Wednesday, February 21, 2018
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Town officials hope to draw more people downtown, says Antigonish mayor

The mayor of Antigonish says she's not concerned by a dip in the town's population.

Census figures released earlier in February indicate Antigonish's population fell 3.5 per cent in the most recent census compared to 2011 (4,364 in 2016, compared to 4,524 five years earlier).

After Monday night's regular town council meeting, Mayor Laurie Boucher said the drop is not specific to Antigonish; it's a province-wide trend.

"We do want to increase businesses so we can draw people into town," she said. "It's something, definitely, that we have to work on, to get people living in our downtown area."

Boucher said town officials have some bylaws in the works with some changes that will hopefully encourage people to move downtown.

The mayor says February has been tough on the town's snow removal budget.

Laurie Boucher says they're more than halfway through their allocated budget for the winter.

After Monday night's meeting, Boucher said a storm-filled, two-week period in February has had a big impact.

"We're over our halfway mark for sure. We're about 60 per cent spent," she said, "but we're hoping that this warmer weather (this) last week is going to help us out some as well."

Boucher said they benefited from a good January, and they hope March is similar.

Antigonish's mayor says the BurMac Cup is where it should be.

In 2016, town and county councillors decided the event would not be held at the municipally-owned Antigonish Arena because of concerns involving safety and damages.

University and student union reps recently reached an agreement to hold the game at the Keating Centre as a mid-afternoon event in late March.

After Monday night's meeting, Boucher said students worked hard to convince university officials it will be a safe event.

"I'm hoping that the overspill after the BurMac is over, that that respectfulness that they're going to demonstrate on campus will overflow into our community," she said, "and they'll have the same amount of respect for our town as they would do for their campus."

Boucher said the game should be on campus, along with the other residence cups.


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