Sackville Town Council approves a big change for the Sports Wall of Fame

1989 inductees into Sackville’s Sports Wall of Fame

Sackville Town Council has approved a major change to the Sports of Wall of Fame (SWOF) housed in the foyer of the Tantramar Veterans Memorial Civic Centre.

At their meeting on Tuesday, a majority of councillors voted to approve revising the SWOF board of governors’ guidelines to permit the replacement of the 13 x 18 inch framed charcoal drawings that appear on the wall now with plaques that will measure approximately 8 x 10 inches.

The change would reverse the present system under which SWOF inductees receive a plaque in recognition of their achievements and contributions to sports while the town displays a charcoal drawing at the Civic Centre.

Matt Pryde, Sackville’s director of recreation programs and events, told council at an earlier meeting on October 7th that the SWOF board was recommending the change because space is running out on the wall at the Civic Centre.

“The last three inductees from last year are kind of around a corner and hidden a little bit,” Pryde said, adding that the SWOF board was recommending replacing the charcoal drawings with smaller plaques.

“We’ll have to discuss exactly how we want to display those, if it would all be on one wall or spread out over a similar display as what we currently have,” Pryde said.

“But it would take up a lot less space and give us several years’ worth of room to be able to continue to add to the Sports Wall.”

$6,000 project

Pryde, who acts as a staff advisor to the SWOF board, said the existing drawings would be given to inductees, their families or other appropriate people and that it would cost about $6,000 to replace the present drawings with plaques.

He said that would be much cheaper than building a larger display for the drawings similar to the Sackville Arts Wall or the brick structure in Moncton that houses plaques.

“We did talk about a few different things, but something like that would be a $30,000 project,” Pryde added.

“We feel that with a small [$6,000] operational increase for the year that we could actually make a pretty nice looking display with a title naming what it is people are looking at — the Sackville Sports Wall of Fame — and make it look pretty good without breaking the bank.”

Some opponents speak out

At town council’s meeting on Tuesday, Councillor Shawn Mesheau noted he had heard from people who wanted to keep the charcoal drawings.

“There’s been comments about what about saving space with a digital presentation,” he said.

Senior town manager Jamie Burke said he had also noticed comments on Facebook and had received several e-mails about the change, but he added that the new plaques haven’t been designed yet, and they could include an image of SWOF inductees.

Burke agreed with Mesheau that there is still enough wall space for another year or two, but, he said, the SWOF board recognized that a change had to be made for the wall to continue.

When Mesheau suggested he was reluctant to vote for a change without seeing it first, Councillor Bill Evans said council was simply being asked to authorize doing things differently by saving wall space with smaller plaques.

“The nature of those plaques has yet to be determined,” Evans added. “We will have to think it’s better or we won’t vote to do it.”

Councillors Allison Butcher and Michael Tower agreed.

However, Councillor Andrew Black noted that the SWOF board’s recommendation for a 8 x 10 inch plaque was very specific.

In the end, only Black and Mesheau voted against Councillor Joyce O’Neil’s motion which read: “I move that council approve the changes to the Sackville Sports Wall of Fame governance guidelines as presented at the Special Meeting of Council on October the 7th, 2019.”

To read the revised governance guideline that council approved, click here.

Posted in Town of Sackville | Tagged | 3 Comments

Video surveillance cameras on Sackville streets? Maybe, maybe not

Ultramar co-owner Wendy Alder

The controversial and potentially costly idea of placing video surveillance cameras on Sackville streets came up for discussion at Tuesday’s town council meeting after a business owner urged councillors to consider installing cameras on all roads leading out of town.

During the public question period, Wendy Alder, co-owner of the Ultramar gas station on Cattail Ridge, said that in the last two months, the RCMP have asked to see surveillance footage from her business three times as they investigated the thefts of a wood splitter and dump trailer as well as damage to a motel room.

“There was also two other cases last December where there was a break-in on our corner as well — well, the Glowing Embers — and again, we used our video system to help to solve that,” Alder told council.

She also mentioned that the owners of a truck stolen on Queen’s Road wanted to see if that truck had driven past the Ultramar, but as it turned out, the stolen vehicle went through Dorchester.

Alder said that in her opinion, the police could gain valuable information to help solve crimes if the town installed cameras on routes leading out of Sackville including both Trans Canada highway exits, Queen’s Road and maybe King Street.

Deputy Mayor Ron Aiken, who chaired Tuesday’s council meeting, responded that when the town considered installing surveillance cameras several years ago, it turned out to be quite complicated and expensive.

“There’s lots of legal implications,” Aiken said. “It’s not just putting up a camera. You put one up on your business, that’s your business, but out on a public street, as I recall, there are other laws and considerations that come into it,” the deputy mayor added. “We can certainly take it under consideration.”

Councillors weigh in

Councillor Bill Evans

Councillor Bill Evans told Alder he was grateful for her question because he knows that police routinely use footage from closed circuit TV cameras (CCTV) installed in private businesses.

He said that while it could be expensive for the town to set up a CCTV system, times have changed since council last considered the issue.

“I was not as enthusiastic six or seven years ago; times have changed, so I don’t think it would be inappropriate for us to look at this again,” Evans said. “I’m really glad that the question [has been raised] to think about this again. Perhaps we should reconsider it.”

Councillor Bruce Phinney agreed with Evans that council should take another look at installing cameras.

“I think it’s something we should seriously look at now despite the cost because it’s something that I truly believe probably needs to be put in place,” Phinney said. “We can research to find out the cost and see exactly just how we could put it in, maybe we can get sponsorship from some of the companies as well.”

Councillor Bruce Phinney

Phinney said he recalled that Mount Allison Professor Michael Fox had generated a report concluding that it would be too expensive for the town to install a surveillance system.

The report, submitted to council in 2013, was researched and written by then Mt. A. student Emma Jackson and supervised by Professor Fox.

It warned that aside from legal considerations arising from privacy laws and the Charter of Rights, the estimated cost of installing and maintaining an eight-camera surveillance system in Sackville would come to at least $350,000 in the first year of operation.

The report, along with an opinion piece by Michael Fox published by the Sackville Tribune-Post, also pointed to research showing that surveillance cameras have limited effects in deterring crime.

To read the full report entitled Exploring the Potential for a Public CCTV Monitoring System in Sackville, New Brunswick click here.

At the conclusion of Tuesday’s meeting, Deputy Mayor Aiken said town staff would take another look at the pros and cons of installing surveillance cameras on Sackville streets.

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Liberal Dominic LeBlanc unable to campaign in Beauséjour while Trudeau focusses on neighbouring NS riding

Justin Trudeau with Lenore Zann in Amherst

Federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau rolled through Beauséjour riding yesterday on his way from a campaign appearance in Riverview to another in Amherst.

In the last few days before the election on Monday, Trudeau did not stop here where his friend Dominic LeBlanc hasn’t been able to campaign as he continues to recover in a Montreal hospital from the bone marrow transplant he received on September 18th.

Instead, the Liberals are focussing on the neighbouring Nova Scotia riding of Cumberland-Colchester where their candidate Lenore Zann faces a tough fight against Conservative Scott Armstrong who held the riding before 2015 when the Liberals won all 32 seats in Atlantic Canada including his.

Zann pointed out that Trudeau and his campaign team had visited the riding during her campaign kick-off in Truro and now, were visiting again less than a week before the election.

“I think that says that they really have a good feeling that I could win this riding and they want to try and help me do that,” she added.

So far, Elizabeth May of the Green Party is the only federal leader to have campaigned in Beauséjour — once on September 24th and again on October 11th — suggesting that the Greens think they have a chance in a riding where two Greens were elected to the provincial legislature last fall.

Green candidate Laura Reinsborough has been taking her message door-to-door and persuading voters to display her lawn signs since late June in her campaign to defeat LeBlanc who has held the traditionally safe Liberal riding of Beauséjour for 19 years.

CBC roundtable

Aside from being unable to campaign door-to-door, LeBlanc’s need to take time out for recovery, has prevented him from appearing at all-candidates’ forums including the roundtable heard on CBC Radio this morning.

One of the more interesting exchanges occurred after CBC Information Morning host Jonna Brewer asked: “With Mount Allison University in your riding, what would you say to students to convince them to vote for you?”

Conservative candidate Vincent Cormier said that in order to pay off their debts, students need opportunities to find work in the area, but the Liberal government’s multi-billion dollar deficits are detrimental to creating the strong economy that would generate good-paying jobs.

New Democratic Party candidate Jean-Marc Bélanger said an NDP government would save most students $4,000 immediately by eliminating interest on their loans and in the long-term would work toward getting rid of tuition fees for all post-secondary education.

Green candidate Laura Reinsborough said her party would cancel the federal portion of student debt, which averages $27,000, and work toward free tuition because of the economic benefits to society from a highly educated and skilled workforce.

People’s Party of Canada candidate Nancy Mercier said that the PPC would focus more on lowering taxes, encouraging students to open up their own businesses and to work in occupations that the PPC would bring in such as in the hemp industry.

To listen to the full CBC candidates roundtable, click here and scroll down to October 16, 2019: Beauséjour candidates panel.

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Sackville town staff recommend against supporting ATVs on the Trans Canada Trail

Town manager Jamie Burke

It appears highly unlikely that the Town of Sackville will support all-terrain vehicle users riding legally on the Trans Canada Trail that runs between Sackville and Cape Tormentine.

During last Monday’s council meeting, manager Jamie Burke said town staff were recommending against writing a letter to provincial officials asking them to lift restrictions on ATVs using the old rail bed that forms the Trans Canada Trail.

“Permitting motorized vehicles on the trail could displace some users,” Burke told council, adding that the southeast regional trail co-ordinator has research showing that could happen.

Poul Jorgensen, executive director of the NB Trails Council that has been overseeing the Trans Canada Trail, told Warktimes last month that ATVs would pose a safety hazard for other users including hikers and horseback riders.

“They also tear up the surface of a trail that we’ve invested a lot of money in,” Jorgensen said.

ATV Club requests

In making the recommendation against supporting ATVers using the Trans Canada Trail, Burke was following up on the local club’s request to council.

Paul Branscombe, President Tantramar ATV Club

Tantramar ATV Club President Paul Branscombe wrote a letter to the mayor and council in July explaining that ATVers were seeking to extend their trail network in southeastern New Brunswick.

Branscombe also appeared before council last month to explain his request for a formal letter of support from the town.

At the time, he acknowledged that he had met with Mayor Higham who told him “there would be zero support” from council for the Club’s request.

Judging from their discussion on Monday, it appears likely that at their meeting next week, Sackville councillors will reject supporting the ATV Club’s request.

Search for a new CAO

Also during its meeting on Monday, council authorized the town clerk to begin the process of finding a professional recruiter to search for a new chief administrative officer.

The present CAO, Phil Handrahan, has submitted his resignation effective at the end of February.

Mayor Higham said town council will act as the committee to hire his replacement, but will need help from a professional recruiter to draft hiring criteria, advertise the position, conduct screening and come up with a short list.

Councillor Bill Evans suggested that Handrahan be asked to advise the hiring committee, although he would not vote on the final decision.

“By all means, let’s get on with it,” Evans added.

The most recent information on salary scales posted on the town’s website shows that the CAO’s salary ranges between $96,367 and $128,489.

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Sackville councillor calls on RCMP to do more to protect the town’s water supply

Coun. Michael Tower

Sackville councillor Michael Tower says the local RCMP detachment should be doing a better job of ticketing and moving along truck drivers who park overnight next to the town’s water supply.

During Monday’s town council meeting, Tower pressed RCMP Sgt. Paul Gagné to enforce no parking restrictions on the Walker Road off-and on-ramps at Exit 500 on the south side of the Trans Canada Highway.

“It’s a broken record for me, you’re probably tired of hearing it,” Tower told Gagné, “[but] if anything ever happened for this town, that’s our water supply.”

Tower added that as he was on his way to Amherst early one morning last week, he noticed an Irving truck hauling two oil tankers parked along the Walker Road highway on-ramp in spite of the four no parking signs that the province has installed there.

He said that it would have been disastrous if the tankers had leaked.

“I would think the water supply risk is pretty high if we have vehicles like that there,” he added, “and I think it would be a priority, not as much as an armed robbery, but at the same time, if it leaked, it would be bigger than an armed robbery and if the RCMP aren’t going to discourage people, then who’s going to do it?”

Tower said the extra bylaw enforcement officers the town hired during the summer found nine trucks parked illegally overnight along the Walker Road on-ramp in the space of one month.

Gagné’s response

Sgt. Gagné acknowledged that an oil spill would be serious, just as an armed robbery would be.

“Except the difference is, being as an armed robbery is totally 100 per cent my job, right, but a spill isn’t,” Gagné said, adding that for the RCMP, parking violations are not a top priority.

“If I have to pick and choose what we’re doing, I promise you, you want me looking into sexual assaults, domestic violence…mental health investigations; other things are more important than that [parking violations].”

Tower replied that since the RCMP are on night patrols anyway, officers could make checking for trucks parked overnight along the highway on-ramp part of their routine.

“I personally don’t think it takes much out of their routine for them to pull off at Exit 500 and then go right back up on the highway,” Tower said later during an interview.

“If nobody’s there, they can keep on going,” he said. “The RCMP aren’t doing their job to protect us.”

Tower said he has raised the issue a number of times in closed-door sessions with the RCMP.

Town Council decided to hold RCMP briefings in public beginning last month after Warktimes questioned why the regular monthly sessions with police were being held in-camera.

Tower said he was pleased that at the end of his exchange with Gagné, Mayor Higham suggested to the sergeant that he report back to council on the issue of illegal truck parking near the town’s water supply.

“When you have staff that are going out on the highway, if they could come down that way and take a peek and let us know what kind of numbers you’re seeing, that would be helpful for us to understand,” Higham told Gagné.

“We’ve also got an opportunity I think to talk to the province about what other enforcement mechanisms that we have for that watershed,” the mayor added.

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Sackville asked for financial contribution to care for the dying in southeast NB

Tammy Rampersaud

The Town of Sackville has been asked to contribute $9,700 to help build a hospice in Moncton. The 10-bed, bilingual facility would serve about 120 people each year who are dying in southeastern New Brunswick.

The request for the donation came during Monday’s town council meeting from Tammy Rampersaud, the deputy mayor of Riverview who is helping raise money from municipalities in Westmorland, Albert and Kent counties on behalf of the registered charitable organization, Hospice Southeast New Brunswick (Hospice SENB).

“It’s all based on population,” Rampersaud told council. “So, the ask to Sackville is $9,700,” she said. “If you were so generous and willing to grant that money to the campaign, it could be done in one year, two years, all the way up to five years.”

She explained that although the two hospitals in Moncton have 13 beds for palliative care to serve dying patients, there is no hospice in southeastern New Brunswick dedicated solely for that purpose.

“Everybody wants to die with dignity, in privacy, and [with] some compassion,” Rampersaud said. “I’m not saying you don’t get that in the hospital, but it surely is a different experience in a hospital,” she added.

A note on the Hospice SENB website refers to surveys showing that 75% of Canadians would prefer to die at home or in a hospice rather than in hospital.

“In 2017, The Moncton Hospital reported that 10% of its palliative patients died at home, while the remaining 90% died in hospital,” the website says. “That is a much higher rate than the national average of 70%.”

Rampersaud cited figures, that also appear on the website, showing that hospice care is much cheaper than hospital care for the dying.

Hospice would serve children

Rampersaud said that one of the 10 beds would be set aside as a pediatric room, the only one in Atlantic Canada.

“I, being a Mom, really, really, appreciate that,” she added.

She said the Lions Club donated the land for the hospice while the federal and provincial governments have each contributed $1 million toward the $5 million cost of the building.

Aside from soliciting contributions from municipalities, Hospice SENB is also encouraging donations from private individuals.

“They are going to break ground in the spring and [are] hoping to have the building built before the end of the year next year,” Rampersaud concluded.

For more information on the Hospice SENB capital campaign, click here.

Local group ‘100% behind’ hospice campaign

Meantime, the Chair of the Tantramar Hospice Palliative Care Organization (THPCO) says the group enthusiastically supports the campaign to build a hospice in Moncton.

Stephen Claxton-Oldfield says a $9,700 contribution from the town of Sackville would be a good investment.

“A residential hospice in Moncton would serve the folks in the Tantramar region,” he says. “Our local group is 100 per cent behind Hospice Southeast New Brunswick in terms of getting this residential hospice built.”

Claxton-Oldfield, who is a professor of psychology at Mount Allison, says THPCO is an advocacy group that aims to raise public awareness about end-of-life care.

“We’re not looking to build a hospice in Sackville and we’re not raising money for that,” he adds. “We’re more about promoting end-of-life care services and resources.”

THPCO ‘wall’ last May at Sackville Farmers Market (click to enlarge)

THPCO holds events to raise public awareness, such as one last May to mark National Hospice Palliative Care Week.

Visitors to the Sackville Farmers Market were given an opportunity to pick up a piece of chalk and complete the sentence, “Before I die, I want to…”

“The idea behind the wall is to get people to reflect on death and life and share their hopes, dreams, and wishes in a public space,” Claxton-Oldfield is quoted as saying on the THPCO website.

“Doing so can help bring clarity to the things that are most important in people’s lives. By market’s end, the wall was completely full of people’s aspirations!”

Posted in Health care, Town of Sackville | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Beauséjour NDP candidate Jean-Marc Bélanger says Canadians need change and social justice

Federal NDP candidate Jean-Marc Bélanger outside the Vogue Cinema on Bridge St.

Jean-Marc Bélanger, the New Democratic Party candidate in Beauséjour, says his work as a professor of social work motivated him to run in the October 21st federal election.

During an interview last week, Bélanger said that his teaching helped him identify how social policies, such as the drastic cuts that former Ontario Premier Mike Harris made to welfare in 1995, directly affected the clients that social workers serve.

Bélanger added that, as a result, he always tried to get his students interested in politics.

“In trying to motivate students that way, it also dawned on me during this federal campaign to say ‘well, maybe I have the opportunity now for the first time in my life to present myself as a candidate,” he said. “We need a change. We have to make choices towards that change and this was my choice, now is the time to be active, to do it and to come into politics.”

NDP principles and values

Bélanger said he chose to run for the NDP because he agrees with the principles and values in its party platform.

“I’m talking about social justice,” he added. “I’m talking about acceptance of everybody, diversity, equality, equity. All of these basic principles that put us into trying to work towards a society that’s helping each other as opposed to competing against each other for who’s going to have a larger piece of the cake,” he said.

Title page of NDP platform

“These values are also very much in line with the social work profession and a lot of other helping professions as well,” he said. “They’re values that our community needs to cherish and develop.”

Bélanger points, for example, to sections of the NDP platform entitled “Taking better care of each other” and “Making life more affordable for everyday people.”

Among other things, they promise to extend drug and dental coverage to everyone; remove barriers for people living with disabilities; improve mental health and addictions services; end homelessness within a decade, partly by investing in more social housing; launch a pilot project for a basic income to end poverty; develop a universal childcare program; strengthen public pensions; raise employment insurance benefits and ensure that more workers qualify for EI; and, develop a free post-secondary education system.

To read these sections of the NDP platform, click here and here.

NDP and the Greens

When asked how the NDP differs from the Green Party, Bélanger acknowledges the similarities in their positions on fighting climate change and protecting air, land and water, but maintains that the NDP platform is just as strong on the environment as the Green one is.

Bélanger also points to the NDP’s historic partnership with organized labour as a basic difference.

“The labour movement has been at the root of NDP platforms and programs since the beginning,” he says referring to the party’s founding in 1961 in partnership with the Canadian Labour Congress.

“Usually, who do you see on the picket lines with workers on strike or lockout?” he asks. “It’s mostly NDP members and supporters who are there.”

Bélanger refers to three recent controversies that he argues also show differences between the two parties.

National unity

“The Greens don’t have a clear position on national unity,” he says in an apparent reference to a CBC report that Green candidate and former NDP member of Parliament Pierre Nantel declared in a radio interview that he favours independence for Quebec as soon as possible.

In August, the NDP expelled Nantel from its caucus after learning he was planning to join the Greens.

According to the CBC, a Green party statement said that the party does not exclude candidates who support Quebec sovereignty and Green leader Elizabeth May claimed later there’s a difference between a sovereignist and a separatist.

Abortion

Bélanger says the Greens don’t have a clear position on a woman’s right to choose a legal and safe abortion after Elizabeth May told the CBC that even though she is personally pro-choice, her party would not prevent Green MPs from trying to reopen the abortion debate.

The CBC reported that within hours, the Greens issued a statement saying there is “zero chance” that a Green MP would reopen this issue.

Conservative minority

Bélanger also refers to Elizabeth May’s statement last July that she would support a minority Conservative government if it were willing to take serious action on climate change.

“So that raises doubts about the sincerity of their social platform,” he says, adding that the NDP is serious about its commitment to work on behalf of ordinary people.

“The NDP is not trying to finish in third place,” he says. “We’re battling to form the next government.”

For a CBC analysis of the various positions taken by the NDP and the Greens over supporting a minority government, click here.

Personal background

NDP candidate Jean-Marc Bélanger

Bélanger, who lives in Grande-Digue, has taught social work at several universities including Université de Moncton, Wilfrid Laurier, Laurentian and Algoma where he is currently on leave during a non-teaching term.

He also served in the 1970s as a social worker in Campbellton and in the 1980s in the mental health unit of the Georges Dumont Hospital in Moncton.

From 2011-2015, he was co-ordinator of the Francophone Health Network of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Since the mid-1990s, Bélanger has conducted extensive research in connection with an Ontario prevention program designed to help improve outcomes for children in poor neighbourhoods. He has published a wide range of academic studies on child development and social problems such as homelessness and poverty.

He says he’s running in Beauséjour as a candidate for social democracy.

“The social democracy idea,” he adds, “is to work with people, to work together so that we can move as a society in such a way that our aspirations for ourselves and for our children can be met.”

To read Jean-Marc Bélanger’s candidate biography, click here.

To read the full NDP platform, click here.

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