Success Story: Antigonish, NS

Host John Chiasson comments on the Trail Care Crew's impact on thier community in Antigonish, NS, in August 2010.

"We were given a wonderful opportunity early in 2010 when our county council offered our small group, Positive Action for Keppoch, a lease on approximately 150 acres of mountain terrain and gave us permission to develop it as a recreational property.

We gathered ideas and met monthly trying to get the ball rolling, but there seemed to be a terrible inertia around the project-- as if we were fearful to jump in and get our feet wet.

In July we found out about the IMBA Canada Trail Care Crew program with Chad and Deanne, and saw the opportunity as the perfect catalyst that would allow us to engage our community and go forward with our plans. With the program coordinator's help we were able to get local media behind us, which resulted in a favorable editorial in the local paper as well as an interview on the radio. Suddenly, people were talking about our project with optimism, hope and expectation.

The workshop and Trailbuilding School marked the high point in our summer, and the goodwill that resulted led to two more successful workshops.  We have since completed all the trail that Chad and Deanne flagged for us in the summer, and have continued on flagging and constructing trail using the techniques we were taught.

More importantly, however, we have now garnered interest from the provincial Health Promotion and Protection program, and they have encouraged us to apply for funding from their program. We have also received a vote of confidence in the form of a cash infusion from a county councillor, and we have met with other trailbuilding groups to share ideas.

Our group has gained such confidence that we have engaged volunteers to help us put in a well and septic bed so we can have a clubhouse, and we have formed a partnership with the local ski-doo club to share resources.

Next week we meet with the Regional Development Authority for our district and in three weeks we will do a presentation before the Warden of the County, the Municipal Clerk and all the councillors.
I phoned one of our board members tonight to tell him how things are going. He stated that it all began with that workshop in August. We are indebted to the example and leadership IMBA Canada has shown us, and we now have become a credible partner in our community, leading the way in volunteerism, recreation, health and fitness.

John Chiasson, Positive Action for Keppoch

November 2010