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.
Polar bear dippers took the plunge – The 2013 Polar Bear Dip at Palmer’s Pond in Dorchester boasted a record 39 participants who chose to ring in the New Year with an icy plunge.
Celebrating its 19th year, the event is sponsored by the Dorchester Lions Club with funds raised going to support the Bob Edgett Boys and Girls Club and other local organizations. The event raised in excess of $1,000.
Town maintained tax rate – Sackville town council gave the green light to its 2013 municipal budget and held the line on the tax rate for the ninth straight year.
Council approved the $9.8 million general operating budget, setting the tax rate at $1.535 per $100 of assessment.
“We had hoped to maintain that so we’re pleased with that,” said Mayor Bob Berry.
Berry said town staff had been working diligently to prepare a general budget that held the line on taxes and still maintained the current level of services and also took into account the priorities of council.
$730,000 transferred to capital reserve fund – The town would have some extra money to play with in its capital reserve fund in 2013 after transferring more than $700,000 into the account from a surplus that was amassed throughout 2012 from various departments.
Town council approved the transfer of $730,000 from the general budget to the municipality’s capital reserve fund so the money would be available for projects in the new year.
Michael Beal, town treasurer and acting CAO, said there were overages in a number of areas from the 2012 budget, including savings in salaries from the lack of a permanent CAO and economic development director for most of the year.
Parents continued to seek answers in son’s disappearance –Mandy Metallic and her family were living a nightmare. Left searching for answers and grieving for a son who hadn’t been heard from in more than a month and a half, Mandy said she was feeling utterly helpless as the days ticked by and there was still no sign of her Chris.
“We’re trying to prepare for the worst . . . hope is getting very thin,” she said.
With the RCMP no longer actively searching for Chris, and no new leads to help with their investigation, Mandy said she wasn’t sure where to turn.
“It scares me that everything’s just going to die down and he’s just going to be another missing person,” said Mandy, who returned to Sackville in early January to bring her younger son back to university and to post some new weather-resistant missing person posters around town.
Chris, a third-year Mount Allison University student, hadn’t been seen or heard from since the early-morning hours of Nov. 25. Family and friends spent 23 straight days looking through marshes, swamps, backyards and dirt roads for any sign of Chris following his disappearance, even after the RCMP and search and rescue workers had called off their ‘official’ search after a week-and-a-half.
Busy year predicted for Sackville – 2012 was an eventful year for Sackville and 2013 was looking to be just as busy.
Mayor Bob Berry said there was plenty ahead for the town in 2013 including changes to municipal governance, filling staff vacancies at town hall, and downtown improvements.
“There are a lot of things we are going to have to look at,” said Berry.
Top on the agenda would be adjusting to the new regional service commission (RSC) model the provincial government began implementing in 2012 and would move forward on in the coming year.
Roadwork topped Dorchester’s priority list – Road repairs were high on the list of priorities for the village of Dorchester in 2013.
“Our streets. We just got approved for our gas tax rebate so we’re looking at phase two (for repairs) for Water Street. We’re also looking at doing the roof of St. Ed’s Hall; we want to get that building completed. Now it’s just the roof and the driveway that needs to be done there . . .” said Dorchester Mayor J.J. Bear.
Bear said another big concern for the village was the implementation of the new regional service commissions in New Brunswick. He said he didn’t see a lot of challenges with regards to the new commissions in the near future; however it was yet to be seen how well this new level of government would work.
Port Elgin’s water system repairs top priority – The village of Port Elgin would continue to focus on repairs to its water and sewage system in 2013.
“Our system is 35 years old now so we’ve been facing some major repairs, particularly to the sewage system. And those repairs are costly,” said Port Elgin mayor Judy Scott.
Two years ago the village began utility upgrades, replacing a sewage lift station located on the Shemogue Road. In 2012, repairs and upgrades were carried out on the lift station on East Main Street and, Scott noted, they would be facing major repairs to the one on Station Street in 2013.
She said the village is also concerned with the problems associated with climate change, namely the threat of flooding conditions such as what occurred in the village and the surrounding coastal areas in early Jan. 2009.
RCMP investigated armed robbery – Members of the Sackville RCMP were seeking the public's assistance with an investigation into a robbery at a local convenience store.
At approximately 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 11, a man entered Sassy's Convenience at 166 Main Street in Sackville, N.B., and demanded cash and cigarettes from the store clerk. He was armed with a knife. No one was injured.
The suspect was identified as being approximately 6' tall with a slim build. He entered the store with his face covered and was wearing a dark-coloured hoodie and blue jeans.
EI changes caused concerns – Many seasonal workers in the Tantramar region were troubled by the latest round of EI reforms brought in by the federal government, changes which would force them to seek out lower-paying jobs further away from home.
Murray Corner resident Brenda Dubé, who has worked at a fish plant in Cap Pele for nearly 30 years, said from her understanding, she will likely be required to actively look for work during her off-season, which is usually about three months each year, or face being cut off from her EI benefits. Dubé questioned where she and her fellow plant workers would find employment when jobs were already so scarce in the area.
And at age 62, she didn’t anticipate job-seeking would be too easy.
Many employers were also concerned over the changes, worried that their seasonal workers would find other jobs during the off-season, rendering them unavailable when the industries – such as fish processing plants, construction jobs, tourism attractions, etc.– start up again.
“There is a concern that if those people find work elsewhere, they’ll be losing a skilled workforce,” said Tantramar MLA Mike Olscamp.
Town hired tourism manager – The town of Sackville hired Ron Kelly Spurles as its new tourism manager.
“I’m very excited to be joining the dedicated town staff and Tourism Advisory Committee to work on increasing Sackville’s tourism profile, as well as working with all of Sackville’s operators and event organizers”, said Kelly Spurles.
The tourism manager position is a one-year term position within the community development, programming and tourism department. Some of the major projects that Kelly Spurles would be working on included the development of a three-year tourism strategy, marketing Sackville as a tourist destination, and operations at the visitor information centre and Sackville Waterfowl Park.
Coach’s contract renewed – Football Mounties head coach Kelly Jeffrey was signed to another four-year term at Mount Allison.
Athletic director Pierre Arsenault said the football program appeared to be on the right path with Jeffrey having served five seasons as head coach.
While the appointment was the decision of Arsenault, he said the Fifth Quarter club executive had concurred with his assessment and would continue to provide strong backing.
Jeffrey said he was pleased with the re-signing, noting he was excited and thankful for the opportunity to continue to improve the program.
“I believe our best years are to come and feel fortunate to be associated with such great students and coaches,” he said.
Seniors development approved – A new seniors housing development in Sackville was given the go-ahead, with town council approving the rezoning request for a three-acre property on Waterfowl Lane in January.
The development is expected to feature three one-storey structures with four two-bedroom units included in each. Each unit will contain about 1,100 square feet of living space, as well as an outdoor patio and single-car garage.
Copp Avenue rezoning proposed – To accommodate parking and green space for a proposed 25-unit apartment building along Bridge Street, a local developer was asking for a neighbouring property on Copp Avenue to be rezoned.
A public hearing was held in January for a rezoning request from D&R Luxury Home Builders, in which the property at 1 Copp Avenue would be switched from its current use as R1 over to R3.
Lori Bickford, director of the Tantramar Planning District Commission, said a 25-unit structure was being proposed for 95 Bridge Street – a property that wasn’t large enough to accommodate both the new apartment building and the parking requirements. So the developer asked that the neighbouring property he owns on Copp Avenue be rezoned for the necessary parking and green space for the development.
Mesheau questioned council’s vision – Town councillor Shawn Mesheau said he was frustrated with what he saw as a lack of direction from the council and called for improved leadership from his fellow colleagues in the coming months.
Mesheau brought forward a number of motions during council’s January meeting in an effort to place a greater emphasis on long-term planning, reviewing municipal services, and improving the annual budgeting process.
None of Mesheau’s motions were approved, however, with his fellow councillors saying they wanted to wait until a new chief administrative officer was in place before putting any new policies or procedures into action.
Mesheau argued council should be pushing ahead despite being short-staffed.
“We, as a council, must stop thinking that the hiring of a CAO will be the catalyst to better things,” he said. “It is us, as a council, that have to be the leaders.”
Town committed funds for downtown –A major facelift of downtown Sackville was being proposed for the summer of 2013. But the much-anticipated makeover would be contingent on federal and provincial funding coming through for the project.
The town announced it would commit a third of the $1-million cost required for the downtown improvements in 2013 – as long as the other partners came on board with their share as well.
“This is a $1-million project the town could do for $350,000, which would be really beneficial for the town,” said Michael Beal, Sackville’s treasurer and acting CAO.
The proposed Bridge Street upgrades include: replacing the aging infrastructure; fixing the broken concrete, curbs and sidewalks; expanding the sidewalk and creating a permanent patio space; and removing the hydro poles and installing lines underground.
Tax rate maintained in Port Elgin – There would be no property tax increase for residents and businesses in the village of Port Elgin in 2013. The rate, $1.3026 for each $100 of assessed property value, remained the same as that of 2012.
However, with all of the repairs that had been undertaken within the village’s sewerage system and more expected in the coming months, residents would see an increase in their utility bills.
“Our water and sewage system is now 35 years old and we’re having to deal with a lot of costly repairs. Over the past couple years it seems to have been ‘fix or repair daily.’ We’ve been doing a lot of work on the sewage lift stations so hopefully we’ll see the end of it soon,” Mayor Judy Scott said.
Regionalization caused concern – Uncertainty continued to plague municipal officials as they questioned the potential impact the newly-established regional service commissions (RSC) might have on their community services.
“There’s a lot of questions still unanswered,” said Mayor Bob Berry. “We really don’t know what’s going to happen with this.”
The province implemented 12 RSCs across New Brunswick on Jan. 1, commissions that took over the operation of the planning commissions and solid waste services of each region. The RSCs are also expected to bring municipalities together to collaborate on recreational, police and EMO services.
Sackville’s mayor said he had attended a number of RSC meetings but there were still a number of concerns as to how the commissions will work and how “everything will fall into place.”
Idle No More movement gained local support – It was a united front brought together for a common cause. 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 to bring attention to several important issues affecting Canadians.
“This movement is not just a First Nations Movement, it’s a people’s movement,” said Brian Francis, a member of the Sikniktuk Mi'kmaq Rights Coalition from Elsipogtog First Nation.
The event, part of the Idle No More Global Day of Action, was in protest of several pieces of federal legislation, including recent changes to Bill C-38 and Bill C-45 – which First Nations groups say threatens their treaty rights and the environment.
These bills had been sparking hundreds of Idle No More grassroots protest actions across the country and Francis said more and more people were joining in because the protection of water, air and land impacts everyone.
Town councillor Bill Evans said he joined in the protest because he wanted to take a stand against Stephen Harper’s agenda, which he said does not reflect the values that Canadians share.
“Decades of environmental protection legislation have been undone,” said Evans of the changes to Bill C-45. “It’s movement in the wrong direction.”
Volunteers conducted search for missing student – The community rallied together on Saturday, Feb. 2 to take part in a volunteer search effort for missing Mount Allison University student Chris Metallic, whose unexplained disappearance from Sackville two months before had left investigators, family members and friends at a loss as to where to turn next.
A search party made up of more than 80 volunteers spent nearly eight hours searching a number of locations around the Sackville area for Metallic.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t find Chris,” said search organizer Amanda Cardinal-Stright. “Nothing was found.”
Cardinal-Stright said about a dozen locations were scouted by the searchers, areas that hadn’t previously been covered by the RCMP or the family’s ongoing searches – including Folkins Drive, Fairfield Road, High Marsh Road, Woodpoint, etc. She said although the search didn’t uncover any new clues, it did show there are plenty of people still willing to help with the efforts and plenty of places to look.
Councillor quit liaison roles – Sackville’s mayor said he was taken aback by a councillor’s decision to withdraw from his committee and liaison duties, less than a year after he was assigned to the roles.
“I’m very disappointed,” said Mayor Bob Berry. “This job requires commitment . . . and you have to find ways to make time.”
Coun. Shawn Mesheau informed the mayor via e-mail in early February that he would no longer be serving on the committees and liaison portfolios he was appointed to last June.
Mesheau said he was finding it challenging to make it to committee or departmental meetings, as he works out of town and usually into the evenings.
Town approved $3M budget – A proposed $1-million upgrade to the Bill Johnstone Memorial Park and a $1-million renewal of Bridge Street were two of the major projects approved in February as part of the 2013 capital budget. Town council gave the green light to the budget, which gave approval for more than $3 million in spending.
Sackville’s treasurer Michael Beal said of the funds budgeted for the 2013 capital projects, $650,000 was anticipated to come from the two other levels of government for the Bridge Street reconstruction, about $400,000 would come out of the town’s general capital fund, $675,000 would come from the municipality’s capital out of revenue, and the remaining ($1.75M) would be borrowed from the Municipal Capital Borrowing Board.
Other large capital projects proposed for 2013 included the replacement of a loader, boardwalk repairs in the Sackville Waterfowl Park, baseball field improvements, computer upgrades at town hall, and completion of a third well at the water treatment plant.
Highway paving projects on tap for summer – More than 12 kilometres of highway in the Tantramar riding would see some upgrades in 2013.
Three projects were earmarked for the region in the summer, including: paving of about eight kilometres of the Trans-Canada Highway, Route 2, from Beech Hill towards the Memramcook exit; two kilometres of resurfacing on Route 106, in the Frosty Hollow area; and two kilometres of paving for Route 16 near Pointe de Bute.
Sackville’s NB Power office shut down – Staff working at Sackville’s NB Power operating centre would soon be relocated to Moncton, a move that troubled the town’s mayor.
“It’s definitely disappointing,” said Bob Berry after hearing the news of the pending closure of the Sackville site.
NB Power announced that, as of June 1, staff at the Sackville and Shediac locations would be moved to Moncton and Bouctouche in a bid to cut costs and to improve productivity.
NB Power representatives insisted there would be no change in the level of service for the Sackville area.
“Shediac and Sackville will remain well-covered and well-protected like every other area of the province,” said Sherry Thomson, NB Power’s vice-president responsible for customer service.
She said the utility was planning to keep two service trucks in both Shediac and Sackville to respond to emergency power outages, with those technicians working out of their homes.
Mayor received Queen’s Jubilee Medal – A longtime local politician was honoured in February for his contribution towards making Sackville a better place.
Mayor Bob Berry was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, a distinction he said he was proud to receive.
“I was really honoured,” he said.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), the national body that represents towns and cities across the country, nominated Berry for the medal. With more than two decades of experience in municipal politics, and “the contributions he has made to his community,” FCM president Karen Leibovici said Mayor Berry was a perfect candidate to be selected for the award.
New pumper truck arrived – Dorchester’s fire department celebrated the arrival of a long-awaited and crucial piece of equipment.
On Friday, Feb. 15, the village’s firefighters gathered at the local department to take possession of their brand new pumper truck. Department members had been carrying out regular fundraising initiatives for several years working towards acquiring the new fire truck, and the village has been putting aside funds on a yearly basis towards the cost of the purchase.
Fire department member Sara Boyce said the community supported the initiative from the start. Boyce said members of the department spent Friday evening and all day Saturday training and loading up the new truck, which replaced their 1986 GMC pumper truck.
Longtime Sackville lawyer, politician dies – Sackville’s Wendell Meldrum, who had a prestigious law and political career in New Brunswick spanning several decades, died on Feb. 13 after a lengthy illness.
Meldrum – who started a law practice in the community in 1948, served as the town solicitor in the early 1960s and then began a remarkable political career under Louis J. Robichaud before moving on to become a provincial court judge – was 88.
Local residents remembered Meldrum as a “strong voice in the cabinet and in the community.”
Wallie Sears, a longtime Sackville Tribune-Post correspondent and a fellow Liberal, said Meldrum will long be remembered for the role he played in “the creation of modern-day New Brunswick.”
While serving in cabinet during the Robichaud years, Meldrum was a motivating force behind the Equal Opportunity Program, a move that revolutionized the province, said Sears.
Wind turbine plagued with problems – Recurrent mechanical failures have prevented a $2-million wind turbine outside of the Dorchester Penitentiary from working properly since it was installed in the village three years ago.
The 600 kW wind turbine has been faced with a number of operational issues on and off since 2009, when the turbine was erected as part of Correctional Service of Canada’s efforts to use renewable energy in the operation of the penitentiary.
Veronique Rioux, a media spokesperson with CSC, said the turbine’s most recent breakdown came in October 2012, “due to a failure of the electrical transformer.”
Rioux said CSC has spent approximately $60,000 for repair and maintenance costs on the turbine, which was performed by an independent contractor. And more work was expected to be required to get the unit up and running again.
“The electrical transformer will need to be repaired so that power can be restored to the wind turbine,” says Rioux.
Village resident and former Dorchester Mayor Mel Goodland said it’s been disheartening to watch as the blades have sat motionless for months at a time.
“It is too bad. They’ve had mechanical problems with it from the beginning,” says Goodland.
Dorchester resident honoured – Dorchester’s Macx MacNichol was honoured for his longtime service to his country and to the Queen.
In a ceremony at Government House in Fredericton on Feb. 15, MacNichol was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, an honour for which he said he is very proud.
“It was definitely a surprise,” he said. “It was so unexpected because I had got the first one (the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002). For me to have been nominated a second time, it was an honour.”
MacNichol, who began a military service career nearly 50 years ago when he joined the regular forces in 1965 as a recruit at Camp Borden and later went on to become a corrections officer at Dorchester Penitentiary until his retirement a few years ago, served as commanding officer for the 681 Tantramar Air Cadet Squadron during the 1980s and early ‘90s. Following that, MacNichol took on the aide-de-camp post for former Lieutenant Governor Marilyn Trenholme Counsell in the late 1990s and has remained in that same role for more than 15 years, under two succeeding lieutenant governors – Hermenegilde Chiasson and Graydon Nicholas.
Proposed rezoning caused concerns – A proposed rezoning request that would have seen a residential property converted into a parking lot area drew concerns from some members of Sackville town council as well as local residents.
Councillors Bill Evans, Shawn Mesheau and Bruce Phinney voiced their opposition to the rezoning request during council’s monthly meeting Feb. 11.
The proposal called for the property at 1 Copp Avenue to be rezoned in order to accommodate parking and green space for a proposed 25-unit apartment building on the neighbouring property.
The councillors said they were worried about the impact a new multi-unit development could have on an already-busy, residential neighbourhood.
“I don’t like the idea of a big box going up there,” said Coun. Evans. “I don’t think we need that building, I don’t think it fits in there.”
Erin Campbell, director of the Campbell Funeral home on Bridge Street, said she also has reservations about the proposed development, noting that it would not only add to the busy traffic area but also negatively impact what is primarily a residential street.
Mansbridge re-appointed as chancellor – Peter Mansbridge was reappointed for a second term as Mount Allison University’s eighth chancellor. The reappointment was endorsed by the university’s board of regents at their meeting on Feb. 15.
“I am honoured to continue in this role at Canada’s number one undergraduate university,” said Mansbridge. “One of the best parts about being chancellor is the opportunity to meet and work with the extraordinary students of Mount Allison University. I am confident that they will continue to make significant contributions and be the leaders of tomorrow in their chosen fields.”
Mount Allison University president Robert Campbell said Mansbridge had served as an exceptional ambassador for Mount Allison since his appointment in 2009.
“He has worked and met with the university’s students, faculty, staff, and alumni on a number of projects and events and helped communicate Mount Allison’s reputation and message of excellence to a wider audience,” said Campbell. “We are thrilled that he will continue in his role as chancellor for another term.”
Three Mt A profs nominated for same ECMA award – Three colleagues within Mount Allison University’s music department were about to go head-to-head for the same prize as they all got set to compete for an East Coast Music Association award.
Music professors David Rogosin, Helen Pridmore and Lynn Johnson were all nominated under the best Classical Recording category for their respective albums.
Rogosin said it was exciting just to be nominated – but on top of that, the opportunity to share that with his co-workers is priceless.
“The music on our CDs is very different,” she said. “So I think for us to each receive a nomination, that’s been great.”
Sackville’s apartment market changing –While a report released in 2012 by a local real estate analyst had shown Sackville’s multi-unit residential market still had plenty of potential, developments throughout the year led to a change in that outlook.
Tim Smith, a senior analyst and researcher with Altus Group, who released his second annual Apartment Market Overview report on Sackville, said vacancy had increased over the past year thanks to a number of new developments, while enrollment at Mount Allison University, which is the main driver in the local market, had only increased by about one percent.
Smith described Sackville’s current situation as being at “somewhat of a tipping point”.
“We’re at five per cent so it’s in between a renters’ market and a landlords’ market.”
In his report, however, Smith noted that a total of 67 new units in four developments were in the works.
“ . . . it is felt that the low vacancy in newer apartments comes mostly at the expense of the older and less centrally located apartments in Sackville.
Merging of Tantramar, Memramcook met with opposition – If there was one thing the voters of Memramcook and Tantramar could not agree on more it was that the two regions should not be merged into one electoral riding, as proposed by the Electoral Boundaries and Representation Commission (EBRC).
The local civic centre meeting room was filled, mostly with residents of the Memramcook Valley, during a public consultation on the proposed new riding, and they rose as one to give standing applause to Sackville Coun. Ron Aiken when he said, "Memramcook has very different interests than ours and amalgamation is not in our best interests."
Speaker after speaker stressed how the concerns, desires and goals of Memramcook and Tantramar are so different.
Dorothy Theriault explained that the riding of Memramcook currently consists of 87 per cent Francophones. If they are forced to join Tantramar, that percentage would drop to lower than 30.
"To meet the needs of the Francophone community we need our own Francophone MLA," Theriault said. "We have a distinct Acadian culture and with us Dieppe is a natural fit."
Renovated Octagonal House unveiled – It was standing room only during the official opening of the Tantramar Heritage Trust’s (THT) latest addition to their small but growing roster of historic properties, the Anderson Octagonal House.
The upstairs of the heritage building, which was moved to its new location adjacent to the Boultenhouse Heritage Centre on Queen’s Road last summer, was filled to capacity, with an overflow of spectators left standing on the staircase and main floor.
Officials from all three levels of government joined members of the THT executive during the ceremony.
Geoff Martin, THT president, the benefit from the Anderson Octagonal House project was widespread.
“This is really the capital legacy project of the 250th anniversary project of the Township of Sackville,” he explained.
Climate change week planned – Area residents were being encouraged to join their community in starting conversations, sharing knowledge, and taking action on climate change.
Sackville was planning Climate Change Awareness Week from March 9-16, a collaborative initiative hosted by groups from all across the community. Events were being kicked off with a public screening of Climate Change in Atlantic Canada at the Vogue and the week would also feature information booths and displays, specials and promotions, workshops and presentations, kids event and more.
Town appointed new CAO – After more than a year-and-a-half without a town manager, Sackville finally had a new Chief Administrative Officer back in place.
Phil Handrahan, a longtime municipal administrator with the city of Charlottetown, was appointed to take on the town’s top post, filling the vacancy left when Eric Mourant was dismissed from the job in September 2011. He would take on the role starting in May.
“He comes to us with a wealth of municipal experience . . . he’s very well qualified. And we feel he’s somebody we can all work with,” said Coun. Margaret Tusz-King, who sat on the hiring committee for the new CAO.
Handrahan was chosen from among several dozen applicants and councillors said they were eager for his arrival.
“I’m looking forward to being able to start tackling some of the issues we haven’t tackled because of a lack of staff,” said Coun. Shawn Mesheau.
Pridmore earned ECMA award – Sackville soprano Helen Pridmore earned another milestone in her musical career – her first East Coast Music Association award.
Pridmore, a music professor at Mount Allison University, received the ECMA award under the best Classical Recording category for the album Between the Shore and the Ships, a CD she collaborated on with former Mount A professor Wesley Ferreira. The album was part of a special project highlighting the historic impact of the Acadian Deportation.
“I am thrilled to have been part of the winning team for this award,” said Pridmore.
Also taking home an ECMA award was Saxophonist Joel Miller, a former native of Sackville, who won the Jazz Recording of the Year award for his album Swim.
Trites headed to CIS/CCA championship – Sackville’s Alex Trites, who was playing second stone on the Acadia curling team, won the right to go to the CIS/CCA championship in Kamloops, BC March 20-24.
Trites was playiing with the Acadia team while studying at Acadia University. This team played at the AUS in Halifax Jan. 25-26 and qualified for the CIS when they beat both the Munn and St Mary’s team. This was Trites’ second time winning the right to play in the CIS championship. Trites’ team attended the CIS in Welland, Ont. in March 2012 and their team finished fourth overall.
Armed robbery at Jean Coutu – Four men ranging in age from 23 to 57 years were arrested on March 14 in connection with an armed robbery at the Jean Coutu Pharmacy in downtown Sackville.
Shortly after 2 p.m., two men entered the pharmacy on Main Street in Sackville and told the pharmacist they were armed with a syringe.
“They produced a needle and claimed there was HIV in the needle,” said Sgt. Jamie Graves of the Sackville RCMP.
The two men demanded staff give them narcotics but fled when the pharmacist refused to do so.
Two Jean Coutu employees, who had become aware of what was transpiring during the incident, chased the suspects down the street. The other two men were believed to have been waiting outside the pharmacy in a getaway car.
Police arrested one of the men a few blocks away. The second suspect was arrested a short time later, along with two other men, in a vehicle that was located in the vicinity.
SMH foundation launched campaign – The Sackville Memorial Hospital Foundation launched its 2013 fundraising campaign in March, urging the community to get behind its latest efforts to acquire new equipment for the hospital’s thriving day surgery program.
The foundation set an ambitious goal of raising $100,000 for this year’s It’s the Way we Operate Campaign, with funds going toward the purchase of a new anaesthesia system for the operating room.
SMHF campaign chair Pat Estabrooks encouraged Tantramar residents to throw their support behind the campaign, saying each new piece of equipment helps to improve the sustainability of the local hospital.
“Your contribution will go a long way toward improving the quality of care for residents in our community who require necessary surgical treatment,” said Estabrooks during the campaign launch.
Residents lobbied against multi-unit development – Dozens of Sackville residents were calling on town council to deny a proposed rezoning request that would see a residential property on Copp Avenue converted into a parking lot area.
A petition with more than three dozen signatures was presented to town council, with residents appealing to them to reject the rezoning in order to prevent the construction of a new 25-unit apartment complex on the neighbouring property at the corner of Copp Avenue and Bridge Street.
The residents said they were concerned over the impact a new multi-unit building would have on the primarily residential neighbourhood.
Vaughan and Marilyn Alward, who live on Bridge Street and signed the petition as well as penning their own separate letter to council pointing out their objections, said the proposed development “conflicts with the residential character of the street,” and would have an effect on property values in that area of town.
Chamber honoured entrepreneurs – Four of Sackville’s female entrepreneurs were honoured by the local business community during the Greater Sackville Chamber of Commerce’s annual general meeting.
April MacKinnon, Nicole Smith, Frances Weldon and Ida Watts were recipients of the chamber’s business awards for 2013, recognizing their achievements and strong community involvement.
The Business of the Year (under 10 employees) award went to April MacKinnon of Anointment Natural Skin Care Inc. The Young Entrepreneur award was presented to Nicole Smith of Eudora Day Spa & Wellness Studio. Awards for Outstanding Contribution were handed to Frances Weldon of Cattail Ridge Family Market and Ida Watts of Splendid Grapes.
A new board was also elected for the chamber.
Adams, Oulton received Jubilee Award – Cynthia Adams of Sackville received the Queen Elizabeth the Second Diamond Jubilee Award for her tireless contribution to adult learning in the greater Sackville area.
Adams, who retired as a public school teacher after 33 years in the system, was only ‘retired’ for a short time when she filled a need for a teacher in the then newly-formed Community Adult Learning Program in Sackville. She has held that position for nearly 20 years.
“What makes Cynthia special is that she is 100 per cent learner focused and sees herself as a broker of services to the adult learner . . . going the extra mile for her students,” said Jerry Hicks, regional adult learning consultant for Community Adult Learning Services. “Her passion is inspiring.”
Meanwhile, a longtime Jolicure resident was honoured for dedicating nearly three decades to the local 4-H program.
Charlotte Oulton was presented with a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of her many years of volunteer work. Oulton said she wasn’t expecting the honour.
“I was in awe,” she said. “It was a surprise.”
RCMP closed Port Elgin detachment – The New Brunswick RCMP decommissioned was getting set to decommission its detachment in Port Elgin, with additional closures planned in Hillsborough and Gagetown.
RCMP assistant commissioner Wayne Lang said the organization is taking a critical look at its infrastructure as part of modernizing the RCMP in New Brunswick.
“Policing is different today than it was 15 or 20 years ago…Modern policing is less reliant on bricks and mortar than ever.”
New Brunswick has 56 RCMP detachments, some 20 to 30 km apart, while Nova Scotia has 37, said Lang.
“The Port Elgin office was not being used regularly and police officers already report to work in Sackville,” said RCMP media relations officer Chantal Farrah.
Port Elgin mayor Judy Scott said she didn’t expect the decommissioning of Port Elgin’s RCMP detachment to have a huge impact.
“They weren’t open for the past few years, anyway…we pretty well saw it coming.”
Jean Coutu robber pleaded guilty – A 29-year-old man from PEI pled guilty to charges of attempted armed robbery and obstruction in relation to an incident at Jean Coutu pharmacy in Sackville on March 14. Clinton Belcher of Summerside entered his plea during a bail hearing in Moncton provincial court on March 20. He was set to be back in court on May 23 for his sentencing hearing.
Bail hearings for the other three suspects involved in the robbery were in the works.
Bridge Street makeover put on hold – The hope of a long-awaited makeover on Bridge Street in the summer of 2013 was slowly fading.
Robert Lyon, chair of Sackville’s downtown revitalization committee and a local business owner, said as spring crept closer and the committee continued to await word from the province on possible funding, the Bridge Street project was looking less and less likely.
“I’m afraid our window to get this done this summer is slowly closing,” said Lyon.
Lyon said the downtown improvement project had already received a funding commitment from the town and the grant applications for ACOA funds also looked promising. But the project hinged on also receiving funding from the provincial government
MLA Mike Olscamp said although the project is a good one, the provincial government simply didn’t have the funds to support it this year.
“There is just no money.”
Vocal group shared stage with Marianas Trench – A group of local high school students got to experience the opportunity of a lifetime as they hit the stage with one of Canada’s favourite rock bands to perform two of the group’s hit songs.
Members of Tantramar Regional High School’s vocal ensemble Chain Reaction won the chance to sing with Marianas Trench at the band’s March 23 concert in Fredericton after auditioning for an online contest.
“It was the best experience of my life. It was amazing, I still can’t believe it happened,” said Grade 11 student Destiny Fournier, one of the seven students who made up the vocal group.
The online contest, in which the students auditioned with a you tube video, offered local choirs an opportunity to win a chance to join the band on stage for two songs – Fallout and Stutter.
Top Mounties honoured – Mount Allison University held its annual Night of the Mounties on March 21 to honour its athletes and their special Mountie Moments over the past season.
Mount Allison athletic director Pierre Arsenault summarized the successes by saying, “The 2012-2013 season produced some tremendous moments for Mountie athletics. Our teams are winning games and accomplishing things that we haven’t done in the past 10 years, and it’s fantastic to see the results that are coming as a result of our renewed commitment to preparation.”
Major awards of the evening were presented to standout swimmer Mitchell Peters, basketball MVP Ben Chisholm, and soccer and hockey all-star Emily Van Diepen. The three were named Mount Allison’s male and female athletes of the year.
TRHS opened new studio space – Local high school students with a passion for music now had their own space to sharpen their skills and hone their talents.
Tantramar Regional High School (TRHS) opened a brand new recording studio, a project that brought much-needed music technology to the students.
Tanya Bostick, music teacher at TRHS, said students at Tantramar would make good use of the new studio space, which would provide hands-on opportunities beyond what they can learn in the classroom.
The studio space became a reality thanks to a $5,300 grant from the Sackville Rotary Club, which allowed the music department to purchase acoustic room treatments, composition software, recording software, a digital interface, and professional mics.
MP said budget offered very little for NB – Finance Minister Jim Flaherty promised to boost job skills training and infrastructure projects in his federal budget but Beausejour MP Dominic LeBlanc said he wasn’t convinced New Brunswick would see much benefit from the Conservatives’ newly-announced programs.
LeBlanc said although the country has a need for a more focused skills training program for its workforce, he questioned whether the new Canada Jobs Grant program – the centerpiece of Flaherty’s budget announcements – would have much value in a province like New Brunswick.
For the Canada Jobs Grant program to work, the funds pitched in by the federal government would have to be matched by both the employer and the provincial government. LeBlanc said with both the province and the private sector having to find the money to kick in, New Brunswick was likely to be left out in the cold.
“It’s not designed for a small regional economy,” he said.
Local man killed in fire – A Sackville man was killed in an early-morning fire on March 27 in Dieppe.
Mike Harborne, a local paramedic who was off-duty at the time the fire broke out at the Dieppe triplex at about 2:30 a.m., was unconscious when firefighters were able to reach him on the upper level of the home and later died as a result of his injuries. Another man who was also visiting the duplex that night was in hospital in critical condition.
"We lost a great paramedic," Ambulance New Brunswick posted on Twitter.
Mesheau called for more input into policing – A Sackville town councillor voiced concerns over what he said was a loss of public input into the performance and priorities of the municipal RCMP.
Coun. Shawn Mesheau said although communication between the local RCMP and council was strong, the mayor and council needed to find ways to seek greater input from the wider community.
Mesheau, the former chair of the now-defunct citizens’ advisory committee on policing prior to his election to council in May of 2012, was pushing council to reinstate a similar committee of council.
Coun. Margaret Tusz-King agreed that the citizens’ advisory committee did play a key role in establishing policing priorities for the community – but now council and the RCMP were working to carry those out.
“I feel like we are responding to the committee’s input,” she says.
Local researchers targeting arsenic poisoning – Armed with a portable x-ray machine and some nail clippings, a Mount Allison University physics professor and his research team were developing a new technique they hoped might be the key to fighting a global health crisis.
Professor David Fleming said his team was working on an approach that could more quickly detect if people have been exposed to arsenic, using x-ray fluorescence technology to analyze fingernail and toenail clippings. It’s a method they hoped to bring to Bangladesh, where the contamination of the drinking water there has led to a health threat for millions of people.
“Through this approach, we hope to make a long-lasting difference in the health of millions,” said Fleming.
Fleming was hoping to get funding for the first stage of the project from Grand Challenges Canada, a federally-funded initiative that supports global public health issues. He was among hundreds of researchers in the running for $100,000 in start-up funding.
Council turned down rezoning request – A proposed rezoning that would have seen a residential property on Copp Avenue converted into a parking lot was shot down by members of town council in a unanimous vote on April 8.
Councillors cited environmental concerns as the main reason behind the rejection – concerns that were mainly associated with the neighbouring property on the corner of Copp and Bridge Street, on which a 25-unit apartment complex was set to be built (hence the need for the parking area).
Councillors said a number of issues had come to light about the Bridge Street property, related to past uses of the site and possible environmental contamination of the property.
Lori Bickford, director with the regional planning commission, said the developer said he would be willing to go through with the necessary environmental assessments, pending approval of the rezoning.
MLA touted benefits of shale gas – Tantramar MLA Mike Olscamp said hydraulic fracturing could play a significant role in reducing New Brunswick’s $11-billion debt load. His comments were made during a public forum on shale gas drilling on April 8.
Olscamp said the government aims to help New Brunswick students, seniors and the poor, with the seismic fracturing plan.
“If I lose my riding over this issue, I will walk away a proud man,” he told the crowd.
He also said the provincial regulations put in place should provide the safeguards required by New Brunswick citizens.
But environmental scientist and Mount Allison professor Brad Walters said the costs and risks involved in shale drilling are potentially huge.
“What we value in this place is quality of life . . . we are going to destroy our tourism.”
Two Sackville men arrested – Two men from Sackville were arrested and charged in connection with a series of break and enters.
RCMP arrested 21-year-old Jonathan Kay and 21-year-old Timothy Lines on April 3 in connection with break and enters that had occurred at three different Sackville businesses earlier in the year.
In January and February, Sackville RCMP had responded to three complaints of break and enters at George’s Roadhouse, Bowser Construction on Lorne Street, and Wheaton’s All-in-One on Industrial Street in Sackville.
Town advised to weigh benefits of video surveillance – Town officials were being advised to proceed carefully as they made their decision into whether to set up video surveillance cameras in their community as a way to curb vandalism and other criminal activity.
Mount Allison University student Emma Jackson, who had completed a research report for town council on the proposed idea of a camera monitoring system, said many factors should be considered before a community proceeds with using surveillance systems as an alternative crime-reduction strategy.
In particular, Jackson said the town will first have to determine whether the potential benefits of a system will outweigh the costs.
“You have to really figure out why it is you want to do this,” she said.
Jackson said perhaps one of the questions council needs to be asking itself is whether the types of crimes the town is hoping to reduce through a CCTV system could be solved by other means.
TRHS curling team captured NBIAA title – Tantramar high school came home with the provincial banner from the NBIAA tournament April 5-7 in Fredericton.
Amber Hicks skipped and her team won all four of her games to give them the title of the mixed champions for NBIAA. They defeated Rothesay High in a hard-fought final to win the tournament.
Hicks and her team curled out of the Sackville Curling Club. Her team consisted of Joe Tower, mate, Julia Hunter, second, Tim Soper, lead, and coach Mike Hicks.
New community program officer hired – Coun. Margaret Tusz-King announced during council’s monthly meeting that a new CPO had finally been selected.
The successful candidate was Emilie Jarvis-Lavoie, who previously worked in the operations-communications centre in Fredericton. She has a varied background with corrections and parole services and would also receive additional training through crime reduction units.
One of the main goals of the CPO was to reach at-risk youth in the community and provide much-needed support for them, their parents and families.
Town rejected offers for former fire station – Members of town council rejected the only two bids on the former fire and police station building, saying they hoped to get a better offer on the property in the future.
Coun. Bill Evans, who sat on a sub-committee to discuss the proposals that came in for the fire/police station through a Request for Expression of Interest (REOI) issued by the town, said two bids were submitted but were turned down due to the “nature of the offers.”
Although Evans didn’t specify as to the reasons behind rejecting the recent bids, he did point out that the property is assessed at half a million dollars and the town needs to consider its options carefully.
“We think we can do better, it’s our obligation to do better,” he said, stating the property would be put up on the market.
Resident questioned spending – A local taxpayer said he was growing increasingly frustrated over what he saw as reckless spending coming out of town hall. Kevin Read, a Sackville businessman and longtime resident, said too much money was being spent on unnecessary projects rather than on much-needed work on roads throughout the community.
“It just doesn’t make sense to me as a taxpayer,” said Read. “You’re putting fluff ahead of the meat and potatoes.”
Read’s comments came after town council approved funds for several projects that were expected to get under way in the summer – including replacing a section of boardwalk in the waterfowl park and upgrading the Bill Johnstone Memorial Park.
Mayor Bob Berry argued that there are many areas of the community, not just roads, that necessitate municipal funds, including improving local parks and tourist attractions
Boardwalk replacement work planned – Work was set to get under way in the summer on a $300,000 project that would see a main section of boardwalk be replaced in the Sackville Waterfowl Park.
“We decided we needed to start rebuilding, that it was time for it to have a facelift,” said Todd Cole, director of parks and recreation facilities for the town.
The boardwalk section (250 m) set to be replaced was the stretch from the Main Street/Anglican Church entrance to the first walking trail. It would be stabilized this time around with helical coils to prevent it from settling.
Farm of the Year award handed out – A second-generation dairy operation in the Port Elgin area was named Farm of the Year by the Chignecto Soil and Crop Improvement Association.
Roga Farm Ltd., owned and operated by Con and Rose Rommens, received the honours during the associations’ annual meeting and awards night.
The pair said that promoting the family farm and the local production of food is important to their family.
Roga Farm comprises 425 acres; 140 acres are used to produce hay or silage; 25 acres in corn annually and 60 acres of pasture land. Their 55 to 60 head of dairy cattle is made up of mainly registered Holsteins, with the several Jerseys.
Sackville gymnast excelled at provincials – In the Nova Scotia Provincial Gymnastics Championships, one 14 year-old girl was representing Sackville, N.B. in the Novice competition.
Level one gymnast Megan Cole finished first in beam and floor, and ranked sixth overall in the province in the Novice 1 division.
Sackville RCMP officer honoured – Sackville RCMP Const. Dan Hilchie was recognized for his community contributions when he received the IODE RCMP Police Community Relations Award at a ceremony in Saint John, N.B.
Each year, the IODE recognizes exemplary community service of an RCMP officer outside of their official police duties. Hilchie was the first RCMP officer from New Brunswick to be recognized in the 13 years the award has been presented.
Hilchie was nominated for his contributions to the Sackville area as the school liaison officer at the Tantramar Regional High School, for volunteering with local sports teams and at community events, and for his commitment to youth. He has also volunteered with Crime Stoppers, spent 10 years as the president of the York Street Children's Centre in Sackville, and has run a babysitting course through the Canada Safety Council for the last decade.
Sustainability committee on hold –Sackville’s sustainability committee came to a standstill after several members, including the chair, stepped down from their posts.
“The committee is currently in a period of flux,” said Ron Aiken, one of three town councillors who served on the committee.
Aiken didn’t give any indication as to why the members had resigned.
David Hunter, the former chair of the committee, said he stepped down mainly because of what he felt was politics getting in the way before projects could even get off the ground.
He said the structure of the committee was not working, with too many filters to go through to get approval to spend their own limited budget.
More charges laid in break & enters – Additional charges were laid against a Sackville man in connection with a series of break and enters.
Twenty-one-year-old Timothy Lines was charged with four counts of break and enter and one count of breach of a court undertaking. Lines had been arrested on April 19, after failing to abide by conditions of being released from custody in connection with four other break and enters in the Sackville area, dating back to January.
The additional charges stemmed from further investigation by the RCMP into a series of residential and commercial break and enters. In all, Lines was charged in connection with eight break and enters.
Port Elgin bans fracking – The village of Port Elgin banned the practice of fracking within its village limits. At its monthly meeting, village council passed a unanimous resolution to prohibit hydraulic fracturing in an effort to protect the future of its clean water supply.
“I made that motion – which was passed unanimously – to ban fracking because we want to protect our water supply and ensure that the village has clean water for everyone in the years to come. We don’t believe fracking is the right thing to do so we passed the resolution before it becomes and issue for the village to deal with,” said Coun. Val MacDermid.
Spring camp looked promising – The Mounties held their spring camp in Moncton the first week of May and head coach Kelly Jeffrey was surprised at how much improvement can take place during the off-season if the players are committed to improving their strength and quickness. The closing scrimmage turned into an exciting event with the defense looking as though it might be about set to launch a new campaign while the team's passing game seems to have found some new stars.
Jeffrey said he was pleased to see the great improvement in some of his returning players.
The assistant coaches were impressed with what they observed, some suggesting the team is light miles ahead of where it was a year ago and even from the end of last season.
Fifty-five young men were put through their paces, including half a dozen rookies, and Jeffrey said there would be up to another 27 newcomers in Sackville in August.
Mount A graduates celebrated – The Mount Allison campus was a busy place on May 13 as family and friends of this year’s graduating class gathered in Sackville to celebrate as their loved ones walked across the stage to receive their degree during the spring Convocation ceremonies.
Mount A bestowed nearly 500 students – one of the largest classes in the university’s history – with either a science, commerce, arts, fine arts or music degree, each of them ready to begin a new chapter of their life.
“None of know what lies ahead in the years to come . . . but I have no doubt that whatever journey we may begin on, each of us will go forward with a determination and a drive that we garnered from our time together in this special place of Sackville, N.B.,” said Class of 2013 valedictorian Katharina Stobbs.
Bernard Richard, former New Brunswick ombudsman and child and youth advocate, encouraged the students to take what they have learned and help to make the ever-changing world a better place. Richard was one of four recipients awarded an honorary degree from Mount Allison.
Property owner troubled by rezoning decision – A local property owner raised concerns over town council’s handling of a rezoning request, saying the decision to turn it down was based on unsubstantiated speculation over the environmental condition of the site.
Richard Baughan said members of town council had not brought forward any legitimate evidence to support their claims that the properties he owns on the corner of Bridge Street and Copp Avenue were potentially contaminated due to the Bridge Street property’s former use as a diesel mechanic operation.
“I’d like to know where they got their information,” said Baughan, who pointed out that he has never known there to be any environmental issues with the properties, which have been in his family for over 50 years.
Baughan freely admitted the site at 95 Bridge Street was once used for diesel mechanic services but he also stressed that the industry is a heavily-regulated one which requires licensing and operates under strict provincial guidelines and regular inspections.
Pedvac awarded more than $110,000 – A hefty grant would enable the Port Elgin District Voluntary Action Council Foundation to enhance the services it provides to residents of the local region. The United Way of Moncton awarded the public service organization $37,500 each year from 2013 – 2015.
Pedvac’s chairperson of its voluntary board of directors Cathy Consentino said the organization is exceptionally appreciative of receiving the funding.
One of the first goals implemented thanks to the funding was to hire an administrative assistant.
“This was one of the first things we needed to do; it gave us strength and a greater platform to work from to accomplish other steps. Now we’re looking at creating a strategic plan…”
Another goal was to expanding Pedvac’s mitten and recycled wool program. The United Way funding would also give the organization the manpower needed to locate other areas of funding for the years ahead.
Live Bait appointed new director – The board of directors of Live Bait Theatre welcomed Lee J. Campbell as the company's new artistic director.
"We've had a busy winter laying the foundation for the coming season and securing the future of professional theatre in Sackville," said board member Jennie Del Motte. "One of the vital components was finding someone to be our new artistic director."
Campbell is an actor, director and teacher who has worked in theatres in every province of the country, with companies large and small and everything in between – from Stratford to Newfoundland's acclaimed Mummer's Troupe.
“I'm really looking forward to tacking the challenges and opportunities of this job," said Campbell.