ANTIGONISH: County council passed its capital plan for the upcoming year while they and the town prepare their spring budgets.

Antigonish Municipal Council passed its capital plan for 2019/2020 during a regular monthly meeting last week. The budget for this year’s spending plan is $2,032,723.

Warden Owen McCarron said the big ticket items in the budget include: the North Grant water project, for which they are hoping to enter into cost-sharing with the federal and provincial governments; an expansion to the municipal office parking lot; and a water looping project between Church Street and Beech Hill Road to improve reliability and pressure.

As for a budget, McCarron said they hope to have the budget struck by the May council meeting.

The county receives a lot of requests, said McCarron, and they want to make sure each is evaluated and receives the consideration it deserves. The warden said they are hopeful the tax rates will remain consistent with the past year.

In the meantime, Antigonish Mayor Laurie Boucher said the town is about a month away from dropping its budget.

Boucher said she is hoping staff can bring something to council by the end of April and finish it by mid-May. Boucher said there isn’t any news in terms of what the budget or tax rates will look like, but as always, they will aim to deliver the same or better service as the past year with a minimal effect on taxes.

ANTIGONISH: Antigonish County is hoping the province’s transportation department will take a look at a local road.

Municipal council is asking the province for a traffic study on Route 337, the route past St. Martha’s Regional Hospital, towards Cape George.

Warden Owen McCarron said the issue of speeding and traffic congestion in the area was brought up in the past.

“We’re asking transportation to look at a study to get an idea of the speeds and maybe they can look at some areas where they can reduce the speed zone, maybe push a slower speed zone a little father out the 337 to try to slow the traffic down because as you pop over the hill toward the hospital, there’s a lot of congestion and a lot of traffic there,” said McCarron.

ANTIGONISH: Town council says everything is still on schedule for the proposed Hawthorne and Main Street upgrades.

The work is set to begin next month and Antigonish Mayor Laurie Boucher said they are still looking at having the work completed by the end of June.

Town council awarded the contract to B.D. Clifton Contracting at a price tag of $560,115, plus tax. The project is set to include new traffic lights; lane widening that will accommodate tractor-trailers; service upgrades, including a new fire hydrant in front of Whidden’s Campground; a new traffic island; new sidewalk; shorter cross-walks; raised curb work; and asphalt servicing.

Everything is ordered and they are looking at delivery times, said Boucher. While Boucher said challenges like inclement weather could arise, they are hoping to everything done in time for the annual Highland Games, part of which includes the annual street fair. The street fair this year is being organized by the backers of the Antigonish Art Fair.

Boucher said council appreciates the art fair team stepping up to take on the street fair, adding she knows they are very busy already. She pointed to the work put into the art fair, which is well known and established within the area.

She also pointed to the importance such events, and others like Festival Antigonish, have for the whole community.