Sackville birch grove cleared to make way for downtown apartments

Photo taken Fri. June 15 showing removal of birch grove on site of new Lafford bldg.

Contractors working for JN Lafford Realty Inc. began felling birch trees in the heart of downtown Sackville last week to make way for a controversial $6 million apartment  building called “The York” that will cater to tenants over 55.

During an interview, John Lafford said he would have preferred not to cut the trees down.

“Yet they had to go for the building to be there,” he added, while promising to replace every tree.

“If we can’t put every one of them on the site, we’ll plant them anywhere that town council chooses,” Lafford said.

A majority of councillors voted last Monday to rezone part of the former Sackville United Church property at Main and York Streets so that the Laffords can construct a three-storey apartment building with underground parking.

Artist’s drawing showing building with gables and loft spaces at either end. Underground parking entrance is at the left end. (Click to enlarge)

The 35, two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments, will come in a variety of sizes from 1,000 to 1,250 and 1,400 square feet. There will also be two 1,600 square foot units with lofts. Rents for the smaller apartments will range from $1,250 to $1,750 per month with utilities included.

Lafford says the building’s three apartment storeys will be brick, while the first storey underground parking — visible from the Main Street side — will be stone.

He adds he already has a list of people who are interested in renting some of the apartments and that the building should be ready for occupancy next summer.

Petition to save trees

During last week’s town council meeting, Erna Duchemin asked councillors to consider a petition that she, her husband John and a small group of citizens had been taking door to door in downtown Sackville neighbourhoods. (To read the text of the petition, click here.)

Erna Duchemin addressing council on Monday

Duchemin said they obtained 159 signatures from people opposed to the rezoning partly because of the loss of trees and green space in the heart of downtown.

“Many people thanked us for letting them know,” she wrote in an e-mail to Warktimes. “Believe it or not quite a few people were unaware of the rezoning and the proposed development.”

Duchemin also wrote to members of the Mount Allison University Board of Regents who responded that they had confidence in whatever the town would decide.

Her e-mails to Premier Gallant and other provincial officials raising concerns about how possible runoff from the site could affect wetlands in the Waterfowl Park brought no action.

She writes that even though she delivered the petition to town council the Friday before their meeting, none of the councillors asked about the concerns of those who signed it.

“They already had their minds made up,” she writes.

Finally, Duchemin writes that even though the new building is zoned for mixed use, there will be no retail stores on the ground floor because of the underground parking.

“What a loop hole!” she writes. “It is just another apartment building, not really bringing more business to the downtown area. Let’s hope these people who move into the building can support the businesses downtown!”

Posted in Town of Sackville | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Sackville councillors clear way for luxury apartments and repeal of heritage bylaw

Former Mayor Bob Berry

Sackville Town Council has approved a controversial property rezoning to permit construction of a downtown luxury apartment building while taking the first step toward repealing the town’s heritage bylaw.

Those actions came during an often-emotional, three-hour meeting Monday night when the mayor and councillors heard from members of the public and former Mayor Bob Berry who said he had received death threats in connection with the fight over demolition of the Sackville United Church in 2015.

“As mayor of this town,” Berry said, “I’ve been threatened. I had threats to burn my property down. I had threats to go to court. I had threats that I could probably serve in prison or jail over this heritage bylaw,” he added. “If you guys ever got threatened and received letters that you were going to have your house burnt, your family and my wife burnt and threatened my life, then you would be emotional too.”

Berry said the bylaw has been “a pain in the butt in this town for a long time” as he urged councillors to either scrap it or apply the bylaw to every property in town. He added that most people can’t afford to bring properties up to heritage standards.

“The average person in this town is having a hard time just keeping a house going,” he said. To listen to Berry’s unedited comments, click on the link below:

Berry’s comments came during an hour-long public hearing on the proposal to repeal the bylaw that was first passed in 2010 as a measure to preserve the look of heritage properties in two designated conservation areas in downtown Sackville.

Pleas pro and con

Sharon Hicks

Sharon Hicks echoed the concerns of several other speakers who said repealing the heritage bylaw without anything to replace it would leave owners of historic properties free to do as they like.

“If everything is just dumped for now, thinking you might replace it with something later,” she said, “in the meantime, there is no heritage protection whatsoever for anything in town.”

Hicks also expressed concern about how quickly the proposal to repeal the bylaw came forward.

“We’ve been told that it was studied for five or six months, but there was nothing made public until after the decision had been made to scrap it,” she said.

Bruce Robertson, warden of St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Sackville, said he also oversees the Anglican Rectory at the corner of Rectory Lane and Main Street. He added that considerable sums have been spent on both buildings while complying with the requirements of the heritage bylaw.

“I believe I have to indicate to you for the record that this sort of legislation puts already precarious organizations like ours at even greater disadvantage financially and has added considerably to the work of the volunteers who manage these structures,” Robertson said.

He explained that replacing the garage at the Rectory cost an additional $20,000 because of the requirement to create a hayloft “presumably to make the building conform to the style when horses, not cars, moved clergy through the town.”

Robertson said that over a year ago when St. Paul’s spent $80,000 to re-roof its iconic steeple, it could not qualify for a full $10,000 heritage grant because most of the work was considered routine maintenance.

Council votes

Councillor Andrew Black

After the public hearing, councillors gave preliminary approval to a measure, moved by Andrew Black and seconded by Joyce O’Neil, that would repeal the heritage bylaw.

However, only Councillor Bruce Phinney said he would definitely vote for repeal when the matter comes up for final votes at a later meeting. Councillor Joyce O’Neil seemed to be leaning that way too while Councillors Black, Butcher and Mitton said they would weigh comments made during the public hearing before making a decision. (Councillors Bill Evans and Michael Tower were absent from the meeting, while Deputy Mayor Ron Aiken, who owns a heritage property, did not participate in the discussion or voting.)

Lafford rezoning

Earlier in the meeting, council approved granting JN Lafford Realty Inc. the rezoning it sought for part of the former United Church property. The rezoning clears the way for construction of a multiple-unit luxury apartment building for tenants over 55 with underground parking.

Five councillors voted for the rezoning while Councillor Phinney voted against, arguing as he had at a previous meeting, that another building on the site would add to traffic congestion creating unsafe conditions for drivers and pedestrians.

Public opposition

During the question period at the beginning of the meeting, Erna Duchemin had asked councillors to consider a petition she had delivered to them with 159 signatures expressing concern about the loss of trees and green space while suggesting the new building would not attract new business into the downtown area because there are no plans for retail stores on its ground floor.

Others also urged council to deny the rezoning to preserve the look of the downtown.

Councillor Allison Butcher

However, except for Councillor Phinney, all councillors present supported the rezoning partly on the grounds that without it, the Laffords would still be free to remove the trees and construct an apartment building with above-ground parking.

“The reality is that the stands of trees on the site are going to come down one way or another and council does not have the jurisdiction with our laws to stop anyone who owns a piece of property from doing so,” said Councillor Black.

“The birches, losing them will be a loss,” said Councillor Butcher. “I love them too, but as our laws sit now, we can’t dictate to private landowners whether or not they can cut down a tree or a grove of trees. That’s not in our power,” she added.

While Councillor Mitton agreed that the Laffords could remove the trees without the rezoning, she said the project has brought to light gaps in existing policies including the lack of bylaws to preserve trees and green space.

“We are missing something because we don’t have these bylaws,” she said. “We need to fix this for the benefit of the whole town.”

Posted in Sackville United Church, Town of Sackville | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Sackville cuts back on Lorne St. flood control project & considers changes to garbage collection

Drawing shows the one remaining storm water retention pond south of St. James Street. The drawing, provided with the tender package, shows that within the overall pond there are two smaller sediment ponds as well as channels to carry storm water with a central island between the channels

Sackville’s Engineer says the town is scaling back its plans for Phase II of the Lorne Street flood control project.

Dwayne Acton explains the town will not be able to build one of two large, storm water retention ponds within the project’s $2.9 million budget.

Instead, it issued a tender on June 1 for the construction of one pond south of St. James Street along with ditches and concrete culverts under road and rail crossings as well as a new double-gated aboiteau that would be able to discharge more water into the Tantramar River than the present wooden one.

Original plans called for construction of a second large retention pond south of the CN Rail Line behind the community gardens, but Acton says that area is now designated as the possible site of a future pond when money becomes available.

He says after the provincial environmental impact assessment (EIA), the town is being required to do a study of birds in the area and further analysis of the wetlands. It will also be hiring an architect to help with the design of the new aboiteau near the river. To read the results of the EIA review and the conditions for provincial approval of the project, click here.

Drawing shows the route of ditches and pipes under Charles St. and the CN Rail line, then out to new aboiteau

Construction hurdles

A 15-page report from engineers at Stantec Consulting, included as part of the tender package, describes a number of potentially expensive hurdles that will have to be overcome before the project can be completed in the 33-acre (13.4 hectare) area between Lorne Street and the river.

For example, Stantec says specialized equipment will be needed to excavate the retention pond south of St. James because soft clay soils will not support the weight of conventional heavy machinery.

The Stantec report warns that the clay soils in the retention pond area “are anticipated to be highly susceptible to erosion” and it recommends relatively expensive control measures to prevent a natural meandering of the excavated channels. It adds that “if the channel meanders and poses a risk to nearby infrastructure, we anticipate it would be difficult to repair and costly to mobilize equipment until winter conditions are present.”

The consultants warn that installing culverts under the CN Rail line east of Charles Street will be tricky because “soils at the proposed crossing range from very soft to soft.”

They recommend careful, twice-a-day monitoring to ensure the rails do not sink or twist, immediate suspension of the work if they do, notification of CN and implementation of a contingency plan to restore the rails.

After the work under the rails is completed, the consultants call for daily monitoring for the next week and then weekly monitoring for at least five more weeks with the results communicated to CN.

The Stantec report also notes that engineers found near-surface bedrock in several places that may require specialized equipment to remove.

Acton says the town is planning to hold a public meeting soon to outline its plans in more detail and answer questions about the project.

Garbage collection 

Meantime, at their next meeting on Monday, town councillors will be asked to approve changes to garbage collection after the town’s contract with Miller Waste expires at the end of the year. (In 2018, the town is paying the company $246,846 to haul its garbage to the Solid Waste Commission.)

Dwayne Acton said that the Southeast Regional Service Commission (SERSC) has been talking about taking over garbage collection. At the moment, individual municipalities arrange for their own collections and for the last seven years, Sackville has contracted it out to Miller Waste.

Acton said he favours putting out a new tender for only five years with an option to renew for two more to give the town flexibility in case SERSC decides to propose a new system.

Acton said he also favours eliminating the summer special collection for bigger items. He and Treasurer Michael Beal explained that at the moment, the town has three other special collections, one for Christmas trees in January, a spring one in May and a fall one in October.

Beal said the one in the summer is the least used and eliminating it could save up to $5,000.

Beal and Acton noted that SERSC also runs four Eco-Depots each year allowing Sackville residents to drop off special items at the Civic Centre every three months.

Apartment waste

Finally, Acton recommended continuing the practice of not picking up garbage from apartment buildings with more than four units. He said extending town collection to such buildings would cost at least $65,000 a year.

Councillor Allison Butcher pointed out that continuing the policy means that landlords of larger buildings aren’t required to separate the waste into three streams — green, blue and clear — the way homeowners have to do.

Treasurer Beal said SERSC has been increasing fees for unsorted garbage to encourage landlords to adopt a three stream system.

Mayor Higham said he served on the council that brought in the three-bag system and at the time, apartment building landlords argued they had long-term contracts with haulers who did not have the capacity to pick up garbage from three separate bins.

Councillor Megan Mitton said it’s a big problem that so many residents aren’t participating in sorting their garbage, even though some apartment dwellers want to.

“We have big waste problems basically in our society,” she said, “and we aren’t moving fast enough with making people sort their garbage,” she added. “We’re saying that…living in higher density units is a good thing environmentally — and it is — but it sure makes it less ideal if all of their waste goes to a landfill.”

CAO Phil Handrahan said the town is ready to put the garbage collection contract out to tender with the shorter, five-year term and the elimination of the summer special collection. But other changes, such as adding apartment building collection, would require more time, and with the contract about to expire, a new one needs to be in place by the first of next year.

“So, while I appreciate the interest around wanting to sort, I’m not sure that the clock is in our favour at this point for this current contract,” Handrahan added.

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No one’s running the province, N.B. Green leader tells Sackville campaign rally

Green candidate Megan Mitton and leader David Coon outside Cranewood on Thursday

New Brunswick Green Party leader David Coon says serving in the provincial legislature is like taking a cruise and getting an opportunity to go up on the bridge to see who’s steering the boat, only to find it empty and “discovering that everyone’s down in the boiler room playing poker with the high rollers.”

“It’s no wonder we’ve got problems,” he said during an election rally in Sackville on Thursday. “I think like some of you, I too have the feeling that there’s actually no one in charge, there’s really no one running the province.”

Coon outlined a long list of problems including overworked, burned-out hospital nurses, nursing home and home-care workers, and paramedics; ambulances that can take 45 minutes to respond to emergencies as well as long wait times for mental health services.

“The time it takes to get into seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist, if you can find one, is unsafe for many people,” Coon said.

He added that he spoke to the doctors in charge of emergency rooms in Moncton and Fredericton. “They both said the same thing to me, ‘David the waiting times are unsafe for some of our patients.'”

Coon pointed to other gaps: “Child protection, social welfare, affordable housing, it’s system critical,” he said.

“In a sense, there is no one running the province, the province is not being run for our benefit as it should be,” he added.

“From a democratic perspective, we’ve come to a pretty sorry place where the old-line parties are so preoccupied with their own political fortunes and so captured by the special interests of the few that they’ve lost track of the fact that their job is to actually provide good government and as a result, the Liberals and Tories have taken measures that have degraded the quality of our public services.”

Megan Mitton speaking at Cranewood next to photo of Peter Mansbridge look-alike David Coon

Coon was in Sackville to support Megan Mitton, the town councillor who is once again carrying the Green banner in the Memramcook-Tantramar riding for the provincial election on September 24.

In her speech, Mitton highlighted a key theme of the Green campaign, relying more on local, community solutions.

“We need to build a more integrated health care system with decentralized health care programs to complement urgent care facilities,” she said. “We need local delivery and governance, such as through community health care clinics.”

Mitton, who says she has knocked on at least 200 doors so far from Sackville to Memramcook and Port Elgin, also mentioned the importance of buying local food.

“The other day I had the option to buy Belliveau Orchard apples from Memramcook or apples from New Zealand,” she said. “”We need to make sure institutions are buying local and healthy food for our children in schools, patients in hospitals and so on,” she added.

Mitton also called on New Brunswickers to move away from what she called “a scarcity mindset” and a “have-not mentality.”

“We live in a beautiful region with hard-working and creative people, and an abundance of natural resources,” she said. “The key is to manage them responsibly and ensure that the wealth is distributed more fairly.”

Posted in New Brunswick Election 2018, New Brunswick government | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Sackville councillors urged to buy old quarry, but several worry about costs

L-R: Richard Elliot, Peter Manchester, Sandy Burnett

For the fourth time in as many decades, Sackville Town Council is being urged to buy the old Pickard Quarry from Mount Allison University for a nominal sum and turn it into an urban wilderness park.

During their meeting on Monday, councillors heard that more than 80 species of birds visit or nest on the quarry property, 20 kinds of mammals can also be found there along with frogs, turtles, garter snakes and several species of small freshwater fish.

“We feel that it’s an outstanding opportunity for demonstrating this community’s commitment to the conservation of nature,” said Sandy Burnett who was a leading figure in the establishment of the Sackville Waterfowl Park.

“For nearly 30 years, we’ve benefitted from the Waterfowl Park as a showplace that has drawn a great deal of attention and a great deal of reputation for the town,” Burnett said.

“Establishment of the quarry park would add to that particular kind of lustre, thanks basically to the fact that for 40 years, the quarry has been neglected; it’s become a self-sustaining mix of urban wildlife habitats…all in just a few acres in the middle of town.”

Quarry history

Burnett argued that a park could also feature interpretive displays showing how red sandstone from the quarry was used in buildings at Mount Allison as well as in cities such as Saint John, Halifax, Ottawa and Toronto where the Ontario legislative building is made of Sackville’s distinctive stone.

He said the Chignecto Naturalists’ Club, the Tantramar Outdoor Club, the Tantramar Heritage Trust, EOS Eco-Energy and Michael Fox of the Mt. A. department of geography and environment all support turning the quarry into a town park. To read Professor Fox’s letter to council, click here.

Burnett was accompanied by Peter Manchester who has lived near the quarry for 25 years and wildlife biologist Richard Elliot who, along with Kate Bredin, compiled a survey of the species on the former quarry site.

Part of the old Pickard Quarry near the Mt. A. campus

Private fundraising

Peter Manchester told council that many people are using the quarry now as an unofficial park.

“There are people going in there finding it as a meditative space, we want to see that as a focus point of this park,” he said. “The last thing we want to see is a big financial infusion into developing the area. We see it as a natural, beautiful asset now in the state that it’s in.”

Manchester pointed to the network of trails that the Tantramar Outdoor Club has created in the Walker Road reservoir area and said community-based groups could create trails in the quarry park. He added that a non-profit corporation raised money for the Waterfowl Park and it might be possible to set one up for the quarry.

Manchester urged the town to move the project forward by acquiring the quarry from Mt. A.

“We want to see this property secured so it’s not going to find its way into any other use aside from a green space within the heart of town,” he said. “Through town co-operation, community co-operation and other endeavours, we can find the money so it’s not coming from the tax base of Sackville to develop this property.”

Council skeptics

Councillor Andrew Black said that while he thought a quarry park was a “great idea,” he’s concerned about the town having to pay property taxes, maintenance costs and insurance premiums if it buys the property from the university.

“So, I guess the question is, is it worth for us to have it, if it’s going to cost us money?” he asked.

Councillor Bruce Phinney wondered why, if the quarry is such a gem, Mount Allison isn’t applying for government money to develop it or offering to go into partnership with the town. Phinney predicted that Mt. A. would want to send biology students there to study the flora and fauna.

Town drawing showing proposed quarry flood control project with access road (2) and dam (5)

Phinney and other councillors noted that the town has set aside $200,000 in this year’s capital budget for a quarry project that would include not only a park, but also a dam or weir to retain water during heavy rains as a downtown flood prevention measure.

The money was to be used along with a $1 million climate change adaptation grant from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, but the town failed to get the FCM grant.

“I’d like to see the $200,000 go on the roads because we’ve got some terrible roads,” Phinney said.

He added that the town can’t afford the potential liability costs if it acquires the old quarry.

“If anything was ever to happen, we’d probably be sued and then we’d be bankrupt,” he warned.

Councillor Joyce O’Neil suggested that the town should be more concerned about building the dam in the quarry to retain water before it goes ahead with the park. (Town manager Jamie Burke said a dam would cost $225,000.)

Councillor Allison Butcher said that while a quarry park “would be wonderful,” she worries about spending money to acquire and maintain the property when the town had to raise property taxes to balance its budget.

“I think that we should look into the possibility of acquiring the land but, like some other councillors have said, this is not a time for us to be spending,” Butcher said.

“What does it mean for taxes, what does it mean for legal fees, land transfer [taxes], what does it mean moving forward as we have that land?” she asked. “We don’t want to, as my mother would say, buy a pig in a poke.”

Megan Mitton was the only councillor to speak in favour of acquiring the quarry property.

“I would hate to see us miss the opportunity to be able to secure the property,” she said, adding that, as the town continues to apply for grants, a quarry project could meet several goals including adapting to climate change through flood control measures, conserving wildlife and promoting awareness of local history.

“I’m glad that this is before us again and I hope we can move forward with it,” Mitton said.

Posted in Town of Sackville | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

New book will feature 47 ‘amazing people’ of the Tantramar; Helen Beale, George Stanley & others

Helen Beale (1901-1997) appears on the book cover wearing one of her trademark hats

Stories about the legendary Sackville teacher Helen Beale entertained members of the Tantramar Heritage Trust on Wednesday at the historic Anderson Octagonal House on Queens Road.

Helen Beale, the much-loved teacher who imparted English grammar to generations of schoolchildren, is included in the forthcoming book People of the Tantramar by local historian Charlie Scobie.

“We had to have a photo of her wearing one of her nice hats,” Scobie said. “Helen and her sister Jesse, the ladies as they were sometimes called, every spring they would go back to Prince Edward Island to buy their hats for the season.”

Scobie said Helen, known locally as Granny Beale, began teaching in Sackville in 1920 under her maiden name Craise.

“In 1928, she married Herb Beale,” Scobie added, “and immediately lost her job.”

He explained that at the time, female teachers were required to resign when they married.

“However, she was able to resume her teaching when the rules changed, but not until 1955,” Scobie said. “I think she had the last laugh because she didn’t retire from teaching until 1975 when she was 74 years of age and got the New Brunswick Teacher of the Year award when she did.”

Audience member Bill Snowdon remembered that Helen Beale did return temporarily to teaching in 1930 when the kids at the school in Wood Point were so unruly that the teacher quit in mid-year.

“Mrs. Beale came down and took over and long story short, the kids behaved,” Snowdon added as the audience laughed. Later, he said Granny Beale would “go right to the home of the parents of kids who acted up.”

Scobie said that the beloved CBC broadcaster John Fisher (Mr. Canada), who is also in the book, once said that he owed Helen Beale a great deal for teaching him correct English when he was one of her students in the 1920s.

Charlie Scobie outside Anderson Octagonal House

Amazing people

Scobie said his book, which is due to be released in September, tells the stories of 47 “amazing people” who lived and worked in the Tantramar area from the 17th century onward.

” No person who’s still living is featured in this book,” he added. “If you want to get in the book, you have to be dead.”

He explained that each entry will have a picture of the notable person with no more than 850 words of text as well as a photo of something in the community that is linked to that person.

Scobie said the only two federally designated Persons of National Historic Significance from the area are in the book, but stumped many members of the audience when he asked who they were.

Someone guessed George Stanley, designer of the Canadian flag and someone else called out the name of poet Charles G.D. Roberts, but Scobie said that although both are included in his book, they have not been designated as historic persons.

It emerged gradually that the two were Mary Electa Adams, the first principal of the Mount Allison Ladies College who set high standards for the education of women and Grace Annie Lockhart, the first woman in the British Empire to earn a university degree.

Scobie said he has been urging Mount Allison University for years to put up a plaque honouring Adams outside the entrance to the campus chapel opposite the one for Lockhart, but so far, to no avail.

“Mary Electa Adams paved the way for Grace Annie Lockhart and there’s a close historical connection, which you will find when you read the book,” he said as the audience laughed.

 Sales pitch

Scobie said it will cost $10,000 to publish the book. He has raised several thousand dollars so far, but will need up to $6,000 more by mid-July when the book will be printed.

He appealed to members of the public to purchase advance copies for $22.50, a discount from the regular price of $25.00 if the book is ordered before July 31.

To view the online order form, click here.

The book, published by the Tantramar Heritage Trust, will be officially launched on September 21 at the Sackville Town Hall.

To see a complete list of the people included in the book, click here.

Recently installed town statue of George Stanley on Main Street near the Sackville Post Office. The statue was created by Christian Toth

Posted in Mount Allison University, Town of Sackville | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Saltwire announces more cuts as Amherst weekly papers merge

Mark Lever, President of Saltwire (Halifax Chronicle-Herald)

Saltwire, the company that owns most Nova Scotia newspapers, including the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, has announced major cuts at some of the smaller papers it bought just over a year ago from the Quebec-based company Transcontinental Inc.

As part of the changes, the weekly Amherst News and the weekly Citizen-Record will merge to become one weekly paper that will be delivered free to about 12,000 households in Cumberland County bundled with the advertising flyers that Saltwire already distributes.

Saltwire is laying off one reporter and one administrative staffer in Amherst. It means that only two reporters will be left covering local news when the changes take effect on July 1. The first edition of the free Amherst News will be delivered along with the advertising flyers on Wednesday, July 4.

In a message to staff on Wednesday, Saltwire President Mark Lever said the company is responding to dramatic changes in the newspaper business over the last couple of decades.

“Companies of all kinds constantly update their product offering to respond to the preferences of consumers and the marketplace,” Lever wrote. “It doesn’t mean they’re dying, it means they’re alive and dynamic. Product evolution is not an uncommon practice and newspaper media must do the same.”

Ian Scott, chief operating officer at Saltwire, insists the company is still committed to providing local content both in its weekly papers and in the Chronicle-Herald.

“We will maintain the quality and consistency of local coverage on a weekly basis,” Scott said during a telephone interview.

He added that more of the local news content would move to the provincial pages of the Herald.

Saltwire’s other changes include converting the Truro Daily News and The News in New Glasgow from daily papers into weeklies while consolidating the Queens County Advance and the South Shore Breaker into a single community paper.

Scott says there will be a total of five layoffs affecting three administrative staff and two reporters including the one in Amherst.

Earlier optimism

In July 2017, Lever told the Financial Post, he didn’t foresee cuts or layoffs at the 28 publications Saltwire had bought from Transcontinental in April. He said the papers had already been heavily cut.

“There’s still a heartbeat, but the patient is open on the table and in desperate need of a transfusion,” he told reporter Quentin Casey.

“So we’ve added pages to those papers. We’re hiring reporters,” he added.

But now, Ian Scott says it would be “an understatement” to say that the newspaper business is facing a tough economic climate.

After Saltwire’s announcement of the cuts, Frank Cassidy, retired managing editor at the Truro Daily News posted the following comment on Facebook:

“The Truro Daily News, during my 23-year tenure, was the information lifeblood of Colchester County.

We dealt with issues. Editorials were local, poignant and controversial.

The newspaper created change.

The Daily News, under administrations of the past nine years, turned its back on the community and — in return — the community turned its back on it.

It’s that simple…This evening I weep.”

The announcement about cuts at the Amherst papers came a week after the Saltwire-owned Sackville Tribune-Post announced it would be closing its business office to the public and laying off a part-time clerk to save money.

Posted in Amherst | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment