Pi News –
New Glasgow’s black community is proving that you can sometimes fight city hall and even win.
Between 130 and 140 people attended Monday night’s regular council meeting to express their displeasure with the city’s decision to build a new long-term care facility in their area.
There were so many voters that the fire marshal couldn’t let everyone in – a rare occurrence at City Hall.
“Our community was heard. Our community definitely showed up and was heard,” said Ward One board member Brandy Borden-Sylla.
“We’re happy with what happened, but we know it’s not over yet.”
First Ward board members Brandy Borden-Sylla (left) and Kieshia Desmond (right) near the First Ward Playground, the most used facility in Pictou County.Adding a last-minute courtesy to the agenda, the council was given 10 minutes to make a presentation, but the mayor admitted he went home with an earful.
“An hour and 45 minutes of intense conversation, yes,” Mayor Nancy Dix told CTV News on Tuesday.
The challenge comes from a welcome replacement for the aging Glen Haven Manor.
The long-term care facility was provincially listed for replacement a few years ago, and the board chose a 10-acre site on Brother Street, next to the well-used Ward One Rec Centre, with a basketball court and soccer field. .
“Every job we do has a process that we have to follow,” Dix said.
“We felt like we were following the process. We understood that’s how it should work. There were some things, and actually in this situation, public consultation was an addition to our recommendation.”
On Jan. 11, the city posted a fact sheet about the proposed facility, acknowledging that Brother Street has been an important place in the community for decades, but the right of the proposed 10-acre site next door noted the size and capacity to support city water and sewage. and roads.
The tender was due in June and construction was to begin in July, the document said.
The public hearing will be held after the township accepts the project’s initial rezoning application, but residents say they should be consulted first.
“You know, it breaks my heart because that’s where I live,” said Ward One board member Kieshia Desmond.
“It would be in my backyard, and we also had visions for a recreation center. We needed a splash court. We wanted to have our basketball leader in the summer. We would like him to be our football leader.
“I almost feel like they (council) never thought it would have a big impact until last night, when it was in their faces,” he said.
The group said there were plenty of other convenient locations that wouldn’t disrupt their green space and wouldn’t bring significant traffic to their neighbors.
“The First Ward is a historically black community in Pictou County,” Borden-Sylla said.
“This place. It’s like the heart of our community. We have crafts, our elders come every Thursday for crafts. Our kids come here every day to play. The playground is the most used playground in Pictou County,” he said. town. We use the soccer field – schools come and use the soccer field. We have a community park here. Basketball – they’re always on the field. So it’s a very important area in our community and we’re here. everyone feels safe. “
The councilor for the area was ready to quit on Monday night if the matter was not re-examined.
“I drafted my resignation letter,” Russell Borden told CTV News.
“I ran for the simple truth that we are the people who elect us and we must be their voice.”
First Ward Councilor Russell Borden in his truck in the parking lot of the neighborhood recreation center. Borden said he was willing to resign if the board did not reconsider the decision. (CTV/Bruce Frisco)This is the opinion expressed by the mayor.
“That’s our role – we listen to our citizens and every voice counts,” Dix said.
For its part, the region did not seem to want to enter into this debate.
Khalehla Perrault, spokeswoman for the Department of Aging and Long-Term Care, said in an email to CTV News this evening: “The government is committed to ensuring that seniors can live in dignity and receive the care they need as they age. Glen Haven Manor in New Glasgow is one of the long-term care facilities in Nova Scotia that will be replaced by a new, state-of-the-art nursing home as part of the government’s multi-year plan for long-term care.
“The City of New Glasgow is the owner of Glen Haven and will oversee the development of this new facility. The project is currently in the early stages of development and the new facility is expected to open in 2027.”
Site selection is the responsibility of the facility owner. So it’s better to direct the questions to the city,” said Perrault.
As part of the provincial process, all long-term care development projects must meet local development and permitting requirements, and multiple sites must be considered.
One of the key considerations is that the site is close to the community, open to community members, and provides access to the outdoors. After the site is selected, the owner sends an application to the department with the necessary information.
In the end, the board decided to reconsider the decision at a special board meeting on January 29.
“I hope the city will take our concerns into consideration and relocate it,” Desmond said.