As you read in last week’s paper, Jim Morton (Kings North) and I both are nominated to be the candidates in the next election when it is called. It has been a privilege to be the MLA for the people of Kings South for nearly four years now. It goes without saying how much I love this area and how committed I am to continue to work on the growth of the Valley region.
I am looking forward to getting back to the Legislature where we will continue working to keep emergency rooms open, securing the lowest fairest electricity rates (including keeping the HST off of home heating), as well as working to ensure people have access to good jobs here at home. I also look forward to continue finding innovative solutions to help keep schools at the centre of communities in Nova Scotia.
I was pleased to be able to announce further funding for the Community Use of Schools Grants recently, a grant that was first introduced last year. The grants help schools offer quality after-hours physical activity programs. They also make it easier for community groups to run recreational, educational and cultural programs in schools. In the first year, about 100 schools across the province received grants of up to $5,000 each, and another $160,000 was available to community groups to offset registration and rental fees.
I have had another busy few weeks trying to keep up with the very dedicated and busy businesses and people of Kings South. As we all know, the weather has given us a few challenges, although anyone of us would be hard pressed to hear any of our school-aged children complain of the much cherished snow day. It has created quite a few challenges for parents and events, however.
The Winter Wine Festival had to be rescheduled and, even with the new date, was a huge success. Our local wineries presented themselves with flair and delicious offerings of wine and food. We are so lucky to witness this industry grow. Our local wineries are winning awards and are bringing people to the region as a destination. Along with our Grand Pré World UNESCO site, our lush scenery, our fabulous arts culture, great food, farms, wineries and unique shopping experience -- we are making our mark as a destination.
It has been great to be at many events in the community. So many groups and people provide so many opportunities to meet as a community; from the many community breakfast and teas, to concerts and benefits. It was heartwarming to see the outpouring of support for Sandra (Cheney) Comeau at the supper at the Waterville Fire Hall and the concert and sale for Karen and Brian Weir at the Greenwich Fire Hall. When a neighbour is in need, the community rallies.
The Valley most certainly showed its level of commitment and compassion at the first Coldest Night of the Year Walk, organized by John Andrew from Open Arms. Not only was there an outpouring of support, people were so generous. I believe that this walk rose more per capita than any other area of Canada. This speaks volumes to the spirit and compassion of this region.
The Annapolis Valley Honour Choir preformed to a sold-out audience at Waterville Fire Hall last week. This choir from the Annapolis Valley are a testament to the talent of our young people. If you have a young singer in your home I encourage you to check out the opportunity to audition. All the information is on their website, www.avhc.ca.
It was great to watch a few high school basketball games on the weekend. The Valley was very busy hosting a number of provincial tournaments. Although the weather (again) was a concern, most of the events went forward. Behind every big event for our young people are a dedicated group of coaches and volunteers. Congratulations to our teams for an excellent display of skill, but also an excellent demonstration of sportsmanship and team spirit. A big thank-you to the many volunteers that support our teams.