The announcement, made at the Glooscap First Nation, will divvy up $257,000 in grants, including $30,000 slated for the first nation’s outdoor recreation complex.
“This is a pretty exciting project because it really came from an elder in the community saying ‘yes we have a small number of children in our community, but we don’t really have a playground for them,’” Glavine said following the announcement. “This is emerging into a much larger project.”
Glooscap Chief Sidney Peters said he was happy to see the province become a partner on the project.
“Activity and recreation is something we have to do for the well-being of our community members and our elders and an opportunity for people to gather,” Peters said.
The new facility, still in its design phase, will have a playground, community garden and a cultural component.
“Our new powwow grounds would allow us to join the powwow pass of pretty well every community that has powwows,” he said, adding that it’ll also give Glooscap the capacity to host larger events, including the Mi’kmaq Summer Games.
“One of our goals in our 10-year strategic plan was to talk about improving and bringing our culture back,” he said. “Our population is increasing so tremendously, they need a place to go.”
Conceptual drawings of the outdoor recreation complex are still being considered, and the community will have input on what they’d like to see for the final design this year.
Peters said he’d like to get construction started this summer, with parts of it completed by the fall.
“It’s another initiative that shows the provincial government wants to work with the First Nations, and I still think it’s part of reconciliation on what we need to do as partners,” he said. “I think it’s a good relationship going forward, making sure we’re still partners in whatever we do.”
Other projects announced
The government’s Recreational Facilities Development Program is providing $1.8 million for 60 new and upgraded facilities around the province.
Glavine said skate parks, like the one announced for Kentville, are becoming a central pillar of physical activity and socialization for youth.
“The monies that will go to the park in Kentville is a really sound investment,” he said.
Grants for other projects across the province will be announced at a later date.
Minister’s new role
“As health minister I ended off many of my opportunities to speak by saying we needed to value our health to a higher degree and need to be much more in command of healthy living, with physical activity as one of the core pieces,” he said. “In many ways, I’m coming full circle to promote a healthier Nova Scotia.”
Glavine said some of the elements of the Thrive Program, which emphasizes healthy lifestyles, have been moved over from the Department of Health and Wellness to Communities, Culture and Heritage.
“I’m looking at renewing some of the elements of Thrive,” he said. “Chief Peters said today that especially in our First Nations communities we have extremely high rates of diabetes and we have to find ways of counteracting that.”
Glavine said when he was the minister of health, health practitioners emphasized the need for some physical activity on a regular basis to improve physical and mental health.
The projects announced are:
• Glooscap First Nation — outdoor recreation complex, $30,000
• Town of Kentville — skatepark, $50,000
• Village of Port Williams — auditorium upgrade, $25,000
• Annapolis County Municipality — Bridgetown rink phase 2, energy upgrades, $20,000
• Bridgetown Regional High School — playground, $25,000
• Aldershot Elementary School — playground, $20,000
• Annapolis County Trails Society — Harvest Moon Trailway development, $19,500
• Wolfville School — activity park, $20,000
• Kingswood Camp Society —recreation centre for camp on Lake George, $20,000
• Kings County Municipality — Wolfville to Grand-Pré trail development, $10,000
• Clare Municipality — veterans centre renovation, $10,000
• Lawrencetown Exhibition Youth Arena — efficiency and safety upgrades, $8,000