Inverness Family Place looks for council’s help

    PORT HOOD: Inverness Family Place executive director JoAnna LaTulippe-Rochon and staff supervisor Mitch McNutt are asking council to provide funds to help set up a garden in the village of Inverness.

    “What we’d like to do is take a space that’s behind our building on Central Avenue and create an outdoor garden space,” said McNutt. “It would be a fenced area where children could be outside. We’re looking at approximately 25 feet by 50 feet.

    “It’s about healthy active living and reducing that screen time that we’re all prone to. It’s also about learning some lessons on food security, and connecting our children back to food sources.”

    The project will cost about $6,000, and Family Place will foot the bill for half of the amount. Council is being asked to come across with $3,000 to cover the rest of the cost. Some fencing is already in place.

    “Essentially, you’d be looking at the garden beds themselves, a play area, some seating, but the hope is to get the little people up on their feet and maybe the big people that go along too,” McNutt said. “It’s a nice area, and we want to get people on their feet with their hands in the soil.”

    Council’s procedure is to send such requests to the audit committee before making a judgment on what councillors can do, and this request was no exception.

    Councillor Jim Mustard asked McNutt to provide a breakdown of expenses to give a bit of insight. McNutt said he’d have the breakdown sent promptly.

    “We will take it under advisement,” said Warden Betty Ann MacQuarrie. “We will discuss it further at another time.”

    Inverness Family Place has been operating programs in Inverness County since 1995.

    Some of the services offered include prenatal programs, play groups, and a whole variety of parent education programs. In the fiscal year of 2017-18, the group offered 37 programs in Inverness County.

    Best estimates say the group served 581 families during 2017-18. With that, Family Place has three staff working at its Inverness office and five staff working at its Port Hawkesbury office.