – Bryan MacLean was getting set to compete in all nine traditional events as he represented Canada at the upcoming World Lightweight Highland Games Championship in Fort Worth, Texas.
MacLean would head out to the two-day competition weekend in November to participate in brae mar stone, open stone, heavy and light hammer, heavy and lightweight for distance, sheaf toss, weight for height, and caber toss.
Competing against 20 other competitors from all over the world, MacLean hoped for a strong performance as the world champion is crowned by having the best score overall in all nine events.
In just his third year of competing, MacLean has quickly moved up the rankings in the lightweight division in the North American Scottish Athletics rankings and hoped to continue to improve at the World Championships.
Church repairs, renovations deemed costly – With a $1.5 million pricetag attached to fix up and renovate the former Sackville United Church, it was looking like the historic building might not be able to be saved from the wrecking ball after all.
Virgil Hammock, who was heading the community committee looking at ways to save the 135-year-old church building, said estimates to repair the structure totaled about $800,000 while the reconfiguration costs to convert the building for other uses were more than $650,000.
The figures – which include structural repairs, roof repairs, window and window sill replacement, electrical and plumbing updates, fire safety upgrades, mold remediation, installing a new heating system, painting, and more – were provided as part of an economic feasibility study to determine whether operating the former United Church as a community centre would be a viable option.
Based on the findings of the study, it was recommended that “converting (it) into a community centre does not make good or feasible sense.”
Hammock said the feasibility study was a well-done report, which “really identified that there’s a large cost to refurbish the building and a bigger challenge in maintaining and operating it.”
Sackville saw steady tourism season – Tourism numbers were on the rise this summer in Sackville, with staff at the local visitor information centre reporting a strong start to the season in May and June followed by a fairly steady flow of traffic during their busiest months of the year – July and August.
Ron Kelly-Spurles, Sackville’s tourism manager, said the town saw a four to five per cent increase overall from last year’s numbers, similar to what was being reported for the region and the province for 2013.
“I think it’s been as good as it usually is, and maybe even a little better,” he said.
Regional traffic from the Maritimes was strongest this year, with the VIC reporting numbers for New Brunswick visitors in particular being up significantly. The VIC also had a steady stream of visitors from Quebec as well as tourists from other parts of Canada but traffic from the US and other foreign countries was down.
Restoration architect urged town to save church – One of Canada's leading experts in restoring heritage buildings urged Sackville town council to help support the community’s efforts to save a downtown landmark that has been a part of the local landscape for 135 years.
“It’s a tremendous asset,” preservation architect Chris Borgal told members of town council after a tour of the former United Church building. “It’s a work of art you have in your midst.”
Borgal said although the restoration won’t come cheap or without challenges, he said if there is enough community interest to keep the church from being torn down, he would encourage council to take the first step to make that happen.
Borgal anticipated that the town would need to pitch in about $100,000 to $150,000 upfront to make the necessary repairs to the building to keep it from further deterioration before winter set in. This initial expenditure, which would basically be used for roof repairs and keeping the water out of the building, would buy about two years time, he said, which could be used to form a community committee and start raising the funds to move forward on repairing and re-purposing the church.
Shale gas rally in Sackville – Sackville’s highway overpass was the site of a shale gas rally on Oct. 19, with about 60 residents and university students lending their voices to the ongoing anti-fracking movement in New Brunswick.
The rally, coming on the heels of the previous week’s events in Rexton, had originally been organized as part of ‘Global Frackdown’ day but also proved to be timely in a show of support for the protesters who had been demonstrating for weeks against the development of a shale gas sector in the province until police raided their blockade on Thursday.
Marilyn Lerch, a member of the Tantramar Alliance Against Hydrofracking (TAAH), said the purpose of the local protest was to not only raise greater consciousness of the issue but to also show that the Sackville-area is on-board with the ongoing grassroots efforts for a moratorium or ban on fracking.
“We wanted to show support for all the people in Rexton who have been protesting for several weeks now, “ she said, “and to also show we’re part of a global movement against unconventional shale gas mining.”
Longtime directors stepped down – Two long-time directors announced they would be stepping down from their posts in early January, leaving council and staff with some big shoes to fill.
George Woodburn, director of public works and engineering, and Rebekah Cant, director of tourism, community development and programming, both submitted their resignations, with Woodburn leaving due to retirement and Cant stepping down due to personal reasons. Both have been working for the town for about 16 years.
“We are losing two very key, valuable people who have contributed greatly to our town over a number of years,” said Phil Handrahan, the town’s chief administrative officer.
Handrahan said he would be working with management staff to “review our structure” to determine the best direction for the town in filling these positions.
Relay for Life brought in over $60,000 – The 11th annual Sackville-Mount Allison Relay For Life was another rousing success, according to co-chair Sheila Parker, who paid tribute to the Mount Allison students and residents of Tantramar for their generous support of the event, which took place Oct. 18-19.
The final dollar figure was expected to surpass $60,000, falling well among the top totals organizers have received in past relays.
Parker wondered what more organizers could have asked for to have a perfect Relay For Life.
"We had it all," she said, "mild weather, full moon, enthusiastic teams, talented performers and hope."
A total of 32 teams walked or danced during the 12-hour event, with Kathy's Krew, as usual, being the top fundraising team.
$93,000 raised for hospital campaign – The Tantramar community once again come through for its local hospital.
More than $93,000 had trickled in over a seven-month span in support of the Sackville Memorial Hospital Foundation’s (SMHF) latest fundraising campaign, It’s the Way we Operate. The funds would go towards updating equipment for the hospital’s thriving day surgery program.
SMHF campaign chair Pat Estabrooks said the campaign’s success was a true testament to how strongly residents want to ensure a future for their local hospital.
“The Tantramar community has shown, through this campaign, that “this is the way we operate,’” said Estabrooks during a donor recognition event on Oct. 17.
One of the key purchases from the campaign is a new anaesthesia machine. The new machine will replace the existing unit, which, at 22 years old, has become outdated and was proving a challenge to find replacement parts.
Town considering new fuel tank – Sackville’s public works department was looking into the possibility of installing a new fuel tank system that could come with a cost of $154,000.
The new system would replace the fuel and diesel tanks that were previously located on site at the public works garage property in the industrial park. Those tanks were put of commission more than three years ago when they suffered extensive fire damage after being struck by a vehicle.
Since that time, public works staff have been filling up their vehicles at local gas stations but public works and engineering director George Woodburn explained this measure has become inconvenient and a less dependable way to ensure “security of supply.”
But several councillors weren’t so convinced the town needs to make this expenditure a priority. Coun. Shawn Mesheau said he’d like to see the town explore other options before moving ahead with the project.
Town looking into options for apartment garbage – The town of Sackville was once again exploring the idea of bringing apartments back on board with the recycling program.
During October’s discussion meeting, members of town council said they would like to pursue the issue further and requested staff investigate the possible options and the costs involved in getting tenants and landlords to participate in wet and dry sorting again.
“I like the idea, I’d like to see us look into it further,” said Coun. Bill Evans, who feels tenants of those apartment units should be included as residential consumers in the garbage contract.
Mounties looked to break playoff streak – It had been 16 years since the Mount Allison Mounties had won a playoff football game and this was weighing on the minds of the coaches and players the last week of October as they prepared to battle the Acadia Axemen in the Atlantic Universities Football Conference (AUFC) semi-finals.
The same two teams had met in Sackville for the championship in 1998 with the Axemen triumphing 34-28 on a cold and windy afternoon.
The Mounties began falling on bad times the following year and have continued to struggle since. Thus this year's new and improved version of the Mounties were faced with an opportunity to erase many of the bitter memories incurred over the past 15 years.
Mount A professor urged town, gown to forge closer ties – A Mount Allison professor was urging the town of Sackville and the university to find a way to break down the ‘town & gown’ barrier and start working together towards an innovative campus-community partnership that could benefit the entire community.
Michael Fox, who teaches in the department of geography and environment at Mount A, said there were many opportunities that could come from an enhanced ‘town-gown’ collaboration if the right leadership steps up and takes the reins to make it happen.
“There are so many possibilities . . . Sackville is the ideal setting to become a learning community,” he said.
Fox took a sabbatical leave last year to conduct research into how municipalities and local post-secondary schools right across North America can move beyond the off-campus housing and social issues that pervade city and town council meetings and ‘letter to the editor’ sections of local newspapers, and start building positive relationships.
His research culminated in a book entitled ‘Town & Gown: From Conflict to Cooperation,’ which had been included as part of a Municipal Knowledge Series.
Sackville United Church was still going strong – While much talk had been focused on whether the former United Church building in downtown Sackville should be saved, the minister leading the local congregation in a new direction said their future was looking bright and they were ready to move on in a new home.
“Sackville United Church is alive and well,” said Rev. Catherine Smith from their new offices and church building at the former town hall, located next door to their former church. “We’re excited about the future and we’re moving forward.”
Smith said she wanted to clarify that the former United Church building, which is now owned by local developers Joe and John Lafford, was no longer associated with the ‘Sackville United Church’ itself, nor was the community group putting its efforts into preserving and restoring the 134-year-old building.
Mount Allison topped Maclean’s university rankings for record 17th year – Mount Allison University had once again been recognized as Canada’s top undergraduate university by Maclean’s magazine. The 23rd annual rankings were released on Oct. 31. Mount Allison had held the top spot for 17 of the past 23 years.
“We are pleased to maintain our number one ranking in this year’s Maclean’s publication.” said university president Robert Campbell. “This type of national recognition is a strong indication that the university, as a community, is meeting its objective of being the best undergraduate university in Canada, as we strive to be one of the top in North America. I would like to congratulate and thank members of the Mount Allison community in helping us retain this standing.”
Mounties sealed spot in Loney Bowl with win over Axemen – Skeptics turned into believers on the afternoon of Saturday, Nov. 2, when a new chapter in the 21st century of Mountie football unfolded at David MacAulay Field. The Mounties took out the Acadia Axemen 19-10 to advance to the AUFC championship the following Saturday afternoon in Halifax, with the St. Mary's Huskies playing host.
This not only marked the first time the Mounties had won a playoff game since 1997, but it also marked the first time the team had put together a four-game winning streak since the Eric Lapointe era. Each of their victories had literally been a playoff challenge as they bounced back from a 1-4 record to notch wins over each of the remaining three teams to end the season with a 4-4 record, good for second place. Saturday's playoff win followed a solid victory over Acadia the previous week to gain a playoff ranking.
Significant change was needed in Maritime lobster industry – A three-person panel studying the Maritime lobster industry suggested significant changes were required if the multi-million-dollar lobster fishery was to have a future.
The findings of the Maritime Lobster Panel were released at a press conference in Amherst on Thursday, Nov. 7, including 33 recommendations in areas of industry relationships, operations and structure.
“The panel takes the view that this industry needs to make wholesale changes,” panelists Gilles Theriault, John Hanlon and Lewis Creed suggested in their 96-page report.
Since beginning its work in July, the panel met with about 100 organizations representing fishermen, buyers, shippers, processors, brokers and First Nations people throughout the Maritimes and as far away as Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec and Maine. The panel also received 30 written submissions.
The report addressed five key areas, including why the price dropped suddenly in the spring, and examined the various cost and revenue components of harvesters, buyers and processors in the Maritimes. It also provided strategic advice on marketing initiatives and on a course of action to stabilize and then increase prices paid to harvesters. Finally, it identified options for a formal system where the industry would know the price that would be paid to fishermen in advance of landings.
New boardwalk was struck by vandals – The new section of boardwalk in Sackville’s Waterfowl Park hadn’t even been open for a month and it had already been struck by vandals. Todd Cole, the town’s director of parks and recreation facilities, said graffiti had been spray painted along the new wooden walkway as well as on the railing several times recent weeks, with some of the written messages being pretty offensive.
He said his staff had had to go in and sand down the sections, which had been marked up with both paint and Halloween ‘fake blood’, spending a number of hours getting rid of the graffiti.
Cole said his staff would continue to monitor the situation and try their best to ensure the vandalism was removed and kept to a minimum.
“We’re going to keep at it,” he said, noting that residents are asked to report any damage or vandalism. “This is a battle they will not win.”
Mounties earned right to host Uteck bowl after win against Huskies – They continued their unlikely trek down the golden brick road in Halifax on Saturday, Nov. 9, with the result that Sackville would be home to the greatest football extravaganza in its history the following weekend.
The Mounties used their newfound magic to seal their first Atlantic Universities Football Conference (AUFC) championship in 16 years of trying with an enormous late rally to down the pennant winning St. Mary's Huskies 20-17.
The victory brought them the Jewitt Trophy as Loney Bowl winners and ran their season record to 6-4 after a dismal beginning that saw them fall to 1-4.
In addition to earning them a "rags to riches" story, they would also host the Uteck Bowl in the mud and grass on MacAuley Field.
Pee Wee Titans brought home provincial banner – Hard work and dedication by the peewee football Titans’ players and coaches paid off in early November in Saint John at the New Brunswick Provincial Championships. On a very rainy, cold day, the Titans dominated the game and defeated the St Stephen Silverados 56-0 to bring home the provincial banner.
They finished their season with a record of 9-0, with an astounding 418 points for and only 40 points against.
Football Mounties excelled on national stage – They lost the game but the Mount Allison Mounties have won the admiration of sports fans from coast to coast for their gritty performance as they went down 48-21 to the all-powerful Laval Rouges et Or in the Uteck Bowl played at MacAuley Field.
Given no chance heading into the CIS semi-finals the Mounties, after a disastrous start, put up a real battle and scored more points against the defending national champions than have been put on the board in some time. Laval had given up an average of 10 points a game throughout the season.
It was a case of one team taking the field counting on heart, grit and determination and a new found confidence following a five game winning streak against a championship-calibre squad with unlimited resources, a long history of dominating the university football scene and sheer confidence. But the host Mounties refused to back off even though gaining yards against such a machine was tough. And on the other side, the Laval offensive line, averaging 305 pounds a man, provided sufficient protection for their quarterback, even though Jacob LeBlanc found gaps, which he quickly zipped through to make some big tackles.
Town of Sackville ended 2012 in good financial shape with healthy surplus – Sackville’s finances continue to be in good shape with the town posting yet another surplus at the end of 2012.
The town’s annual audit, which was presented and approved during November’s regular council meeting, showed that once again the municipality ended another year with money in the bank, a feat that has been achieved for 16 years running.
Last year’s healthy surplus, at just over $84,000, was due to a number of factors, said Sackville treasurer Michael Beal, with the town taking in more revenue than anticipated and keeping its expenses much lower than expected.
Beal said on top of the surplus, the town also, in 2012, was able to transfer $730,000 over to the capital reserve fund for future projects.
TRHS music teacher presented with Minister’s Excellence in Teaching Award – Tantramar Regional High School’s music teacher was honoured by the province for her strong leadership and commitment to education.
Tanya Bostick was one of 10 teachers from the Anglophone sector presented with a Minister’s Excellence in Teaching Award during a ceremony in Fredericton Nov. 16.
“Tanya is an excellent educator,” said TRHS principal Susan Lafford, who nominated Bostick for the award. “She is deeply committed to helping all of her students learn, to appreciate music and providing unique and interesting opportunities for them to do so.”
Bostick teaches music to Grade 9 to 12 students at TRHS and also owns and operates a music school in Sackville, focusing on piano for young students. Bostick began her teaching career at Tantramar in 1998 but has also taught at Port Elgin Regional School and taken a leave to focus on her business; she returned to TRHS full time three years ago.
Downtown revitalization committee was working to make Bridge Street makeover a reality in 2014 – Sackville’s downtown revitalization committee was hoping 2014 would be the year funding would come through for a much-needed and long-awaited makeover on Bridge Street.
“I am feeling optimistic it will happen in 2014,” said Robert Lyon, chair of the downtown committee and a local business owner.
Lyon said the downtown improvement project had already gained support from the town, with a funding commitment through to 2015 for one-third of the cost. And the committee was in the midst of re-applying for federal ACOA grants for a second year, with last year’s application receiving favourable reviews. The project also hinges on getting backing from the provincial government, which wasn’t able to fund the project in 2013.
“If the province comes on board with it this year, I think it’ll be a go.”
The proposed project, which would essentially be a makeover of downtown Bridge Street, includes a total reconstruction of the roadway – including installing new water and sewer mains that would replace the aging infrastructure that was put in in the 1930s and a much-needed re-paving. The project also includes removing the power poles along that street and burying the lines underground
The upgrades are expected to cost an estimated $1 million, with $350,000 of that amount anticipated to come from both the town and ACOA and $300,000 from the province.
Downtown park was ready for next step in makeover project – Work had been completed on the underground infrastructure upgrades at the Bill Johnstone Memorial Park.
George Woodburn, Sackville’s director of public works and engineering, said his crews has recently finished work on replacing the aging storm and sanitary sewer lines underneath the park, as well as installing a new water line for the proposed splash pad, in preparation for an expansive park makeover in 2014.
“It’s now ready for a tender to be called early next year,” said Woodburn during council’s monthly meeting Nov. 12.
Plans for the park include a new field house building, a new band shell, a splash pad, and a facelift of the basketball and tennis court areas.
Members of Dorchester fire department donated outdated equipment to Firefighters Without Borders – The Dorchester fire department found a great way to dispose of outdated firefighting equipment.
In late November and early December, the department donated its unusable equipment to a volunteer organization called Firefighters Without Borders.
The organization is a registered charity based in BC that offers support and equipment to emergency services organizations in countries in need. The goal is to provide a helping hand so their organizations in need can provide emergency services within their own communities.
Earlier in 2013, the Dorchester volunteer fire department undertook renovations to their fire hall, which involved clearing out and disposing of outdated equipment. Dorchester firefighters Nancy Milner and Sara Boyce then began looking to find a useful purpose for the outdated equipment.
Police were investigating armed robbery – Local RCMP were investigating an armed robbery that took place in Sackville in the early morning hours of Thursday, Nov. 28.
Sgt. Jamie Graves of the Sackville RCMP detachment said a lone male, armed with a knife, entered the Circle K convenience store/Irving gas bar in Sackville’s highway commercial area at around 3:30 a.m., demanded cash and then fled the scene.
Christmas Cheer worked to make holidays brighter for hundreds of local families –The community has always been generous in their support of Christmas Cheer and Merrill Fullerton was confident 2013 would be no different.
Fullerton, the chair of the Sackville Community Association that operates the annual Christmas Cheer program, said approximately $40,000 in cash donations was raised last year along with a wide range of toys and clothing – and the goal was the same in 2013.
“We have been fortunate in that we have continued to see people respond to the need,” he said, pointing out that community support is vital for the continued success of the annual Christmas Cheer campaign.
Since its inception in 1967, hundreds of thousands of dollars and toys have been donated to the Christmas Cheer program, touching the lives of many families by providing them with much-needed food, clothing and children’s gifts at Christmas.
Fate of missing Mount Allison student was still unknown – More than a year had passed and still the heartache hadn’t gotten any easier for a mother who misses her son every minute of every day and lives with the burden of not knowing what happened to him.
“We are living a nightmare,” said Mandy Metallic, whose 20-year-old son Chris disappeared last November 2012, just a month before Christmas, after leaving a house party in downtown Sackville at around 1:30 a.m.
“This daily torture of not knowing what happened to my son . . . .we are all hurting so much and I can’t stand to see my other children in so much pain and I can’t make it better.”
Town to maintain services, tax rate in 2014 operating budget – Residents learned they would see their municipal tax rate stay the same for another year.
Sackville town council approved its 2014 general operating budget during December’s council meeting, setting the tax rate at $1.535 per $100 of assessment, a rate that has remain unchanged for the past decade.
In his report to council, treasurer Michael Beal said although the town will see a 40 per cent drop in its unconditional grant from the province in 2014, reduced from $371,601 last year to this year’s $217,185 figure, the town would fortunately see its municipal tax base go up thanks to a 3.5 per cent increase in assessments, resulting in an additional $300,000 of revenue.
Beal said residents could expect the same level of services to be maintained, with only about $215,000 more expected to be spent on operating costs in 2014 in a $10.1-million budget.
Many of the departments will face slight increases to expenses in the coming year due to costs related to staffing, maintenance/repairs, programming, and facility operations.
Sackville RCMP were investigating another armed robbery at same gas station –Local RCMP were investigating another armed robbery that took place at a gas station in Sackville’s highway commercial area.
Sgt. Jamie Graves of the Sackville RCMP detachment said the Circle K convenience store/gas bar was robbed for the second time in two weeks; once again by a lone male armed with a knife who demanded cash and then fled the scene.
Police were on the lookout for the suspect, who entered the store just after midnight on Monday night (Dec. 9)/Tuesday morning (Dec. 10) and got away with an undisclosed amount of money. Graves said the man fits the same description as the suspect in the previous robbery on Nov. 28 – caucasian male, six feet tall and approximately 200 pounds.
New vision was being proposed for Sackville hospital – As communities all around the province struggled to keep their health care facilities from closing, Tantramar MLA Mike Olscamp said local stakeholders were putting together a new vision for the Sackville hospital that would hopefully ensure it remains a fixture in the community for a long time to come.
Olscamp said he and members of the Sackville Memorial Hospital Foundation had come up with a number of innovative ways to use the facility to its fullest extent, and put together a package that they will present to the Minister of Health early in the new year.
The MLA said what was once a 55-bed facility is now down to 21 beds, which has resulted in a lot of empty space not being used effectively. Some rooms are being used for storage while others remain vacant.
Auditor general called for significant changes to curb rising debt – It simply wasn’t enough.
That was the message from New Brunswick’s auditor general Kim MacPherso, who said the government was not making enough progress on improving the province’s finances and needs to make significant changes to get the debt under control.
"Although recent government efforts to control spending are noteworthy, it is not enough," said MacPherson as she released the 2012-13 annual auditor general’s report in early December.
MacPherson said she was concerned over the province’s rising debt levels, which grew by more than $930 million last year, pushing New Brunswick’s net debt to more than $11 billlion. She said the $3.3-billion increase in the net debt over the last five years (a 45 per cent increase) is a disturbing trend, one which has put New Brunswick with the second highest net debt per capita rate in the country.
MacPherson said this pace of debt growth was not sustainable in the long term, and only puts a higher demand on future revenue to pay past expenses. She called on the province to set long-term targets for net debt control and its reduction.
Town approved $1.7 million in capital spending for 2014 – Walker Road will get a half-a-million dollar infrastructure upgrade and the next phase of improvements will get under way in Sackville’s Waterfowl Park in 2014.
These were two of the major projects approved in December as part of the town’s 2014 capital budget, which will see a total of $1.7 million in funding spread out amongst various sectors in the community.
“There’s something here that everyone is going to benefit from and appreciate,” said Coun. Margaret Tusz-King of the myriad of initiatives that were given the go-ahead in the budget.
Tusz-King said from improvements in aesthetics, to investment in infrastructure, to enhancement of firefighting equipment, upgrading signage and adding new sporting equipment, she was pleased with the way the money was doled out this year.
Man arrested in connection with armed robberies – Sackville RCMP arrested a 29-year-old man earlier this month in connection with two armed robberies that occurred at the same business on Main Street in Sackville over a two-week span.
Jessie Wheaton of Sackville appeared in Moncton Provincial Court on Dec. 11 to face charges in connection with a pair of armed robberies at the Circle K convenience store/Irving gas bar on Nov. 28 and Dec. 10.
In both incidents, a man entered the store, took out a knife, demanded money from the clerk and then left the store.
Sgt. Jamie Graves said the arrest came so quickly after the second robbery, thanks to the public’s cooperation throughout the investigation.
There was a tip that came in that helped with the case,” he said.
Dorchester youth received Atlantic award for volunteer efforts – A local youth was honoured for her outstanding volunteer efforts and resourcefulness in raising funds for an Amherst animal shelter.
Twelve-year-old Danika Fawcett, who has brought in several thousand dollars for the Lillian Albion Animal Shelter over the past six years, was presented with an award from the Atlantic Award Group, a volunteer-based organization that celebrates people across the Maritimes who have made a significant impact on those around them.
“We look for people who are extraordinary,” said Alex Maine, project director for the Atlantic Award Group, during a special ceremony last Friday morning at Dorchester Consolidated School, where Danika is a Grade 7 student.
Polar bear dippers set to kick off New Year – Dorchester’s annual tradition will continue once again this year as dozens of brave souls get set to jump into the frigid waters of Palmer’s Pond for the village’s New Year’s Day polar bear dip. Plans are well under way for this year’s event, which is celebrating 20 years, and organizers are hoping lots of dippers will turn out in support of the annual fundraiser, which is sponsored by the Dorchester Lions Club.
The event has been a ritual in the small village since 1994, when three local residents jumped into the pond on a dare. It has continued ever since, raising funds for a variety of local organizations in that time, including the Bob Edgett’s Boys and Girls’ Club, the Dorchester volunteer fire department, and the local minor baseball association.