The design of what the playground project will look like. (Dagley Media)

CARROLLS CORNER: The look on Jim Reid’s face as he sat on stage at the Carroll’s Corner Community Centre (CCCC) on Jan. 11 spelled relief after many long hours of work.

Reid and his volunteer committee at the CCCC have been hard at work to make a dream of an accessible playground reality, and at an announcement with Immigration Minister and Central Nova MP Sean Fraser that is about to be realized.

Fraser, on behalf of Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA, announced the playground project will be receiving $150,000 from the federal government. It was one of five projects getting funding totalling $$322,727 (four projects through the Canada Community Revitalization Fund (CCRF)) and one through the Tourism Relief Fund (TRF).

The federal announcement gets underway in Carrolls Corner. (Healey photo)

Reid said the construction of the playground, which is estimated to cost $250,000, is running a bit behind schedule, but the plan is to have a grand opening in the Spring for the new playground.

“With COVID and delays in bringing in some of the funding and trying to get a contractor we’re a little behind schedule,” said Reid in an interview with The Laker News after the announcement. “Certainly, we’ll be well underway by Spring. Everything should be completed by early summer.”

What was Reid’s reaction when he heard from Minister Fraser’s office that the project was approved for funding from ACOA. The biggest smile one could see on Reid’s face gave what the answer was.

“It was a big weight lifted off my shoulders,” he said. “In this day and age trying to source that amount of funding is not an easy task, so we’re very grateful to Minister Fraser and the people at ACOA for their support.”

VIDEO: Here is our video story from the announcement on Jan. 11 which we shared Friday on The Laker News FB page. It is sponsored by Zach Totten of Allstate Insurance.

Video shot/edited by Dagley Media.

Besides the $150,000 from ACOA, the project has received support from HRM and Councillor Cathy Deagle Gammon in separate funding, and industry. HRM has provided approximately $60,000, and industry $30,000.

Fraser said when it comes to funding projects, MP’s in Ottawa don’t simply pick and choose where funding goes.

“We don’t sit and play SimCity in Ottawa behind closed doors and say this project should go here, that project should go there,” said Fraser. “We listen to leaders in the community who are getting things off the ground and making proposals because they know what’s best for their own community.”

– Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration and Central Nova MP

He praised Reid and his committee for coming up with the plan and Councillor Deagle Gammon for putting the project on his radar and advocating that the project should be one to receive funding.

Fraser said when community leaders are telling the federal government they can put together proposals and put people to work during the construction phases, it’s a no brainer they should support those type of proposals.

“We know there are projects such as this being proposed across Canada in rural communities,” he said. “When I found out we could support a project here in Carroll’s Corner as well as the other projects in the Musquodoboit Valley and Eastern Shore, it was a simple thing for me to say this is one we have to put our shoulder to the wheel and get it done.”

Deagle Gammon had one of the biggest smiles on in the room at the announcement. The CCCC was one of the groups she met with shortly after being elected as councillor for the area,

“I remember that very first meeting we had with Jim and his team, and we were talking about the playground being redone. We knew it was in the HRM budget. And then Jim talked about this vision of an outdoor, fully accessible playground.

“Everything started firing on all cylinders with me. Accessibility is my passion, working with people with disabilities has been my life.”

She said that is what piqued her interest in the project. Deagle Gammon told Reid she thinks the playground will become a bit of a tourist destination for those travelling in the area, especially with the trail right there.

“It was such a good plan. It was well thought out. It had community support,” she said. “I just thought there was no way it was not going to happen.”

Deagle Gammon also spoke of the funding for Meaghers Grant Volunteer Fire department.

“The interesting thing with them is how they incorporate all of the community groups in that hall, which is what CCCC is doing as well,” she said. “They are a great group that has been very welcoming to me.

“Investments in rural communities is always a wise one.”

Other projects announced as receiving funding include:

Eastern Shore’s Gallery $100,000 converting church into gallery in Head of Chezzetcook.

Ecum Secum Volunteer Fire Department  – accessible outdoor kitchen n boardwalk $30,000

Meagher’s Grant Volunteer Fire Department – $25,000 upgrades to community hall with a new floor

Harbour Lites New Horizons Club replaced ramps n steps and damaged windows. $17,727.