PORT HAWKESBURY: Just days into a new school year, the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) Strait Area Campus held a ceremony to acknowledge an important community partner.
On September 5, the local campus hosted an event to thank the Town of Port Hawkesbury for its support, including the painting of a rainbow-coloured pride sidewalk this summer, and the addition of an Active Transportation Lane connecting the campus with the town.
“The town has been incredibly supportive of the campus,” Strait Area Campus principal Tom Gunn told The Reporter. “Brenda and the whole council have really tried to connect the college and the town, and all the work we’re doing together. We thought this was fun opportunity to have the mayor over and she’s good to welcome students anyway, and have some cake and celebrate the great relationship.”
One of the reasons the event was during Orientation Week was because few students were around during the summer when the rainbow sidewalks were installed, Gunn explained. He also wanted to bring attention to the new walking trail for students which has decreased the school’s environmental footprint, enhanced the health and safety of students, opened up much needed parking spaces, and is part of the NSCC’s emergency plan.
“The walking trail’s been incredible; students are already using it,” Gunn said. “They’re biking and they’re walking, and we’re just hoping they continue. It’s already helped us a bit with our parking situation.
“We now have a safe connection to the town if all of a sudden we need to evacuate. Everybody knows how jammed it gets if we’re trying to get 800 cars out of here.”
Port Hawkesbury Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton said the improvements to Reeves Street, which include the Active Transportation Lane, have been “30 years in the making.”
“I think it means a tremendous amount,” the mayor said of the thank you. “In the years that I’ve served as a municipal councillor and then as mayor, I see the NSCC as such a tremendous asset to the Town of Port Hawkesbury. Cultivating strong relationships with NSCC is so important and I’m so pleased to be able to play a significant role in having the [Active Transportation] lane installed, and our town council is very pleased is play a significant role, along with all of our other partners that made Destination Reeves Street possible.”
After being approached by the student council of the Strait Area Campus early last spring, the mayor said it was very gratifying to see the pride sidewalks go up this summer.
“It feels great to be able to participate in small acts of inclusivity, like installing rainbow crosswalks,” Chisholm-Beaton stated. “The thank you today to our town council, it was just tremendous and we really appreciate that.”
Along with the new sidewalks and trail, Gunn added that construction on the new residences started more than a month ago. Currently crews from Joneljim Construction are conducting excavation at the site to install the sewer and water lines, while Dora Construction is waiting for them to finish so they can start laying concrete for the foundation.
In the meantime, work continues on installing sidewalks and crosswalks, planting trees, making intersections fully accessible, and repaving along Reeves Street. Chisholm-Beaton added she has received “zero negative feedback” from residents about the extensive work on the town’s main thoroughfare.
“The citizens have been tremendously supportive,” the mayor said. “I’ve only gotten positive feedback that every single day there’s something new installed or something changed and everybody is so excited to see what the end result will be.
“We’re really, really hopeful to have a town that is walkable and welcoming. We’re really trying to head in that direction.”