HILLSIDE — Peter Boyles is looking forward to the day when Hillside residents have a community centre to call their own.
And he is working hard to make sure that happens.
Boyles is the municipal councillor for District 9 which includes Hillside. He said that area has never had a community centre, but now that the Municipality of Pictou County has given the community the parcel of land where the old school used to be, on Chance Harbour Road, he hopes that will change.
“We have this land where what they called the old Glen Falloch School used to be, that has been levelled, and the County gave it to the community of Hillside,” Boyles said. That is where he is hoping a community centre can be built.
The idea for a community centre has been percolating for some time with Boyles.
“When I ran my first (municipal election) campaign, three elections ago, that was my big thing: that we should have a community hall. I think every community should have a community hall. I’d be looking at the rest of the district, too, and if they’re interested in going for one I’d be right behind them.”
Community halls are much needed these days, Boyles said. “Today, your next door neighbours don’t know each other. And at one time if you had a community hall, you could meet and everybody knew everybody. Now, nobody hardly knows anybody,” he shrugged adding, “and it’s sad.”
Boyles said when he was campaigning he had lots of support for the suggestion of a community hall for the area and plenty of offers from constituents who volunteered their time and talents to help make it a reality.
“We can put up a nice community hall, a playground for the kids, nice parking lot and we can have barbecues, gatherings – and that’s what it’s all about.
“When I was first elected it came up at council that they were going to sell this land so I said I want it for the community to have a community hall. And they said, you got it.”
The land has not been officially turned over to the community yet, but Boyles is wasting no time in forming a group of people interested in working to build the facility.
“I’ll work hard at it, but I want the community group to take the lead. I want to get a board together and they will be the ones where the treasurer will be handling the money and the president will be calling for meetings, and I will just back them all the way on it.”
He is organizing a meeting for Sunday, September 10 at 1 p.m. on the grounds of where the community centre will be located. If it rains, Boyles said he will have canopies for cover.
In regards to building size, Boyles said it will be up to the community.
“What we need is something that, for instance, if you were going to hold a wedding shower or something after a grave service or a birthday party — or a Halloween party for the kids instead of going trick or treating.”
Boyles will try to pursue avenues for funding so it will cut down on the cost but there will be fundraising as well. And, Boyles noted, he had lots of offers for help in building the facility.
One of the suggestions Boyles is particularly excited about is a dedication wall. “We have a lot of veterans, so if anybody wants to give a particular amount for a dedication wall I think we can make that happen.”
For additional information or to volunteer in any capacity, contact Peter Boyles at 902-755-3938 or 902-759-7976.
Peter Boyles stands on the land where he hopes a community centre will be built for the community of Hillside. (Jardine photo)