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‘The kids love it here’: The (young) people who live in East Hants and the parents that raise them

Sherri and Larry Miles with two of their four children, Dylan, 13 and Logan, 15. The family is part of a growing trend in East Hants — it’s the only municipality in the province with more young people than seniors.
Sherri and Larry Miles with two of their four children, Dylan, 13 and Logan, 15. The family is part of a growing trend in East Hants — it’s the only municipality in the province with more young people than seniors. - Colin Chisholm

EAST HANTS, NS - Sherri Miles lives in Elmsdale with her husband and four kids, ranging in age from 10 to 17. She’s getting ready to cart two of her boys, Dylan and Logan, to hockey practice. 

Their suburban street is quiet, and their home is surrounded by bungalows and split-level entries.

Sherri is a teacher in Halifax and her husband is a car salesman in Dartmouth. They moved to the area 18 years ago, when she was pregnant with their first child.

“At the time I was teaching in Middle Musquodoboit and he was teaching in Dartmouth, and this was halfway,” she said. “It’s great raising a family here, there are lots of activities for the kids.”

According to stats, East Hants is the only municipality in the province with more young people than seniors.

Sherri said the cost of housing was also a major factor in their decision to move to the area.

“When we first moved out here, all of the activities were relatively cheaper than in Halifax or Dartmouth. The kids have always been busy, have lots of friends, so it’s been wonderful for them,” she said. “When they put the second rink in at the sportsplex, it made a difference.”

Her husband Larry yells from the kitchen, “It’s too busy!”

She laughs.

Sherri thinks the Municipality of East Hants is doing a decent job at keeping up with the demand of a growing population, but would like to see more done for traffic congestion.

“If you would leave my subdivision and try to turn left, you couldn’t for 10 minutes,” she said. “They might need to look into this issue more, as more communities continue to get built.”

She’s hoping that the Highway 102 interchange planned near Lantz will help ease that congestion, at least a little.

Another thing she’d like to see considered is some form of transit service to better connect to Halifax.

“Growing up in Halifax, I could hop on the bus and go anywhere I wanted, but my kids need a car to go anywhere,” she said. “My 17-year-old needed to get a car just to get anywhere. It’s tough for them if they don’t have one.”

The closest bus route is at the Halifax International Airport, but kids still need a ride to get there, she said.

Despite that, Sherri said the family intends to stay where they are for now.

“We thought about moving closer to the city, but the kids love it here, love their schools and they’ve got great friends, so I don’t see the point in uprooting them,” she said.

Hèlene Gagnon-Sirois with her eight-year-old daughter Hannah. Hannah said she’s excited for the new aquatic centre to be built, as swimming is one of her favourite things to do.
Hèlene Gagnon-Sirois with her eight-year-old daughter Hannah. Hannah said she’s excited for the new aquatic centre to be built, as swimming is one of her favourite things to do.

Great place to raise kids

Hèlene Gagnon-Sirois lives in nearby Enfield with her husband Mike and eight-year-old daughter, Hannah.

They live on a quiet street, where the houses are far apart from another.

The couple first lived in an apartment in Halifax when they got married before moving to Spryfield, but quickly realized the city lifestyle wasn’t right for them.

“My husband is a nature guy; he didn’t like that, was so stressed out,” Gagnon-Sirois said. “We were on the bus route, the houses were so close to each other, he used to get me to buy a bottle of Tums during every grocery run for the stress.”

The couple began looking outside of Halifax, somewhere that was close to the city, but still felt open and natural and was also affordable.

They landed in Enfield in 2008. Gagnon-Sirois said they were very happy with their 3.6 acres for less than $200,000.

The couple both work outside of East Hants, but she says they don’t mind the commute.

“We have the quiet, we have the peace now,” she said.

She said it’s also a great place to raise her daughter.

“My kid has a place to go outside, she has friends, there are lots of different sports and teams and clubs,” she said. “We’re a little bit outside of Enfield, but even her friends in town have big backyards with space to grow.”

Hannah, who is wearing cat ears and all manner of cat-related clothing, interjects.

“My friend has a soccer field in her front yard, it’s so cool.”

And, Gagnon-Sirois adds, she doesn’t have to buy Tums anymore.

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