Bear River needs Your Help!!

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Main street, Bear River

Dear Friend of Bear River,

There is a current community push to deal with our critical village infrastructure issues around:

  • Water and Sewage
  • Parking & Road Restrictions
  • Sidewalks/Boardwalks and Snow Removal

Two letters have been forwarded to me from Rick McMullen and Rob Buckland-Nicks and they will give you some background as to what is being proposed to deal with these issues. Your voice is critically needed to put some pressure on the powers-that-be to help us access some of the Federal infrastructure monies that the Harper government is currently distributing to communities in need. – Flora Doehler

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Letter from Rob Buckland-Nicks to our community:

Bear River’s difficulties come not from its beauty or rich heritage, nor from its proud and hard working residents or its many volunteer driven community groups and churches; or from the thousands of tourists so happy to have discovered us. Our difficulties come from being overlooked by the two dominant counties on whom we rely for political leadership.

Geography and bureaucracy have dictated that one side of the Bear River is in Digby County and the other side in Annapolis County. The towns of Digby and Annapolis have Municipal structures. Bear River is not incorporated, and having no Town Council must rely on its neighbours for some form of local governance. In short, we are sometimes reduced to searching for crumbs from two well set tables.

There are enough determined individuals to still get things done but when it comes to infrastructure, our pockets are simply not deep enough to deal with our current urgent problems. We are in desparate need of our share of infrastructure money from the federally allocated funds for “Shovel Ready Projects” in West Nova.

Greg Kerr, our Conservative government member in Ottawa, had agreed to meet with the people of Bear River provided that an Agenda be sent to his Constituent Offices and that the two Municipal representatives from Digby and Annapolis be invited to attend. When this was received he and his staff would confirm a date. We have heard nothing and yet the required materials were sent to him several weeks ago.

It is vitally important that our concerns and wishes be heard at this time, as it is unlikely that there will be this much infrastructure funding available for some time. I would ask everybody to write or Email to the Honourable Greg Kerr and politely ask him to come here and meet with us.

The Honourable Greg Kerr, M.P.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs

House of Commons,
Ottawa (613) 995-5711
(613) 995-9857
kerr.G@parl.gc.ca
 
233 Water Street
Yarmouth, 902) 742-6808 
(902) 742-6815 (Fax)

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Head of the Tide in Bear River.

 

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Suggested Agenda to Greg Kerr by Rick McMullen & friends

Mr. Greg Kerr MP
233 Water Street
Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
B5A 1M1

Kerr.G@parl.gc.ca

Dear Mr. Kerr,

It has been confirmed with your constituency office that you are willing to come and meet with concerned citizens of Bear River as well as representatives of both Annapolis and Digby counties to address issues and concerns that we would like brought to your attention and we thank you for your time. A meeting of residents, businesses, and community groups and organizations was held on Wednesday, January 28 in Bear River to discuss an agenda in preparation for our meeting with you. In light of the infrastructure funding being made available through the upcoming federal budget as released on Tuesday, January 26, 2009, the following is what we would like to discuss with you at your earliest opportunity.

Water and Sewage: Although there is partial service in the town on both points, there are grave concerns that downtown has no consistent fresh water which has led to the temporary closure of the only currently operating restaurant in Bear River. Another entrepreneur and commercial property owner attending the meeting stated that they have plans to open their own restaurant within the next few months; for such a venture, the current lack of water is very disconcerting.

A minimum of twelve residences were also identified as having both the environmentally and socially unacceptable situations of directing their wastewater either towards, or directly into, local waterways. This is despite having collecting sewer lines within meters of the homes. In recent years, one stretch of houses had the material delivered awaiting the heavy equipment, only to have it later removed and the project annulled. With the current global concerns regarding the environment, this is an unacceptable situation in when a solution is within grasp with minimum effort.

Sidewalks/Boardwalks and Snow Removal: Although the Dept. of Highways from both Annapolis Royal and Digby service the roads in Bear River regarding snow removal and salt/sand distribution, the roadsides that should function as walkways are left to receive the snow plowed from the roads. It should be noted that Bear River does having an aging subsection of its population that, as a result, are left to walk on the plowed roads. All the residents at the meeting identified this as a safety concern and a strong motivator to have sidewalks installed, and to initiate a plan to provide employment to a resident in the form of sidewalk maintenance and snow removal.

Community volunteers clearing snow and ice for Winter Carnival.
Community volunteers clearing snow and ice for Winter Carnival.

Hand in hand with this, is the current disrepair of the boardwalk on the Annapolis side of Bear River. This necessary restoration would not only provide a boost to local employment, but also bring this community asset back to a safe and aesthetically pleasing state. It was also discussed that extending this facility provides an additional tourism draw. Tourism is a very strong component of the Bear River economy.

Parking & Road Restrictions: In conjunction with the sidewalk situation identified above; road markings for parking, and placing weight restrictions on particular roads and streets can be an initiative towards making the community more friendly to both residents and tourists alike.

Note that in the email containing this letter is an attached file from ACOA. This file is an assessment of Bear River that was done in 2007 commissioned by the now defunct BRIDGS organization. I trust the file may provide some further background to the issues addressed above.

I, those attending this initial meeting, and the residents and business owners, look forward to discussing these issues with you in Bear River to develop a plan to access the funding opportunity being initiated by the government you represent at a time of your earliest convenience. Once we have a date and time settled, we will make announcements to the community and the counties of Annapolis and Digby so any resident, business interest and local representatives may attend at a location in Bear River.

Thank you for your time and efforts in addressing these concerns.

Sincerely,

Rick McMullen

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