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‘Come-from-aways’ breathing new life into small New Brunswick village

Click to play video: 'New residents, shops bringing energy to small New Brunswick town'
New residents, shops bringing energy to small New Brunswick town
WATCH: Between a new grocery store, a new bike shop and a significant influx in new residents, the small town of Hillsborough, N.B. is changing. As Suzanne Lapointe reports, it's all bringing a new sense of energy to the community. – May 31, 2022

“For Sale” signs line the streets of Hillsborough, a small village roughly 40 minutes drive from Moncton.

Mayor Bob Rochon said on Tuesday that so many people are moving in, it’s creating stress on the village’s infrastructure.

“We have an issue with the demand that’s being put on the water supply so we’re actively looking for another water supply,” he said.

He said an influx of come-from-aways looking to take advantage of Hillsborough’s relatively lower-priced real estate is breathing new life into the community and bolstering investment into new businesses.

Read more: Hillsborough, N.B. gets new grocery store after going without for more than 2 years

“We have an economic development committee that we established late last year. We’re working to keep that momentum going forward,” he said.

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One new business is Quest Carbon Cycles located almost directly across from the White Rock Recreational Park, a mountain bike shop that primarily operates as an e-commerce business. Employee Melissa Keough moved to the East Coast from British Columbia two years ago. While she lives in Moncton, she’s currently looking to buy a house in Hillsborough.

Keough, who has moved around frequently, having lived in various cities in the U.S., in B.C. and Alberta, wants to set down roots in Hillsborough.

“I feel like that’s what ties me to everywhere, the people…and just the life I’ve created for myself, it feels like home here,” she said.

Read more: Long-lost sisters reunited in Hillsborough, N.B.

Longtime Hillsborough resident Peter Frederic Jubb is thrilled to see all the changes, including the opening of The Gateway Market, Hillsborough’s sole grocery store that had it’s soft opening on Sunday.

Byron Gourley, who owns the store with his husband Charles LeBlanc, said he was blown away by the community support.

“We had a line up starting at 7 AM and we only opened at 9. So people were all excited to come through that door and be the first one,” he said on Tuesday.

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Despite the fact that he and LeBlanc are still waiting for some equipment to come in,  Gourley said business has been steady and he’s hopeful the local support will continue.

“It’s absolutely fantastic! The village deserves it, you know, especially with this new store opening…it’s new life blood,” Jubb said.

Jubb initially immigrated to Hillsborough from the UK in 1979 to work in the gypsum plant until it closed in 1981. He then moved to Nova Scotia for work for a few years before attempting to open a bakery in Hillsborough in the early 1980s.

“The place was in depression, there was no support, so I went back to England,” he said.

Still, the community left such an impression on him he and his family moved back in 2002. He’s hoping to see more growth at a slow sustainable pace.

“Life was pretty hectic and quick (in the UK). Here it’s calm and human,” he said.

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