Reason to celebrate

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May I say that there is much to celebrate here in Queens County as the last of the leaves turn colour and drop off the trees?

 

News from The Advance

White Point Beach Lodge had its official opening yesterday. When news came that the main lodge was on fire a year ago, there was a great sense of sadness that something so full of history and such a centre for life in this county was being destroyed. It speaks to the business sense and commitment of owner Bob Risley that the lodge is back, better than ever, and we are grateful for his optimism.

Those with Facebook accounts have been able to watch the new lodge go up before our very eyes, with an intimate and playful account of its construction, virtually day by day. Construction is not yet finished, but enough has been done that the lodge was able to serve as the host lodge for Nova Scotia Music Week, and the newly-renovated cabins were full for the festival.

Part of the success of White Point may be dependent on the re-establishment of the ferry link between Nova Scotia and the United States, and there is reason for hope. The abandonment of that part of our essential transportation network by what was then a neophyte government cost the NDP a lot of support in southwestern Nova Scotia, but current efforts by the government to restore the service with a more sensible ferry should bring people back into the fold.

Nova Scotia Music Week has come and gone, hosted in grand fashion by the people of Queens at the new White Point, in the new Queens Place Emera Centre, at the new Best Western Hotel and the venerable Astor Theatre and Lanes Privateer Inn. Lanes, a favoured destination, is marking its fiftieth year of being in business and the Astor has been around since 1901, and is still a superb venue. At Queens Place the ice surface was transformed into a concert hall, showcasing both the potential and the flexibility of the centre.

Deadlines for this newspaper make it difficult to say much more about Nova Scotia Music Week. The lineup of musicians was stellar; where else could one see and hear the likes of Matt Andersen, the Barra MacNeils, Old Man Luedecke and close to a hundred other musicians all at one time, in one community?

We can celebrate the construction going on in Queens County, with a new middle school becoming a reality and a building program at the hospital. A thriving, vibrant community is making its way out of the gloom caused by the closing of Bowater.

It is good to be able to congratulate the Burseys on the return of Dixie Lee to Liverpool, after two decades. Andrew is opening what will be the only Dixie Lee franchise in Nova Scotia, though there are many in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. The chain was begun in Ontario in the 1960s and has since spread; there are a pair of branches in Guyana where the chicken coating is made spicier to suit the tastes of the people there (being fond of spicy food, I would like to try that).

It is fast food, but tasty fast food, and once in a while everybody needs chicken and chips, or fish and chips, to satisfy those North American cravings. A story in this newspaper described the lengths to which the Liverpool restaurant has gone to provide the kind of cole slaw remembered by people from years gone by, and I will be anxious to try it. For those reluctant to eat fried food, the restaurant will offer a healthy chicken wrap and salads.

We can celebrate the fact that a new microbrewery is coming to Queens County, with the announcement by Hell Bay Brewing Company, in Cherry Hill, that they have chosen Liverpool as the site for their expansion. Hell Bay produces beers like Hell Bay Nut Brown Ale, Harvest Ale, Rooibus Honey Wheat and Vanilla Stout. In order to be called a microbrewery the brewery cannot produce more than 1,500,000 litres of beer each year, which gives it room to grow, though if wildly successful (some of us promise to do our part) it could grow into an even larger operation. You can try their beer at Lanes.

Finally I want to celebrate the outcome of last week's US election, which may signal the beginning of the end of political extremism in Canada. There are a lot of similarities between what the Republicans believe in and what the Harper Conservatives believe in, the big difference being that Harper is a shrewder politician than Mitt Romney. Harper knows exactly where he wants to take Canada and is heading resolutely in that direction, while the case against Romney is that he would say whatever he thought would gain him power.

Like the US right, Harper believes in less government, one of the reasons why he is decimating parts of the public service and underfunding our national parks system. The right believes that knowledge is an obstacle to their accomplishing their agenda, and Harper is cutting back scientists wherever they are funded by government, because they can raise a red flag to unregulated development. The recent removal of most of our lakes and rivers from environmental protection shows that the Conservatives are correct in assuming that if you destroy the opposition to something, you can do what you want.

Republicans and Conservatives alike believe that the most important role for government is to make certain that conditions are favourable for business development. The more moderate position, one that I take, is that business development is absolutely crucial to our well-being, but it must not be at the expense of values that Canadians believe to be important.

There are many other parallels. What was hopeful about the US election is that the ideas of the Republican right have been rejected. Obama received a stronger mandate in terms of states and electoral college votes than did Bush, Clinton, Nixon or Kennedy. His share of the popular vote was narrow but his win was sound. If it can be done in the US, it can be done here.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Music Week, NDP, Queens Place Emera Centre Best Western Hotel Astor Theatre Lanes Privateer Inn Harper Conservatives Bowater North American Hell Bay Brewing Company Republicans

Geographic location: United States, Nova Scotia, White Point Liverpool Queens Dixie Lee Ontario Canada Quebec New Brunswick Guyana Cherry Hill

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Recent comments

  • Allen Fownes
    December 10, 2012 - 15:02

    I attended Premier Dexter's press conference and the Task Force Report on the Abitibi-Bowater-Resolute closure. I appreciated the report which described the resilience of the community and what would be needed going forward, but I had a strange sense of deja-vu. I was reminded of a similar presentation given by the late Jack Dunlop and Jim Sapp who were tasked by the Municipality to do the same thing. Was their report, done at a time of Bowater still being in business, not of any relevance to the current Task Force ? It was not footnoted or referenced in any way. Some years prior to that Linda Hupman, a laudably active Municipal Councillor, now a lawyer in Truro, presented a similar report to a similar audience ! Very little of these reports actually translates into action on the ground, nor should we pin all of our hopes on such reports. I am a parent of three grown children who attended our Liverpool schools, and I am also a graduate of our schools; I studied and became a lawyer who has practiced for 27 years in our community - as one of only a few of my high school class who chose to come back to Liverpool to live and work here, I can say that the platitudes about the resilience of our people in such reports fall flat. For some years prior to the closure of Mersey, we have been feeling acutely the loss of educated people [many from Bowater's middle and upper management and others in our community], who, over the years contributed much time, talent and treasure to the establishment and maintenance of much of what we have taken for granted, we - a beautiful architectural treasure of a town, parks, curling club, ice hockey rink, golf course, our service clubs, the Astor Theatre, our beloved White Point, and now the new White Point, new schools, expansion of Queens General Hospital, and our Queens Place center - we need to appreciate the real meaning of this heritage we have succeeded to, built by our past residents. What will we do to maintain these legacies to our small community - things which for many years allowed Queens to punch above its weight ? Those of us who have been quietly sitting on the sidelines now have to 'step up to the plate', do our bit, whether it is to restore our heritage buildings, build new businesses, build new places to house and entertain our seniors and to educate and stimulate our youth ! Thankfully, there are some wonderfully-dedicated people who have chosen Queens County as their new home, or have decided to return home. But there are 10 times as many who have not and will not be able to do so without specific encouragement. We have to attract people who will invest, participate and live their lives to the fullest HERE. Many of your readers have children who had to move away to earn decent, even superlative livings - livings most of them could not earn right now in Queens - they are contributors to the communities where they live, and we hope when they have made their fortunes they will remember where they came from and come here to live and hopefully to invest part of those fortunes. As parents and people committed to this community, we despair that there is not yet something for our well-educated children to do to support themsekves and our grandchildren here ! It will be a challenge to attract such people back to Queens, especially if the prospects of earning a living seem more dim now than they were before the mill closure. I recommend to Council that it seek to attract professional, technical and information-systems firms, - business software developers, game developers, telecommunications and internet firms - by insisting on the most up to date telecommunications connections, and travel good connections with the City we can compete. The Province as a whole needs to do this, if only out of recognition that the City and Province will not prosper if the outlying areas continue their decline. A healthy hinterland with vibrant small towns with merchant classes, working tradespeople, small and medium business is good for the capital city too! As Halifax grows, why must it be at the expense of small town Nova Scotia - our proximity to the city will be a desirable thing for people wanting to get out of the City on weekends, and for longer terms when they realize all that we have to offer. Some people may choose to locate in a County like ours because of the number of highly qualified doctors, dentists, lawyers, and other trades and professionals - this is important, as having a pretty town and beautiful beaches nearby is not going to be enough to sustain ourselves. The shops and tourist facilities will follow. Shops and restaurants are an important part of a commercial mix, but mainly, they are the icing on a cake. We need to build the cake first with up to date clean industry and commercial enterprises. This is not meant to insult anyone with a good idea for a small, self-sufficient solo business, but rather to encourage us all to think about how important it will be that some people who see our community will wish to come and establish profitable businesses here that will employ some of the other people who live here. I remain cautiously optimistic and will do all I can to continue employment for my staff, pay my substantial property taxes and contribute what time, talent and treasure I am lucky to have as a result of having made this community my home. Allen Fownes www.NovaScotiaLaw.com Liverpool, N.S.