ANTIGONISH: With the success of one national event in the area, the mayor says there’s no reason they can’t try for similar large sized events in the future.

Antigonish Town and County, along with StFX University, hosted the Special Olympics National Summer Games last summer. During last week’s regular meeting of Antigonish Town Council, councillor Mary Farrell shared a study with the rest of council listing the economic impact of the games at around $8.69 million.

Mayor Laurie Boucher said the impact study is great news for the area.

“Our community has shown itself that we’re able to host events to this magnitude and we’re very excited about that,” she said. “We want to be part of a town and a community, with the county as well, where we can attract events such as the Special Olympics.”

When asked if this will mean the town will aim for more of these large scale events, Boucher said now they showcased the community on a national stage, there is no reason they can’t try again.

“We’re doing this for our community, we’re doing it for the businesses in town,” she said. “StFX too had a big role in this in applying for the games. Without the partnership between the town and county and StFX, that would have never have happened. Once again, it will show you that strong partnerships are better for our community economically.”

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ANTIGONISH: A pair of traffic items popped up at town council last week.

On February 5, the Town of Antigonish issued a press release detailing the contract the town awarded to B.D. Clifton Contracting for the Hawthorne and Main Street intersection upgrades. The project is set to begin in May.

The contract was for $560,115 plus tax. In the release, the town also offered a breakdown of the costs associated with the project: $186,000 is going towards the traffic light system; $175,000 is for asphalt work; $93,000 is for sidewalks; $75,000 is for storm sewer work, and $31,000 is going towards the water utility.

Following last week’s meeting of Antigonish Town Council, Mayor Laurie Boucher said the town wants to be transparent and able to listen to residents, as well as visitors to the community. Boucher said she received a number of communications regarding the project.

“We’re very appreciative when anybody has any kind of input into things that we’re doing,” said Boucher. “We’re firm believers that we want to be transparent and open. We want to be able to listen to our residents and listen to the visitors of our community as well.”

Boucher said she fielded a lot of questions about the intersection. Once people learned what the town is spending the money on, she said they tended to have a better understanding of the overall project.

“People are very involved in the municipality or community and they want to know where their hard earned money is going,” she said.

Boucher said council welcomes anyone who questions town expenditures to approach them to make sure they are responsible with taxpayers’ money.

The item of crosswalk and street lines also came up at council.

During Tuesday’s regular meeting of council, members discussed faded street and parking lines in the area. Two reasons given for the fading were a change in the type of paint used and the length of the winter, with people using studded tires earlier this year.

Cst. Morgan MacPherson, community policing officer with Antigonish RCMP, said police received a number of complaints from pedestrians who tried to cross Main Street from the Acadia Street intersection, particularly in the evening. He said the crosswalk in front of the library also came up as a safety concern, as well as the crosswalk at the corner of Main and Church Streets.

MacPherson said people should assume there is a crosswalk at an intersection between two streets, even if one is not visible. With that said, MacPherson also said pedestrians have to be cautious as well. He suggested pedestrians try and make eye contact with drivers and make sure they know they are there.

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ANTIGONISH: Flooding at a local parking lot continues to be an issue for the town.

The Creighton Lane parking lot experienced flooding on February 16, following heavy rainfall. Following a regular meeting of Antigonish Town council on February 19, Antigonish Mayor Laurie Boucher said the damage wasn’t as bad as the round of flooding that hit the same area last year.

Prior to the parking lot flooding, Boucher said a member of town staff visited the site and things looked fine. After checking on water levels in another part of town, staff returned and the parking lot was flooded.

Boucher said the damage wasn’t as bad this time around though the water did come in just as fast.

“We’re very happy that as far as we know, the five cars that were towed away out of the water were not damaged in anyway so that’s good news,” she said.

The mayor said the town’s budget for items such as flooding and snow is still holding up.

“Of course events like the flood do take a chunk out of it,” she said. “But the snow has been good, we’ve been salting regularly, but because of the dip in the temperatures, we had a little bit of rain lately.”

During the meeting, director of public works for the town, Ken Proctor, said while the winter doesn’t seem as harsh as years past, it did start earlier and it has been long.

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ANTIGONISH: The mayor said she is happy with the creation of a new department for the town.

On February 15, the Town of Antigonish issued a press release announcing the implementation of a new Department of Community Development.

Following the regular monthly meeting of town council on February 19, Antigonish Mayor Laurie Boucher said a couple of departments didn’t have a real home and were reporting to the town’s CAO.

“The idea was to create a new position that was community-based,” said Boucher. “It was deemed that we do need something that has a greater connection to the community so we know what’s going on, be able to leverage more community grants from the province and the feds as well. That’s where the position fits in.”

The town previously investigated the idea of a business improvement district levy. From the information learned through that process, the town decided a community-based department was necessary.

Existing departments now included in Community Development are Recreation and Special Events, Beautification, By-Law Enforcement, Marketing and Communications, and the Antigonish Volunteer Fire Department.

Steve Scannell, will serve as the director of Community Development and as the main point of contact for Protective Services, Eastern District Planning Commission, and the Eastern Strait Regional Enterprise Network.