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
Making physical and community activities a part of our daily lives is very important. One of the ways our government provides support is through investments in the Recreation Facility Development Program. These investments help communities remain connected and vibrant. They are also part of the Culture Action Plan.
This year a total of $1.8 million has been provided across the province to establish new facilities and/or to upgrade existing ones to support that priority. These grants help community groups and not for profit organizations development facilities and increase public participation. A total of 60 projects have received funding.
I am pleased to announce that the Lower Onslow Community Centre is one of the recipients. This Centre is a vital part of the Lower Onslow community. The new investment of $15 000 through the Recreation Facility Development Program will enhance the Community Centre with a new play space that will promote an active lifestyle. Natural play spaces take advantage of our surroundings and encourage and promote outdoor activity.
THE TENDER HAS BEEN CALLED. Safety at the Masstown Market intersection has been a concern for employees, local drivers, tourists and other motorists for a number of years. As the Market expands and attracts more visitors, the issue of traffic flow has become more apparent.
2016 reports show that over one million people stopped at the Masstown Market and I want to congratulate the Jennings’ family for providing quality service and products designed to meet consumers’ demands. With the addition of gas bar, Greco Pizza and Tim Horton’s the number of visitors will continue to grow. A newly planned expansion is now underway and this too will provide additional attractions to the site.
Canadians across the country will mark the 150th Anniversary of Confederation during 2017. As a way to celebrate this special year, the Government of Nova Scotia has created the 150 Forward Fund. The purpose of the Fund is to give Nova Scotians in communities across the province an opportunity to create, promote and participate in local and regional events.
For projects to be considered for funding, the applicants must show how their proposal can highlight their communities and their organization. They should focus on such things as honoring a significant achievement or person(s) over the last 150 years; pay tribute to our diverse cultures, highlight our history, our heritage, our music or our youth. The activities must be held in Nova Scotia and completed by December 31, 2017.
Nova Scotia has its own agency focused on developing the province’s food industry, Perennia Food and Agriculture Inc. Perennia is a not-for-profit agency owned by the province that helps farmers, fishers and food processors develop new crops, enhance their livestock operations, reach new markets with food safety certifications and develop new products. There are many things that make Perennia unique, but a key one is that it has specialists that provide comprehensive solutions from the farm or boat to the marketplace. Its team of close to 40 staff work on special industry development projects.
As conversation in the public continues around the potential of a teachers strike it is important to speak to all Nova Scotians, especially students, parents and teachers and all who will be impacted by such a strike. As a retired teacher I continue to be committed to students in the classroom. It is what motivated me to join the profession and become a classroom teacher. It is what continues to influence the decisions I make as Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development.
It was my great pleasure to help ring in the new year than in the Village of Tatamagouche. I was happy to join community members and others at the New Year’s Levee on January 1, 2017. Something unique and special about this year’s Levee was that the Tatamagouche Fire Brigade and the Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 64 joined forces in the spirit of cooperation and hosted the Levee together. Lots of good food, drinks, friendship and positive attitude filled the room at the Legion. What a great way to wrap up 2016 and welcome 2017.
What better way to kick off the festive season than to join with firefighters, their families and friends at their annual Christmas party. In the last ten years as your MLA, I have enjoyed the Christmas party at the Onslow Belmont Fire Brigade. This year was no different. There are great cooks in the community and the meal is always delicious. There is lots of fun and laughter and a few jokes as Santa distributes gifts to all those attending. Musical entertainment provided by local musicians is also a highlight. But it is the friendship and support between and among all of us there that is truly in keeping with the Christmas spirit.