Our Association

The Merigomish and Area Recreation and Social Association (MARSA) is a non-profit incorporated society as of May 28, 2007 with the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies.

One of the natural strengths of MARSA is that it represents a broad range of communities throughout the Merigomish and Area that has a mandate to foster community collaboration. Through its Board of Directors, that has a broad representation of youth, families, immigrants and seniors, MARSA has the capacity and the responsibility of fostering strong collective action directed towards the common good of Merigomish.

Such a mandate is captured in the following mission statement:

“To stimulate interest in and to promote and encourage good wholesome forms of sport, recreation and community activities. To promote the betterment of community life and co-operation in an all-inclusive way without barriers. To provide and furnish suitable premises for carrying on such activities. To obtain these goals, MARSA shall provide and conduct varied programs to promote community participation, co-operation and sportsmanship.”

List of MARSA Board Members:

President:  Dave Hillier
Vice President: Jacqueline MacIvor
Secretary:  Debbie Ratcliffe;
Treasurer: Linda Jackson;
Directors: Denise MacIvor; Kelly McVicar; Doris Mackenzie; Trudi Rhynold; Doug Miller

Project Description:

MARSA is a group of community spirited residents who saw the potential to turn the old Merigomish school house into a social and recreational centre. As the community met regularly to exchange ideas, concepts and functionalities, the eco- innovation centre notion was discussed. The group recognized that many community centres around the province, hidden in remote rural communities were vacant and dilapidated. Attention was given from rural residents to these community centres previously because they served a purpose of a school- most of them one room school houses. As this usage dwindled and residents began to attend schools closer to the urban centres, there functions became multi-purpose; predominantly for social and recreational purposes. The MARSA group realized that it was not profitable or feasible to operate just a “common area” but rather an attraction for the area to bring commerce and sustainability. Harley Kellock was the driver of green innovation in the Merigomish community; president of Northumberland winds and an engineer for Sobeys; he brought a lot of ideas and energy to this concept. Unfortunately, Harley was killed in a terrible accident and many communities he was involved in felt a terrific loss. MARSA became even more determined to resurrect this school house to honour his initiatives.

MARSA wishes to renovate and restore the one room school house as a museum; housing artefacts, interpretative panels that focus on the heritage and culture of the area, café, recreational centre (basement), social programming and other activities that focus on collaboration. The eco-innovative centre is to be a replica of the old school house (see attached concept). This will have displays of green technologies such as the solar panels which have been donated that will heat the hot water and provide a significant reduction in hot water and heating costs. Furthermore; this technology will actually be available for the public to view and how it operates, hence the eco- centre. It is the wishes of MARSA to have such a place that incorporates their values and mission to be an all inclusive centre, welcoming the community and the public.

MARSA will not be in direct competition with any other amenities in the surrounding areas or throughout Pictou County but rather compliment and enhance commerce and viability. It is important to note that incorporating green technologies will in fact reduce the operational costs allowing volunteers and or paid staff to concentrate on programming.

The push for development of the centre was supported and encouraged by district one which is a political boundary line for municipal purposes and includes 18 communities.