By Heather Killen
Thanks to a partnership between the province and three towns, there will be new ways to get active this winter.
Brooke Southcote, physical activity coordinator for Middleton, Bridgetown, and Annapolis Royal, says starting in January about 24 free winter recreational programs will be offered to residents in each of the towns.
These programs will include family events, as well as after-school programs for students of all ages. These free programs are being funded through a partnership of the three towns, as well as support from the Department of Health and Wellness.
Southcote says staff in each of the towns is working together to promote physical activity to people of all ages and make available a variety of programs and events.
The programs range from family fun nights and afterschool programs, to seniors’ activities.
There are also infrastructure proposals being developed for each town that would offer more opportunities for activities ranging from skating, walking, climbing, and skateboarding, she says.
A committee of about 25 avid skateboarders, family members and other supporters has been formed in Middleton. It is putting together research towards a proposal to the town council seeking approval to build a public skatepark in town, possibly at Centennial Park.
A similar group was formed several years ago in Annapolis Royal, spearheaded by skateboard enthusiasts and other supporters. This group worked hard to raise the money and support they needed to build their park on town-owned land near the French Trail.
“Some kids play soccer, others like hockey, or football,” Southcote said. “Skateboarders are as dedicated to skateboarding, as hockey players are serious about playing hockey.”
The Middleton group meets twice a month, on the first and third Mondays at 6 p.m. at the library in Middleton Regional High School. On Jan. 7 the group has invited New Line New Line Skateparks Inc., a design and construction firm specializing in the development of skateboard. The public is welcome to attend these meetings.
Another group in Middleton is looking at developing a trail system on 500 acres of land between the Annapolis and Nictaux rivers. The Town of Middleton purchased this land a few years ago, as a buffer zone to protect its new well fields.
A COGGS student is working in cooperation with the town staff on this proposed plan. Other infrastructure proposals are being developed in both Bridgetown and Annapolis Royal. In Bridgetown, a committee is looking at how to add a climbing wall to the Trojan Sports Centre. This multi-sports facility has an indoor ice surface, soccer field, and fitness centre.
A climbing wall is a relatively unique feature that could attract various user groups to the facility. In Annapolis Royal a group is putting together a proposal for an outdoor skating surface. She added that the towns of Middleton and Bridgetown are also considering adding these outdoor ice surfaces to enhance the accessibility for many families.
While Bridgetown and Middleton both have indoor ice surfaces, these arenas offer only scheduled access for the public and families, as they rely on income from scheduled users such as the hockey league. Outdoor ice surfaces would be available throughout the days and evenings at no cost to residents.
The outdoor classroom series also continues in all three towns throughout the month of January. This free public program was very popular last fall. In January it will focus on identifying animal tracks.
The series ends in January in Bridgetown and Annapolis Royal, but will continue throughout February and March in Middleton. In February, it will be all things winter-related and in March, it’s an introduction to bird watching.
Other free public activities starting in January are Dodgeball games for ages 16 and older on Friday nights in Middleton. While in Bridgetown, on Friday nights families can enjoy free access to the equipment and facilities at the Trojan Sports Centre and at Annapolis Royal Regional Academy.
Free family skating is also being offered on Saturdays in Middleton and Bridgetown, while seniors 55+ have their day in Annapolis Royal on the last Sunday of each month.
All six schools in the county will be offering after-school programs for students. She added that she surveyed the students in each school to find out what kinds of activities they want.
“The activities will range from yoga, football to archery,” she said. “There are 12 different after-school programs being offered.”
For more information on the activities available in each town, contact the recreation department.