AMHERST – When he arrived on Amherst town council in 2008, Robert Bird had a lot of ideas.
Now that many of those have been implemented – including a new skate park beside the Amherst Stadium – Bird wants to return to council to continue the momentum the town has made in recent years.
“We still have work to do, that’s why I’m running again,” Bird said. “It’s amazing how quickly four years can go by and it’s amazing how long it takes to get things done.”
Bird, a certified financial planner, said Amherst has accomplished much over the past four years including the Centre First Downtown Action Strategy, the Lions skate park, the revitalization of Dickey Park and the creation of the Amherst Youth Town Council.
“The goal is to make Amherst a more attractive place to live, work and do business,” he said. “I think we have done a lot to accomplish that but by no means are we there yet.”
Bird said he would like to see the town do more to promote itself and the assets it has, including a renovated stadium, new schools, the regional hospital and the YMCA. He’s also hoping to see that list of assets grow with a new turf field for soccer and football.
He’s pleased with the creation of the new downtown business advisory committee and hopes to see addition economic development. He also wants to see the town hold the line on taxes so there’s more money for people to spend in the community.
Bird also wants to see the town spend more money to support local contractors as opposed to hiring those from outside the area. He’s hoping for changes to the Atlantic procurement agreement that will allow municipal units such as Amherst to spend more money locally.
While he’s pleased with the new skate park and improvements to Dickey Park, Bird wants to see the creation of a youth drop-in centre.
“Not everyone plays sports in this community. I think we need a place where youth can go and feel comfortable,” Bird said. “It would be a place they could go and just be kids.”