COUNTRY HARBOUR – For 10 years Rickey McLaren served as councillor for District 7 in the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG), representing the areas of Country Harbour, Goldboro and Isaac’s Harbour. During that time, from 2012 until his passing in November of 2021, McLaren was a strong community advocate.
One of the projects McLaren brought to the council table was the desire to create a marina in Country Harbour. On June 11, approximately 100 people gathered at the grand opening ceremony for the new marina, located next to Salsman Provincial Park on Route 316, which included the unveiling of a plaque dedicating the marina in memory of McLaren.
Jolene Hudson, president of the Country Harbour Marina Association, emceed the event and introduced association members – Rob Walsh, vice president; Robbie Horton, treasurer; and Josie Hudson, secretary – along with special guests, including members of Rickey McLaren’s family, Guysborough-Tracadie MLA Greg Morrow, MODG Warden Vernon Pitts, District 7 Councillor Hudson MacLeod and MODG councillors Paul Long and Fin Armsworthy.
Hudson outlined the road that led to the creation of the marina, which started off with a group of volunteers who saw the need for better access to the harbour, and how that road led to McLaren and the support he garnered for the project from the MODG.
She said, “I would like to thank the Municipality of the District of Guysborough for their financial support and guidance throughout this process. Needless to say, our original plans of fundraising to see this through would have taken considerably longer than we originally thought. Their commitment to constructing this marina in our community is largely how we were here today.”
Speaking of McLaren’s contribution to the project, Hudson said, “Rickey put a lot of time in with Rob and others travelling to meetings and knocking on doors for financial support or guidance, eventually getting this idea to the council table, where it gained ground and speed. We take comfort in the fact that Rickey was with us when we regrouped and came together to take on the lease and operational commitment associated with it [the marina] after construction. We know he knew all of this invested time he gave, and the efforts, would pay off in his own community.”
Warden Pitts told those assembled, “Rick took this to council a number of years ago and [the volunteers] tried really, really hard, but they were running up against walls; fundraising, permitting and materials…Rick took it to council and council decided, ‘Let’s go forward with this.’
“Rick thought the world of you people over here…his heart was truly with the residents of Country Harbour and area,” said Pitts.
Pitts went on to say that it was his understanding that the marina was already looking at expanding with all berths rented and a waiting list for any that become available.
“This is a success, why not come forward and expand it…I know the municipality will be there and I certainly hope the Province of Nova Scotia will be there to reflect what we do,” said Pitts.
McLaren’s son Colin spoke on behalf of the family. He thanked everyone for coming to the event and for all the hard work that both saw the project through and continues to operate the marina. He said, “It’s a great facility.”
Following the event, MLA Greg Morrow told The Journal, “I know from covering council meetings as a local news reporter what a great voice Rickey McLaren was for the residents of District 7. The plaque at the new marina [near] Salsman Provincial Park in Country Harbour is a very fitting tribute.”