PORT HAWKESBURY: The Destination Reeves Street project received an additional boost from the provincial government as it announced funding for projects under the beautification and streetscaping program.
Last Friday at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre, Randy Delorey, Antigonish MLA and the Minister of Health and Wellness, announced funding for $20,000 for the design, fabrication and installation of new signs on Reeves Street which will help direct people to the community’s downtown, waterfront and other amenities.
“This is a really exciting and ambitious project,” Delorey told reporters following the announcement. “There are economic development opportunities, and it promotes physical activity, active transportation, inclusivity and accessibility.”
Delorey echoed Port Hawkesbury Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton’s comments that the Destination Reeves Street project was a true grassroots project fromt the community and council who recognized the value of making the town a destination.
“So when municipalities bring forth their priorities to the province, when there are funding opportunities that align with those priorities, we want to support them,” he said. “Because supporting the municipality is supporting the community.”
Chisholm-Beaton said she is beyond grateful for the wonderful support they’ve received from the Department of Municipal Affairs.
“It’s important because we’re taking our main street, Reeves Street, and we’re transforming it from a throughway to a destination,” she said. “Part of the project is to take traffic-calming measures, so that when people are driving through our town they have more time to look around, they have more time to discover what we have here in Port Hawkesbury.”
Chisholm-Beaton highlighted the beautiful state-of-the-art community park, which features a splash pad, an all-sports court and a beautiful pump-track, which will be well used over the next few months.
“Without proper signage, they will just drive through and not know that wonderful gem is in town.”
In terms of timeline, Chisholm-Beaton indicated people should have been noticing activity happening along the roadside of Reeves Street as they’re beginning to clear out the active transportation trail, which will connect Embree Island and NSCC to the uptown core.
Recent renderings of the street transformation showcase a number of “connector parks” connecting sections of the active transportation system along Reeves Street. Each one will be design differently with items of interest at each location and will act as a space to gather and the plan is to eventually have access to free WiFi at every one.
The connector park between Canadian Tire and KFC will have underlit benches, and a place to charge devices, the one by the Civic Centre will have a bike repair station close by, the one near Old Sydney Road, which is close to a number of young families, will feature children’s furiture, and another by Grants Pond will have a water fountain accessible for dogs.
With a number of façade projects already underway and talking about all the moving parts to the benefits of the project, Chisholm-Beaton suggested looking no further than A1 Pizza.
“They were so excited about Destination Reeves Street that instead of waiting for the ability to participate in the façade program, they decided to go off on their own to launch their own façade and in their first year they increased their profits by 30 per cent,” she said. “So it’s absolutely crucial that we help our businesses to give them an [upper] hand just to beautify the town in a way that we can retain and attract new business to the town.”
Through the beautification and streetscaping program, the province partners with municipalities to fund projects in communities such as landscaping, interpretive and entrance signs, lighting for public spaces and public restrooms.
Across the province, 27 communities will benefit from the $500,000 investment in projects to create more inviting public spaces for citizens and help attract visitors. Additionally in the Strait area, the Municipality of the County of Inverness received $14,750 for Port Hood and $20,500 for Whycocomagh streetscape and beautification projects.