Parrsboro moving ahead on strategic plan

Andrew Wagstaff
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Nursing home, town hall, sewer expansion among priorities

The way ahead for this town includes a number of goals identified in a strategic plan that is expected to take Parrsboro into 2017 and beyond.

PARRSBORO - Approved by town council last month, the plan is now available online at Parrsboro’s official website, with copies also available at town hall. It lists a number of priorities listed in categories such as economic development and tourism, Glooscap Park, public properties, recreation, sewer, and water utility.

“Essentially, it’s a 1-3-year thing, mostly focusing on the term of this council and a bit beyond,” explained CAO Ray Hickey. “Everything is to be done as soon as it can, but each item is restricted by time, based on what it is. It’s a living document, so it can be changed.”

Many goals fall under economic development and tourism, such as continuation of the projects already being worked on by special projects co-ordinator Taylor Redmond, as well as examining the possibility of creating an “innovative economy market” to allow businesses a place to start up and sell products at a low cost.

Also in that category is a plan to pursue provincial and federal funding to improve entrances to the downtown area, Main Street and the waterfront; work with FORCE (Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy) to capitalize on tidal development; and urge the province to co-operate with private industry to build a “much-needed nursing home in Parrsboro.”

The need for a nursing home or assisted living facility has been a topic of discussion for several years around the council table, according to Mayor Lois Smith.

“We believe it is very much needed, in what form and size, to be determined,” she said. “Again, it’s funding from other partners too.”

There has been talk about expansion at South Cumberland Community Care Centre, which would make sense because of its existing infrastructure and available property, according to the mayor.

Plans for Glooscap Park include adding and renovating campsites, installing new recreation facilities, and constructing a new recreation centre suitable for hosting small events, and featuring proper flush toilets.

The strategic plan also calls for the development and implementation of a plan for several of its public properties, that could see the replacement or renovation of town hall; development of the Scott property to include residential and recreational use; replacement of the library building; explore the possibility of building a town-owned police station to eliminate the current $60,000 rental expense; and relocation of the visitor centre close to the downtown entrance.

“There are issues with a number of our properties, and this is just a commitment to address those issues,” said Hickey. “Town hall is built on a dirt basement, it’s moldy and the roof leaks all the time. We could renovate or look at replacing it. It’s not a commitment to do either, but it is an issue and we can’t just turn a blind eye and let the building fall apart.”

“We haven’t sat down and said we’re doing this, this and this,” said Smith. “We’ve just recognized the fact that we have some issues.”

As for the sewer system, as the Request for Proposals continues to be prepared for a feasibility study to look at sewage treatment options for Parrsboro, Hickey said the same study will look at expanding the system to current unserviced areas of town such as Whitehall Road, Pier Road and Lamb’s Hill Road.

Both the CAO and the mayor agreed there is a need to get the strategic plan out for more discussion with the public, and that opportunity will come either at a council meeting or a venue deemed more appropriate.

Twitter: @ADNandrew

Organizations: Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy, South Cumberland Community Care Centre, Request for Proposals

Geographic location: Parrsboro, Glooscap Park, Whitehall Road Pier Road Hill Road

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