Rothesay — In a move that surprised many, the town of Rothesay did something. The redesigned Rothesay Common officially opened last Monday. “I really didn’t think we would get this far,” said Rothesay Mayor Bill Bishop at the opening ceremony. “After the Walmart threat and the Funky Monkey crisis, I thought our town’s tolerance for doing anything was spent.”
Bishop says the town is still recovering from a food truck vendor named the Funky Monkey that set up shop in Rothesay this past summer. “They just set up anywhere. No permit necessary! It was a terrifying ordeal for our residents, I think.”
More than 300 people showed up for the grand opening of the Rothesay Common, which now includes an outdoor skating rink. James Melanson, 39, came out with his 3 kids to skate. “I’m thrilled for our community. I can’t believe we did something.”
Melanson, a lifetime resident in the area, said he can envision using the Rothesay Common much more since they did something with it. “I think it will be a gem in all seasons. Maybe there could be an ice-cream stand in the summer.” Mayor Bishop gasped at this point and interjected, “It can’t be on wheels! Those are not the kind of enterprises we want in this town.”
Not all residents share Melanson’s enthusiasm for Rothesay doing something. “This is 1992 all over again,” said Jane Fairweather, who lives across the street from the newly minted outdoor rink. “That was the year Scotiabank put in an ATM.”
When asked why that was an issue, Fairweather cited car traffic and noise as the main nuisance, but went further to call it the destruction of the community. “Waiting in line to see the teller was the glue of this community. It gave us somewhere to meet, discuss the day’s affairs or catch up on family news. The ATM ruined that. People are in and out in 30 seconds.”
We asked Fairweather whether she sees the Rothesay Common as a community meeting place. “No, it will be a source of ruckus. Last night, there were at least half a dozen burly teenagers skating well past 10 at night. You didn’t have that problem at Scotiabank in those days. They lock the doors at 5.”
Fairweather was pleased to hear Mayor Bishop confirm that the town council plans to do nothing for the next fiscal year and beyond. “I think this is enough excitement for one decade,” Bishop said as he cut the ribbon. A crowd of skaters clapped awkwardly as they looked at each other, confused by the comment and its timing. “What did he just say?” shouted one skater.
“You have to know Rothesay,” Bishop explained. “We have had families living here for generations. The word change is not a welcomed word. With all due respect to the Melanson gentlemen and his plans for an ice-cream enterprise, he’s not from traditional Rothesay. I know for a fact that his family is from Fairvale.”
In 1998, the Town of Rothesay amalgamated with 3 surrounding communities, which included the village of Fairvale.
We later asked Bishop by email to elaborate on the boundaries of traditional Rothesay. Rather than geographical coordinates, he replied with a list of family surnames.