While there are a few days left in summer, the familiar things that tell us “fall is here” are all around us. For us in Yarmouth it’s an influx of students beginning their studies at NSCC – Welcome! It’s ice in the arena and huge crowds welcoming our mighty Mariners back to the fish tank. It’s school busses, compact cars filled to capacity with teens, lineups in the pizza and sandwich shops. It’s the increased activity at our wharves as our fishers begin to ready themselves for another busy season. We wish them all well a safe, successful year.
As I write this, it was two years ago today that nearly 500 of us came together at the Mariners Center in a community effort to put “All Hands On Deck”. We were waiting for our ship to come in. The sight of the Nova Star pulling into port daily never grows old – this community and Province were made to receive visitors. The Provincial government is committed to the international service, and the final decision regarding the operator will be made within the next few weeks. As Minister MacLellan and his team carefully review all options, it is our job to ensure we spend the next months readying ourselves for the thousands of visitors that will be here next season. There’s much more to do and a concerted, focused effort will get us closer to our goal!
The Façade Program continues and a drive down Main Street reveals the beginnings of a fresh, new look. Color is popping up all over town – I encourage you to take a drive through the residential part of town as well. Homes are being painted by private home owners, bright cheerful colors are abundant and entire neighbourhoods are being infused with new life. Why is paint important? Because the work being done brightens the neighbourhoods, adds value to the homes, instills pride, encourages neighbours to do the same, provides jobs for many, tells buyers both locally and worldwide that purchasing here is a safe investment and tells the world we are proud of who we are. Paint, quite simply, is part of the economic fabric that ups the ante for all of us. Well done Yarmouth!
We extend a huge thank you to Housing Minister Joanne Bernard and her team for the exciting announcement regarding the Neighbourhood Improvement Program. Staff from Housing Nova Scotia are making their rounds to those residences included in the selection area, applications are being filled out and we will see lots of work being done very soon. Over 200 homes will have access to this program, a tremendous boost in revitalizing the entire Town. I encourage each of you to go to www.housingns.ca. They have many programs including those for seniors, affordable housing, landlords and more. It’s worth looking into!
Avalon Rare Metals continues to do site work at what we refer to as the”Tin Mine”.
I’ll end on this note of hope. Council received an email from our CAO today with some exciting statistics. During pre-budget deliberations, Council was presented with a number of statistical indicators around our local economy. One indicator used was the percentage difference between sale prices of properties sold in the town and their assesments. Over the past six months, the average property in Yarmouth has sold at just 4% below assessment, the lowest variance reported in the past three years by at least 10%! Our CAO Jeff Gushue also reported that when the economy fell into recession in late 2008, over a period of more than four years, fewer than one home per year sold for more than $200,000. Over the past six months, ten properties have sold above that number. While these are not scientific indicators, they most certainly point to a renewed hope and optimism in the housing market in quite a number of years. While many of you have said “I can feel the change in the air”, these numbers play a part in backing up that sense of renewal, energy and a town on the upswing. Great news!