Page 4 - Pioneer - 14th Edition Fall 2017
P. 4

The history of a good idea

          Dedicated community involvement and a strong       An application for funding was completed on the   4.  To beautify the village area
        generational connection to the water - at Cape John,   basis of:                                     5.  To provide seasonal employment
        the bay and the river, led Ray Thompson to embark on  •   commercial, culture and entertainment
        a 30-year journey, until his untimely death, in 1997.   •   improvement of Bissell Park                 The local Lions Club was interested in building
        Our father’s mission was to create a waterfront park,   •   water access and utilization             a floating dock, next to Bissell Park, so that boaters
        which would be accessible for small water craft – mo-                                                could attend the barbecues that are held annually.
        torboats, sailboats, canoes and kayaks.              July, 1995 - A request for Capital Assistance was
                                                           made by the Sunrise Trail Community Development     The cost, in 1996, was $100,000.00, broken down
          Dad started the research for the waterfront develop-  Committee. The Nova Scotia Facility Development   as:
        ment, in 1967 - 50 years ago. There were three major   Department was contacted regarding the Waterfront   •   $20,000 – floating docks
        objectives:                                        Development Project in order to access capital as-  •   $40,000 – groundwork/landscaping
        1.  Water access                                                                                       •   $40,000 – retaining wall
        2.  Village enhancement                              Dad and I met with the Regional Representative for   It simply wasn’t the time - 30, 40, 50 years ago;
        3.  Job creation                                   Highland, the late Gary Boone, to inform and lobby   however, NOW it is!
                                                           the department for financial assistance. Questions
           March, 1974 - Voluntary Planning Department in   were addressed and answered and the required docu-  The residents of the community of River John and
        Halifax directed contact to the federal government and   ments were supplied.                        area have created a developed waterfront park to be
        the regional Tourism Director with regard to a wharf                                                 proud of!
        or marina project in River John.                     1996 - The sewer system project was completed,
                                                           which would be a positive addition to the waterfront   Congratulations, to each individual who has made it
           June, 1990 - application was made to the Depart-  development project application for funding.    possible! Thank you!
        ment of Lands and Forests on behalf of the River John
        and Area Recreation and Development Association to   Community meetings were held and residents were                            --Linda Thompson Reid
        acquire an access permit.                          supportive. The following were listed as possible
                                                           spin-offs of the proposed waterfront development:
           October 30, 1990 - Permission was granted to pro-  •   Festivals
        ceed with the project. The limitations stated that the   •   Skating, during the winter
        retaining wall could not be extended under the bridge   •   Rescue – summer and winter                       Book Review
        and the Department of Transportation and Communi-  •   Kayak and canoe rentals
        cations would not be responsible for any cost.     •   Bike rentals                                        Looking for Bootstraps
                                                           •   Courier, taxi service
           May, 1991 - An application by the River John and                                                  Savoie, Donald. Looking for Bootstraps, Donald
        Area Recreation Association to the Municipality of   •   Seasonal employment                         Savoie, Halifax: Nimbus Publishing, 2017, 428 pages,
        Pictou County was approved for the expansion of      Benefits for the community of River John were   ISBN 978-1-77108-481-9, available at the River John
        Anna Sutherland Bissell Memorial Park.             listed, under the following headings:             library
           August, 1991 - A permit was issued by the Depart-  •   Social                                       The Maritime provinces are in the middle of two
        ment of the Environment authorizing the construction   •   Economic                                  of the world’s leading economic hot spots - Western
        of the retaining wall. The start date was June 1, 1991   •   Recreational                            Europe and the eastern seaboard of the US. Why has
        ending on September 15, 1992.                      •   Commercial, culture and heritage              economic development skipped over our region?

           September, 1991 - CBCL Limited, Consulting        The wording of the waterfront development project,   This is the question addressed by Donald Savoie in
        Engineers, were contacted and expressed great interest   in 1996:                                    his latest book, Looking for Bootstraps.
        in the waterfront development and offered to assist
        in the approval process required by the necessary   1.  To build a retaining wall or an abutment to the   Donald Savoie is a Canadian university professor
        government departments. At this time, the Economic     edge of the river, so that erosion can be halted  with expertise in public administration and regional
        Renewal Agency funded the provincial Waterfront    2.  To enable Bissell park to be enlarged         economic development. He has authored some 45
        Development Program.                               3.  To provide access to water for the River John   books and has acted as governmental advisor both in
                                                               Voluntary Fire Department                     Canada and abroad. He is an Officer of the Order of
                                                                                                             Canada, an Acadian, and a proud Maritimer.
                                                                                                               The book takes the reader back to why the Mari-
                                                                                                             times joined Confederation in the first place - and
                                                                                                             offers up facts that might come as a surprise to many.
                                                                                                               Historically, Confederation has played against the
                                                                                                             Maritimes to the benefit of Central Canada. Nova
                                                                                                             Scotia once even tried in vain to pull out of Confed-

                                                                                                               Savoie deftly explains the evolution of economic
                                                                                                             development in Canada, notably in the Maritimes,
                                                                                                             and offers a plausible explanation as to why we are a
                                                                                                             have-not region.

                                                                                                               Today, we have the highest percentage of seniors
                                                                                                             in the country. We can’t afford to maintain the status
                                                                                                             quo if we are to pay for healthcare, education and
                                                                                                             other crucial services with our current sources of rev-
                                                                                                             enue. Savoie presents numerous plausible options for
                                                                                                             growing our regional economy.

                                                                                                               He explains how globalization has become a serious
                                                                                                             game-changer in the Canadian economic picture and
                                                                                                             shows that there is now a new opportunity-rich market
                                                                                                             open to the Maritimes. But Maritime-increased inter-
                                                                                                             provincial collaboration is crucial.

                                                                                                               Politics and policy control our daily lives and
                                                                                                             our wellbeing whether we like it or not. This book
                                                                                                             provides a general understanding of how it all fits
                                                                                                             together so we can encourage change to happen in the
                                                                                                             right direction. A good read!

                                                                                                  Reviewed by: Joan MacKeigan

                                      Tel: 902-351-2922
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