A thorough presentation on the coordination of promotions and marketing services, by Town of Antigonish special projects co-ordinator Steve Scannell, was a highlight of town council’s regular monthly public meeting Oct. 16.
Scannell’s presentation touched on past efforts, partners involved, a business forum last spring which drummed up ideas, and possible directions going forward, including funding options, amongst other marketing and promotion details covered.
“That was very interesting,” Antigonish Deputy Mayor Willie Cormier said to reporters after the meeting, while praising Scannell’s presentation for covering all the bases.
“And it was really nice to see he has been having some discussions with ESREN [Eastern Strait Regional Enterprise Network] – John Beaton, with the head of the Antigonish Downtown Business Association [Jamie MacDonald] and with the Antigonish Chamber of Commerce; they were all in the room and all seemed to be in agreement on the direction we have to go.
“We know that small towns in Canada, in North America for that matter, are under increasing pressures and you have to address those pressures; so it was nice to see all the participants in the room,” Cormier added.
The deputy mayor said it’s now about digesting what was presented and coming back to council with a more fine-tuned direction.
“They’ll be coming back in early November with some sort of proposal,” he said.
“In order to take action, with most things, you need money and it means raising that money. The direction given; the initial mandate would look at some sort of Business Improvement District commission, but there are a lot of layers to that, whether it’s a tiered system, what areas are included, so they [business organization leaders] will be consulting with their people. They’ll put together a package, consulting with the business community, and if everything goes well, it could be operating in the next fiscal year. But it will be up to the business community if that’s what it wants.”
Cormier said just seeing the cooperation already developed, is “a positive development.”
“The great thing is they are all working together from the start, so there are no miscommunications.”
With provincial news of the day talking about some Dalhousie University homecoming celebrations getting out of hand, Cormier was asked about feedback the town may have received from St. F.X.’s Homecoming weekend, which took place Sept. 29 to Oct. 1.
“I don’t think we had it to the extent of Dalhousie, where there were streets and total areas shut down, but we had some concerns, issues,” Cormier said, noting a meeting between the town’s CAO, university officials and RCMP is in the works to discuss concerns.
“I think we have to work with the university but some of those behaviours people have seen are just unacceptable and, in the long run, it’s not good for these younger adults,” he added.
“We have work to do; the university, landlords, RCMP, we have to work together. And with the students, the student union is on a number of our committees; they’re on our planning committee, our police and licensing committee, we work with them and we’re all in this together and have to move forward together.”
Cormier was asked about one bad weekend detracting/dispelling from good work accomplished.
“I don’t think it dispels all the good work,” he said. “There are a lot of very positives but that’s a negative and, in the long run, it’s in nobody’s interest to be staggering around drunk.”
It was noted, during the ‘new business’ segment of the meeting’s agenda, Alternative Resource Energy Authority (AREA), the partnership the town in involved with on a windmill farm in Ellershouse, Nova Scotia, is receiving the 2017 Union of Nova Scotia Climate Change Leaders’ Award.
“A lot of people don’t realize we have seven operational, large windmills now in Ellershouse and, by the end of November, we’ll have 10,” Cormier said.
“So 40 per cent of the electrons consumed within the Town of Antigonish is renewable energy, from those windmills. We put them on the grid and take them off in Antigonish and if you combine that with the remaining 60 per cent we buy from Nova Scotia Power, who has a renewable target of 30 per cent, the electrons the town is using, 60 per cent of them are renewable. That’s why we’re getting the award; there would be no other or city in Canada who could come near that.
“I think our previous mayor, Carl Chisholm, deserves a lot of credit for really pushing the envelope on that and getting as much potential from that as possible,” he added.