Council wants to repeal loitering bylaw

Allows for lingering in public spaces

Bridgewater residents should soon be free to stop, chat and sit on benches in town.

On April 13, council took the first step towards repealing its loitering bylaw.

“The existing bylaw prohibits loitering in a wide range of public and private spaces, and the definition of loitering is extremely broad. It includes lurking, wandering, standing, remaining idle either alone or in concert with others – basically being in a public space at all unless you’re on your way somewhere else,” said Jamy-Ellen Klenavic, the town planner working on ways to encourage people to use the town’s open public spaces.

She mentioned the benefits of street culture include a happier community, less crime and other social problems, positive psychological well-being, social cohesion and a sense of place or attachment to the community.

“The existing bylaw is not enforced by the Bridgewater Police department. Instead it relies on the provincial Protection of Property Act, which would still apply if the town decided to repeal the bylaw,” she said.

This was the motion’s first reading. A public hearing and a date for a second reading have not been set.

A related topic is a potential bylaw concerning vending on public property. This is also part of the intitiative to get people into the downtown area. The proposed bylaw considers zones along King Street and several recreational fields around town as areas where vendors could sell their food or goods.

Council directed staff to prepare the final draft of a vending bylaw with additional input and requests made by council.

“I think it’s worth investigating and going down the road,” said Councillor Jennifer McDonald, who moved the motion. “It provides opportunity for small businesses and can draw crowds into an area we need to see vibrancy in.”

As originally published in LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin

Abstract logo chosen to represent Bridgewater

Council went with majority of public opinion

Apparently, Bridgewater residents have an eye for professionally made art.

Council has finally decided on a new logo to represent the town, with the help of residents’ recommendations.

“It’s not my favourite logo, but apparently [in] the poll that was taken the majority of people chose that for the town of Bridgewater, and, being the democratic type of guy that I am, I will support that,” said Deputy Mayor Bill McInnis, who made the motion April 13 to endorse the recommendation from the branding committee to support the new logo and its guidelines as the town’s visual identity. A related request of $5,000 to kick off the rebranding campaign over the next 12 months will be considered during 2015-16 budget deliberations.

One logo was developed as part of the downtown waterfront master plan process and Councillor Andrew Tanner arranged the creation of two alternative options. In the end, the professionally produced design by the graphic arm of Ekistics Plan + Design, Form:Media, was favoured.

At a town council meeting in March, at which this decision was to be made, council asked the town’s branding committee and staff to ask the public for its opinion on the pieces through social media.

There were 163 surveys submitted on-line within two weeks. The survey asked participants to rank four options in order of personal preference: the three logo concepts and the option of having additional funds committed to further brand development. The survey said 70 per cent of respondants ranked the Form:Media logo as their first or second choice and 33 per cent ranked it as their preferred choice. However, “66 per cent made it clear they didn’t want to see any more money dedicated to further revisiting brand development,”said Patrick Hirtle, who presented this information to council.

The rebranding initiative is part of the town’s attempt to update itself and attract new residents. If the rebranding campaign is included in the budget this year, the rollout will include an initial phasing-in process of new materials including the logo as old materials run out.

“To a degree, I say professional designers in tune with today’s market and what is good promotion have made a recommendation and I’ll endorse that,” said Mayor David Walker. “It will be [a] conversation piece. I’m even looking forward to people saying, ‘What does that logo mean?’”

As originally published in LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin

Bridgewater director of planning on the move

Eric Shaw to become city planner in BC

Eric Shaw will soon be shaping the plans of a city on the other coast of Canada.

Bridgewater’s current director of planning is moving his family of four to White Rock, British Columbia, next Thursday, as Mr. Shaw has received what he sees as an excellent job offer.

“I think we’re just interested in a new adventure. ….We used to sort of get a high off of that before, and I think we’re starting to get that itch again,” said Mr. Shaw, of himself and his wife, Alexis. They moved here eight years ago and started their family in the area. Now, they will drive with their three year old and seven year old for six days westward to start a new life.

“I think it was just a desire to try something new and pursue something different and maybe live in a different part of the country,” said Mr. Shaw of the move.

Mr. Shaw grew up in Montreal and Toronto, attending Concordia University for an urban studies degree, and the University of Toronto for a masters of planning degree. He also set down roots in Vancouver and Winnipeg before he and his wife moved to Bridgewater.

“Work has been really exciting here. We’ve been doing some really good stuff I think, and so that kept me very fulfilled, but now that the kids are older I feel like I’ve accomplished some of the things I wanted to accomplish here,” he said, adding it’s a perfect time to move before his children get too settled.

Bridgewater’s planning department has changed quite a bit under Mr. Shaw’s direction to include more long-term strategic planning for the town. Some of this work included the downtown master plan, a comprehensive planning review that updated planning documents, introducing policies and regulations for development, starting more active transportation initiatives, updating some infrastructure and introducing more sustainability efforts.

“It’s nice to see that Bridgewater, unlike a lot of rural communities out in Nova Scotia, seems to be doing quite well and it continues to grow, with some indication that additional growth is coming. I think that’s a credit to the department and to all the staff here that are really trying to foster that positive approach to help developers find solutions to problems,” said Mr. Shaw, whose last official work day is April 21.

“I have no qualms about how successful Eric will be in that new position. He has certainly demonstrated to us leadership and vision and a passion for planning,” said Mayor David Walker to council members at a regular meeting April 13. “If I were to look at where we were when Eric arrived in our planning department and where we are now, I think there’s been significant positive movements.”

He describes the town he is moving to as a little urban city of 20,000 people on a land area of 5 kilometres right on the border of the province and Washington State. Most of the city lies along the Pacific Ocean, which is a primary draw for tourists. The city is undergoing initiatives similar to those Mr. Shaw has introduced here – downtown revitalization, waterfront revitalization and a planning review of policies and regulations. He’s ready to take on the new role of being city planner in an area with twice the population.

“I really appreciate the time I’ve had here,” said Mr. Shaw. “It’s been eight wonderful years, life-changing years really, and I’ll certainly miss everyone very much.”

As originally published in LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin

Bridgewater explores electric opportunities for fleet

Recommendation made for ten alternative vehicles

A Clean Nova Scotia study recommends replacing one of Bridgewater’s current fleet of vehicles with something electric.

The recommendation follows a study that took seven months to complete. Twenty light-duty vehicle operators and fleet managers had monitors inserted in their vehicles for three weeks to gauge their use, operation, speed, energy use and fuel demands. The data was then uploaded to FleetCarma, a fleet monitoring company’s software, and analyzed to measure the total ownership cost including operating, maintenance, fuel and resale. Two of the devices malfunctioned so the project ended up providing data for 18 fleet vehicles.

“It came out that for ten of the 18, there was a business case for switching over which meant the total cost of ownership was lower by having an electric vehicle then it would be by having the vehicle you have right now,” said Andrea Macdonald, programs director at Clean, an environmental organization helping provide people with tools and knowledge to make good environmental decisions. She presented the results of this study to council April 7.

“It will be a higher capital [cost], but the operational cost will be significantly lower and so those have to be recognized together when we’re talking about integrating electric vehicles,” said Ms MacDonald. The study said if all ten vehicles were switched to electric, $114,000 would be saved over the lifespan of those vehicles, emissions would be reduced by 50 per cent or 282 tonnes, and there would be a 76 per cent reduction in fuel – almost 120,000 litres.

However, the study’s authors recommended that just one electric vehicle be acquired, recognizing the Town’s budget constraints.

The town’s staff proposed looking into a number of energy related projects a year ago. “The biggest and most interesting initiative that crossed our path was the opportunity to apply for participation in a study by the Clean Foundation with the idea of understanding whether the integration of electric and hybrid vehicles would be feasible for municipalities,” said Leon de Vreede, the sustainability planner for the town. Bridgewater and New Glasgow were selected for the study. The presentation was part of its grant.

“The data shows the average range for your fleet is about 64 km a day and 60 per cent of the time it’s less than 40 kilometers a day and it’s almost always less than 100 kilometres a day, which is well within the range of what an electric vehicle can do,” said Ms MacDonald. It also said 44 per cent of the drivers monitored could use improved driving habits in terms of eco friendly driving and behaviour training.

The largest pay back and biggest cost savings all related to changes to the police fleet.

Part of the study involved looking at the benefits and barriers of electric vehicles. Some of the barriers explored were range anxiety, limited access to battery charging, aggressive driving styles, right sizing and high capital costs. The benefits included environmental sustainability and supporting and reinforcing existing initiatives. The study was based around the vehicles being able to be charged once, at the end of the day. Bridgewater already has seven charging stations open to the public at the Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre.

The study is not recommending these vehicle changes to be implemented right away, but would like the data considered. It would like the town to identify the top three vehicles from the study it feels appropriate to replace with an electric vehicle and at least one electric vehicle integrated into the 2016/17 budget. “The final piece was to make sure you really measure that total cost and the environmental cost and use it as a pilot to see if we want to keep integrating this,” added Ms MacDonald, who will also being doing case studies to share with other towns and municipalities once this project is completed.

The study was funded by the Nova Scotia Department of Energy, the Nova Scotia Moves grant program, Nova Scotia Power, CrossChasm Technologies Inc. – FleetCarma and the Shell Fuelling Change program.

The town plans to integrate this study with some of its other work and bring options forward for future discussion.

“If you buy an electric vehicle it should be branded proudly,” said Ms MacDonald.

As originally published in LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin

First step toward new school review policy released

Long-range outlook being presented to board

This week, the South Shore Regional School Board (SSRSB) is expected to release its long-range outlook, which is the first step taken as a result of the new provincial school review policy.

Its intent is to support earlier public engagement and discussion about the school community and to provide more consistency across the province.

“It’s all mandatory. All the schools use the same data that’s been collected, and all the outlook does is project that data and say looking forward this group of schools, or a school, is overcrowded and we may need to build a new school, or this group of schools appears to have a dropping enrolment based on the data and we may need to do a school review to examine what could be done,” said Brian Smith, director of operations for the SSRSB.

“It could be a school closure, could be a recommendation for grade reconfiguration between schools. There’s a number of possibilities that will come up out of that long-range outlook. In other words, it will indicate and it will project forward what families of schools and individual schools will look like going forward.”

The outlook will include 10-year projections of population and enrolment figures and the same information from the past 10 years.

The Halifax and Straight regional school boards outsourced their information to Baragar Systems, a software company. It’s hoped that similar software would be available for all boards next year.

“Those statistics we’ll use next year will take into consideration a lot more complicated set of factors than we’re using to project enrolment. We’re using a very simplistic method that doesn’t take into consideration birth rates, for example, or movement of people. … A more sophisticated method used by the province will be much more accurate,” said Mr. Smith, who also mentioned this accuracy may show a sharper decline in students.

School capacities will also be analyzed.

“Students in P-9 schools, in those grades, generally operate in the classroom or go out to [other spaces] so some spaces in the building are actually exempted spaces.” Examples of the spaces exempted for these younger levels were for music, gym, tech ed, art, libraries, IT classrooms and learning centres.

“The assumption in a 10-12 school is that all spaces in the school – gym, music room – could be instructional spaces,” said Mr. Smith of high schools where all spaces are included. “All the rooms in the school are multiplied by a factor of 0.85, so they get 15 per cent of the space as flexible space where we don’t expect there to be students in every inch of the building.”

Dividing each school’s enrolment by its capacity gave each school utilization percentage. According to the draft version of the document, dated January 31, elementary, junior high and middle schools are considered full at 100 per cent utilization. Most schools operated by the board wouldn’t come close to meeting these standards, and schools are looking at a continued drop in enrolment.

“We know that whatever the utilization is now will likely be less in 10 years, so that’s at a point where you could say maybe we need to look at this a little closer. What are the costs of operating a school? What are the ways we can utilize that space? Can we engage others in filling that school? For example, some of our schools have daycares in them right now, or in New Germany we have an early years centre that’s going to be opening. So those are ways that the space could be utilized in a different way,” said Mr Smith. “These are public buildings funded by taxpayers, and we should really try to use the space within the buildings.”

The purpose of the document is to provide information to support discussions and future decisions about the delivery of education programs and services in the area.

The document is to be reviewed by the board on April 15 and will be available to the public April 30.

As originally published in LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin

Aberdeen lights back on

Equipment for traffic lights has arrived, and they will be fully operational soon

The intersection at Aberdeen and North streets will soon be back to normal.

Equipment to fix the lights of one of the busiest intersections in Bridgewater has arrived and its stop lights are now blinking red.

“We’re just doing a little bit of flashing them just so we don’t flick the switch and have them running because they’ve been off so long,” said Justin Penny, the engineering technician for the town of Bridgewater. “It’s just a reminder that they’re going to be working soon.”

Work is being done on the lights at the moment, and they are supposed to be fully operational next week.

The lights have been off since early January, when a motor-vehicle accident caused $18,000 worth of equipment damage. The controller had been pushed up against the power pole, and wires had been torn off. Insurance covered the loss completely.

“It basically destroyed the whole computer components of the traffic lights, which we don’t have in our inventory. We had to order them,” said Mr. Penny who explained these parts become outdated quickly so spare parts are not kept in stock. “The supplier we buy them from actually makes them in house, so they had to assemble all the different components and ship them to us.”

The four-way stop has run fairly smoothly since the lights have been out of operation, but their absence has slowed traffic down, especially during rush hour. Some people have been avoiding the intersection entirely, taking alternate routes such as LaHave Street.

“It will be good. Things will hopefully be better than what they were before. It will move cars quicker up the hill during peak times with the lights operational again, and it’s safer,” said Mr. Penny. “There’s been debate on both sides whether they’re needed or not needed, but for safety reasons there’s so much going on in that intersection with eight lanes of traffic they’re definitely required to be there.”

The lights were originally installed in 1984.

As originally published in LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin

Pentz and Petite schools remain in limbo

Board seeks legal opinion on closure

Though Pentz and Petite Riviere elementary schools still face imminent closure, a slightly new offer has been presented.

The South Shore Regional School Board (SSRSB), along with its superintendent and legal counsel visited the two schools and their school advisory committees (SACs) on March 31 to share a new sense of direction for the future. Their purpose was to seek feedback.

“We think we should apply one more time for a new school for Pentz and Petite, but in order to make it perhaps a little more palatable to the province we threw in what we thought was an attempt to address the rural community revitalization concerns,” said Elmer Garber, the chair of SSRSB, regarding a community school concept the board was proposing.

The two schools have been slated for permanent closure since the SSRSB made this motion in March 2013. Since then, the Board has taken much heat due to the motion’s wording. A clarification following the agreed-upon permanent closures reads: “Pentz Elementary School and Petite Riviere Elementary School would remain open until a new school has been completed.” This additional statement about remaining open until a replacement facility for the two schools is built has caused much confusion and a variety of interpretations regarding the motion in the community.

The board recently sought legal advice on this matter.

“Some people were saying that motion could be reversed and we wanted clarity in relation to that,” said Mr. Garber, who’s since had it confirmed the decision cannot be revoked.

The board had five years since making its initial decision to make arrangements for students at the slated schools. It has made two requests of the province for a new facility in the area of $10 million. Both requests were denied. It hopes the most recent proposal, if the communities in question agree to participate, is more enticing.

“We just were presented the offer on Tuesday, so we haven’t had time to digest it and understand what it means for our school,” said Leif Helmer of the Petite Riviere SAC. “We need to consider really carefully if it’s viable before we invest many months or years into their proposal.”

Mr. Helmer and Dee Conrad, past chair of the SAC for Petite Riviere, wrote a letter to Mr. Garber, the chair of the SSRSB, which was presented at its March 25 meeting.

Their requests include an opportunity to present advice to the board in an in-camera session; a full copy of the legal opinion regarding their future, including correspondence with SSRSB staff requesting the opinion; an explanation of how the commitment made by Mr. Cainen to include Petite and Pentz in the consultant’s terms of reference for “building condition assessment reports,” has been followed through and met; and an explanation of how Petite will be included in the long-range outlook document to be released later this month.

The authors did not receive a response to their request for an in-camera session. The legal opinion was delivered verbally at both school meetings. Petite and Pentz, while included in the long-range outlook, which will be released midway through April, did not include a completed building condition assessment report.

“They’re included in terms of population trends, capacity, utilization rates,” said Mr. Garber. “They’re not included in terms of building condition, because that was determined two years ago and the schools are to close, so we can’t spend an extra $15,000 to include them in the plan.” The board will continue maintenance as long as children attend the two facilities. The children will have to go somewhere else if a new school isn’t constructed.

“It has been known all along that’s our worst-case scenario, because it means busing hundreds of kids many, many hours away from and out of their home communities to a school that isn’t large enough to accommodate them, has no real educational benefit, and all they do is lose hours of their life,” said Mr. Helmer. “That’s not a prospect that I’m interested in, nor is anybody else.”

As originally published in LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin

Shawn O’Hara volunteers 16 years with Bridgewater Skating Club

Shawn O’Hara is best known to the Bridgewater community as a lawyer with Ferrier Kimball Thomas, but on March 7 he was celebrated as an outstanding volunteer.

He attended the 41st annual Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony, after being nominated and winning a provincial volunteer award on behalf of Bridgewater.

“I’m very surprised and humbled to be the town’s representative for the provincial volunteer award,” he said, describing the luncheon as a very good and enjoyable time. “It was a very positive experience as they were celebrating volunteers, so there were individuals present from all over the province receiving their particular awards.”

Mr. O’Hara was particularly recognized in relation to the Bridgewater Skating Club, where he has volunteered for the past 16 years; the same length of time he has lived and worked in the area. He originally became involved when his three children began attending the program. They are now 22, 20 and 16 years of age. “I think it’s important to be able to give back, a lot of the volunteering that I’ve done has been associated with the activities my children have been involved in,” said Mr. O’Hara. It’s important that people get involved and make sure that kids in the community have good programs.” He is actively involved in running the club in terms of planning, scheduling and negotiating, but also ensures practices and events occur without incident.

“I think he’s an excellent representative, certainly he’s served in a multitude of capacities within the Bridgewater Skating Club and is very active with Big Brothers, Big Sisters,” said Mayor David Walker, who also attended the event. “I know he was very humble today that he received the recognition from the town, but we were delighted to be able to recognize him and we’ll be delighted to reinforce that at our local one next week.”

Mr. O’Hara’s interest in youth needs in the community also drew him to volunteer as a director on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Shore. His skills and abilities as a lawyer have helped him in this area. “The series of things that you need to do from pure risk management issues, understanding insurance issues, the whole dynamic of how organizations run, how they’re structured … having a law background was very helpful,” he said.

But kids being active and having fun is what drives him to fill his already busy life as a lawyer with his work as a volunteer. Now 50, O’Hara grew up in Halifax where he competitively swam and played water polo, having the opportunity to go to the Canada Games at one point.

“I’ve always seen and experienced the benefits of sport and recreation and a lot of the volunteering I’ve done is to try to create opportunities for others to experience that,” he said. “I’m just simply there to fill the needs that need to be done and I guess along the way it’s nice to have someone recognize those efforts.”

As originally published in LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin

Bridgewater grappling with tough budget decisions

2015-16 shortfall estimated at over $1 million

Bridgewater’s budget will be tough to balance.

At a March 30 budget discussion, town staff and council members tried to even out the operating budget for 2015-16.

The potential shortfall, combined with additional requests, amounts to approximately $1.2 million. To decrease this figure, staff and council considered cuts to potential capital projects from a preliminary five-year capital budget and eliminating projects from a list of outstanding requests to council.

“What’s different this year is that deficit, that preliminary deficit, is much larger than it has been in the past,” said Mayor David Walker. “There’s much more cuts that have to be made to get to a balanced budget, more than perhaps the last number of years.”

New traffic lights at the corner of King and Dufferin streets were supposed to have monitors and cabinets replaced, with loops installed in the asphalt to detect cars. The project, costing $55,000, might be eliminated. An engineering design of $10,000 to look at relocating the stairs at the fire hall and fencing for the fire hall and training facility, worth $20,000, could also be put on hold.

Information technology projects of an estimated $18,000, including network and software upgrades and installing e-billing for the finance department could also be paused.

A request for a non-union salary review worth $30,000 could be put to the side, along with additional benches for the Centennial Trail amounting to $8,000.

Two additional items could also be added.

The draft capital budget contained $200,000 for pavement management, which includes pothole repairs, as did the draft operating budget. Council asked to increase the amount allocated to pavement management to $500,000 after the rough winter greatly affected the town’s roads.

The second additional project was not originally included in the five-year capital budget plan, as council did not provide an associated direction when it was presented. There was $100,000 set aside for Grinder’s Square All-wheels Park in the draft proposal, after four council members voted in favour of including it. Its planning committee had asked for $200,000 from the town in order to secure funding over four years from other potential partners.

“If you leave it out it’s not going to come back to the table,” said Councillor Andrew Tanner. “It’s either put it in, or it’s going to be a dead project.”

As the project was not going to be started this year, Dawn Keizer, the town’s chief financial officer, suggested moving the amount from the operating budget to a reserve fund, which would then decrease the amount needed for the capital budget.

She also suggested possible ways of dealing with the shortfall. “There aren’t a lot of options, and it’s quite a big number, so it’s probably going to be in the expenditure area, possibly with reserve transfers.”

Potential funding sources that council is considering include a 15 per cent increase in sewer rates, which would amount to around $110,000 in total, as well as deferring the principal payments on capital reserve loans, an amount in the area of $293,200.

The town is not permitted to present a budget with a shortfall, and so a proposed budget, which was originally scheduled to be tabled April 10, will be put on hold until balanced. If these changes are implemented, the town would still have to deal with a $916,000 shortfall.

“The next stage now is to have the departments come in with their departmental budgets and have a look at what their budget is, what some of the changes are and what opportunities we might have to reduce costs there,” said Mayor Walker. “That process coupled with additional examination of the capital has to get us to zero, and it’s not going to be easy.”

As originally published in LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin

Student wins national essay contest

Julia LeBlanc earns $10,000 scholarship

Although Julia LeBlanc is still in Grade 11, a post-secondary opportunity has opened up for her. The 17-year-old Centre scolaire de la Rive-Sud student has won a $10,000 scholarship to Université Sainte-Anne.

Julia won a national essay competition put on by French for the Future, a national not-for-profit organization promoting the study of the French language in Canada by high school students. Although she’s thankful for the scholarship and excited about winning, Julia is uncertain as to whether the amount will dictate her future. “I don’t know. I’m still not one hundred per cent sure what I’d like to do, but it’s something to keep in mind when deciding.”

Those who have French as their first language and those studying it were both able to enter the contest. Julia has attended French school since Primary and so was entered in the mother-tongue category; her experience there was the subject of her paper, entitled in English “Minority, but not minimal.”

The theme of the contest was based on a quote from Michaëlle Jean, former Governor General of Canada: “Sports, culture, and arts are necessities that bring together communities and give youth a way to express themselves.” The essayists were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with this statement and asked to explain why.

“We really don’t have a French community here but through the school and our community centre I’ve seen a French community start to grow,” said Julia, who answered the question in the affirmative. “We started from zero, we need to build up from there, so you can really see the community is growing. More people are coming to the school now. We have more programs, more sports, more choices.”

Her literary French teacher, Alex Godbold, introduced the contest to his class at the last minute when he received an e-mail from Canadian Parents for French saying the deadline had been extended. He offered the essay contest to the class as an option instead of another assignment.

“I was, of course, thinking of the high cost of tuition, and we have such great students at the school that are for the most part university bound, so I saw it as an opportunity in that respect,” said Mr. Godbold, of the fact that the contest issued $215,000 in scholarships to eight Canadian post-secondary institutions, adding the subject was suitable, “we’re a small French school trying to build a french community on the South Shore.”

Julia’s mother, Meredith LeBlanc, says this growing community is something she’s noticed as well, even from the outskirts as an English parent.

“Everything that she’s achieved she’s done on her own, because I haven’t been able to really help her much with her homework,” said Ms LeBlanc.

At the moment, Julia’s considering a career in music or education. She plays the piano and the clarinet in her school’s band. She’s also the student council’s treasurer and keeps active in Girl Guides and teaching swimming lessons at the Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre.

“I told her to make her decision based on what program she wants to study,” said Ms LeBlanc. “I’m hoping there might be other scholarship opportunities that come along when she’s in Grade 12 too, so that there isn’t pressure from this one to make a decision that way.”

According to her teacher, this shouldn’t be a problem. “She’s fantastic, she’s very dedicated, she’s a hard worker, she’s an analytical thinker, and you know she really understands the different challenges that French minorities face throughout Canada,” said Mr. Godbold.

Julia is thankful for her French heritage, regardless of whether or not she’ll pursue her post-secondary studies in French. “It’s not something that everybody can do, so I guess it makes me unique in a way, and it just gives you more options because I can choose to go to a French university or an English university, and then when travelling you have that extra way to connect with people too.”

As originally published in LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin