PORT HAWKESBURY: Port Hawkesbury’s Regional Occupation Centre (ROC) Society hosted a grand opening for its newly renovated and expanded facility.
Diana Poirier, executive director of the ROC society, said the community and governmental support for the project has been phenomenal.
“We’re so proud to have it done and our folks are so happy and so proud of coming to work every day,” said Poirier. “It’s heartwarming.”
The expansion included adding 3,400 square feet to the facility. The new ROC store features the baked goods and crafts of the former shop but now also includes second-hand clothing and some products such as soaps and body care items from local artisans.
Last year, the federal government announced $500,000 for a renovation and expansion to the local facility, with the funds going toward a new roof, a wheelchair ramp, flooring throughout the main level, new windows, and kitchen upgrades, as well as the used-clothing store and rental space. The provincial government provided $50,000 in funding while the Municipality of the County of Richmond, the Municipality of the County of Inverness, and the Town of Port Hawkesbury also provided $5,000 each.
Other funding partners also came forward, including Atlantic Windows, who supplied the windows, along with Central Building Supplies. Poirier also said there was community fundraising as well.
“Thank you to each of our members who allow us to be part of their life’s journey and staff who have supported them throughout the transition,” Poirier said during her speech. “Thank you to the board of directors and the committees for their tireless efforts in helping to plan and support this project. Thanks you to each of you for your donation, volunteer time or support of the ROC.”
Cape Breton-Canso MP Rodger Cuzner said the ROC distinguished itself as an exceptional group that provides service in a much-needed area.
“As a government, we believe social enterprise is a positive force and helping people help themselves is a key to success so getting involved through ACOA has benefits on a number of different levels,” said Cuzner. “The organization did a great job. The staff here is exceptional so it was an easy project to support.”
Port Hawkesbury Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton said the renovated facility provides opportunities for ROC clients.
“It also means a tremendous amount to the people who live in the town and the Strait area because it’s another wonderful opportunity to support the ROC Society in a different way,” Chisholm-Beaton said. “The venue is so beautiful, and I think it ups the game here in Port Hawkesbury in terms of where you can shop and how you can support local.”