COMMUNITY MATTERS by GEORGE HENAUT
As you walked, jogged, rode or drove throughout Pictou County the last few months, you were undoubtedly bombarded with a myriad of signs.
There are few streets throughout the county that do not feature houses for sale. Notice how many listings carry the “New Price” sign.
The housing market has been sluggish for the past year; consequently, the “For Sale” signs that linger are joined by an ever-increasing number of new ones. Don’t you wonder where everyone is going? Perhaps the owners are moving to a larger home, a smaller one, an apartment or a condo. Perhaps they are remaining in Pictou County, perhaps moving beyond our borders.
There were 694 residential properties on the market at the end of September on MLS® in Pictou County and there were 255 residential properties sold through MLS® year to date.
The commercial real estate landscape is likewise dotted with “For Sale” and “To Lease” signs. The former Central Supplies, Proudfoot Home Hardware and Clairtone buildings along with vacancies at the Highland Square Mall and the Albion Centre are but a few of the sites waiting for new business initiatives.
One of the traditional signs of summer is road “construction”; this year was an exceptional year for construction, especially on main routes. We can now drive to Stellarton from New Glasgow without complicated and sometimes creative detours. We all expect good roads; we all seem to become impatient when our favourite routes are under construction. It becomes unnerving when you begin one detour only to discover your alternate route is also in the midst of construction.
Yard sale signs emerged on weekends throughout the summer. Don’t you wonder how many buyers found the exact object they were looking for, how many purchased objects they will sell at their yard sale in the future? For many, it appears to be a pleasant way to spend a Saturday morning; the looking is as pleasurable as the buying. Someone’s junk becomes someone’s treasure.
Election signs were prominent for a couple of months. One wonders how effective they are! We do know that over 40 per cent of our population did not vote. If they noticed the signs, they were obviously not motivated to exercise their right to participate in the democratic process. With some very close election results every vote does count. Don’t you wonder if the disenfranchised are the biggest critics? Congratulations to all local candidates, all parties did a speedy job of removing their signs after the election.
You may have observed two local businesses have added a tag to their advertising. McLean’s Flooring (1959) now features Carpet 1; Chediac Home Furnishings (1966) features Brandsource. Both companies continue to be family operated, but have evidently joined co-operatives to gain wider selection and better prices. A temporary sign is now hanging from the Giant Tiger store reminding us of the Nov. 16 opening.
If you drive along Willow Avenue, you will notice a sign announcing the construction of a 60-unit apartment building, (with underground parking) appropriately called, “The Willow.” Evidently the 60 apartments are already rented. The prospective tenants wait patiently for the bulldozer to arrive on site!
For those of you who use the Samson Trail and pass under the George Street Bridge you will have noticed for much of the summer the graffiti painted on the lower wall of the bridge, “God is dead!” Eventually someone painted over the word “dead.” Evidently God is alive again! If you travel along Temperance Street, you will notice a thought-provoking sign outside a church: “Autumn leaves; Jesus stays.”
Throughout the County, we are seeing signs that feature: “Support Scott Jones.” Some signs reveal Pictou County at its best working together to support those in need. The Scott Jones Foundation web site states that Scott is not a victim but a survivor. Through individual and corporate donations and fundraisers, Pictou County is helping to ensure that Scott will continue his recovery.
Poppies are now making their annual appearance as we approach Remembrance Day; some signs are welcome yearly reminders of who we are, what we value, and to whom we owe so much.
Whether we are ready or not, the first Christmas merchandise has arrived at local shops. We can now anticipate the annual countdown signs informing us of how many shopping days left until Christmas! This year we have an opportunity to ensure that Christmas is more than a shopping experience. Will our signage say: “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas?”
George R. Henaut is a resident of New Glasgow; an author/playwright, a retired educator involved in local theatre and church/community groups.