Sherbrooke, and the idyllic riverside experience that can be found in the Sherbrooke Village Museum are a step closer to becoming an even more top-notch tourist destination on the Eastern shore.
This is in no small part due to a beautification project for the downtown area has received a windfall of financial support from several levels of government.
That funding includes $25,000 from the provincial government, and $20,000 in federal dollars from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.
This message of this funding was delivered to a room full of residents of Sherbrooke and the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s, Jan. 14, as part of a funding announcement for the Sherbrooke Streetscape Plan.
Lloyd Hines, MLA for Guysborough-Eastern Shore-Tracadie and Central Nova MP Sean Fraser visited the Sherbrooke and Area Volunteer Fire Department hall to announce the funding commitments.
Hines said that by providing money for the Sherbrooke Streetscape Plan, the province is “recognizing the importance of tourism to the Eastern Shore and putting its money where its mouth is.”
Hines noted it is a privilege to live in a province as paradisal as Nova Scotia, but noted work is required to retain workers, and bring them back from away. The tourism industry, and the jobs it can bring to the area, he said, are the way to do that.
“Giving the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s tools to grow is what being a rural MLA is all about,” Hines said.
Mike Mosher, Warden of the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s was enthusiastic, saying he was glad to see anything to help residents enjoy the district, and stay.
“[This funding] will enhance the physical, and emotional experience, and improve the day-to-day experience of Sherbrooke,” Mosher said. “We have so much to offer.”
Fraser described the contributions toward the Streetscape Plan as “continuing support in one of the greatest strengths of the Sherbrooke-Eastern Shore region.”
“There are opportunities in rural Nova Scotia, not just the city,” Fraser said.
Fraser emphasized he wants to see tourism grow in Nova Scotia, after the last two years—which included the Canada 150 celebrations – were “the best for tourism in our history.”
Fraser said he wants to see places like Sherbrooke grow to capitalize on the strong potential Nova Scotia has to continue to attract large amounts of visitor activity.
“We’re creating jobs, for people to stay, and people who’ve left to return,” Fraser added. “This is a step in the right direction.”
While guests, overall, responded positively to the funding announcement, there were as many opinions as there were district residents present at the fire hall that evening.
“It’s great,” said one resident of the district, with nothing more to add, on the way to the door.
Everett Baker was one area resident who found the funding announcement to be a source of great satisfaction, describing the money contributed by ACOA and the province as “absolutely fantastic.”
“It’s wonderful to see all the levels of government working together,” Baker said. “It’s also nice to see money going somewhere other than the big city. I’m looking forward to seeing money come into a rural area for a change.”
A district resident who works in the landscaping industry who didn’t disclose his name to the Casket was also enthusiastic about the contributions, saying, “Any amount is good. It’s good to see a contribution.”
However, his enthusiasm was tempered with curiosity and concern over how the money will be spent.
“It doesn’t seem like that big an amount of money, considering how big a project this is,” he said. “If you’re going to beautify all of Sherbrooke, that’s a lot of work.”
For reference, he noted that “I do $60,000 projects just in people’s backyards alone. Hopefully. it works out well – and maybe we’ll get some work out of it.”
Milton Jordan, another resident of the Sherbrooke area who spoke to the Casket, had similar concerns. Jordan said he wants to see more details about how the money will be spent.
“There aren’t many details. I talked to the CAO, and what I understand is there will be work on sidewalks, general cleanup and some improvement done to the faces of buildings,” Jordan said.
Specifically, Jordan said wants to know if any of that money will be subsidizing new crosswalks in Sherbrooke.
“I’ve been after the MLA for some time about getting a crosswalk from the senior’s housing, across the street to the variety store,” Jordan said, noting that is an area that sees a lot of seniors crossing the street.
“I’m hoping a crosswalk can be part of this plan,” Jordan said. “It should be.”
By the numbers
The ACOA is providing $20,000 to the project, through its Innovative Communities Fund.
The government of Nova Scotia is contributing $25,000 through the Department of Municipal Affairs.
Sherbrooke village is Nova Scotia’s largest living history museum. It attracts an average of 36,000 visitors per year.
Information from ACOA states that the investment “builds on commitments made by the Government of Canada and the four Atlantic provinces, to drive economic growth in the region through the Atlantic Growth Strategy, which supports strategic investments in line with Canada’s Tourism Vision to make Canada a top-ten global tourism destination by 2025.