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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visits Bridgetown

Justin Trudeau visits Bridgetown.
Justin Trudeau visits Bridgetown.

BRIDGETOWN - Hundreds of people packed Bridgetown's Jubilee Park Aug. 16 to catch a glimpse of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Many of them did much more than that – Trudeau worked the crowd afterwards, shaking hands, taking photos and giving hugs to his enthusiastic fans.

But he brought much more than just star power to the Annapolis Valley – he also brought the promise of a new bilateral agreement between Ottawa and Nova Scotia that will result in more than $238 million being invested in wastewater and public transit projects across the province.

Many of them did much more than that – Trudeau worked the crowd afterwards, shaking hands, taking photos and giving hugs to his enthusiastic fans.

But he brought much more than just star power to the Annapolis Valley – he also brought the promise of a new bilateral agreement between Ottawa and Nova Scotia that will result in more than $238 million being invested in wastewater and public transit projects across the province.

Hundreds of people were on hand for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's visit to Jubilee Park in Bridgetown.

After being welcomed by Annapolis County Warden Reg Ritchie, Westr Nova MP Colin Fraser, and Premier Stephen McNeil, Trudeau talked to the crowd.

“It’s an honour for me to share some good news with the people of this province,” Trudeau said. “In our first budget, we outlined our plan to invest $120 billion in infrastructure the next 10 years. Investments in things like reliable public transit, clean water and wastewater and affordable housing.”

The investments, he said, will help strengthen communities, create jobs and help grow the middle class.

“That’s not to say we can take a one-size-fits-all approach across this country. As a matter of fact, we know with certainty that that doesn’t work,” Trudeau said.

Instead, the federal government has focused on what each province needs.

“We sat back and we listened to Canadians,” he said. “We listened to your premier, to your mayors and to your wardens, your local representatives and your community groups. We listened to Canadians about what’s needed to make our communities stronger and build a better future.”

The crux of Trudeau’s announcement in Bridgetown focused on investments in infrastructure that will improve public transit systems and address clean water and wastewater needs. Almost $87 million will go towards a clean water wastewater fund, he said.

“Water, and clean wasterwater initiatives, are issues in communities right across Nova Scotia. Places like Lunenburg, Fall River and right here in Bridgetown,” Trudeau said. “We want to ensure the harbours and rivers across this province are pristine, to ensure our kids have safe and abundant drinking water and existing water systems can withstand extreme weather events and avoid flooding.”

In Bridgetown, concerns rose over the weekend when elevated uranium levels were found in the water. Premier Stephen McNeil said one of the first of the pending provincial-federal funding announcements coming in the next few weeks would address the situation.

Approximately $32 million in funding will also go towards public transportation, Trudeau said, citing the Kings Transit bus service as one group that would benefit.

“This funding will mean increased accessibility on buses and, in some cases, even services like Wi-Fi,” Trudeau said. “And perhaps more importantly, it will mean more buses on the road. Folks in busier hubs across Nova Scotia know it’s frustrating to wait for a bus that never seems to come. These crucial investments mean less time waiting and spending more time doing the things you love.”

 

Some of the hundreds of people in attendance came with messages for the prime minister

Security was extremely tight at Jubilee Park as hundreds of people turned up for Trudeau’s visit. RCMP officers were stationed at the entrance of the park with a police dog and there were mirrors on hand so police could look under cars.

Hundreds of people visited Jubilee Park as they awaited Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's arrival

People came for a wide variety of reasons – Richard Collicut from Wolfville was on hand to take photos for his colleagues in Switzerland, where he teaches now, while Coldbrook resident Ben Gale brought along his ID from the Liberal convention and said he wanted to come because he’s a big fan of Trudeau.

Area resident of all ages were on hand, from seniors to seven-year-old Soul Rae, who had a sign offering Trudeau some of Bridgetown’s “local, world famous lemonade” and proclaiming, “We love you!”

Soul Rae brought lemonade to offer Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Trudeau worked the crowd following the formal announcement. Trudeau’s comments were often met with applause during the announcement and the roar of the crowd only got louder as he talked to area residents.

Abigail Bonnington, 16, from Annapolis Royal managed to get his autograph.

“I’m thrilled,” she said. Bonnington was one of the first to arrive in order to secure a spot at the front of the crowd, close to Trudeau, during his speech.

Sixteen-year-old Paradise resident Elyse Whitman proudly told him, “You were elected on my birthday, it was the best birthday present I ever got.”

Whitman said meeting Trudeau was the thrill of a lifetime. She said she told friends and family they didn’t need to get her birthday presents as long as they voted Liberal because she was too young to vote.

“I was so happy to get a chance to talk to him, I’ve admired him and looked up to him for so long and I wasn’t joking when I said it was the best birthday present I ever got,” Whitman said.

“My mother and I followed the whole election closely and the whole evening of my birthday was dedicated to watching the election coverage. I’m disappointed I didn’t get the chance to tell him I also applied to his youth council. I hope this isn’t the only time I’ll ever get to talk to him – today was great!”

On firefighters

Trudeau sent his thanks to the firefighters who have been “working so hard to fight the fires affecting Annapolis County.” Praising their “selfless dedication,” he said it was a “perfect example of what makes Atlantic Canada such an extraordinary place, such a great place to call home. Thank you very much.”

Citing the firefighting efforts as well, McNeil said it was a prime example of cooperation between the Atlantic provinces.

“By working together, we can achieve great things,” McNeil said.

 

 

 

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