Former Richmond warden, long-time councillor dies

D’ESCOUSSE: A long-time municipal councillor and former warden passed away recently.

Former district 4 councillor, Richmond Warden and Deputy Warden Malcolm Beaton died on February 5 at St. Martha’s Regional Hospital in Antigonish.

Beaton was first elected in 1988 and served the communities of northern Isle Madame until he decided not to re-offer prior to the 2016 municipal election.

Friend and supporter Glenn Bennett of D’Escousse has known Beaton since the early 1980s when he and his wife Martha took over Beaton’s General Store in Poulamon, which they ran for 25 years.

Bennett said his friend was a strong champion of the community, volunteered extensively and always remained positive. The fact Beaton went unchallenged for his council seat on many occasions was a “testament” to what people thought of him.

“He was always good to work with,” Bennett told The Reporter. “He always had the community’s interests at heart.

“We were very fortunate to have him over the years.”

In a Facebook post on February 7, Lennox Passage Yacht Club commodore Ted Poirier described Beaton as a “hands-on” volunteer with the group for many years.

“Malcolm having served on Richmond Municipal Council for almost 30 [years], always provided valuable advice, guidance, and support,” the post read. “His community-minded spirit around the council chamber, led to a partnership between the yacht club and municipality, which not only fostered the multiple projects the club has successfully completed, but continues on as a testament to the man he was.”

According to his obituary, Beaton was instrumental in the start-up of Strait Area Transit where he served as manager. In later years, he worked with the Nova Scotia Association of Health Organizations.

Beaton was a volunteer for Meals on Wheels, as well as youth organizations and served on the boards for: the D’Escousse Civic Improvement Society; VON Antigonish; the Strait-Richmond Hospital; the Arichat branch of the Canadian Cancer Society; the Eastern District Planning Commission; and the Eastern Novability Society.

Former Richmond Warden Steve Sampson described Beaton “as a very humble individual who never wanted to draw attention to himself.”

“He was very careful to weigh all viewpoints before taking a position and he always wanted a resolution that was best for Richmond County,” Sampson recalled. “Behind the scenes, Malcolm worked tirelessly to advance many causes for the northside, however, he always credited the volunteers who were in the trenches and together made the sacrifices and commitments.”

The former warden noted that Beaton believed in community halls as an economic driver to help community groups leverage government funding, and was a strong advocate for their tax exempt status.

“His personality and dedication made him the go-to person for advice and for the residents of D’Escousse, Rocky Bay and district,” Sampson told The Reporter. “He was their shoulder to lean on and we all envied his many acclamations at election time.”

Current district 2 councillor Alvin Martell said he served on council with Beaton for 12 years including Beaton’s time as interim warden near the end of the his final term.

“He was really dedicated to his job as councillor,” Martell noted. “He really took it seriously, and he was really good at dealing with the public on different occasions even when it was controversial.”

Not only was Beaton well known in his district and in the county, Martell said he made a network of provincial and federal contacts as a result of his public and professional lives.

Had he not had to deal with medical and personal issues prior to the last municipal election, Martell said Beaton might have offered for another term. When he ran for election in the newly amalgamated municipal district in 2016, Martell added that Beaton’s former constituents continually sang his praises.

“He was very well liked by the residents that he served,” Martell said. “They had nothing but good things to say about him.

“He really did a good job.”