We are now into the holiday season with Christmas shopping and folks are busy with Christmas baking, craft sales, church services, Christmas concerts and homes and businesses well decorated. All of these activities provide opportunities for us to celebrate with family and friends.
Christmas is also a time for giving. Children are excited and wait in anticipation for the gifts that they will receive on Christmas morning. The happiness and excitement shows in their faces. It is important however, to remember that not all children are fortunate enough to experience this happiness and excitement and many of those children are here in our own communities.
Many of you do take this opportunity to “make” Christmas for the less fortunate. There is nothing more exciting than shopping for a family who you know is in need. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing the appreciation on the faces of those who answer the door when you drop off their gifts.
We often forget that those in need may be our neighbours. One of the strengths of our province and its rural communities, is that people do care for one another. Pause for a moment, think about the folks in your community and make a commitment to make some child’s Christmas morning something positive to remember. The gift may be small, but it may be the only gift that child receives and even though the gift is small, the reward is huge. The sense of satisfaction that you feel in your heart is one not easily forgotten. Your own Christmas morning will be better knowing that you have helped put a smile on the face of some child.
Karen Casey, MLA Colchester North
It is that time of year when many of us are thinking ahead to the winter season and that means among other things, prepare our homes for the cold weather that we can expect. The Heating Assistance Rebate Program (HARP) launched October 15, offers rebates that range from $100 to $200. This helps low income Nova Scotians with the cost of heating their homes. Each winter the program helps thousands of Nova Scotians manage their heating costs. The online application process is easy, fast and convenient and it has helped people get their rebate sooner.
The HARP program is available to Nova Scotians who buy energy to heat their homes with oil, electricity, natural gas, wood, wood pellets, coal, or other heating source. To qualify for the rebate, the income threshold for one-person households is $29 000 and $44 000 for households with more than one person. More than 42 000 people received rebates in 2017.
Community groups in northern Nova Scotia are adding more clean, renewable solar energy to our electricity grid with support from the province. Five organizations in the region have been approved for the solar Electricity for Community Buildings Program through the Department of Energy and Mines.
“This is a pivotal time in Nova Scotia’s push toward our cleaner energy future, and this program offers local groups the chance to participate in, and benefit from, our potential,” said Ms. Casey. “Together we are reducing emissions and building on Nova Scotia’s successes as a leader in fighting climate change.”
We have been hearing a lot about climate change and Nova Scotia’s cleaner energy activities go back more than a decade. Nova Scotians have been clear. Addressing climate change is a priority. Today, we are leaders in addressing climate change by reducing emissions. Over the last decade, no province has reduced its emissions as much as Nova Scotia.
Residents in Northern Nova Scotia will have more ways to walk or cycle to key areas in their communities with support from the province's Sustainable Transportation grant program, Connect2. Sustainable transportation is about driving less and moving more. It means providing more mobility options to more people, and greater connectivity between the places we need to go.
Convenient, safe, clean, and attractive modes for sustainable transportation are key to building vibrant, livable, and low-carbon communities that are suitable for aging populations, young people, newcomers, and small businesses.
As your MLA, I am pleased to provide information regarding an expanded Energy Efficient Program. This program will help more Nova Scotia homeowners with their energy bills, as well as reduce greenhouse gases. This reduction in greenhouse gases will help fight climate change by installing energy efficient upgrades in our homes.
Just recently, Nova Scotia Energy & Mines Minister, Derek Mombourquette, announced energy efficient programs that will now be available for homeowners who heat their homes from oil and other non-electrical sources. Nova Scotia is a national leader in energy efficiency and expanding these programs provides cleaner energy for all Nova Scotians.
With spring turning into summer, the focus on agriculture in Colchester North is obvious. Newly cultivated fields, crops planted and growing, and first cuts of silage remind us that one of the primary resources and industries in our province is making a comeback. It is so encouraging and positive to see farm lands that have been lying fallow for many years are now in active production. I commend those young farmers who see a future in the agriculture sector.
Although blueberry producers have had a recent difficult season, I am also encouraged by those growers who are staying with the product through difficult times. Hundreds of acres are yielding thousands of tons of blueberries. The challenge is to find new markets and our Minister of Agriculture continues to promote the product, both markets locally and in foreign markets, including China. With the uncertainty facing trade with the United States, it is important that we diversify our export markets.
Webster describes destination as “a place to which a person is going”. In the Tourism sector, a destination is a location to which people are attracted and which offers many opportunities and experiences.
Tatamagouche and area has quickly become a destination. Many attractions along the North Shore provide those opportunities for visitors, whether they are from within our province, from other provinces in Canada, or from beyond our borders. From beaches to parks, to markets and museums, to small open farms, there is much to do and learn in the area.
The month of June is graduation time for students all across the province. It is the time for students, parents and teachers to celebrate the accomplishments as another school year draws to a close. It is also the time for the academic and athletic achievements of students in all grades to be acknowledged and celebrated.
For the students in Tatamagouche Elementary and North Colchester High, it marks another significant milestone. In September 2018, Tatamagouche Regional Academy will open for students grade primary – 12. This community has waited many years for this building to become a reality. Students and teachers alike will be filled with both apprehension and excitement when they come together under the administrative leadership of Brian Holmes.