ANTIGONISH, N.S. - It was a full agenda for Antigonish Town Council during their first regular monthly public meeting, after a one-month break in August.
Amongst the topics discussed was the town’s contribution to the proposed new farmer’s market building, on the exhibition grounds off James Street.
“During our budget deliberations we did discuss the farmers’ market and the benefits it brings to our community, the economic spinoffs, the incubation for smaller businesses; we thought everything was a plus,” Mayor Laurie Boucher said to reporters following the meeting.
“They are working very hard on their funding and they need support from all levels of government, and it was decided during deliberations we would contribute $150,000 towards the farmer’s market. Of course that’s contingent on them getting the rest of their funding.”
When discussing the project during the meeting, Councillor Andrew Murray asked if a note could be sent to the committee working towards the construction of the building regarding acoustics. Council agreed they would ask the committee to consider that aspect of their building.
“Councillor Murray just wants to get the most benefit out of the building; he is thinking this could be a venue for concerts and such,” Boucher said, summarizing the discussion. “He is concerned about the acoustics in there and was wondering if they would take into consideration that the acoustics are good for music, concerts, and such.”
A couple of agenda items were listed separately but, in essence, are connected.
Town special projects co-ordinator Stephen Scannell gave council a quick update on the Engage Antigonish progress, including a letter by Boucher, which appeared in The Talk of the Town and spoke to work being done coming from the Engage sessions earlier in the year.
Scannell’s presentation and the discussion which accompanied it, was followed by Boucher reading a proclamation that the town was recognizing Sept. 24 to 30 as Right to Know Week.
The mayor said the timing was “ironic” and appropriate.
“When we came into the beginning of our term, we were determined to be very transparent and accountable to our constituents and the Engage process was part of that accountability,” she said.
“We want to make sure we’re continuing to communicate with our citizens, that we’re hearing them and there is actual outcomes to what they’ve suggested … we’re listening to them.”
She talked about the Engage letter.
“It’s just an update on where we are with Engage; what we’ve accomplished so far but also what we’re doing in the future,” she said. “When we look back and take stock of what we did accomplish, our council is very proud of what we have accomplished to date.”
Boucher said both the letter and proclamation will, eventually, be on the town’s website (townofantigonish.ca).
Island for intersection
Town discussed the construction of a traffic island, for the Main, Hawthorne and West streets intersection, being held off from being done this year to next spring, after St. F.X. convocation and before the Antigonish Highland Games.
Boucher said staff made the right decision for businesses in the immediate area to hold off on the work during a busy summer in the downtown, which not only included the annual events, like the Highland Games, but also the Special Olympic Summer Games coming to Antigonish.
“There was only a little bit of time there it could be done,” she said.
“We took that into consideration and conferred with the engineer and decided that we would try to do it in a time period that would be less of an interruption for businesses in the area. We want the businesses to know we have their best interests in mind, consider everything we can do to help them grow; but taking that into consideration, you still have to have a little bit of disruption for progress.”
The progress in this case is the island more clearly indicating the right-of-way for the intersection is the West and Hawthorne connection, not Main Street as it may appear to some. Boucher it’s an issue that causes confusion for, mostly, visitors to the area and, in-turn, impacts the safety for all using the intersection.
“It’s hard to know that the straight away is actually coming down by West Street and going up Hawthorne,” she said. “Most people think it’s natural to keep coming down West and going on to Main, but that’s not the case.”