Year in Review 2013: July

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July 4

Trucks loading rock for Digby’s new breakwater were able to start earlier in the morning thanks to an exemption from the Municipality of Digby. Burton Cranton, project superintendent for OSC Western, had applied to the municipality for an exemption to the noise bylaw so his trucks could take advantage of low tides. Cranton said it was only possible to work for a few hours either side of low tide. “People have to understand, we’ve got to work with the tide,” he said. “And I won’t work after dark, I just won’t. I don’t want anymore surprises.” Cranton was referring to the workplace accident on May 17 when an excavator working on the breakwater had slipped into the water. The municipality’s bylaw normally restricted use of construction equipment, other than on the highway, to operating between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. on weekdays. Council was allowed to grant an exemption for 14 days without a public hearing. Digby municipal CAO Linda Fraser said the exemption wouldn’t run for 14 consecutive days, but each day the contractors needed to work early would count towards the total.

Terry Gilbert had received the 2013 Joe Casey Humanitarian Award from the Town of Digby. The award is given annually to a resident who has made a significant contribution to the betterment of the town. It is named for the late Joe Casey, MLA for Digby—Annapolis from 1970 to 1984 and from 1988 to 1997. Mayor Ben Cleveland said Gilbert’s efforts are visible all around Digby. “You do not go far in town without seeing an example of Terry’s contributions,” he said. “Her murals are on the sides of some of our buildings and her artworks and illustrations are contained in print.” But what particularly struck the mayor, he said, was what Gilbert did in bringing together the communities of Digby and Slave Lake, Alberta, site of a devastating wildfire in 2011. “She brought students together from Digby Elementary School and put together a package of well wishes,” Mayor Cleveland said. “That resulted in the mayor of Slave Lake visiting the Town of Digby. That now has given the students memories they will speak of for a long time.”

Coaches from other karate clubs and from other provinces referred to 16-year-old Trysten Deveau of Church Point as “the little one who can kick.” Trysten could certainly click her heels when dancing with the Acadian dance troupe La Baie en Joie, but it was nothing compared to what she did when she donned her karate black belt. She was part of a small group of athletes from the region who would be competing at an international karate tournament in Hong Kong in early August. Trysten’s brothers Tyler, 18, also a black belt, and Riley, 12, a brown belt, also would be competing in Hong Kong as part of a Team Canada contingent. A few weeks after Hong Kong, Trysten was to compete at a karate event in Colombia as part of a Canadian national team. She had won gold and silver at the last Canadian national championships. Her brother Tyler had won a silver medal at nationals.

July 11

Digby town and municipality and the provincial government had denied a request to commit more money towards construction of the Digby Health Service Centre. A recent review had put the cost estimates for the centre at $2,277,542, about $235,000 more than previous estimates. The Digby and Area Health Services Charitable Foundation had asked all three governments to reconsider their financial undertaking and help out with the increase. Neil Nichols, chair of the foundation, said he wasn’t surprised by the unenthusiastic government response. He said the foundation would soon be launching a public campaign but wasn’t ready to divulge details about that yet. “Any shortfall, the foundation will make up,” he said. “We feel the centre is absolutely vital to health care in Digby and the whole area. Our experience over the last number of years trying to recruit additional doctors to the area has clearly indicated this is the kind of facility they are looking for.” The town and municipality wanted to stick to their original commitments. The town was committed to 10.4 per cent of the project’s cost up to a maximum of $250,000, and the municipality to $250,000 over two years.

Lobster Bash organizers said Digby’s newest festival exceeded all expectations. “It’s been overwhelming,” said vice-president Richard Gaudet as he looked around Sunday night at the crowd gathering for the final concert, parade of lights and fireworks. “We didn’t expect all this.” Gaudet said the goal was to promote the lobster industry of southwestern Nova Scotia and he thought the festival did that. “I met a couple from Quebec who told me they had never tasted a lobster roll that good,” he said. “They took four steamed lobsters back to their campsite with them. They said they’ll never forget Digby because of that delicious lobster.” Gaudet said every time they opened the lobster booth at the marina, lines formed. “We sold 1,800 lobster rolls before tonight and a lot of that was people coming back for seconds.”

July 18

A longtime local fisherman was expressing concern about the state of herring stocks, but a spokesperson for DFO said they were taking action. Digby Neck fisherman Stanley Stanton said he doubted the herring would ever come back the way they once were, “just like the buffalo won’t ever come back to the prairies.” However, Christa Waters, a senior advisor with the Department and Fisheries Oceans in charge of resource management for the herring fishery, said they had seen improvements in recent years and were “confident” this would continue. Management measures included a minimum fish size, limited amount of removals from any particular spawning grounds and timed closures. DFO reviews the rebuilding plan every year and Waters said the plan was to rebuild the herring stocks in the Bay of Fundy to “healthy.” Stanton said his concern was not only about the poor herring stocks themselves but about the broader impact. “Look around at the small communities and small businesses. They’re all closing up. That should tell you something. We’re kind of like the canary in the coal mine … I’m just a small fisherman, but shouldn’t someone in power care about this?”

Organizations: Digby Elementary School, Church Point, Team Canada Digby Health Service Centre Area Health Services Charitable Foundation

Geographic location: Digby, Hong Kong, Slave Lake Alberta La Baie Colombia Southwestern Nova Scotia Quebec Bay of Fundy

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