Nackawic-Millville Council supports bench project

by | Apr 17, 2024

Wellness committee gets go-ahead to begin plan to install benches along community’s streets and trails

The Nackawic Area Wellness Committee found full support around the council table for its proposal to install benches to provide a rest stop for seniors walking throughout the community.

Committee members Julie Stone and Gail Farnsworth pitched the idea at the April 15 Nackawic-Millville council meeting.

“It’s a great idea,” said Coun. Robert Simpson, the first to respond to Stone and Farnsworth. The mayor and remaining council echoed his words.

While each supported the idea, all council members agreed the rural community must finalize the proposal’s logistics. Some suggested expanding the project beyond the former town of Nackawic to include trails and other parts of the rural community.

Stone outlined the idea’s genesis, noting that it enhances one of the eight pillars that accompanied the Nackawic area’s designation as an Age-Friendly Community. The pillar recognizes the creation of outdoor spaces for seniors.

Farnsworth and Stone explained that seniors walk along Otis Drive, Landegger Drive, and other Nackawic streets to shop, attend church, or simply exercise. They noted that a bench along those routes would provide a rest stop.

Farnsworth said residents from N.B. Housing apartments and the Garden Homes brought the idea to their attention.

Stone explained that a local donor made enough cedar lumber available to build three benches immediately, with more available in the future. They envision 10 or more benches strategically placed in the future.

Stone added that Nackawic High School essential skills teacher Chris Gallop said students could build two or three benches before the end of the school year.

She said they wanted council approval before giving Gallop the go-ahead. She explained rural community staff would play a role in placing and maintaining the benches.

Stone said the benches must be bolted in place to guard against theft or vandalism, and staff would have to work around them when cutting grass and doing other maintenance. She added that the cedar benches would require staining every two to three years.

She said the committee could provide volunteers for some placement and maintenance.

Stone said the committee already has funding and could explore selling plaques to potential bench sponsors to raise further funds.

On Mayor Tim Fox’s recommendation, council members unanimously approved a motion to give permission to the committee to commission the NHS students to build three benches. They agreed that council, staff, and the committee would work out the final details, such as the number, location, placement, and how each would be secured.

Deputy Mayor Greg MacFarlane explained the importance of placing the benches in a location that ensures safety and finds an efficient way to bolt them to the ground.

“Those are things we need to work through,” he said.

While Stone and Farnsworth envisioned Otis and Landegger as obvious sites for one or more benches, they agreed with council members that many locations would benefit from a bench.

MacFarlane noted the nature trail could provide a great spot, while Simpson noted other walking trails, such as Maple Ridge.

Several council members noted that families, visitors, and others besides seniors could enjoy the benches. They suggested placing some in positions where people could sit and enjoy the view of the river or other picturesque locations.

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