Winter not a sleepy time in Stewiacke

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Stewiacke Sleuth, By Heather Hamilton

Several improvement initiatives underway in town and surrounding area

Margie MacKay, Stewiacke’s own personal goodwill ambassador.

If you’re thinking there isn’t much going on during the dead of winter here in Stewiacke, think again. Our little town is positively buzzing with activity right now. Here’s just a glimpse of some of the things going on under all the ice and snow!

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More than 20 community members gathered recently to learn about a newly registered group taking flight on an ambitious, but exciting adventure. The Stewiacke and Area Community and Business Association (SACBA) is a collaboration of community and business leaders with a shared vision for the future development of the Stewiacke area.

The goal is to bring together both business and non-profits to create a better place to work, live and play. Its belief is “the success of local business is intrinsically tied to the growth of our community; therefore, investing in our community will be a benefit to everyone.”

The new association has set some lofty goals, such as making local business more visible, fostering a “buy local, live local” mentality, investing in youth development, providing training opportunities and partnering to fill local needs.

It recognizes the area is full of talented people with an array of diverse skills and expertise — not just through their jobs, but through their life experiences as well. And it believes these people are ready and willing to share and build partnerships in order to grow an even more vibrant community than the one we all currently call home.

For a multi-level, nominal membership fee, the group provides a program structured around members’ ideas and visions. It wants to hear from the community and respond to local needs. For more information, call 639-1630 or email sacba001@gmail.com.

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Another great opportunity for local businesses is through the upcoming Stewiacke Business and Lifestyles Expo. This event is being held at the Stewiacke Community Centre on Feb. 26, from 4 to 8 p.m.

Both mainstream and home-based businesses in the Stewiacke region are invited to showcase their goods and services and provide samples to the visitors. Booth space is free, so if you operate a local business you’re encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to meet your customers face-to-face.

It’s also free attend, so as a member of the public, mark your calendars and come to the Community Centre on Feb. 26 to see just what businesses are operating right in your own backyard. There will be door prizes and refreshments.

Small business is the backbone of our local economy — come on out and support our local entrepreneurs. Email stewiackeevents@gmail.com for more information. 

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The Town of Stewiacke itself has embarked on a project to build on the amazing capacity of its community strengths as part of its strategic plan. Over the next two months, you’ll be learning more about Community Economic Development.

This project centres on how, by embracing the strengths of the resources already here, we can build an even stronger town and community through collaboration.

The project asks: How can we know where we need to go until we know where we already are? By identifying and acknowledging the skills and experiences of the Towns’ citizens, the types of services provided by non-profit organizations and the wide variety of businesses who also share goods and services with the area, we’ll be able to draw a very full map of the Stewiacke area, with a clear picture of current resources. This will help define future strategic activity with more purpose and value.

Three community information sessions will be held at the Stewiacke Community Centre: Feb. 17 at 7 p.m., Feb. 18 at 10 a.m. and Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. Come and learn more about Community Economic Development and what this new Town initiative will mean for Stewiacke and you.

For more information, email ourtownstewiacke@gmail.com.

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And speaking of people with talent and skill who openly and graciously share with their community, meet Margie MacKay. She may be retired, but she’s certainly not sitting around letting life pass her by.

Meeting friends at Tim Horton’s almost every day and reaching out to just about anyone who she finds in need fills her days with joy, laughter and purpose. An active socializer, she’s always listening — and really hearing — when folks around her speak. And she heeds what they say, taking the message to heart and setting off on a mission to resolve their problem as best she can.

An avid bargain hunter, she’ll show up at their door with whatever gift she can to make their life a little bit easier. Weather permitting, you’ll also see her Tuesday nights playing bingo with the folks at the local senior’s home and brightening their day just a little bit with her infectious laugh and bright blue eyes.

Her Goddaughter, Alana Croft, says “Nanny” is a huge gift to her and her three children, with drives to and from preschool, regular weekend visits and so much more. The love and gratitude there is clear.

But she doesn’t just share her gifts with family members. It was an anonymous tip that brought her philanthropy to my attention. She’s one of the hidden treasures of our community, busily spreading good will just because she sees a need and enjoys helping others. Thank you, Maggie, on behalf of all of us.

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A few months ago I had the pleasure of writing about a long time resident and local historian J. Gordon Crowe. More recently I’ve nominated him for a Heritage Award through the Colchester Historical Society. Crowe’s impeccable research into the history of the Stewiacke area, focussing on the growth and development of many aspects of life we now take for granted, is truly admirable. The stories are full of detail and referenced with actual documents, archived records and invoices, and spotted with humour and personal reflection. His talks are both fun and informative, and teach a lot about the important role history plays in how we move forward in both our community and economic development. I’m sure I can speak for all our community when I wish Gordon Crowe luck in the nomination process. We’ll know by the end of February who the recipient of the Heritage Award will be.

Heather Hamilton has lived in East Stewiacke for more than 25 years and is an avid supporter of her community. If you have community news the Stewiacke Sleuth should know about, contact her at stewiackesleuth@gmail.com.

Organizations: Area Community and Business Association, SACBA, Stewiacke Community Centre Colchester Historical Society

Geographic location: Stewiacke

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