A spotlight has been shining on Salisbury lately, and that attention is about to increase, with a $16 million project coming to the Village.
On Monday night, October 23, a public meeting will be held to share details about a new elementary school. The current Salisbury Elementary School was built in 1947 and remodelled in 1982. It’s not surprising, then, that the school didn’t pass the province’s midlife upgrade review in 2016. In May 2017 the District Education Council (DEC) asked the Education Minister to have the school replaced.
Monday night’s meeting is focused on the question of whether residents support the DEC’s plan to ask for a school that houses Kindergarten to Grade 5, as the current SES is a K to 4 (K to 5 is a typical configuration in New Brunswick these days, as is K to 8). This isn’t likely to be a controversial topic, though the placement of the new building is already fueling much speculation and interest in the community. Regardless of whether the school is built in the heart of the Village or on the outskirts, and regardless of whether it bids adieu to students at Grade 4 or Grade 5, one thing is certain: a new school is sure to attract the attention of families with young children looking to buy a home.
But if a family considering a move to Salisbury were to do an internet search today, most of the news they’d find would be of the recent zoning dispute with the Dangremond family over their horses.
This controversy has driven a wedge among many in our community. I think it has also damaged our Village’s reputation. I’m hopeful that our community leaders are aware of this and are considering ways to rebuild trust and respect, both within Village limits and without.
I think Salisbury is a wonderful community in which to raise a family; we live just outside the Village limits, and I’m constantly amazed at what a good choice we made for our family without realizing it. We didn’t have any children yet when we bought our house, and only gave a cursory interest in the local education system. We’ve come to realize it is a wonderful school with caring teachers and a community feel that stems from the students staying together (the size of the kindergarten class is the same size as the graduating class, give or take a few).
Salisbury is where we buy our groceries, fill our prescriptions, grab a pizza, and bring our kids to skate and swim. There’s a yoga studio, Zumba classes, affordable soccer and basketball programs, a hardware store, and a bank. We can get gas and buy gifts. There’s a fire department and a legion. A new gym, veterinarian’s office, and a chiropractor. It’s a busy little community with a focus on programming for seniors and students.
But there’s also a drive-thru building that’s been vacant for years. A driving range that closed almost as soon as it opened, citing bylaw issues. And then there’s the fight about the horses.
These issues aren’t unique to Salisbury; most small communities could share a similar list of pros and cons, of success stories and of tales where things did not go the way many expected. What is unique is that Salisbury is in an enviable position of being just 25 minutes from the ‘fastest growing urban centre’ on the East Coast – and it’s about to have a brand-new, $16 million elementary school. That’s a huge potential for growth coming to Salisbury. Let’s work together to ensure we make the most of this opportunity for our whole community.