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Hantsport residents back recreation director through area rate

HMCC staff assemble a tent outside of Churchill House on Canada Day. Dozens of staff and volunteers make the day-long celebrations possible.
HMCC staff assemble a tent outside of Churchill House on Canada Day. Dozens of staff and volunteers make the day-long celebrations possible. - Colin Chisholm

Still needs approval by West Hants council

HANTSPORT, N.S. —

Hantsport residents were asked if they’d be comfortable with a recreation director specifically for the community being funded through the current area rate, and 85 per cent were in favour of the idea.

The Hantsport Memorial Community Centre is the recreation hub of Hantsport, with sports fields, a community pool, dog park and more amenities that the residents rely on. The director would help to implement HMCC’s programming.   

Over 70 residents gathered at the Hantsport Baptist Church on Feb. 27 to hear about the proposal before voting on what they’d like to see happen.

62 were in favour, 11 were opposed.  

Nick Zamora, HMCC’s current president said the vote is contingent on the position being funded without needing to increase the amount paid by Hantsport households due to the introduction of this cost.

Zamora said he was encouraged the support shown from community members.

“Many residents spoke to the importance of recreational programs and events to the community,” Zamora said. “Others expressed a desire to see continuity and to further progress by building on recent successes, such as the summer day camp program and the aquatics programs at the pool.”

The president of HMCC said the recent summer programs and events they were able to put on through a summer recreation director, funded by HMCC from May to August, highlighted the need for a longer term staffing position.

He said the new position could lead to an expansion of programs, improved coordination with community groups, increased winter programming, improved seniors' programming, event planning and more. 

The proposal still needs to be passed by West Hants council.

Zamora said he’s optimistic it’ll pass.

“A year-round Recreation Director will provide a consistent, local presence in Hantsport,” he said. “The current model of hiring summer students inherently results in turnover (i.e. a new Rec Director every year or two), and this permanent position will allow for more consistency, continuity and efficiency.”

The position will be advertised and candidates will be vetted by the HMCC Board of Directors.

Councillor Robbie Zwicker said council’s decision remains to be seen but said everything has been handled appropriately so far.

“One would only hope that given the compliance to the policy, which in my opinion indicates this is what Hantsport wants, that council will agree with the decision,” Zwicker said.

“It’s important to remember that through dissolution Hantsport amalgamated into West Hants, we were not assimilated,” Zwicker said. “Through our area rate, and through the Hantsport planning advisory committee council has… a unique form of community engagement with Hantsport. This will allow Hantsport to maintain its identity.”

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