Janice Christie elected Sheet Harbour Chamber president

·3 min read

SHEET HARBOUR – It wasn’t as if Janice Christie was actually looking for something new or worthwhile to do with her time. After all, the lifelong resident of Sheet Harbour has been one of that community’s hardest-working volunteers for years.

But, when the Sheet Harbour Chamber of Commerce and Civic Affairs asked her last month to throw her hat into the ring and stand for election as that body’s president, she says it was an offer she really couldn’t refuse.

“A couple of people had approached me, and I said I really wanted to see it go to the board of directors,” she recalls. “So that happened, and all 12 of them felt that I could fulfill the position. They invited me to the next directors’ meeting, and they all expressed their support and confidence in me. So, I accepted the nomination and was voted in as president. So, that’s how it happened. I got recruited.”

Christie – who doesn’t like blowing her own horn – may downplay the achievement, but her record speaks for itself: Already a member of the chamber and on its lifestyle committee, she’s also active in the local Lions Club. Until her retirement last month, she’d been The Journal’s Sheet Harbour correspondent and reporter for nearly 20 years. Certainly, others in the community acknowledge the coup they’ve managed to score.

“Whatever Janice she takes on, she does a great job,” says her predecessor, former Canadian senator and outgoing chamber chair Tom McInnis. “She’s a doer, and that’s important. This chamber is different than most organizations [of its kind]. It’s a chamber of commerce and civic affairs. It’s kind of like a quasi-ratepayers’ association. We operate a lot of projects directly. We are the main group in this area to get things done.”

In this sense, Christie does have her work cut out for her. There’s the local tourist bureau and the historical society. There’s a new multi-million-dollar lifestyle centre project underway. There are ongoing streetscapes and Mains Street beautifications to keep tabs on. Still, McInnis says: “Janice certainly has the ability to show control and leadership. If anyone can do it, she can.”

Born and raised in the area, Christie says she has “a broad perspective of the community. The community that I live in is really the Eastern Shore, which is made up of so many little communities.”

Sheet Harbour’s identity is tied up with places like East Ship Harbour and Ecum Secum Bridge. And that identity is all about what people can imagine their community becoming: a unique destination of choice for new residents and visitors.

As Christie said recently in an interview with Saltscapes Magazine, “Back in the day when I was a kid, each of those little places were thriving with their own churches, and schools. Every time there was a government announcement, people would think it was about a big industry arriving, which never really came to fruition. But over the past few years, these communities have been surviving and growing because of that personal tenacity that you see in the broad community along the Eastern Shore.”

For Christie, channelling and focussing that energy will be job number one.

“I’m committed to the community anyway,” she says. “I’m already involved. I’m there. I know the history. I love the fact that new people are coming and bringing such talent and experience and that they are excited to be here.”

She adds: “Part of what has to happen now is regrouping and defining what it is—as a group—we want to work towards. That’s also about recognizing that all the people that are members of the community and the chamber each have their own focus. We all want a wonderful place to live that provides recreational, social and economic opportunities.”

For Christie, none of this may be new, but it remains so very worthwhile.

Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal

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