Ever since a flood devastated the Perth-Andover community in New Brunswick back in March of 2012, the village lost several houses and many people that lived in that community moved out. The aftermath of that flood has resulted in several vacant lots, and now the town council is debating what to do with them.
Perth-Andover Mayor Terrence Ritchie said, ”Make it more recreational and make it more proactively a recreational park and setting with things for children and actually all ages.”
It’s an effort with hopes to attract more people and business. Some ideas for the vacant lots include a drive-in theatre, horticulture center, and a new playground. One idea the Town Council has been moving towards is utilizing space on the Andover side of the village to build a golf course. But not everyone is too fond of the idea especially because there’s already 8 golf courses in neighboring communities.
Area resident Francine St. Amand said, ”Basically common sense shows you that this side of the river is way more fertile and supports bio diversity and that kind of thing than the Perth side.”
On the Perth side of the river, the Town Council has proposed Community gardens. But it’s what’s in between both sides that’s got people talking; working with the river, instead of fighting against it.
Perth-Andover Mayor Terrence Ritchie said, ”Even on beautiful days we get waves like an ocean like a storm on a lake and nobody is out there no canoes, no kayaks, no sailboats.”
Unfortunately, the St. John river is not in Perth-Andover’s municipal jurisdiction. But Members of the Legislative Assembly say there’s still an enormous opportunity for areas along it. Ritchie says at this point they are fine tuning plans for a golf course, a plan he says the council was receptive to. But there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done; existing houses still need to be relocated, as well as gutting of the entire downtown of both sides of the River. And a lot more public input is needed from members of the community for plans to move forward.
The Mayor of Perth-Andover says he hopes that work on the vacant lots will gain ground by the spring. He also says creating the proposed golf course would cost at least 1.2 million dollars. The next public session concerning the vacant lots will be held October 28th.