New group RASCALS boosts rural communities

Joy Laking

Joy Laking at Main & Station

Portapique artist Joy Laking was talking about the new community group RASCALS when she visited Parrsboro on Saturday.

During an interview at Main & Station, she said RASCALS stands for Rural Association for Sustainable Communities Along Our Shore. The group formed last month to try to pull together communities from Masstown to Five Islands.

“We have a West Colchester Rural Development Association that’s been in existence for 40 years,” Laking said. “But they haven’t had a public meeting in the last 10 years.

“Our rural area is dying as all rural areas are and there are some of us that just love the area and I think there are small initiatives that we can do to get the people who still live there feeling like they’re in a community.”

Laking mentioned organizing ride shares, roadside cleanups and home drop-ins to help people along the shore get to know each other.

So far, RASCALS has 34 members on its e-mail list, but hopes to attract more, including businesses, when its website is up and running. The website will publish a community calendar of events in the area.

Meantime, its 13-member Facebook group is called Rascals, Our Shore.

Elizabeth Bishop House

Laking says RASCALS is concerned about an issue in Great Village, the sale of the house where Elizabeth Bishop, the famous American-born poet, lived as a child and visited as an adult. The house is listed at $130,000, a fairly steep price, and so far, there are no prospective buyers. Laking hopes the delay in selling will give RASCALS  time to figure out how to keep the house going as an artists’ retreat rather than being sold as a private residence.

Click to listen as Joy Laking sums up the issue in just over a minute:

 Joy Laking bio

Joy Laking has lived in Portapique since 1975. She grew up in Owen Sound, Ontario and graduated from the Fine Arts program at the University of Guelph. (Her mother was a professional artist.)

She moved to Halifax and lived there for three years until her ex-husband got a provincial government job in Debert. They moved to Bass River for a couple of years before buying the property in Portapique where Joy Laking runs her Gallery.

Two of her three adult children live in Nova Scotia. She is married to Jim Wyatt.

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