A Nova Scotia development company that builds and leases rental properties is buying a large chunk of land in Sackville across from the Ultramar gas station on Cattail Ridge.
The land, extending about 600 feet along Cattail Ridge from the Westmorland vet clinic to Bridge Street, has been cleared of birch trees by its present owner, Percy Best, who is selling most of it to Parsons Investments Ltd. of Kingston, Nova Scotia.
On its website, Parsons Investments says that since 1962, it has been developing rental properties for retail, residential, industrial and commercial tenants “ranging from international corporations to mom and pop shops.” The company also provides rental space for government agencies.
Scott Hearn, a senior executive at Parsons, refused to say how the company plans to develop the land near TransCanada Highway exit 506 until the sale becomes final in about two months.
“Call me back and I’ll talk to you then,” Hearn said recently during a brief telephone conversation.
He would not comment on rumours that Ambulance New Brunswick (ANB) will be moving its Sackville operations to part of the property near the Westmorland Animal Hospital on Robson Avenue.
There are unconfirmed reports that Parsons Investments will build the new ambulance facility and lease it back to ANB.
In response to a query from Warktimes, Paul Cormier, facilities manager for ANB, issued a written statement that reads:
“Ambulance New Brunswick issued a request for proposals and is in the process of evaluating options with our developer. There should be more information on details available in the coming weeks.”
Best predicts jobs
Percy Best says he conducted thorough research on Parsons Investments before selling most of the land to them. (He did retain a fairly large portion, however, on Bridge Street near the old bridge abutment.)
“Any research I did on them, and it was a LOT, shows them to be one of the best, and most honest, down-to-earth developers that we could ever hope for,” Best wrote in an e-mail.
“They will be able to do much more than I could ever do in putting in businesses that will make Sackville proud and create a few more jobs.”
Meantime, Best was among 21 other Sackville residents who attended a workshop Thursday night at Town Hall to exchange ideas about making TransCanada Highway exit 506 more attractive to visitors.
Landscaping and design
In November, Sackville Town Council awarded a $27-thousand contract to Ekistics Planning and Design of Dartmouth to conduct a study of the area around the exit. The landscaping and architectural design firm has been asked to determine what physical improvements would be needed to facilitate economic development at the town’s eastern gateway.
At last night’s workshop, Ekistic planners Rob Leblanc and Matthew Brown gathered ideas from residents ranging from proposals for a grocery, restaurant, bakery and gift centre similar to the Masstown Market near Truro to an enhanced garden linking to an extensive network of walking trails that would use dykes in the area.
Retired Mount Allison music professor Janet Hammock explained her idea for a park honouring the artist Alex Colville who lived and worked in Sackville from the mid-1940s until 1973 when he moved to Wolfville.
“The idea would be that people would actually come into this area which is right by the Tantramar River overlooking the double bridge there where he painted five or six of his most famous paintings,” Hammock said.
She added that Colville’s paintings could be displayed on plaques allowing people to compare the paintings to the actual vistas that inspired him.
“Going out of this park there’d be a big sign which would direct you to other places in town where you could see things like Colville’s studio, the arts wall, the Owens Art Gallery and the Athletic Centre,” Hammock said.
“He’s world famous, so I think we could capitalize on that.”
To tell the planners what you think should happen at exit 506, click here.