Funding announced for Sherbrooke streetscape project

St. Mary’s aims to extend tourist visits

By Helen Murphy    

SHERBROOKE – Main St. in Sherbrooke will soon undergo a facelift to attract more visitors. Central Nova MP Sean Fraser and Guysborough - Eastern Shore - Tracadie MLA Lloyd Hines were in Sherbrooke Monday for the announcement of federal and provincial funding for the initiative to transform Sherbrooke into a "tourism gateway."

ACOA, through its Innovative Communities Fund (ICF), is providing a $20,000 non-repayable contribution to the project. The Government of Nova Scotia is investing $25,000 through the Department of Municipal Affairs.

The project aims to attract more travellers along Highway 7 into the community, and to extend the stay of visitors to Historic Sherbrooke Village.

“The people of St. Mary’s take great pride in welcoming visitors from all over the world,” said Warden Michael Mosher. “With (this funding), we are that much closer to our goal of creating a Main Street experience that serves as a hub for visitors – a gateway into the St. Mary’s tourism experience. An updated approach to streetscaping along the Sherbrooke Main Street stretch will enhance our position as a desirable tourism destination.”

Warden Mosher noted that there is also a contribution of $15,000 in municipally sourced funds, and an additional contribution of $5,000 from the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage through the Sherbrooke Village Restoration Commission. This brings the total to $65,000 in contributions toward the Beautification and Streetscaping project for the District of St. Mary’s.

The project includes a façade Improvement program -- a financial investment matching program that will allow property owners to improve/upgrade their building façade. The amount owners invest in their façade improvement will be matched by the program (up to a maximum which is yet to be determined).

Details on the project are being finalized, Kelly Greenland, St. Mary's Economic Development and Planning Officer told The Journal Monday.

MP Fraser said the Atlantic region is filled with picturesque communities like Sherbrooke that offer an unforgettable experience to all those who visit. “Investments that build vibrant communities will improve the quality of life for those who live here in the District of St. Mary’s, and will create opportunities for local tourism operators and small businesses who contribute to growth in the local economy.”

The community is benefitting from a growing number of visitors to the region thanks to the Sherbrooke Village Museum and the Wild Islands Tourism Advancement Partnership (WITAP). This tourism gateway project is expected to help transform Sherbrooke into a more welcoming space with a modernized land-use plan and a fresh streetscape, which will encourage visitors to explore the village and surrounding areas further. Entrepreneurs and local businesses will also benefit from increased tourism traffic in the area.

“We are pleased to provide $25,000 to the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s through the province’s Beautification and Streetscaping Program,” said Guysborough - Eastern Shore - Tracadie MLA Lloyd Hines. “This program is designed to support the development of inviting areas where residents and visitors want to spend time. Key investments like this can rejuvenate areas, foster local pride, encourage economic development and enhance the character of municipalities.”

The Sherbrooke Village Museum is Nova Scotia’s largest living history museum and draws an average of 36,000 visitors each year.