Streetscaping may soon sweep St. Mary’s

·2 min read

ST. MARY’S – The Municipality of District of St. Mary’s intends to take its Sherbrooke streetscape model for new community infrastructure and beautification on the road, says Chief Administrative Officer David Hutten.

In an interview with The Journal, Hutten said, “We want to make sure our streetscape plan is much more than just for Sherbrooke. There’s a lot of other communities that can benefit … and we want to keep it rolling out over time so that we can look at places like, say, Port Bickerton and elsewhere [in the district].”

Hutten’s comments came after news last week that Sherbrooke received $25,000 from the provincial government’s Beautification and Streetscaping Program to complete the third and final phase of its multi-year streetscape project.

Phases 1 and 2, finished last year, covered enhancements to Pioneer Park Bridge, sidewalks, curbs and lighting, and a public washroom. Phase 3 will include landscaping and further enhancements to infrastructure and the grounds around the library.

But, Hutten said, there’s no reason to stop there. Calling the program a “great success,” since St. Mary’s first applied for the funding in 2016, he confirmed the municipality will re-apply “probably as a five-year plan” to “help different communities [in the district] revamp some of their infrastructure” for public use.

“There’s certainly an opportunity here,” he said. “The more that we can do across the entire district, the better poised we are for positive growth … for people seeing the potential in some of the great communities we have.”

The Beautification and Streetscaping Program has covered approximately one-third, or $75,000, of the cost of the three-phase project in Sherbrooke. The municipality has paid the rest through normal operations, but earlier this year municipal staff recommended using part of the district’s gas tax reserve fund to pay for its share of the third phase.

According to municipal records, St. Mary’s received an estimated $277,540 in gas tax revenues in the 2021-22 fiscal year, compared with $138,770 the previous year. That left an estimated year-end balance of $147,373, compared with $33,724 in the 2020-21 fiscal year.

Said Hutten: “We have ocean shore and freshwater resources here to deliver on and that’s very attractive to a lot of people. We want to make sure we build public spaces for interaction and that, when people come, they find not just a place to live, but a place that feels like home.”

St. Mary’s also received a $12,513 grant from province’s Community Works Program last week to help cover the cost of a public works technician.

Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal

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