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  #21  
Old Posted Feb 28, 2007, 9:29 PM
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I'll edit this when the full story comes out, but for now, this is from the CBPost website.

Quote:
Last updated at 3:42 PM on 28/02/07

More economic activity planned for Membertou

The Cape Breton Post

SYDNEY — Membertou First Nation plans to construct a mini-mall and incubation centre to provide badly needed retail space for new aboriginal businesses.

Membertou’s commercial district is poised for further growth because of an anticipated increase in traffic following the opening of a new access road through to Mira Road, according to a release Monday from the Membertou-YMCA Entrepreneur Centre.

The new Membertou Mini-Mall will help address this demand, said the release. Details in Thursday's Cape Breton Post.
Edit: I checked through the electronic edition for today and couldn't find the story. I'll check again later to see if it comes online, but for now, I'll leave what's posted here.

Last edited by Smevo; Feb 20, 2008 at 12:01 AM.
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  #22  
Old Posted Mar 1, 2007, 4:29 AM
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Donkin Mine update. From Thursday's CBPost.

Quote:
Last updated at 11:22 PM on 28/02/07

Erdene Gold officials tour Donkin mine

By Wes Stewart

Cape Breton Post

DONKIN — The Nova Scotia partner in the study to determine the feasibility of the Donkin mine development is pleased with progress to date.

“We are at the 1,500-metre level and things are going well,” said Peter Akerley, president and CEO of Erdene Gold Inc., Xstrata’s Dartmouth-based partner.

Xstrata continues to pump water from the Donkin tunnels to get to the coal face. They expect to be at the coal face in the second quarter, at which time the feasibility study will begin, Akerley said.

The $300-million mine is headed by Donkin Alliance, a consortium headed by Xstrata Coal with 75 per cent of the shares. Nova Scotia’s Erdene Gold Inc. owns the remaining 25 per cent.

Mine production is expected by 2009-10 and officials hope to mine four to five million tonnes of coal a year.

Erdene Gold has gold and copper mineral interests in Mongolia and kaolin clay and aggregate mines in Georgia.

Akerley said Tuesday a lot of people are not aware Xstrata has a Nova Scotia partner.

Last July, the company raised $6 million toward the project, a sizable chunk in Nova Scotia.

Their investment offer was oversubscribed by $21 million and “we made a point of making sure Nova Scotians were given priority on that development,” he said.

For local investors, there is the advantage of a tax incentive through shares, a 100 per cent tax write-off, Akerley said.

The companies are spending $15 million over two years in feasibility studies on developing the mine which will be made by the middle of 2008.

Akerley said he created Erdene to pursue mining interests in Mongolia. Just over a year ago the company acquired another Nova Scotia company, Kaoclay Resources, and with it an interest in Donkin Resources. Xstrata also acquired a 10 per cent interest in Erdene’s mining developments in Mongolia.

“Erdene is more involved in coal in Mongolia because we manage that side of it for Xstrata,” Akerley said.

“It brought us production in the United States; we have kaolin clay which is used as a paper coating, and a crushed stone quarry.”



Thought this was interesting. Also from CBPost, Wednesday's.
Quote:
Second to one: Homefocus

Strait of Canso Superport quietly maintains its position as the second-busiest port in Canada

Section: Front

By Nancy King,
The Strait of Canso Superport is quietly maintaining its position as the second-busiest port in Canada in terms of the amount of cargo it handles annually.

"It's a secret that's been a little too well-kept over the years," CEO Tim Gilfoy said.

Last year, the port handled 32.8 million tonnes of cargo, second only to the Port of Vancouver at 79.3 million tonnes. It was up slightly from 32.5 million in 2005, which was up substantially from 24.8 million tonnes a year before, due to increased traffic at Statia Terminals, the opening of Nova Scotia Power's coal-handling terminal and an expansion at Martin Marietta.

"It's certainly encouraging that that's not a blip, that it's maintained that increased tonnage," Gilfoy said. "We're hoping to continue to grow."

The largest single cargo handler is Statia Terminals' Point Tupper transshipment facility, which has grown over the last few years. It is followed by Martin Marietta, which ships aggregate from its Auld's Cove quarry.

The increase also came while Stora Enso's Point Tupper mill was idled for most of the year due to a labour dispute.

While the mill doesn't ship any of its finished product by water, it does receive some of its papermaking materials by ship.

There is room to grow at the Superport, Gilfoy said. There has been some discussion that Trident Holdings may construct a container terminal at the provincially owned 14,500-acre Melford industrial land reserve, which lies on the western side of the Strait of Canso.

"There's thousands of acres of land adjacent to the port that's ready and looking for industrial tenants," Gilfoy said. "I think (a container terminal) is a very significant project, not only from a tonnage perspective, but also from a manpower perspective."

The Strait of Canso Superport Corp. is a non-profit body responsible for operating marine facilities at the Mulgrave Marine Terminal and Port Hawkesbury wharf, which it acquired from Transport Canada in 2000 through the federal divestiture program. Since that time, the Port Hawkesbury wharf has been rebuilt and there has been a major refurbishing of about 900 feet of the wharf face in Mulgrave.
I'll update the Membertou story when it comes online.

Last edited by Smevo; Feb 22, 2009 at 8:18 AM.
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  #23  
Old Posted Mar 1, 2007, 6:37 PM
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From Thursday's Cape Breton Post.

Quote:
N.S. premier floats idea of container terminal in C.B.

Would be built on the Strait of Canso


Section: Business

By James Keller, The Canadian Press
A shipping container terminal could be built on the Strait of Canso if the Atlantic Gateway concept is embraced to funnel international trade through Nova Scotia, Premier Rodney MacDonald said Wednesday.

While MacDonald wouldn't say whether he was referring to any specific proposal, his comments follow speculation that Halifax-based Trident Holdings Inc., is in talks to build a terminal on the western side of the Strait.

"It (the Atlantic Gateway) could mean, I believe, a new container terminal at some point in the Strait," MacDonald told the Nova Scotia Chambers of Commerce in Halifax.

"It will mean more jobs and more opportunity for importing and exporting."

A spokesman for Trident Holdings wasn't available for comment, and the company has said little about its potential plans.

Several local officials confirmed that Trident was looking at the possibility of building a container terminal at the provincially owned Melford industrial land reserve.

"For us, it's the sort of development that we have been pursuing for several years," said Gordon MacDonald of the Guysborough County Regional Development Authority.

The strait that separates Cape Breton from mainland Nova Scotia is deeper than Halifax harbour and could potentially handle larger post-Panamax ships that the Nova Scotia capital cannot.

The premier has been lobbying Ottawa to create an Atlantic Gateway, investing millions of dollars in infrastructure to increase trade from Asia and Europe.

MacDonald has called on Ottawa to back his $400-million plan, but hasn't received a commitment.

The concept is modeled after the Western Gateway, a $591-million plan announced last October that would upgrade ports, roads and rails in British Columbia to improve trading access to Asia-Pacific markets.

On Wednesday, MacDonald said the federal government needs to make a decision when it tables its budget on March 19.

"We're doing our part on the gateway," he told reporters. "My conversations with the prime minister have gone extremely well. I'm quite hopeful that we'll see that recognition in the budget."

MacDonald said a terminal would require infrastructure improvements, including highway upgrades, to transport the containers
Good news that the turnaround is real
Quote:
Home sweet home

Housing market on the rise in Cape Breton


Section: Cape Breton

By Wes Stewart,
A healthy Cape Breton housing market continues to grow stronger as empty nesters move into smaller accommodations and confident young families put down permanent roots instead of renting, realtor Doug Phillips said Wednesday.

"When you look at the average price across the province, which is $169,000, compared to the average price of $89,000 (Cape Breton Highland region) it is still cheaper to buy a house and to live here which is kind of terrific," said Philips, a realtor with Coldwell Banker David Butts Realty.

Buyers are selling larger two-storey homes as they approach retirement and downsizing to a bungalow.

"We are seeing young people who are deciding to stay here, they are saying this is where we want to be and raise our family."

That young buyer is willing to pay a higher price for a home that they don't have to upgrade, he said.

Phillips is president of the Nova Scotia Association of Realtors, which released January sales through the multiple listing service showing a 24 per cent increase provincially compared to a year ago.

"The market has been terrific for this time of the year," when it is generally slow after Christmas.

In Cape Breton, realtors sold 42 in January compared to 21 a year ago.


Phillips attributed the buoyant market to the mild weather, low interest rates and the positive signs in the Cape Breton economy.

"There are people who are buying who normally would say we are not sure we are going to be here forever so we are going to rent."

They are saying they like the lifestyle, the housing prices and things are happening in Cape Breton so they are deciding to invest in a home, Phillips said.

Cape Breton region covers Cape Breton and Victoria counties; the Highland region is Richmond, Inverness, Guysborough and Antigonish counties.

Phillips said the Cape Breton market is strong and prices are rising.

"Over the past few years we are seeing a good 20-25 per cent increase in residential prices. A three-bedroom bungalow that would have sold in the $80,000 range four or five years ago is selling between $110,000 and $130,000."

Phillips said in Cape Breton the market at the moment is being driven by demand for three bedroom homes in the $150,000-$160,000 range.

Last edited by Smevo; Feb 20, 2008 at 12:05 AM.
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  #24  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2007, 12:32 AM
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From Saturday's CBPost.

Quote:
Membertou taking care of business

Mini-mall planned


Section: Cape Breton

By Tanya Collier MacDonald, Cape Breton Post

A proposed mini-mall for Membertou could open new possibilities for entrepreneurs eager to share in the community's growing business success.

"This mini-mall will provide badly needed retail space for new aboriginal businesses in the middle of Cape Breton's population base," said Owen Fitzgerald, director of Membertou Entrepreneur Centre. He made the comments during a business workshop held in Membertou Thursday. The workshop attracted about 25 representatives from five First Nation communities across the island.

Developing the commercial property in the First Nation community aids small business ventures often hampered by land ownership issues, said Fitzgerald. Having the community fund the project will lighten that financial load.

Although aboriginal entrepreneurs are the main focus, Fitzgerald added that Membertou is welcoming non-aboriginal business owners as well.

Plans for the $3-million, two-storey structure spanning about 20,000 square feet are still being developed but the community plans to open the mall in 2008.

Fitzgerald said the opening will coincide with the completion of a new access road that will stretch from Towerview Road to Mira Road.

"There will be a dramatic change in traffic flow," he said.

The proposed mini-mall builds on significant investments already planned for this region. There is the $400-million tar ponds cleanup, $300 million for Xstrata Coal in Donkin and a $300-million resort in Louisbourg area.

Those projects will require additional supports, services, and supplies and could mean many spinoffs for the region, said Fitzgerald.
From Friday's CBPost
Quote:
Civic centre project fundraising drive surpasses $1M in public money

Section: Northside/Victoria

By Julie Collins,

Pledges continue to pour in for the proposed Northside Civic Centre.

"We've surpassed $1 million of the $1.5 in public funds needed to trigger additional provincial and federal funding," said Leo Steele, chairman of the Northside Civic Centre Society. "This is without the large chain stores, banks or the mail-out campaign. People realize the urgency of this and are coming forward in leaps and bounds; it's so encouraging."

The society is working to get the infrastructure money needed to build the new rink reinstated. The Canada/Nova Scotia Infrastructure Secretariat pulled the funding for the proposed civic centre in late January.

"We have until April 1 to pull this together and get the project back on the rails," he said. "The Northside needs the civic centre, the people want it and are proving their resolve by coming forward with their pledges."

Approximately 20 acres of land located off King Street, North Sydney, has been set aside for recreational use, which includes a site for a new arena. A skateboard park and soccer field are also planned for the complex.

Along with high school hockey, the society has lined up a major tenant for the civic centre that would bring teams from outside the area to the Northside every second weekend.

"Since the public meeting earlier this month, people have come forward from every corner of the community, not just the Northside, but beyond," Steele said. "For the next 50 years, visitors to the civic centre will look at the donor wall and see the names of the people who contributed. What a legacy to leave the community, our children and our children's children."

Board members have been receiving calls from people out west who are looking for pledge packages.

Along with the public fundraising, the board is continuing to work on other aspects of the project, including the design of the building.

"The regional municipality is helping in areas like the environmental assessment," Steele said. "In the meantime, people have really stepped up to the plate. We're confident we are going to go over the top when it comes to fundraising."

He added that whether people pledge $10 or $1,000, every cent counts.

For further information on the project, visit the Northside Civic Centre office at Archibald Wharf or call 794-3839.

Last edited by Smevo; Feb 20, 2008 at 12:06 AM.
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  #25  
Old Posted Mar 8, 2007, 6:26 PM
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Story and associated image from Thursday, March 8th, 2007 Cape Breton Post online.
Quote:
NEWS
Last updated at 10:56 PM on 07/03/07


The new Fisheries and Oceans headquarters is seen in this conceptual drawing.
Fisheries and Oceans will soon have new home


BY WES STEWART
The Cape Breton Post

SYDNEY — Fisheries and Oceans Canada will open a new $4.7-million Eastern Nova Scotia operational headquarters on Westmount Road in September.

The 1,113-square-metre (10,000-square-foot) building on a corner lot adjacent to the Canadian Coast Guard College was designed to complement the surrounding landscape and accommodate all 32 office and conservation and protection staff in its operational headquarters.

Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley MP Bill Casey presided over Wednesday’s announcement at the college, noting the headquarters is responsible for a large area of the province.

“This regional office will manage the fishery in half of my riding in the Bay of Fundy,” Casey said.

Joneljim Construction of Sydney is doing the work.

For more than a decade, the area office was housed at the college, but growth at both the college and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans increased the demand for space.

The officer cadet training program and the transfer of courses from the NavCan Training Institute in Ontario also increased the demand for space.

Casey said the new facility will enhance DFO’s ability to deliver programs related to the fisheries and aquaculture management, aboriginal fisheries, oceans and habitat, small craft harbours and fisheries enforcement.

Cape Breton Regional Municipality Deputy Mayor Gordon MacLeod said council is pleased with the announcement and noted there is space in Sydney harbour to accommodate more coast guard ships.

“I see the Terry Fox is here, if we could get a few more here permanently (it) would do marvelous things for our economy.”

Area director Gus van Helvoort said the real significance of the building is that it’s freeing up space in the college.

“That is really where the growth is going to be in terms for needed space for recruitment.”

College director Line Champagne said the college has expanded to train people for the growing number of staff requirements occurring in the fisheries and the coast guard fleet.

Last edited by Smevo; Feb 20, 2008 at 12:06 AM.
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  #26  
Old Posted Mar 20, 2007, 7:30 AM
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Tuesday's CBPost

Quote:
BUSINESS NEWS
Last updated at 11:40 PM on 19/03/07

Port of Sydney master plan gets $50,000 from province


By Wes Stewart

Cape Breton Post

SYDNEY — The province has come up with $50,000 toward funding the cost of a Port of Sydney master plan.

Cape Breton West MLA Alfie MacLeod made the announcement Monday on behalf of the Office of Economic Development.

The master plan is a vital part of the future direction of the port which includes the full harbour, what’s available and what’s possible here, the MLA said.

“With the Atlantic Gateway on the horizon, it’s important we know all the benefits of Sydney harbour and what is can offer to Atlantic Canada as part of the gateway,” he said.

“If there are any additional things that need to be done we will be looking at that as well,” he added.

The preparation of a master port plan includes partners Logistec Stevedoring, operators of the former international coal pier, Provincial Energy Ventures, which operates the transshipment terminal at the former Sysco dock, Laurentian Energy Ventures at Sydport Marine Industrial Park and the Sydney Ports Corp.

“I think there is enough for everybody in this Atlantic Gateway and on the merits of what the harbour has to offer we will be a formidable player here,” he said.

Sydney Ports Corp. has done much groundwork to promote Sydney harbour as a vital link in the transportation framework for the island, he added.

The province is shopping a $400-million Atlantic Gateway concept to funnel international trade through Nova Scotia and the premier has already proposed the idea of a shipping container terminal on the west side of the Strait of Canso to handle post-Panamax ships.

Premier Rodney MacDonald has been lobbying Ottawa to include funding in its budget to create an Atlantic Gateway, investing millions of dollars in infrastructure to increase trade from Asia and Europe.

It’s modelled after the Western Gateway, a $591-million plan announced last October that would upgrade ports, roads and rails in British Columbia to improve trading access to Asia-Pacific markets.

Last edited by Smevo; Feb 20, 2008 at 12:07 AM.
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  #27  
Old Posted Mar 23, 2007, 4:48 PM
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Friday, March 23, 2007 Cape Breton Post.

Quote:
Acadian Gold looking to develop Lake Ainslie mineral deposit

Section: Business

Acadian Gold is looking into the feasibility of developing the Lake Ainslie barite-fluorite deposit, believed to the largest in Atlantic Canada.

The company announced it has acquired the 52 claims covering 842 hectares.

Based on historic information, the Acadian Gold release says the deposits contain an uncategorized resource of 4.25 million tonnes - 34 per cent barite and 17.3 per cent fluorite or about 1.6 million tonnes contained barite.

Barite is used by drilling companies in the oil and gas industry as the principle component in drilling mud to prevent blowouts and gushers.

It presently sells for US$275-$325 per tonne and acid grade fluorspar is priced at US$240 per tonne.

Control of the deposits represents another step forward in the growth of Acadian Gold, said company president and CEO Will Felderhof in the release.

"These deposits are strategically located with respect to infrastructure and proximity to tidewater and are an obvious fit for our Atlantic Canada focus."

Acadian Gold is a Halifax-based, resource-based company focused on exploring and developing gold and zinc deposits in Atlantic Canada.
Quote:
Things looking up for ski hill

Section: Northside/Victoria

By Julie Collins,
The winter season was a lost cause, but not so the summer season at Ski Cape Smokey.

Aiming for a July 1 opening, workers are busy getting the chairlift ready for inspection.

Ski Cape Smokey Society is using $100,000 from Enterprise Cape Breton Corp. to do the capital improvements.

In order to have a better chance at making the ski hill a sustainable operation, the plan is to turn the facility into a community centre.

In order to accomplish this, the community is in the process of forming a new group. The Cape Smokey Community Centre Society will work with Ski Cape Smokey Society in the operation of the facility.

Perry MacKinnon, chair of the Ski Cape Smokey Society, said it will continue to operate the ski hill.

The province has given the society about $20,000 to take care of a number of small, outstanding debts to allow the new community centre society to begin with a clean slate.

"The goal is to try to find more use for the facility, which in turn would generate more income," MacKinnon said. "We are going to explore all options and to that end have discussed a number of potential ventures. A possibility would be a fitness centre, which doesn't exist in the communities North of Smokey, and another would be a hostel."

MacKinnon said they plan to check with other community centres to see what is offered.

"We'll give strong consideration to anything that may work," he said. "The province has offered (to sell) the hill at a nominal fee. We are looking at the finer points of that offer, trying to make sure it is a feasible thing for the community to do, to take over full ownership of the hill. It's pretty exciting."

He said having complete ownership of the facility presents the opportunity to seriously look at bringing investors into the fold. This in turn could result in significant developments on site, such as condominiums and a hotel.

The ski hill is critical in terms of what the community has to offer with respect to tourism.

"This facility makes us unique in the province. We've been struggling to make it sustainable and we're optimistic this is the way to go," MacKinnon said. "We'll be working closely with the Ingonish Development Society and their efforts with the waterfront project."
Quote:
Destination Cape Breton still hoping for levy

Section: Cape Breton

The general manager of Destination Cape Breton says because it doesn't have the support of all island municipalities it can't move ahead with a proposed levy to raise funds to market the island as a tourism destination.

Sandra MacDonald noted Inverness council has withheld support for the proposal, after some county operators raised concerns.

"We're still working toward it," MacDonald said. "It's not dead, it's within the municipalities now."

At a rate of between 1.5 and two per cent, it was estimated as much as $700,000 could be raised annually for an island-driven tourism marketing campaign, and it may also be able to leverage additional funds from other sources. Similar levies are in place in other regions, including Halifax.

"We desperately need to have some marketing dollars," MacDonald said.

While much of the industry is supportive, some operators don't see the advantages the association believes would come with the levy, she said.

Legislation enabling the levy proposed by Destination Cape Breton was expected to be proclaimed by the province last April, but royal assent was postponed when some municipalities withdrew their support amid growing complaints by small operators. Since then, the proposal has been reviewed and would now exempt operators with fewer than 10 units.

Some bed and breakfast owners also disagreed with how the level of support from operators was gauged - votes were weighted by the number of rooms in operation.

To implement the levy, Destination Cape Breton needs the support of at least 51 per cent of rooms on-island, the support of all five island municipalities, and provincial legislation.

Operators would collect the levy and remit it to municipalities, who in turn would turn it over, minus administrative costs.

Last edited by Smevo; Feb 20, 2008 at 12:07 AM.
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  #28  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2007, 6:24 PM
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Several Dorchester updates!

Now it's called Spanish Gates!

These are all from the Cape Breton Post archives. (I had to pay for these, but it's worth it to get up to date on the city's newest highrise(s)).

Quote:
Cape Breton Post
Cape Breton, Friday, March 10, 2006, p. A3

Councillors have difficulty dealing with waterfront views

CHRIS SHANNON

SYDNEY - The view from the waterfront is so valuable and controversial that councillors at Thursday's planning advisory committee meeting had to table discussion on a proposed $46 million condominium and hotel development - still in its preliminary stages - for at least a month.

At the heart of the debate is the view of the harbour from six different vantage points in the north end Sydney neighbourhood.

Coun. Tom Wilson put forward a motion to strike down two of those view planes closest to the development, which would be located across the street from Commerce Tower.

It would allow businessman Marty Chernin to proceed with the Spanish Gates Mixed-Use complex that could reach 10 storeys and include retail and commercial space along an extended boardwalk.

But after nearly an hour of discussion the Cape Breton Regional Municipality councillors started backing away from the motion.

Municipal planner Rick McCready said that those six view planes, if adopted, would prevent any commercial development from blocking the harbour view no matter how beneficial to the economy.

"The view planes would be permanent," McCready said.

Economic development officer John Whalley spoke out against any obstruction to the view of the harbour.

"It (Chernin's development) obliterates about one-third of the view planes on the Esplanade," he said, adding it was awkward for him to say so considering the economic benefit the development could bring to the downtown.

Mayor John Morgan suggested more information was needed on the proposed complex, which is only a conceptual drawing at this point, before the committee could vote on how many view planes should be protected.

It was tabled in a 5-4 vote in order to give staff at least a month to further review the proposal with developers.
Quote:
Cape Breton Post
News, Tuesday, March 21, 2006, p. A1

Proposed $46M condo/hotel project clears municipality's planning committee

Chris Shannon

Sydney - A proposed $46 million condo and hotel complex cleared another municipal hurdle as businessman Marty Chernin looks to develop the north end of the city's waterfront.

The development received unanimous approval at a special planning advisory committee meeting Monday, and it will now be subjected to debate by the Cape Breton Regional Municipality council at its monthly meeting tonight.

At the heart of the debate is the view of the harbour from six different vantage points in the north end neighbourhood.

The planning advisory committee submitted a plan to council that eliminates two of the view planes closest to the downtown in order to accommodate the Spanish Gates Mixed-Use complex.

Residents in the historic north end neighbourhood have said a project of this scale would negatively impact the ambiance of the area.

Chernin was delighted, however, that his project could move beyond conceptual drawings and now secure financial backing for the complex that could include as many as 43 condominium units and 124 hotel rooms.

"I have some interest already from outside investors, but as many businessmen do, they don't pursue anything until the green lights are flashing," Chernin said after the meeting.

"But right now we're on the right path of city council (and) in their wisdom (if they) decide to accept the planning commission's recommendation, then we'll move forward on that."

He said the complex isn't expected to rise above seven storeys in height.

There were about 50 tradespeople packed into the council chamber gallery Monday to watch the committee with great interest.

Cliff Murphy, president of the 3,600-member Cape Breton Island Building and Construction Trades Council, said his members have a lot to gain if the project is approved by the municipality.

It's expected it'll mean 200 construction jobs to the local economy, and as many as 150 permanent jobs at the facility, once built.

"Sometimes people have to take a little stand for progress," Murphy said.

Chernin said a project of this magnitude can be used as the catalyst for future development.

"It will probably create lots of confidence in other people to go ahead with their projects and the redevelopment of the downtown core and this is another step in making this happen."

Tom Wilson, councillor for downtown Sydney, said it has been a balancing act all the way through the numerous public meetings held on the issue.

He said he has weighed the economic benefits the project may bring versus complaints from some constituents who say the complex will intrude on the neighbourhood's historical integrity as well as ruin views of Sydney harbour.

"To turn our backs on (this project) because of a view plane from the Esplanade, when we're going to open a whole vista of view planes from the boardwalk, it shouldn't even be a consideration in my eyes," Wilson said.

If councillors vote to advertise the development proposal tonight, a public hearing will be held at council's April 18 meeting.
Quote:
Cape Breton Post
Cape Breton, Wednesday, March 22, 2006, p. A5

In brief

Sydney
CBRM votes to advertise northend planning strategy

The Cape Breton Regional Municipality voted to advertise the northend Sydney secondary planning strategy at council's monthly meeting, Tuesday.

A public hearing will be heard likely in the first week of May on the planning strategy and land use bylaw, which has drawn much attention because of a $46-million waterfront development attached to it.

A condo and hotel complex is proposed by businessman Marty Chernin for a site between the Royal Cape Breton Yacht Club and the Sydney Marine Terminal.

Preliminary plans for the project include 43 condominium units and 124 hotel rooms, with space for retail and restaurants.

Many residents in the northend neighbourhood don't like the development because they say it will intrude on the area's historical integrity.
Quote:
Cape Breton Post
Comment, Saturday, March 25, 2006, p. A8

Good project deserves OK
Proposed condos and hotel fit in with the surroundings
the issue: View planes would be scaled back


Regional council moved this week to throw open to the public the question of how restrictive commercial development rules should be in a key area along the upper end of the Esplanade in Sydney. This is how the issue should be resolved, in a forum inviting the views of all interested citizens of Sydney and the region.

True, there has been extensive public consultation opportunities on this already in the development of what's now a final draft of the North End Sydney Secondary Planning Strategy and Land Use Bylaw. Anyone could have attended, but this was done in the context of neighbourhood planning with a heritage twist and the target audience was the people living north of Dorchester Street.

The strategy is called "secondary" not because it's unimportant but because it's an adjunct to the Municipal Planning Strategy for the whole of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, adopted in September 2004. The strategy for the North End goes into almost block-by-block detail about what may be done in this unique district that includes everything from a militia base and heavy industrial sites to stately old homes and historically significant buildings dating from early colonial days.

The North End strategy and accompanying land use bylaw might have been adopted by now with little fuss but for one outstanding issue: view planes. It's an idea that got added during development of the strategy - the idea that views of Sydney Harbour from key points in the North End should not be obstructed in future by the construction of high buildings near the water. The original proposal was for six view planes, but two of these in particular became contentious because, if adopted, they would prevent construction of a high-rise proposed more than two years ago by Sydney's leading commercial property developer, Marty Chernin.

Chernin's project, which would be built between the Royal Cape Breton Yacht Club and Sydney Marine Terminal, has undergone several conceptual adjustments. He first unveiled plans in February 2004 for a 52-unit, $13 million luxury condominium tower 10 stories high. Now the project is described as a $46 million complex of 43 condos and a 124-room hotel, with retail spaces and restaurants, and probably no higher than seven stories.

Seven is too high, of course, for a view plane, but council's Planning Advisory Committee has accepted what it regards as a compromise - dropping the two view planes that would kill the Chernin project, while proceeding to adopt a regime that would retain council's close control over design. This is the solution that council has agreed to put to a public hearing in May.

It is a sensible approach. While the Chernin project does fall within the North End planning area as defined, it is right on the border. This is really part of Sydney's downtown commercial waterfront where there are several high buildings on the harbour side of the Esplanade, including the administrative headquarters for the regional municipality itself. In fact, the exclusion of the Chernin property from the North End planning district was one of the options staff presented to council's advisory committee.

The view plane objection alone is not nearly enough in this case to stop a project that would be a key contributor to revitalizing Sydney's downtown. Take away the view plane argument and there isn't much left to object to because this isn't really part of the North End neighbourhood, and high buildings are already the norm on the lower side of the Esplanade from the Dorchester Street area south towards Wentworth Park.

Citizens of Sydney should cheer on the solution now on the table and applaud the business faith of Chernin and his partners in an old steel city that is still struggling to find its new identity.
What the hell is with these viewplanes? They were never in the planning strategy before. This is in the DWZ (Downtown Waterfront Zone) where there's supposed to be no height restrictions, there was no need to redraw the zones to include this into the Northend Secondary Planning Strategy. This project goes no further into the Northend than the Commerce Tower and Harbour Place, is on an empty lot and is not in the immediate neighbourhood of historic properties, but instead, in the neighbourhood of 7, 10, and 13 storey buildings. Grrr.....first it was 13, then it was 10, now it's 7? Way to kill development in an already struggling area. The downtown area between the Esplanade and the waterfront is the unofficial "highrise district", it's not encroaching on anyone. If you want to protect your view of the harbour, live on a hill outside downtown, you'll even get some views of the highlands too. Even better, buy one of the condo units, you'll get much better views from 10 storeys up than you will from your living room on the Esplanade! Stupid NIMBYs.

I'm glad the project expanded, but I can't stand that the height had to be cut down in this area of town, which should be promoted as the highrise district instead of trying to protect non-existant views which are destroyed as soon as a building passes 3 storeys in height. Seriously, there's not that much elevation difference between anywhere in downtown and the harbour shore. I think the maximum difference in that area between Wentworth Park and Battery Point is maybe 30ft, max 40ft.

In all reality, the only views from that area are in the NW direction to the mouth of the harbour, in the W direction over to Westmount, and to the SW which is the view down towards Sydney River which is the view of the skyline, which would be enhanced with this project. I drive down there all the time and I'll get a picture next time I'm home. Sorry, I'm just emotional about my city, and having this being constantly changed is not a good message to send to prospective developers in this zone. The worst part about it aside from the introduction of the viewplanes which didn't previously exist (and are not justified compared to almost every other view in the city) is the introduction of a height limit in this area which was formerly in the DWZ but now in the NSPS of 8 stories for this site and another site (the old government wharf) waiting for a developer to come up with a redevelopment proposal. This type of NIMBYism is more harmful to Sydney's downtown than the NIMBYism Halifax faces, which is saying a lot.

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Old Posted Mar 26, 2007, 5:37 PM
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Forgot to add a rumoured piece of the Spanish Gates (the Dorcester) proposal. Apparently it's also going to include a parking garage, which isn't surprising considering the extra parking the development itself will need along with the fact that it's taking up parking spaces for workers in two of Chernin's office buildings across the street.

Here are a couple more letters to the editor about it. I'm strongly considering writing one of my own within the next week.
Quote:
Cape Breton Post
Comment, Saturday, March 25, 2006, p. A8

Letters

Proposed high-rise would merely add to ugly streetscape

I am concerned that Councillor Tom Wilson and landowner Mary Chernin are attempting to strike down two of the six sight lines that the municipal planning department has proposed to protect the waterview and streetscapes in Sydney's North End.

If Coun. Wilson and Mr. Chernin have their way, we will lose yet another large chunk of waterfront that rightfully belongs to all of Sydney, and in this case is part of the integrity of our North End.

The six sight lines are excellent city planning. They must be protected through bylaw to stop developers from filling their pockets on the backs of all us.

I urge regional council to look closely at this proposal for a high-rise on our waterfront. This project would block two of the sight lines and look like an ugly blob sticking out of the North End. The North End is an underprotected and priceless area of Sydney that continues to suffer from a lack of tender loving care from council.

The addition of a high rise on the water will serve to further ghettoize the battered North End.

The award for ugliest streetscape in Sydney goes to that part of the Esplanade between Cambridge Suites and the Delta Hotel. Don't let Mr. Chernin produce more of the same because he is unwilling to produce a plan that leaves the sight lines intact.

I challenge Coun. Wilson and Mr. Chernin to ensure that this land becomes the site of a development that enhances the North End and invites us all to the waterfront. It's doable.
Quote:
Cape Breton Post
Comment, Saturday, March 11, 2006, p. A8

Letter from the editor

Proposed waterfront project provokes differing viewpoints

Fred Jackson

This is not New York City or Toronto, but the potential of Cape Breton ports, particularly Sydney's, could open the gate to economic prosperity in a community that has depended on waterways for centuries. However, the view of the Sydney waterfront is so valuable it has spun controversy among developers and historic preservation buffs that has landed in the hands of regional council.

Those interested in preserving the character of Sydney's north end are concerned about a proposed $46 million development that would accommodate condominiums, a hotel, commercial and retail space.

One stumbling block is the view of the harbour from six vantage points. The project would be located across the street from Commerce Tower, between the Royal Cape Breton Yacht Club and the Sydney Pavilion.

Adoption of six view planes would prevent any commercial development from blocking the harbour view no matter how beneficial to the economy, says municipal planner Rick McCready. Economic development manager John Whalley spoke out against obstructing the view of the harbour.

Mayor John Morgan suggested more information is needed on the proposal, which is only a conceptual drawing at this point, before the committee could vote on how many view planes should be protected.

It amazes me that an economic development officer would make the statement Whalley did.

On Friday I had a phone chat with Philip Lopate, a prominent New York author who has written a fascinating book about waterfront development. In his book, Waterfront: A Journey Around Manhattan, Lopate looks at how New York's waterfront developed.

He calls the waterfront "the key to New York's destiny" and suggests some ideas for future waterfront development.

During our conversation he made it clear that he is not against waterfront development. "There has to be mixed uses," he said. "Sure we have to pay tribute to heritage but ports are valuable and [a port] just can't be defined as purely recreation."

When I finished the telephone conversation with Lopate I looked out my office window and my first glimpse was the Commerce office tower, blocking my view of the harbour. It's all about your vantage point, but let's use common sense. Sydney is mostly on a flat plane near the harbour; this is not like Halifax Harbour, with the view from Citadel Hill.

Many community leaders across North America point out the potential economic benefits of developing waterways. The potential is almost limitless.


There's no question that developer Marty Chernin and other business people have made a statement with their proposal about the future of the city.

Also at stake are short- and long-range employment opportunities and taxes our municipality can use.

An attractive development that can showcase Sydney's historic north end will put added value on the homes and businesses in the area. It will also engage further development downtown, especially near the fire station, which has plenty of potential and space, complementing the beautiful Wentworth condos that were just constructed.

Let's have the best of both worlds.
Another thing of note about the "viewplanes", the two "viewplanes" that would be destroyed by this project are 1) from Commerce Tower and 2) from behind Harbour Place...both buildings developed by Mr. Chernin, one being home to his own office.

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Old Posted Mar 29, 2007, 5:50 PM
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Updated breakdown for the CBRM CA from the 2006 census.

CA
Population - 105,928
Area - 2,470.57
Density - 42.9

Urban Population - 78,131
Area Covered by Urban Areas - 135.88
Average Density in Urban Areas - 575
% Urban by Population - 73.8
% Urban by Area - 5.5

Former City and Towns
Had to use the UA stats for this.
Sydney
Population - 33,012
Area - 51.45
Density - 641.63
Glace Bay
Population - 19,968
Area - 35.15
Density - 568.08
North Sydney/Sydney Mines
Population - 15,500
Area - 28.47
Density - 544.43
New Waterford
Population - 9,661
Area - 20.81
Density - 464.25
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I'll edit this when the full story comes out. Another hurdle cleared for the Donkin mine.

This is from CBPost Online's Latest News section, and should appear in tomorrow's CBPost.

Quote:
NEWS
Last updated at 1:52 PM on 29/03/07

Development of the Donkin coal mine has passed another hurdle

The Cape Breton Post

Legislation was introduced today that will establish a legal framework for the opening of the Donkin mine. It will also provide project developers with predictability from regulators.

“This act provides certainty to workers, Nova Scotians, Xstrata Donkin Coal Development Alliance, and our federal colleagues that we are committed to operating a safe and efficient mine,” said Labour Minister Mark Parent. “It provides clarity and consistency when dealing with regulators. That's good for safety and good for economic development.”

Nova Scotia and the federal government both claim jurisdiction over the coal at Donkin, but Parent said the two sides have put that question aside and focused on what’s required to operate a safe and efficient mine.

Two shafts were dug at Donkin by in the 1980s but they were never opened.

Consultations will be held in April to seek comments on the specifics of the changes and how to best regulate the mine. Changes will be made through regulation or, if necessary, by amending the legislation in the fall.

Details in Friday's Cape Breton Post.
Here's the full story from the Friday, March 30 edition of the Cape Breton Post.
Quote:
Proposed legislation examines undersea coal mining

Donkin project manager calls it a 'positive step'


Section: Front

By Wes Stewart, Cape Breton Post
Federal and provincial departments will hold consultation sessions here in mid-April on a proposed act to regulate undersea coal mining.

The provincial department of Environment and Labour and Natural Resources Canada will accept presentations from Xstrata Donkin Coal Development Alliance and selected groups on the specifics of the proposed Act to Facilitate the Effective Regulation of an Undersea Coal Mine, introduced in the Legislature, Thursday.

Environment and Labour Minister Mark Parent said both governments have put aside the ownership question and focused on what's required for a safe and efficient mine.

The legislation must be passed by both levels of government.

"It's a positive step forward, certainly it will only help to promote our own strong health and safety performance on site," Donkin mine project manager Darren Nicholls said. "We will be working with one regulator and that removes any confusion and gives us good regulatory certainty."

Both the federal and provincial governments claim ownership of offshore resources and that's been the behind-the-scenes debate since the interest in developing the Donkin mine began, said Bob Burchell, the United Mineworkers District 26 administrator.

New health and safety regulations introduced by the province and any legislation in the federal guidelines that improve mining practices and safety will be mirrored in the new legislation, said Burchell.

"We are comfortable with it being under Nova Scotia regulations as long as the department is staffed with people who are competent to oversee that those regulations," he added.

Burchell said representatives of the four unions that represented the former Devco workers along with representatives from First Nations, Xstrata Coal, the chamber of commerce and local fishermen's groups have been invited to comment at the public consultation sessions, April 17-18 at the Cape Breton Miners' Museum. It will be presided over by Environment and Labour Department and Natural Resources Canada officials.

The new act addresses union demands for training and functions of joint occupational health and safety committees as well as an improved appeal process, Burchell said.

The proposed act mirrors existing federal and provincial laws, to the extent possible, in the areas of labour, occupational health and safety, mineral and petroleum development. These will be incorporated into federal law in place of the Canada Labour Code for the purpose of the mine and be administered by the province.

Licensing of coal and coal-gas operations would be as described in the province's Mineral Resources Act and the Petroleum Resources Act. Royalties for coal and coal gas will flow to the province.

The Canadian Human Rights Act will apply to the Donkin project. Xstrata is spending $15 million studying the feasibility of opening a four- to five-million -tonne a year coal mine.

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Old Posted Apr 11, 2007, 5:43 AM
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I've got a couple of new things for this update, all on the small side of things. However, there have been some recommendations by the Planning Advisory Committee for CBD zones that, if accepted and adopted by the CBRM, would make the area more attractive for developers. Unfortunately, it was posted in an ad for the public hearings, so if an actual story comes out about it, I'll post it then, but it involved the potential to waive some guidelines such as traffic-impact studies and the like on a case-by-case basis.

From Wednesday, April 4th Cape Breton Post.

Quote:
CBRM to lease property in bid to move garbage

Section: Cape Breton

The Cape Breton Regional Municipality's corporate services committee has given its approval to an agreement to lease Sysco's rail hardening building to be used as a transfer station to send trash by rail to a Guysborough County landfill.

At its meeting Monday, the committee authorized Mayor John Morgan and the municipal clerk to execute the lease as soon as possible.

Under the 10-year lease, the CBRM will pay annual rent of $133,045 - monthly installments of $11,087.

"I think they're ripping us off," said Coun. Wes Stubbert.

In December 2005, council gave final approval to a plan to transport 40,000 tonnes of solid waste a year by rail.

At that time, the total operating costs to ship the garbage by rail to Havre Boucher, Antigonish County, and then have it transported by truck the rest of the way - 40 kilometres - to the second generation landfill in Lincolnville, Guysborough County, was estimated at $2.3 million a year.
Quote:
Craft, design centre officials expect new home to lead to success

Section: Cape Breton

By Nancy King,
A new larger location should allow the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design to boost its profile among visitors to the island and better serve artists and craftspeople, its executive director says.

The centre is planning to move into its new digs - with entrances on the Esplanade and Charlotte Street - possibly by the end of the month.

Carol Beaton has been visiting island municipalities updating them on the project, and appeared Monday in front of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality's corporate services committee. While the centre is physically located in Sydney, its mandate is to serve all of Cape Breton Island and it offers some of its programming in communities such as Port Hawkesbury and Inverness.

Its current location, on the second floor of the Lyceum, is not optimal, Beaton noted. It's inaccessible, is away from the downtown core, has no permanent gallery space and inadequate program space. There are also lighting, heating and ventilation issues.

"We are literally bursting at the seams," she said.

About eight years ago, the centre's board of directors decided it was important to relocate, and establish a properly equipped studio, meeting space and expanded library.

The more central location will allow it to be a vital addition to the cultural infrastructure within the CBRM and Cape Breton as a whole, Beaton said.

The Esplanade section of the building will house much of the centre's programming, while the Charlotte Street level will house the permanent gallery space, administration and meeting rooms.

Beaton noted they hope to increasingly involve more youth in programming and work more closely with local fine arts teachers. They also have a goal of offering ongoing programming and increasing offerings in services and programs.

The centre works closely with the tourism sector, including Destination Cape Breton and the Sydney Ports Corp. Beaton said they have attempted to lure visitors to the Lyceum through measures including distributing a walking map, but the more visible location will make that task easier.

"When visitors are coming to our island, they are looking for that cultural component," she said.

The project was announced in November 1995. At that time Enterprise Cape Breton Corp. indicated it would contribute $1.25 million.

The Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design is a satellite of the Nova Scotia Centre for Craft and Design. It has both recreational and professional members.
Quote:
Double take for school board

Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board members told that Glace Bay and Northside will get new schools at same time


Section: News

By Sharon Montgomery,
Two new schools will now be built in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality at the same time.

Members of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board were told during a meeting Monday night that a junior high school in Glace Bay and a Primary-Grade 6 school on the Northside will both be built in 2009.

"It's a compromise and a good one," said board member Myrtle Campbell.

Board superintendent Ed Davis went to Halifax on the board's behalf, said Campbell.

The provincial government budget released last month made no mention of funding for the Glace Bay school, which was at the top of the board's priority list, while money was set aside for the Northside facility.

"He spoke to the Department of Education staff and anyone else he could speak to, including politicians."

Campbell said it was decided money in this year's budget will now be used to buy the Northside site and fund the design for both schools.

Subsidence has been an issue in Glace Bay as officials seek a location for the new school. Provincial officials said earlier the Glace Bay school wasn't in this year's budget because a site hadn't been chosen.

Glace Bay MLA Dave Wilson said as a result of an agreement between the school board and the Department of Education, the design work and site selection will be done by the end of the 2008 school year and tenders for both projects will be called in the spring of 2009.

"Construction of both schools will be completed by the end of 2009."

The Liberal MLA wanted construction to begin this year.

"I am not going to stand in the way of two schools being built in Cape Breton, though," he said. "If the school board is happy with this, that is fine with me. My goal was to get the Glace Bay school back on the construction list. The minister (Karen Casey) has agreed and I will hold her to that.

"I'm not disappointed, but I am going to keep an eye on it."

Kevin Finch, spokesperson for the Department of Education, would only say a proposal is on the table regarding the two Cape Breton schools.

"We are waiting for correspondence from the board. On all our projects, we take our lead from the board."

Finch said the board originally asked for the two schools to be built at the same time so this restriction was placed on the project.

When a suitable site had not been found for the Glace Bay school, the restriction was lifted and preliminary work began on the Northside school.

"If they are looking to have this (restriction) put back on, it is something we can look at honouring."

An announcement for the building of two new schools to open in 2007 was made four years ago. The project was delayed and the opening date was pushed back to 2009.
Quote:
CBRM moves step closer to helping museum project

Request for funding will be considered


Section: Northside/Victoria

By Nancy King,
The Cape Breton Regional Municipality's corporate services committee has referred a request to support a proposed museum development here to budget deliberations.

The North Sydney Historical Society, a non-profit organization, wants to construct a museum in downtown North Sydney at an estimated cost of $500,000.

The proposed site is the former town hall location. The North Sydney Credit Union purchased the land from the former town and it is now surplus to its needs.

The province has indicated it will provide a $100,000 contribution. Enterprise Cape Breton Corp. indicated it wouldn't commit to the project until a feasibility study was completed, something it agreed to fund. In order to move that process forward, the society was asking the CBRM to come onboard.

Deputy Mayor Gordon MacLeod had proposed the CBRM commit $45,000 to the project, which could be used to purchase the land, conditional on the museum being viable and that both other levels of government commit to the project.

"It's an enhancement to the downtown . . . it's something good for all of the CBRM," MacLeod said.

The project proposal drafted in 2005 notes the building could also house a satellite tourism information centre, providing a necessary service to visitors, and the museum would also benefit from increased traffic as a result.

Committee chair Kevin Saccary suggested referring the matter to budget talks, which is the normal process for such requests, but MacLeod responded "there's a timeline here" and the group wanted to see the feasibility study proceed as quickly as possible.

"I see a floodgates issue if we open the door," Mayor John Morgan said.

The committee agreed to follow the standard process.
Quote:
CBRM council approves deal to sell Balls Creek school property to New Deal Development

Non-profit organization pays $1 for site


Section: Northside/Victoria

By Nancy King,
Cape Breton Regional Municipality council will be asked to give final approval to a plan to sell the former Balls Creek school property to New Deal Development, after the proposal was approved by its corporate services committee Monday.

The committee agreed to sell the property, located at 167 Campbell Rd., for a dollar following a public hearing. The non-profit organization plans to operate a multi-use facility there, which would include a child-care facility, seniors day program and a community and recreation meeting facility.

The assessed value of the property is listed as $545,500.

The property went through the municipality's community-based property procedure and the only letter of interest was received from New Deal.

Gordon Sampson of North Sydney, a new member of the New Deal board, told the hearing the group has a proven track record in these sorts of projects.

"I have every confidence when New Deal takes over this project . . . that it will be a very successful venture," he said.

In a report to the committee, planner Ken Smith noted a report on the demolition of the school in Catalone - a building only about half as big as Balls Creek - indicated it cost $68,000 to tear down. It suggested a cost of $80,000 to demolish the Balls Creek school is not an unreasonable estimate.

Smith's report also indicated it is questionable a profit could be made if the building is demolished and the land sold on the open market.

"Very often we end up tearing down these buildings because no one wants them," Coun. Wes Stubbert noted.

Incorporated in 1983, New Deal's mission as a non-profit organization is to contribute to the life of the greater Northside community in the creation of initiatives and enhance people's capacity to bring about productive social, cultural, economic and environmental change.

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Old Posted Apr 11, 2007, 5:44 AM
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From Thursday, April 5th Cape Breton Post

Quote:
Island to get more nursing home beds

Provincial health minister makes announcement in North Sydney


Section: Northside/Victoria

By Julie Collins, Cape Breton Post
Seniors in Cape Breton will have access to 64 more nursing home beds.

Nova Scotia Health Minister Chris d'Entremont made the announcement to a packed house at the Clansman in North Sydney, Wednesday.

The Northside Community Guest Home Society was awarded 39 nursing home beds. My Cape Breton Home for Seniors was awarded 13 residential care facility beds for Sydney and 12 for North Sydney.

These 64 beds are part of 125 new beds previously planned for Cape Breton.

"Many seniors want to live in their homes as long as possible," d'Entremont said. "But should they need additional help, they want to know it's there and they want to find it in a place that they can call home. We are building a long-term care system that meets the needs and reflects the values of Nova Scotians.

"As part of Continuing Care, we are also doing more home care and more training for continuing-care assistants because we know we are going to need a lot of those workers."

Through the Continuing Care Strategy, Cape Breton will also receive another 88 new beds from a total of 832 that will be built by 2010. This brings the total of new long-term care beds for Cape Breton to 213.

"Work around where these new beds will be located is now complete. Our decision-making process is based on evidence and on the ground information from the District Health Authorities," he said. "The department looked at critical data including the number of people waiting for long-term beds at home and in hospital, population trends, the health of our seniors and the current demand for and supply of services."

Cape Breton North MLA Cecil Clarke said the number of new beds for the Northside with Wednesday's announcement is 64.

"This is significant when you consider a care facility can proceed with 36 beds," Clarke said. "This is about quality care for our citizens at a time in their lives when they need it the most."

Cape Breton Regional Municipality council is expected to make a final decision later this month on the sale of a parcel of land for the expansion of the Northside Community Guest Home to accommodate the 39 additional beds.

The Continuing Care Strategy is a 10-year plan to enhance and expand Nova Scotia's continuing-care system.

"This is certainly a great day for seniors," said Sherry MacNeil of My Cape Breton Home for Seniors. "We will be placing 13 beds in Sydney and 12 in North Sydney and will be able to provide quality care in a home-like setting."

Rev. Karen Ralph, vice-chair of the Northside Community Guest Home Society, said the society looks forward to bringing new elements to health care.

"We are looking at expanding our role in the community, which includes a unit for younger members of the community who have debilitating illnesses," Ralph said. "We're grateful to the staff for their support, the board for years of hard work and government for recognizing the need."
From Saturday, April 7th Cape Breton Post
Quote:
Financing in place for new school in Waycobah

Section: Cape Breton

By Laura Jean Grant, cape breton post
Construction of a new school for the Waycobah First Nation is expected to begin this spring.

The federal government, through Indian and Northern Affairs Development, announced a $7.5 million contribution over two years to the Mi'kmaw Kina'matenewey for the construction of two new First Nations schools - one in Shubenacadie and one in Waycobah.

The Mi'kmaw Kina'matenewey is an organization that oversees education in 10 Mi'kmaq communities in Nova Scotia and over the last several years all member communities have pooled money to raise about $9 million for the two new schools. That, combined with the federal government's contribution, will pay for the bulk of the construction costs and any additional costs will be the responsibility of the individual communities.

In making the announcement, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Affairs Development Jim Prentice said the $7.5 million is part of a national $50 million investment in school infrastructure projects across Canada. He said the government is committed to addressing education needs in First Nations communities.

"We will continue to work in partnership with First Nations and provinces to ensure an effective education system in which First Nations people can excel," he said in a release.

The new school in Waycobah will accommodate Grades Primary to 12 and will provide modern facilities and learning technologies to the approximately 400 students in the community. It will also have space for community services and gatherings.

Waycobah Chief Morley Googoo is thrilled the project is moving ahead.

"We are very encouraged and excited with the movement that has taken place on the new school which will be located within the heart of our community," he said. "The new school will provide a great learning environment for our future leaders."

Googoo said the new school also demonstrates what can be accomplished when First Nations communities partner with one another and with other levels of government.
This is a comment from the editor placed in the Saturday, April 7th Cape Breton Post

Quote:
School tinkering strikes nerves

Section: Comment

The governing Tories warned in advance of the spring provincial budget that finances were tight and some promises and commitments would have to be deferred. But when the budget came down on March 23 it wasn't immediately apparent where all the trimming had been done.

Pharmacare coverage for working families was one obvious deferral, and the finance department came out with a list that named some others, such as a healthy living tax incentive and a new disability allowance. This things rarely grab attention, however. Some are of interest only to small groups, while in other cases the government is not taking away something that was eagerly anticipated or generally known.

An obvious exception is the deferral of school projects, which came to light only some days later within the affected jurisdictions. The government should ask itself whether this piecemeal trickle of bad news and negative reaction in the wake of a budget makes good politics. It would be smarter to spell out explicitly everything that's being deferred and why.

The two flashpoints have been Middleton, which sent six busloads of students to Halifax to protest against the delay in construction of a promised gym, and Cape Breton where government intentions on both new school construction and renovation projects have the affected communities stirred up.

In both Middleton and Glace Bay, what got people rattled was not simply that the projects weren't funded but that the omissions seemed to say there was no longer any firm commitment. Education Minister Karen Casey tried to mollify Middleton by committing in writing to tender that project in February 2008.

The department did somewhat the same thing by agreeing to recouple the Northside Elementary School and Glace Bay junior high - two promised new schools that the school board has been trying to move in tandem. Only the Northside school was named in the $58.5 million capital plan for the province but now they're rejoined with a renewed commitment that students will be in the new schools in fall 2009.

In such a controversy, people look to riding maps for a political explanation and very often they think they see it. Cape Breton North is held by a Tory and Glace Bay by a Liberal. The government's explanation is that the Glace Bay school was left aside because of difficulties finding a suitable site. Whatever the truth, people are apt to conclude that while being on the right side of politics may not guarantee a school when you want it, it can't hurt.

The tinkering with the capital list is no cause to man the barricades but it does reinforce the caution that while a government announcement is a step up from a political promise, multi-year announcements in particular have to be taken with a grain of salt as well. And in some instances, such as the second consecutive deferral in completion of the Riverview Rural High School entrance project, government seems to be perversely flaunting some sort of wonky element in its own way of doing things.

Our front-page photo last Saturday of Riverview principal Betty Crosby looking down from the walkway to nowhere serves as a satiric comment about how government plans and builds. We're wondering how she got up there and whether she ever got down.
Quote:
Hole on Dominion Street has been filled

Section: Glace Bay/New Waterford

By Sharon Montgomery, Cape Breton Post
A bootleg mine under Dominion Street is now a part of history.

Sean MacLellan, engineer technologist with the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, said the hole has been filled in and the road was reopened Wednesday evening.

He said minor cleanups were done Thursday, but the road remained open.

Over the next while - as the weather and ground conditions permit - workers will continue with minor repairs to homeowners' properties, such as driveway and yard work.

He said as well the road will be maintained with gravel until asphalt is available later this spring.

MacLellan said the bootleg mine under the road was bigger than they had initially believed. It was about 25 feet deep.

"We found a small tunnel and two rooms (where coal was dug out)."

He said the road right-a-way is about 66 feet. About 60 per cent of the bootleg mine was under the pavement section of the road. It is estimated there was anywhere from 15-18 feet of ground cover above the mine.

"We really appreciate the patience of the public," said MacLellan, adding they received no complaints while the work was being done.

The sinkhole was discovered on Bernie Burt's property at 123 Dominion St., March 7. After the top was lifted by an excavator March 14, it was discovered to be 15 feet deep and part of an old bootleg mine that continued into several 'rooms' under the road.

Burt has since had the hole on his property filled and CBRM public works officials decided for safety reasons to begin road repair work immediately.
From Monday, April 9th Cape Breton Post
Quote:
Province preparing for tourism season

Section: Our community

By Matthew Daye,
Spring is starting to make itself known which is a sign this year's tourist season will soon be upon the many businesses and attractions around the island.

Debbie MacKinnon from Knotty Pine Cottages located on Smokey's Mountain, which was hit hard this passing winter by the closing of the Cape Smokey ski hill, is worried for this summer as well.

"We've been a little slow getting our reservations for the summer so far," she said. "I don't know if it has to do with the gas prices or whatever it is. I really don't know."

Adele Poirier from Nova Scotia Tourism said the province has been holding its own the last few years, but the way tourism works is changing.

More and more people are making reservations at the last minute and using the Internet to plan their trips and because of this the province is changing its procedures.

"We have a new tourism plan that takes us in some new directions. It's called new realities, new directions," she said.

It involves three strategies.

The first is called Gateway, which involves focusing on areas that have direct flights to Nova Scotia. It's to appeal to travellers who want to spend their time at the destination, not just getting to it.

"People don't pack up the station wagon with the family dog and drive for two weeks anymore," she said.

The second is called Core Experiences, which is to build up the locations that exist.

The third strategy, called Courtship, is to take advantage of the Internet. Part of this strategy uses Google Earth with special plaid place markers.

This way prospective tourists can see possible destinations, with the bird's-eye view the program offers, but also with pictures and possibly video in the near future.

"As far as we know and as far as Google knows, we're the first to use Google Earth in this way," she said.

That strategy will also continue to update and explore new uses for the website, including letting people buy their whole vacation online.

Despite these new initiatives there may still be some problems with the upcoming season.

Gas prices, competition with other destinations, and the new passport regulations involving the United States, are the main concerns this year.

Donny MacLellan, a travel agent with Maritime Travel, says the determining factor for this tourism season is simple.

"If the weather stays nice, the people stay longer," MacLellan said. "If the weather gets bad they pack up and go."



This is from Wednesday, April 11th CBPost online.

Quote:
Work about to resume on multi-use trail

By Nancy King

Cape Breton Post

SYDNEY — The effort to develop a multi-use trail between Port Hastings and Inverness is about to resume.

The 92-kilometre project — a venture of the Cape Breton Island Pathways Association and Inverness County Trails Federation — began last fall is part of the TransCanada Trail project. The intention is to bring it up to a multi-use, four-season standard. The second phase of the project will involve identifying a route for the trail from Inverness to North Sydney.

To date, more than 7.4 kilometres of ditching and 4.7 kilometres of grubbing have been completed from Troy Beach to Dunmore Road, 22 culverts have been installed, 57 kilometres of right-of-way has been cut and 40 kilometres chipped.

“Everything is going as planned and on schedule so far, we’d like to see the snow disappear so we can get some frost out of the ground and resume some construction work,” noted CBIPA co-ordinator Darrell Taylor.

As the season for increased trail use approaches, officials are warning users that heavy equipment will be performing work on it and sections may be closed at any time, without notice. Bridges may also be closed from time to time to allow for maintenance and upgrades. Users are asked to use extra caution, remain on the trail and adhere to safety signage.

“There will be a considerable amount of heavy equipment on the trail,” Taylor said. “There will also be materials being spread on the trail because some of these sections are low and they have to be built up to alleviate water problems.”

There will also be more chipping and right-of-way cutting over the next four months, he added.

Taylor said the group may have a report completed on the Inverness to North Sydney route over the next few weeks, and then it can begin to look at construction requirements and funding partners.

CBIPA and Inverness County Trails Federation have partnered with 28 corporations, organizations and government agencies on the project. To date, about $1.2 million of the $1.9 million project cost has been raised, and Taylor said the groups are still looking for additional partners to fund the remainder.

“We still have some partners to find to come onboard, but we’re in the process of trying to look at partners and avenues,” he said.

The trail is expected to be an attraction for not only Cape Bretoners but visitors to the island.

“In rural Cape Breton, we don’t have a lot of recreational assets to use, this one is definitely significant because it’s a multi-use trail that we can use all four seasons,” he said.
As well as this.
It really is an eyesore that should've been torn down long ago, but as long as it's torn down soon, with the current upswing in interest in the Sydney area, this land will be prime for a hotel or apartment development, and is directly beside Cabot House, Sydney's tallest building at 18 stories and a mixed use of commercial/office (first 3 floors) and apartments (other 15 floors).

Quote:
No firm date set for demolition of former Keddy’s Motor Inn
CAPE BRETON POST STAFF
The Cape Breton Post

SYDNEY — A firm date to knock down the former Keddy’s Motor Inn on Kings Road hasn’t been pinned down, but the Cape Breton Regional Municipality’s bylaws and buildings manager said it’ll likely happen later this spring.

Rick Fraser said the municipality has been working with a representative of the property’s owner, businessman Hugh Lynch, on dismantling the building.

“We’ve met with the contractor and we’ve gone over his criteria for demolishing the property and what we would expect to see as part of that demolition,” Fraser said Tuesday.

He said some final details have to be reviewed before the building is torn down.

“But it looks like the owner is taking steps to do the demolition on his own.

“It would be prudent on us to watch what the owner is going to do to ensure that the property is (demolished) correctly.”

About three-quarters of the building has structural problems and is full of mould, Fraser said.

The asking price for the former motel, seen as an eyesore by some residents over the years, is $495,000. It’s been vacant for the last 10 years.
From in front of the old Keddy's site (which was next to Quality Inns...basically Motel stretch)

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From Saturday, April 14th, 2007 edition of the Cape Breton Post.

Quote:
Cape Breton Casting getting some interest from local business

Section: Business

By Wes Stewart,
Cape Breton business interests are assessing the feasibility of acquiring the Cape Breton Casting plant in the Northside Industrial Park, the Cape Breton Post has learned.

"We've received no proposals to date," Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation spokesman D.A. Landry said late Friday.

Any proposals received, including those from local interests, if any, will be evaluated by the consultants who will make recommendations to ECBC, Landry said.

Approximately 60 people are employed manufacturing die cast transmission parts for car parts giant Magna International.

Its Magna Powertrain PFC plant is located next door.

Cape Breton Growth Fund took over the operation of the plant in March 2006 when the owners failed to meet the terms and conditions of its contract.

The Crown corporation is committed to operating the plant until July 1.

Ernst & Young has been engaged as outside consultants to formulate an exit strategy.

"We looked for an assessment of the operation and its financial situation and to evaluate the business both as a going concern and as liquidation," he said.

"It has been determined the plant has potential to sell it as a going concern," Landry said.

Ernst & Young is now working on a process to market the plant to people in the automotive industry and investors interested in companies with potential.
It's about time for this, also from Saturday's CBPost.

Quote:
Councillor pushing for active transportation strategy in CBRM

Section: Cape Breton

By Chris Shannon,
When budget deliberations begin next month, Coun. Ray Paruch is hoping to see funding go toward an active transportation strategy in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

Wednesday, Paruch touted the need for a detailed plan at the public services committee - one which considers the municipality's geography as well as its main urban communities and the links between them.

"We'd be looking at an emphasis on sidewalks, tying in public transit with bicycle users," said Paruch, who serves as chair of the active transportation committee.

"You might have somebody in Coxheath or Westmount that may drive a bicycle to a certain spot and have a bicycle rack to put the bicycle on, before getting on public transit to come to work or you may have it just the opposite."

But he said active transportation is more than simply targeting bicycle users.

"Active transportation could be as simple as encouraging people to take strollers with their children to go to Wentworth Park in Sydney.

The active transportation committee is comprised of community groups, police, Velo Cape Breton, the Cape Breton District Health Authority, the provincial government and the CBRM, among others.

In order to develop the comprehensive plan, Paruch said a consulting firm with expertise in the field must be hired. The total cost is estimated at $125,000, but Paruch said about half of that cost could be generated by the vested interest groups with the remainder coming from the municipality.

He doesn't expect he'll face much opposition to the plan when budget talks begin.

"I don't foresee any problems at all."

Claire Detheridge, chair of the public services committee, said the municipality has already received 35 e-mails in favour of active transportation which shows there is support for the plan.
Quote:
Bell museum plagued by leaky roof

Silver Dart display could solve problem


Section: Front

By Chris Hayes,
Parks Canada is still dealing with a leaky roof at the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site three years after the problem was noted in an auditor general's report.

Carol Whitfield, a field unit superintendent based in Cape Breton, said plans exist to fix the roof but the roughly $2-million repair job may not be necessary depending on the activities of a group called the Silver Dart Centennial Association.

Those plans could include a Silver Dart display over one of the areas where the roof is leaking.

"I don't want to be in position where I spend a considerable amount of money on that roof and two years later tear the roof off because we are building an addition that makes that roof unnecessary," she said.

Whitfield noted the leaks are not threatening the displays or artifacts in the Baddeck museum.

"We are trying to find if we can plug where the leak is coming in, patch it, whatever until we know for sure what is going to happen."

Leaks that were associated with snow and ice conditions stopped when the snow and ice melted. Parks Canada is prepared to pay for the roof repairs if necessary, Whitfield said.

Aynsley MacFarlane, site manager at the Bell museum, said a waterproof membrane in the museum roof is breaking down in some exhibit areas but the leaks tend to be in public walk areas between artifacts rather than on the displays themselves.

"If it ever came to a point where it was a threat to any artifact, the artifact would be removed - that's for certain," she said.

The Silver Dart Centennial Association is working on plans to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the airplane's historic flight over Baddeck Bay on Feb, 23, 1909, which was the first controlled power flight of a British subject (John A.D. McCurdy) in the British Empire.

The airplane was developed under Bell's direction.

Shane MacFarlane, the chairman of the association, confirmed Friday it has been negotiating with Parks Canada about a Silver Dart display which could be located in a section of the museum where the roof is leaking.

The association must raise millions of dollars for that project, he noted.

Auditor general Sheila Fraser noted in a February 2004 report on national parks that the Bell museum was only rated in fair condition in a Parks Canada evaluation in 2002-03.

A fair rating means deterioration of the historic site has to be addressed within three to five years to prevent the permanent loss of elements that show its historical significance, closure to the public or rapid deterioration of the site.

The fair rating for the Bell museum was related to the potential for deterioration of a collection of unique photographs, problems with the roof and humidity problems.

MacFarlane said the photographs have been preserved in digital form and the humidity problems have been addressed.
From Friday, April 13, 2007 Cape Breton Post.
Quote:
Committee discusses tar ponds projects

Section: Business

By Tanya Collier MacDonald, cape breton post
Members of a newly struck environmental management committee met Thursday to discuss upcoming tar ponds projects and ways to track ongoing success.

The full-day event, which was closed to the public, was held in Membertou, said Ken Swain, project director at Public Works and Government Services Canada. It was one of several monthly meetings the committee has held since it was struck in December.

The committee has eight federal representatives, four provincial representatives and a representative from the Cape Breton District Health Authority. The Sydney Tar Ponds Agency and an independent engineer also attend.

"The purpose of the committee is to ensure that the environmental obligations that the project has are met and to ensure that we keep the recommendations of the review panel in view," said Swain.

In the committee's terms of reference, its purpose is described as offering expert advice on the environmental management of the $400-million cleanup and to guide the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency during the development and implementation of a project environmental management plan.

It's also developing a tracking document to keep tabs on ongoing work.

"It methodically lays out the review panel recommendation from number one to number 55 and governments' response," said Swain. "For the rest of it, it's a work in progress."

The committee will also serve as a forum for information exchange between federal and provincial regulatory agencies and project experts.

tcmacdonald@cbpost.com

Members drawn from number of areas

Sitting committee representatives:

Government of Canada:

1. Public Works and Government Services Canada

2. Health Canada

3. Fisheries and Oceans

4. Environment Canada

5. Transport Canada

6. Natural Resources Canada

7. Cape Breton Development Corporation

8. Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation

Province of Nova Scotia:

9. Department of Environment and Labour

10. Department of Health Promotion and Protection

11. Department of Transportation and Public Works

12. Department of Natural Resources

13. Cape Breton District Health Authority

Ex-offico members

14. Independent Engineer

15. Sydney Tar Ponds Agency
Quote:
Historical society waiting for word on land for museum

Section: Northside/Victoria

The North Sydney Historical Society is waiting for a decision from Cape Breton Regional Municipality council to purchase land for a museum site where the town hall once was located.

Jim Walsh, president of the society, indicated an application is being considered by council and will be decided on during the budget session in two weeks.

At present the museum functions from the basement of the old Bank of Nova Scotia building where the library operates.

The proposed museum site is next door and would be in prime location to take advantage of the half-million annual travellers to and from Newfoundland, as well as providing a well recognized service on the Main Street and supplying a cornerstone to the downtown of North Sydney.

In an effort to provide a new building to house artifacts and cultural themes, the historical society has undertaken to provide a new space for the North Sydney Seniors' Club and is negotiating to bring such groups as Northside artists to the building as a site for display and sales.

"A five-year plan to demonstrate fiscal sustainability for the museum is being developed with professional assistance," Walsh said. "Once the site and plan are approved the society will be negotiating further with Enterprise Cape Breton Corp. for federal funding for construction costs."

The provincial government has made a $100,000 contribution to the museum.

Walsh noted there will be office space available for rent in the proposed quarters, such as for tourism, and this would enhance the building as a community centre in the downtown.

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From the Tuesday, April 17, 2007 Cape Breton Post

Quote:
Spring is here, cruise ships not far behind

Should be another good year for visits


Section: Business

By Matthew Daye,
The ice is almost gone and the weather is starting to improve, which means cruise ships will soon be arriving in Sydney harbour.

Marketing manager Bernadette MacNeil, of Sydney Ports Corp., said Cape Breton is in for another good year for cruise ship visits.

"It's very comparable to 2006 and we're happy with that."

Last year, more than 46,000 cruise ship passengers stopped in Sydney harbour. This year, almost 49,000 passengers will be making the trip.

"A second vessel from Holland America (is coming) which indicates that they're filling their ships to allow for that second vessel to come in," noted MacNeil.

Norwegian Cruise Lines is also returning with Norwegian Dawn.

"We have the Grand Princess, which carries 2,600 passengers, coming in several times to Sydney and we're very pleased about that."

MacNeil said Cape Breton offers something special to cruise ship passengers.

"We have such tremendous choices in the way of excursions with the Fortress of Louisbourg and the Bell museum and the miners' museum."

MacNeil asked that people who want to see the cruise ships when they arrive in port follow safety rules.

"Park your car somewhere else and walk down. The code that's imposed upon us is that we can't allow unauthorized vehicles on our dockside," she said. "But we do try to encourage our public to come down here. We want them to interact with our passengers."
Quote:
Sobeys closing its Mayflower Mall store

Two retailers expected to occupy building


Section: Cape Breton

By Tanya Collier MacDonald,
Sobeys is closing the doors on its Mayflower Mall location May 5, a decision its landlord knew was imminent.

The Canadian grocery chain began to meet with each of its 63 affected employees Monday to offer them a job at one of its remaining five locations in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality - Sydney, Sydney River, New Waterford, Glace Bay and North Sydney.

"We're working with them to ensure a smooth transition," said Jill Thomas Myrick, director of communications and corporate affairs at Sobeys. "We will be offering an extensive severance package to those employees who would not be accepting positions within the company."

The closure is a "business decision" that follows an extensive and careful review of the company's operations in the local area.

Thomas Myrick declined to give a specific reason for the closure and wouldn't comment on the profitability of the location, which opened in January 1991.

"We don't discuss or disclose details of the profits of any one particular store," she said.

The grocery chain doesn't plan to reopen, she added.

Luc Corneli, vice-president of leasing at the Burnac Corp., said the commercial real estate company was aware Sobeys wasn't going to renew its lease.

"We've been working on a redevelopment strategy," said Corneli.

It's anticipated two major retailers will occupy nearly all of the building's 51,000 square feet of space.

Corneli said the final details are still being worked out but an announcement can be expected as early as the end of May.
#2 is the Sobey's building

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Another step in the Undersea Mining bill, which will affect Donkin.

From Wednesday, April 18, 2007 Cape Breton Post.

Quote:
New bill will regulate undersea mining

Public given chance to voice opinion in Glace Bay


Section: Business

By Wes Stewart,
The public had the chance Tuesday to voice its opinion on proposed legislation to regulate undersea coal mining as its relates to the Donkin mine.

The consultations at the Cape Breton Miners' Museum, and a final round in Halifax Thursday, will hear from Donkin residents, unions, Xstrata Coal, employee and employer groups and fishermen on proposed legislation that mirrors federal and existing laws in the areas of labour, occupational health and safety, mineral and petroleum development.

It's unlikely the legislation will be presented to Parliament much before the fall at the earliest, said Robert Lomas, director, special projects division, minerals and metals sector, Natural Resources Canada.

The legislation also must be enacted by the provincial government, which will act as regulator and collect the royalties from the mine's coal and coal-gas operations.

Donkin Coal Alliance, a consortium of Xstrata Coal of Australia and Erdene Gold, Dartmouth, is spending $15 million draining the flooded mine tunnels and testing the coal to assess the feasibility of opening the mine over the next year.

Representatives of Environment and Labour and Natural Resources Canada presided over the sessions.

Lomas said once they hear from the community they will discuss with the province whether they need to make any changes to the proposals the governments made to the regulatory regime.

"I think what we will end up with is likely provincial in terms of resource development, tailored a little bit slightly to reflect some of the things in the Canada Labour Code provincial regulations with some amendments," Lomas said.

Xstrata needs that clarity of one regulator in order to go ahead and develop a project plan, he suggested.

The Halifax session will discuss the jurisdictional overlap with the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board in terms of extracting coal bed methane.

"We will make sure that authority is actually removed from the board so there is one regulator in terms of the province and the coal mines," Lomas said.

"We want to make sure everything is covered off and who we go to if we have a problem," said presenter Hugh Kennedy, chair of the Xstrata Donkin community liaison committee.

The community of 1,200 people supports the development of the mine, because "obviously, economically we need it," Kennedy said.

At the same time, people are concerned about the impact the mine will have on the environment, road safety and the fishery, he said.
Quote:
Riverview student wants minister to explain why renovations have been halted

Section: Cape Breton

By Tanya Collier MacDonald,
A student leader at Riverview Rural High School has a simple question for the province's education minister.

"What happened?"

John MacLellan, student council co-president at the Coxheath school, said students want answers from Education Minister Karen Casey.

"Where did the money go? Was the planning poor? I'd be interested in what she had to say," he continued.

MacLellan said students are frustrated that government funding for a scheduled renovation was put on hold for a second budget year.

"I'm guessing the money was needed somewhere else," said MacLellan

The school started work on a contemporary entranceway to replace its original doorway, which dates back to the 1950s. Along with giving the school a modern twist, the project was supposed to give students space for their music and drama programs and a stage the school currently lacks.

Peter McLaughlin, a department spokesperson, said Casey has two days tentatively set aside the first week in May to tour Cape Breton schools. It's unknown which schools she'll be visiting, he said.

"It's not like (the school) is asking for enough money to build a new school," MacLellan wrote in an open letter to the minister. "We just want enough to finish the part that has already been started. Minister Casey, you could take a lesson from the students at RHS and complete the goals that you and your department set out to achieve."

MacLellan said students have collected more than 3,000 signatures on a petition asking for funding to complete the job.

Scheduled renovations at Sydney Academy were also put on hold this fiscal year.

The provincial government has allocated $58.5 million for improved school infrastructure over the upcoming fiscal year. The money is being shared among 11 schools.

In a small caption underneath a photo, the paper mentioned a moving company taking furniture out of the old Keddy's in preparation for its demolition. Still no official word on when it will happen, but that's definitely a good sign.

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There's a gap here created by my twice-weekly trips to Saint John, but I'll try to fill in the gap later by browsing the pdf files and reporting on updates. Until then, here's some to catch up.

From Thursday, April 26, 2007 Cape Breton Post

Quote:
Farmers' markets group wants to grow industry

Section: Business

By Chris Hayes,
Farmers' markets in Nova Scotia are working on a growth strategy for a sector that already contributes almost $63 million to the provincial economy.

A group called the Farmers' Markets of Nova Scotia Co-operative was in Sydney Wednesday for the first of a series of brain-storming sessions with vendors and customers.

Co-ordinator Don Black said that session - which was hosted by the Cape Breton Farmers' Co-operative - was the first of five that will tap into the issues and concerns of all 10 farmers' markets in the Nova Scotia co-operative.

Farmers' markets have seen growing demand for their fresh produce, raising big questions about how to supply that demand, he said.

"The rate of growth of our markets is being driven by hugely increasing consumer demand for healthy food, to know where the food comes from and to get some reconnection with the reality of food as opposed to buying it in packages," he said.

"We have, as far as we know, as many producers as are interested and able to come to farmers' markets, they are already there. We have to find a whole new range of producers."

A study for the provincial co-operative estimated the impact of the farmers' market sector in 2004 was almost $63 million, taking direct sales at the markets and indirect sales at other nearby stores into account, he said.

Black said the goal of the strategy, which will be developed during the remainder of 2007, will be to identify roadblocks, like lack of labour or investment money.

Service Canada has provided funding for a resource person to help develop expansion strategies.

The Cape Breton Farmers' Market has grown in the last five years from a summer-only market attracting some 200 people on Saturdays to a year-round indoor market (at the Sydney Marine Terminal) that had over 1,000 customers on many Saturdays last fall, according to a release.

The market averaged 600 customers during the winter season.

Fifteen vendors take part during the winter months but another 10-15 show up during the summer and fall, said Sharon MacDonald, a director of the co-operative.

Customers like the freshness of the produce, which contributes to its nutritional value, she said.

"We have a lot of regulars and it is a joy to see them every week and it's not the same if they don't show up for some reason."

Products for sale at the Cape Breton market range from fresh produce to eggs, baked goods, jams and jellies and crafts.

Charles MacDonald, the president of the co-operative, said some ideas he heard at Wednesday's get-together included providing entertainment or guest speakers to attract more consumers and greater use of greenhouses to expand the availability of fresh produce throughout the year.
And people complain Cape Breton has too much power in the provincial legislature.

Quote:
Students want to teach province a lesson

Sydney Academy students march to demand much-needed renovations


Section: Front

By Chris hayes,
Sydney Academy students chanting "broken promises broken school" marched to the Provincial Building Wednesday to protest delays in much-needed renovations at the school.

About 120 students lined up on the sidewalk in front of the building during the noon hour waving protest signs and cheering passing cars that honked their horns in support.

Grade 12 student Liam Gillis, who helped organize the protest, said they wanted to send a message to Education Minister Karen Casey.

"We want to make a statement obviously and some sort of visual statement we think is what's needed in order for the government to completely understand how passionate we are about the situation," he said.

"There is a general feeling in the student body that we need to have government give us these renovations."

Students at both Sydney Academy and Riverview Rural High School in Coxheath were frustrated when the Education Department postponed scheduled renovations at the high schools for the second year in a row.

The province had planned renovations at Sydney Academy that included an addition to the building to house changing rooms, showers and a music room.

"We are a school of almost 800 with no shower and changing facilities for the gym," said Sydney Academy principal Kevin Deveaux in an interview before the protest started. "That's desperate."

"The music room is in an area that is totally inappropriate. The room is too small. It doesn't have the height, it doesn't have the practice area . . . and it is in a venty, drafty damp basement."

Sydney Academy's plumbing, heating and ventilation problems are not being repaired either, he said.

"We had two more plumbing problems just in these past two days," he said.

Casey has agreed to visit Sydney Academy on May 3 to talk to students about the delayed renovations.

The minister has also agreed to visit Riverview High School on May 2.

Riverview students are frustrated by another year of delay in the completion of renovations to their high school.

The school started work on a new entranceway but that project remains unfinished. Along with giving the school a modern twist, the project was supposed to give students space for their music and drama programs and a stage the school currently lacks.

School principal Betty Crosby said renovation requirements for the school also include the library, art classrooms, labs and lockers in the phys-ed room.

Renovations at Riverview and Sydney Academy were omitted from the provincial government's spending plans for the next fiscal year.

Instead, the $58.5 million for school infrastructure will be spent on 11 other schools.
From Friday, April 27, 2007 Cape Breton Post

Quote:
African Nova Scotians now have access to office in Cape Breton

Section: Business

By Nancy King,
African Nova Scotians in Cape Breton now have local access to services with the official opening of the first regional office of African Nova Scotian Affairs in Sydney Thursday.

Premier Rodney MacDonald and African Nova Scotian Affairs Minister Barry Barnet were on hand for an open house at the office, located on the fifth floor of Commerce Tower in Sydney.

The office is staffed by a community development officer, program administration officer and secretary.

"(It) will provide an excellent opportunity for people to have direct access to government services and access to the resources that we have not only in these offices but in Halifax as well," Barnet said.

It will offer an opportunity for people to have their voices reflected in government decisions, he said, adding the Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs works with all other government departments.

More than a year of planning went into opening the Cape Breton regional office. Sydney was chosen for the first regional office because of its distance from Halifax, Barnet said.

"It is a move to get more services out to the rural parts of Nova Scotia," MacDonald said. "It's been a long-standing issue here in Sydney and for Cape Breton Island to see more government services."

The province indicated four years ago it would set up a a cabinet level office for African Nova Scotians as a link between government and the community. The Halifax office opened in fall 2005.

"I think it's rather exciting to have an office finally open here that will be of service especially to the black community . . . but also the community at large," said Sydney resident Clotilda Yakimchuk. "I think it's one of the examples of when government decentralizes some of the services."

Discussions with an eye toward establishing additional regional satellite offices are continuing.

The Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs is mandated to assist, support and enhance the delivery of services to African Nova Scotians and serve as a partner in achieving self-reliance and sustainability for African Nova Scotian communities.
On the other extreme of complaints, we have the mayor of the CBRM, though this one is mild.

Quote:
Province hands out money for recreation facilities

Bulk of $504,000 for Cape Breton Regional Municipality


Section: Cape Breton

By Chris Shannon,
The province doled out slightly more than a half-million dollars Thursday for upgrades to recreation facilities across Cape Breton.

Known as recreation facility development grants, the $504,000 will be used to build and renovate existing community centres, halls and baseball fields, construction of a skateboard park and equestrian facility as well as money to support trail development.

"We are competing against an increasing obesity rate, high levels of inactivity, chronic disease and many other compelling priorities. It's a competition we must win," the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection Barry Barnet told a group of funding recipients at Silicon Island overlooking Wentworth Park in Sydney, which itself received $96,000 for upgrades.

"These funds will assist 14 different organizations with the goal of helping this community become more physically active."

The funding is part of the annual $3-million provincewide grant program. It provides up to one-third of capital costs to organizations and then those groups are responsible for raising the remainder.

The bulk of the money in Thursday's announcement went to the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. It received $389,000 and Mayor John Morgan welcomed the funds.

However he said the provincial funding system isn't fair, noting the Halifax Regional Municipality is given more recreation funding even though its recreational capital budget is 50 times the size of the CBRM's budget.

"I think it's important to keep in mind . . . we really do need fair funding so that we can do the things and make the facilities available for the public to ensure they have an opportunity to live a healthy lifestyle," the mayor said.

Grants through the recreation facility development program are provided based on criteria, such as community need and benefits, the level of planning and preparation, sustainability and other funding commitments.
From Saturday, April 28, 2007 Cape Breton Post

Quote:
Demolition of Keddy's building will take a few more weeks

Section: Business

By Wes Stewart, Cape Breton Post
It will take another two weeks to complete the demolition and clean up of the accommodations section of Keddy's Motor Inn on Kings Road.

"We have 165- rooms down and about 30- units left" to be demolished in the modular constructed multi-storey building, said site foreman John MacDonald, Paul MacDonald Trucking, Birch Grove.

"It was a big building and it's getting cleaned up pretty good, he said.

The demolished building is being trucked to the municipal landfill.

Handymen got a lot of pink insulation, plywood and two-by-four's, a lot of good lumber salvaged by local people, MacDonald said.

The remaining section marked for demolition will be down in a week and it will take another week to complete the fine clean up.

"We got to go around to the fences, neighbours yards and do hand picking because we have to leave it clean," MacDonald said.
Quote:
Group seeks UN recognition for Bras d'Or Lakes, watershed

Section: Cape Breton

By Wes Stewart, cape breton post
The inaugural annual public meeting of a volunteer group seeking United Nations recognition for the Bras d'Or Lake and its watershed will be held Monday.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the St. Peter's fire hall.

The Bras d'Or Lake Biosphere Reserve Association wants the lake and its watershed to join more than 500 special places designated as world biosphere reserves.

Guest speaker Bob Maher, Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve Association chairperson, will talk about the UN's world biosphere program, which showcases places where residents promote economic and human development in harmony with nature.

Canada has 13 world biosphere reserves, including one that encompasses most of southwest Nova Scotia.

Many groups already promote more sustainable activities and a greater understanding of the lake's ecosystem, Bras d'Or Lake Biosphere Association interim chairperson Teresa MacNeil said in a release.

This designation will support these initiatives, as well as new ones, enhance tourism and increase the recognition that this place is a good place to live, work and visit, she added.

"World biosphere reserves are places where people try to live in harmony with the natural world, balancing the needs of humans with the needs of the environment," MacNeil said.

Jim Foulds, retired Cape Breton University biology professor who serves as the association's interim secretary, stressed that biosphere reserves are not a new level of bureaucracy, do not involve any new regulations, and do not limit the rights of individuals.

"They focus on three functions - the conservation of natural resources in areas that are already protected; economic development that is ecologically sustainable; and increasing an area's capacity for research, monitoring and education."

The meeting will elect a slate of officers and provide an update on its activities to date. It's a chance for residents to become members and volunteer time and expertise for this important initiative, Foulds said.
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From Tuesday, May 1, 2007 Cape Breton Post

Quote:
Cape Breton Castings attracting interest

Local businessmen kicking plant's tires


Section: Business

By Wes Stewart,
A group of local businessmen headed by Jim Kehoe of Joneljim Concrete Construction will make a proposal for the troubled Cape Breton Casting plant.

Kehoe confirmed Monday a proposal is being prepared in time for Friday's deadline for submissions of interest in the die-cast manufacturer.

He declined to say too much about the proposal until it has been submitted, but suffice to say it will involve eight to 10 unnamed local people.

"We don't know how many (people) will be putting a proposal in, we don't know if we will win or not but we have confidence that we have a good bid."

The players involved in this bid have been successful people in the community, he said.

Ernst & Young, the agent for the plant's owner Enterprise Cape Breton Corp. and the plant, has been getting moderate to high interest in the business, said manager Mat Harris.

Casting is in a good position for a sale with the benefit of a sole source customer next door. The company makes aluminum die-cast parts for Tesma PFC, a subsidiary for auto parts giant Magna International.

"With a couple of changes that we have identified, the Casting plant could be financially attractive," Harris said. ECBC has set early July as the deadline to firm up a buyer or failing that to dispose of the assets.
Quote:
Hope floats

Eyking appeals to minister of transport for help with Sydney harbour 'eyesore'


Section: News

By Greg McNeil,
There is renewed hope something will be done with the derelict vessel in Sydney harbour after the issue was floated in the House of Commons, Monday.

Sydney-Victoria MP Mark Eyking used his members statement prior to question period to address the Cape Ann III which is partially submerged near the Keltic Drive bridge.

"Mr. Speaker, despite all these positive results, Sydney harbour also has an eyesore that has potential danger," Eyking said in Parliament.

"At the end of the harbour is a rusted out derelict vessel named the Cape Ann III. Mr. Speaker, I would encourage the minister of transport to become a friend of Sydney harbour and order the removal of this vessel immediately."

Reached Monday afternoon, Eyking said his statement on the 175-foot derelict stern trawler received a quick response from Minister of Transport Lawrence Cannon.

"He looked over at me and waved me over after (question period). He said 'What can I do to help with this situation?' I said 'You have to order your department to remove it. It is a simple as that.' He said he is going to look into it."

Eyking described his statement as a "polite way" to ask Cannon to "be a friend of Sydney harbour."

"I was fortunate enough to have (the statement) right before question period started, so the prime minister and everybody was in the house."

The local MP also used his floor time to talk about positive developments in the Sydney area - a harbour cleanup, new sewage treatment plant, the Wentworth Park makeover, boardwalks, and the tar ponds cleanup.

The Sydney Port Authority's investment in the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion, the Steve Kavanaugh Stage and the giant fiddle were also included in his one-minute statement.

"There were two things I was trying to achieve. One was to recognize what a great job being done in Sydney harbour the last six or seven years. But at the end of the harbour we have this vessel that is a big eyesore and a danger."
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A couple more small things today.

From Tuesday, May 8, 2007 Cape Breton Post

Quote:
Glace Bay skateboarders can expect to be using new park next month: official

Section: Glace Bay/New Waterford

By Sharon Montgomery,
If you are anxious to do some fancy skateboarding in this community - dust off your board.

Angus MacDougall, acting chair of the Glace Bay and Area Skateboard Park Society, said the park should open in June.

The blueprints for the skateboard park have been completed and Latimer General Contracting Ltd. of Sydney is the contractor.

"The ground has been tested for the weight of the ramps and everything is a go. Construction will be starting in about two weeks."

The lot, on the corner of Official Row and Union Street, was leased to the Cape Breton Regional Municipality by a local businessman for $1 a year.

"This is a great area, it is open and easy to patrol."

MacDougall, who is also chair of the St. Anne's parish pastoral council, said work on this project has been ongoing for two years.

A recreation development grant of $46,000, announced recently by Health Promotion and Protection Minister Barry Barnet, provided the last bit of money needed to get the shovel in the ground. This was one of 14 grants announced for recreation facilities across Cape Breton.

MacDougall said about $120,000 was needed for the skateboard park project.

The Cape Breton Regional Municipality contributed $30,000, St. Anne's parish $25,000 and the East Cape Breton County Health Board donated $1,800.

MacDougall said they now have about $100,000 of the $120,000 needed.

"We shouldn't have much problem raising the rest. This $46,000 really helped, put us over the top."

The park was designed by Spectrum Skate Park Creations in Vancouver and will include two concrete bowls above ground, one three feet deep, the other five feet deep.

District 3 Coun. Lee McNeil has been working on the project since she was elected in 2004. It was a long process of paperwork and finding funding.

"Kids are even stopping me on the streets asking when their park is coming. I am excited for them. It is going to give them something to do."

As well she said it will get the skateborders out of the corridor of the downtown, where they can interfere with shoppers or be in conflict with traffic.

"One young fellow wanted to know if I wanted to learn how to skateboard. I told him I'd need medical insurance first."

McNeil said a meeting will be called to form a committee which will oversee the park.

"We want a lot of youth on it, it is their park, let them have their hands on it, give them responsibility."
Quote:
Tenders sought for sewer project

Section: Glace Bay/New Waterford

By Sharon Montgomery,
Anyone wondering when work will begin on the community's sewer project should take a close look at today's edition of the Cape Breton Post.

Coun. Jim MacLeod said things are staring to roll.

"They are calling for tenders - it will be in the Post (today). I am very pleased we are this far in the process."

MacLeod has been receiving numerous calls questioning the status of the project.

Tenders will close May 18.

After a successful bidder is chosen, municipal officials will be able to get a handle on when construction will start and when it will be completed, he added.

The project includes construction of a small diameter sewer for about 60 residences on Brown's Road Extension, Burke's Road and New Waterford Highway, as well as Sydney Street in Reserve Mines.

The cost of the project is estimated at $700,000-$900,000 and all three levels of government are contributing one-third.

MacLeod said he and Donna MacRury, chair of the citizens committee, have been working aggressively toward the sewage treatment project.

"Kevin MacDonald, director of engineering (for the Cape Breton Regional Municipality), has also been very involved," said MacLeod.

The small diameter sewer project focuses on an alternative method of collection, but it is not a new technology, said MacLeod.

"It has been tried, tested and proven very successful. Residents will have no problems, no backups, no blockages."
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Forgot to put yesterday's update on this board....

From the Thursday, May 3, 2007 Cape Breton Post.

There's good news at the very end of this article...I'll italicize it to highlight it.

Quote:
'New' Sysco scrapyard to be environmentally assessed

Section: Cape Breton

By Wes Stewart,
The new scrapyard on the former steel plant property to be remediated is not really new.

Nova Scotia Lands Inc. has called for proposals from companies interested in doing a Phase 2 environmental site assessment of the 'new' scrapyard area, the deadline is Tuesday.

The 'new' scrapyard designation identifies the one located on the west side of the steel plant from the 'old' scrapyard that dates to the early 1900s when the plant was built.

"It was put there in 1989 to support the modernized mill and that is what people reference as the new scrapyard," Nova Scotia Lands Inc. chief operating officer Joel MacLean said this week. The recently established Crown corporation manages the cleanup of provincially owned sites for the provincial Transportation and Public Works Department.

Nova Scotia Lands has been systematically ordering environmental assessments to assess areas that need to be remediated.

"It involves test pits, drilling bore holes and monitoring wells."

About 85 per cent of the former steel plant property has been done, the next step is to do the scrapyard, he said.

"That has to be done prior to opening the site (for development) to find out what contaminants we have."

The scrapyard stored the scrap metal used to charge the electric arc furnace.

"We don't expect any real issues in that area but one never knows," MacLean said.

So far the only significant hydrocarbon contamination is under an old tank farm in the north end of the 455-acre site now being remediated by Hazco. Isolated areas where a tank might have leaked oil have been identified, contaminated soil removed and treated at the Hazco remediation location.

So far 50-acres including some former buildings from the steelmaking operations have been developed into Harbourside Commercial Park.

The fence separating the commercial park from areas of the property yet to be remediated will be relocated to the north as land becomes available for development, he said.

MacLean said two roads located near the Cape Breton Regional Municipality garbage transfer station, the former head hardening building, will be extended this year.

"We plan to extend a road past that building to the west and open a section for commercial and light industrial."

Nova Scotia Lands is getting inquiries almost daily about the availability of space, most of the office space is occupied by a dozen tenants.

"We've had people looking at property, but we haven't signed anybody to a commitment of a new building yet, but we are expecting that to happen."


One eight-bay building adjacent to the head hardening building is available, he said.
Quote:
Not-so-quick fix back on

Education minister announces upgrades to Sydney Academy and Riverview will proceed this year; sites still needed for new schools in Glace Bay, Northside

Section: Front

By Nancy King,
Before a handful of students, parents and administrators, Education Minister Karen Casey announced upgrades to Sydney Academy and Riverview high schools will proceed this year.

Construction of new schools in Glace Bay and on the Northside will proceed once appropriate sites are found and the design process is completed, she added.

Casey is touring a number of Cape Breton schools and updating them on their capital construction projects. She visited École NDA in Cheticamp Wednesday and will visit Sydney Academy, Glace Bay High and St. Mary's Elementary today.

Tenders have been called for the Riverview Rural High School work, which is expected to cost just over $1 million, Casey said.

When asked whether the dollars for the Riverview project in Coxheath were there all along, the minister responded there is a total capital budget "and there is some flexibility within that budget . . . we looked at the cost of that tender and we have the dollars to cover that cost."

When the Riverview and Sydney Academy projects did not appear to be included in the spring budget, students organized protests and petitions calling for the work to get back on track.

Casey said that did not influence the government's decision.

"That did not drive our decision but it certainly was a good experience for them and if they want to feel that they made a difference, then I hope they do," she said.

Upgrades to Riverview began in 2004, as part of a $7.1 million multi-year project. Now a new entrance will be completed, with a new music room, drama space and air-handling unit added.

Other phases will proceed as money becomes available, Casey said.

"It may not be all you wanted, but it's what we can do at this point in time," she said to her audience at Riverview.

Grade 12 student Hannah Buhariwalla noted 3,500 signatures were quickly collected on a petition in support of the project, which she believes helped gained the minister's attention.

I'm in the school play and I'm part of the music program so it really would have helped for me, but I'm glad that it's going to happen for students coming in the future.

She added she's glad the work will proceed even if she won't be there to enjoy the results.

"I'm in the school play and I'm part of the music program so it really would have helped for me, but I'm glad that it's going to happen for students coming in the future," Buhariwalla said.

Casey noted the school capital construction list was compiled in 2003, listing 12 new schools and 45 renovation projects, many of which were to proceed in phases as funds became available and so that students wouldn't be disrupted.

"You're one of 57 communities," she said. "Having said that, to you, you're the most important community and I understand that."

Riverview principal Betty Crosby said she thinks the students that mobilized to fight for the projects learned an important lesson.

"I think that if people sit quietly and don't enter into the process at all that change doesn't take place," she said.

At Sydney Academy, new change rooms and a music room will be built this year, the final phase of a $8.28-million project.
Touristy, but nonetheless good for the village.
Quote:
New business opens in Port Morien

Tea room, gift shop, guest suites part of enterprise


Section: Glace Bay/New Waterford

By Sharon Montgomery,
Dock Y'ur Dory and check out a new business in the village.

A century-old house in the village is now home to Dock Y'ur Dory, a new business which includes a tea room, gift shop and guest suites, all reflecting the uniqueness of Port Morien.

The owners of the new business are Port Morien native Calvin Thomas and Debbie Teakles, formerly of Moncton.

"I grew up in Port Morien," said Thomas. "I wanted something that reflected the flavour of the village, something that didn't duplicate anything, something that was our own."

Thomas, who is also a member of the Cape Breton Regional Police/RCMP integrated traffic unit, said the concept for the business originated about three years ago.

They purchased a house built in 1867, on a 64-foot cliff and for the next two and half years, created their dream.

"We basically gutted the house and added on a 44-foot two-floor expansion."

The tea room features old-fashioned tables right out of your grandmother's kitchen as well as theme nooks, including a 6.5-pound lobster preserved inside a glass table.

"My brother caught that last year the last day of lobster season," Thomas added.

Two days before opening they invited friends, community members and business people to taste test the menu which features such goodies as pan-fried potatoes, fish chowder and the catch of the day.

"A man came up to me with a concerned look on his face and said, 'Everything was great, but there was one problem,'" Teakles said. "He said, 'The bowl is too narrow at the bottom, I couldn't get my tongue all the way down to finish licking the dish.'"

Opening day they didn't miss a single Kodak moment.

"We took a picture of the open sign and our first customers, Stan and Carol Munroe."

The gift shop spans four rooms and two floors. Customers can purchase such things as vintage purses and linens, hand-made jewelry and specialty teas.

A fish lamp and a peacock picture made of shells are among the hundreds of yard sale or auction treasures which can be found throughout Dock Y'ur Dory, which already employs eight.

"There are many gift ideas. Although we look forward to tourists, our main focus is the community."

The guest suites, accessible from outside, have private balconies overlooking the ocean and fishing boats.

Business hours are Monday to Thursday, 8 a.m.-7 p.m. and Friday to Sunday, 8 a.m.-10 p.m.

Teakles said word of their business has already spread.

"Someone from Australia e-mailed us the day before we opened, said our place had been recommended and wanted us to send them (information)."
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