Jessie Stewart is a CCOA client, and said a new, bigger facility is needed to serve more who want to be part of the organization. (Healey photo)

ENFIELD: An impassioned message from Jessie Stewart was all that those at Corridor Community Options for Adults (CCOA) needed to hear to understand what a new state-of-the-art facility will mean to clients like her.

Stewart was one of the speakers at a joint press conference on Dec. 22 involving the federal and municipal governments, held at what used to be the former Enfield District School until 2002.

While attendance was limited at the event, many watched via Zoom and the livestream on The Weekly Press Facebook page.

“A lot of people need to go some where and we have no room for them,” said Stewart, a program member at CCOA. “We need a new building for all the people with learning disabilities to show their talent.

“We need a bigger building to have a bigger kitchen for cooking. We need a bigger wood room for wood. We need a bigger building for the day program for those that got to the day program.”

Kody Blois said he woke up excited knowing the news he was to announce at CCOA on Dec. 22. (Healey photo)

CCOA, which provides programs for those with intellectual disabilities, is at maximum capacity with a waiting list an arms length or more long of people wishing to get their sons or daughters into their programs.

Stewart said that’s another reason a new building is needed.

“Parents have a problem getting their young adults to come here because we have no room for them, so that’s why we need a new building,” she said.

And like Santa Claus, Kings-Hants MP Kody Blois, and Municipality of East Hants Warden Eleanor Roulston, delivered an early Christmas gift to CCOA.

Blois announced the feds were supporting the project to the tune of $2.6 million. The municipality is contributing $200,000, while CCOA will fundraise $2.2 million. The province had announced funding of $1.5 million for the project in February.

“I woke up with a big smile on my face because any time you walk into CCOA you can’t help but get a smile put on your face because of the good work that happens here,” said Blois.

CCOA Manager Ross Young told media that the funding for a new facility means everything. (Healey photo)

He spoke of the work that the clients do, including making the washer toss boxes that were part of East Hants Tide Fest’s Guinness World Record breaking for largest washer toss tournament held.

It’s a proud day to be here to support an organization like CCOA.”

The project consists of building a new, more accessible space to provide increased quality programming for individuals considered to be living with an intellectual disability.

Once complete, residents of all abilities will be able to develop their skills, access a variety of programs, and services, and research employment opportunities in a larger, more modern, and state of the art facility.

Ross Young, CCOA manager, said the funding will allow them to begin planning for a spring/summer 2021 construction on 5.5 acres of land in the business park. They hope to be open in their new digs by early 2022.

“When this building was first occupied, I think the thought was we would never run out of room,” said Young. “Of course, we ran out of room pretty quickly.”

Young said CCOA currently provides programming for 44 young adults, however as the community of East Hants grows so does the demand. The new facility will allow CCOA to accommodate 125 people but would also mean more staff would be hired.

Eleanor Roulston, Warden for East Hants, said many residents fondly remember the building as their elementary school.

“This building has been well-loved over the years,” said Roulston. “Residents who use to go to school here come back today to the thrift store; visit the café; or pick up a washer toss box.

“CCOA supports a group of people in our community that deserves the best we have to offer. The work done here changes lives.”

MEH Warden Eleanor Roulston announced $200,000 for the project. (Healey photo)

Gerrard Garden, Chairman of the Board, Corridor Community Options for Adults, said this is a major step towards a new facility.

“This is an exciting day,” he said. “It’s a major step forward in our goal of building a new, state of the art, accessible facility that will provide a wide variety of programs and supports for people in the community for years to come.”

Roulston said everyone recognizes that to continue growing and serving the community a new facility is needed.

“It’s time to build a home that does this organization justice,” said Roulston.

Kings-Hants MP Kody Blois speaks about CCOA and how one cannot leave its Enfield facility without a smile on their face. (Healey photo)