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Great Village Notebook: West Colchester residents joining forces to embrace, improve local communities


Recently I attended the initial meeting of an informal organization calling itself RASCALS - Rural Association for Sustainable Communities Along our Shore - at the home of Joy Laking and Jim Wyatt in Portaupique.

Laking loves her community and way of life on the West Colchester shore and is eager to establish a group that will work toward bringing shoreline communities together to address environmental concerns, encourage sustainable development and appreciation of our natural landscape and improve communications with an eye toward facilitating opportunities for folks to get together socially. All of these factors are key to encouraging residents to remain in the area and attracting new residents and visitors.

Those present that evening contributed possible ideas and initiatives that they believed would enhance the quality of life in our rural communities - communication via a webpage and social media, drive sharing programs, social drop-ins, roadside banners, free community book boxes, cleanup of roadsides and dumping sites, improved signage for sites and events, better tourism infrastructure such as walking trails and beach access, and lifelong learning including continuing education, art and cooking classes.

There was discussion regarding the importance of supporting our local businesses, but also recognizing that we need to become citizens not just consumers. The creation of the Veterans Memorial Park in Bass River and the Elizabeth Bishop Centenary Festival in 2011 in Great Village were cited as successful examples of what communities can accomplish when they join forces and pool resources and talents.

The organization plans to continue to meet informally and hopes to encompass the rural, shoreline communities from Masstown to Five Islands. It plans to move forward with defining worthwhile initiatives and possibly form smaller interest groups to focus on specific projects. The next meeting will happen at Joy Laking's Gallery in Portaupique on Thursday, March 12 at 7 p.m. Everyone is welcome.

The annual merchandise bingo in support of the Great Village Fire Brigade auxiliary will be held on Monday, March 9. Tickets are available now from Betty MacNeil at 668-2314, but are going quickly and will sell out before the event. Bingo starts at 7:30 p.m., but early arrival is recommended as the seats fill up quickly. Lunch will be available during the intermission.

Wheels to Meals continues at the Royal Canadian Legion on March 3 and 17, weather permitting.

Plans continue for The Elizabeth Bishop Festival on Saturday, Aug. 8 in Great Village. The day's events will include comedy and vocal performances, a craft market, wagon rides and walking tours of Great Village, moderated literary and visual arts panel discussions with Nova Scotia writers and artists, poetry readings, storytelling and art exhibitions. Various activities are planned for children, youth and the young at heart. I will have more on this in my next column.

Patti Sharpe is a long-time resident of Great Village and actively involved in various organizations within her community. Send your news to her at sharpep@eastlink.ca.

Laking loves her community and way of life on the West Colchester shore and is eager to establish a group that will work toward bringing shoreline communities together to address environmental concerns, encourage sustainable development and appreciation of our natural landscape and improve communications with an eye toward facilitating opportunities for folks to get together socially. All of these factors are key to encouraging residents to remain in the area and attracting new residents and visitors.

Those present that evening contributed possible ideas and initiatives that they believed would enhance the quality of life in our rural communities - communication via a webpage and social media, drive sharing programs, social drop-ins, roadside banners, free community book boxes, cleanup of roadsides and dumping sites, improved signage for sites and events, better tourism infrastructure such as walking trails and beach access, and lifelong learning including continuing education, art and cooking classes.

There was discussion regarding the importance of supporting our local businesses, but also recognizing that we need to become citizens not just consumers. The creation of the Veterans Memorial Park in Bass River and the Elizabeth Bishop Centenary Festival in 2011 in Great Village were cited as successful examples of what communities can accomplish when they join forces and pool resources and talents.

The organization plans to continue to meet informally and hopes to encompass the rural, shoreline communities from Masstown to Five Islands. It plans to move forward with defining worthwhile initiatives and possibly form smaller interest groups to focus on specific projects. The next meeting will happen at Joy Laking's Gallery in Portaupique on Thursday, March 12 at 7 p.m. Everyone is welcome.

The annual merchandise bingo in support of the Great Village Fire Brigade auxiliary will be held on Monday, March 9. Tickets are available now from Betty MacNeil at 668-2314, but are going quickly and will sell out before the event. Bingo starts at 7:30 p.m., but early arrival is recommended as the seats fill up quickly. Lunch will be available during the intermission.

Wheels to Meals continues at the Royal Canadian Legion on March 3 and 17, weather permitting.

Plans continue for The Elizabeth Bishop Festival on Saturday, Aug. 8 in Great Village. The day's events will include comedy and vocal performances, a craft market, wagon rides and walking tours of Great Village, moderated literary and visual arts panel discussions with Nova Scotia writers and artists, poetry readings, storytelling and art exhibitions. Various activities are planned for children, youth and the young at heart. I will have more on this in my next column.

Patti Sharpe is a long-time resident of Great Village and actively involved in various organizations within her community. Send your news to her at sharpep@eastlink.ca.

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