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Old Posted May 9, 2007, 5:40 PM
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These updates are from the Wednesday, May 9, 2007 Cape Breton Post.

This has the potential of becoming problematic.

Plenty of interest in parcel of land

CBRM councillors question value of 25-acre site near Membertou

Section: Business

By Chris Shannon, Cape Breton Post
A 25-acre parcel of land situated between George and Alexandra streets is garnering much attention from regional councillors and the Membertou First Nation.

The Cape Breton Regional Municipality owns the land and was expected to declare it surplus to the needs of the municipality at Monday's corporate services committee meeting.

Councillors then began to question the possible value the land may have if Membertou builds a major development on the property.

Membertou has shown interest in acquiring the property and that had Coun. Wes Stubbert seeing red.

"I'm solidly opposed to declaring this land surplus," Stubbert said.

"I have no problem with developments at Membertou but we have to protect CBRM property."

In correspondence sent by Membertou's senior advisor Dan Christmas to the CBRM's planning department in April, Christmas stated the parcel of land would be used as a future commercial site.

Christmas couldn't be immediately reached for further comment, Tuesday.

The land is currently zoned residential and would need an amendment to the municipality's planning strategy before a commercial development could go ahead.

While the exact nature of a future development wasn't disclosed by Membertou, a list was provided that included the possibility of constructing anything from a garment manufacturer, an apartment building, a call centre or an office building, said municipal planner Ken Smith.

He told the committee that if the First Nation bought the property and successfully changed its jurisdiction to federal native reserve land, municipal taxation and development controls would not apply.

That's the worry of several regional councillors. The committee supported a motion that would negotiate the possibility of a lease option with Membertou after consultation with the business community.

"To blindly declare this surplus without knowing what will be put there, that's not moving along carefully," Coun. Tom Wilson said during the meeting.

But Coun. Esmond Marshall, who's Cape Breton's first Mi'kmaq municipal councillor, was appalled at the committee's reluctance to sell land to Membertou.

"How come 25 acres can't be sold to Membertou? They're moving on up," he said.

"I'm tired of hearing, 'These people are taking our land.' I'm tired of it. Who was here first?"
Just let Membertou buy the land, they have more potential of developing it than if the CBRM waited for independent developers.

Closure of St. Peters Canal extended until June 1

Section: Cape Breton

By Chris Hayes, Cape Breton Post
St. Peters Canal won't open for boats until June 1 this year while Parks Canada finishes a repair job.

Parks Canada had planned to reopen the canal, which connects the Bras d'Or Lakes and Atlantic Ocean at St. Peters, by May 15.

Tom Meagher, a Parks Canada spokesman, said while St. Peters Canal averages about 1,100 to 1,200 boats a year, few show up between May 15 and June 1.

The agency has issued a notice of the delay through the Canadian Coast Guard.

Meagher said Parks Canada had to repair cracks within the joints of the steel lock gates which had been causing operational problems and threatened to render the lock unable to operate.

"Several times last summer we had difficulty getting gates open and had to be partially operational and at one time non-operational until we had a tide swing and could get a little assistance getting the gates open," Meagher said.

"That was going to get worse so it's something we had to do."

Meagher said while the canal was empty of water, Parks Canada also did some concrete repairs, renewed the corrosion protection system, painted the steel lock gates and switched to an environmental friendly hydraulic fluid.

"The hydraulic system and the gates are all controlled by hydraulics, had a petroleum-based hydraulic fluid in them and of course that has environmental concerns whenever there could be a spill or a leak so we are switching all that to a vegetable-based hydraulic fluid.

"Not that we anticipate any leaks or spills but if they do happen, the environmental impact would be substantially less."

Boats travelling by water have to use entrances at Big Bras d'Or or Little Bras d'Or to travel between the lake and ocean while the canal is closed.

Canal users are encouraged to contact the lock office at 902-535-2118 to get current information.

I'm happy to see this story.

Next phase of Wentworth Park renovation to begin mid-summer

CBRM will spend $700,000 on project

Section: Cape Breton

By Chris Hayes, Cape Breton Post
The Cape Breton Regional Municipality will spend about $700,000 on the next phase of renovations at Wentworth Park.

Coun. Ray Paruch, a spokesman for the Wentworth Park Society, said this stage of the project will begin at Bentinck Street and head west to include areas around the two ponds on either sides of the Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia rail bridge.

"We are going to totally revamp and renovate that whole rail bridge," he said. "You are going to see a lot of improvements with that."

Paruch said the highlights will include an entranceway on George Street, construction of tranquil areas, internal park walkways, landscaping, lighting and wheelchair accessibility.

He hopes to see this stage of renovations begin by mid-summer although it still awaits a review by federal and provincial authorities.

The project shows teamwork and co-operation involving volunteers on the park society and resource people in the community including some at Cape Breton University, he said.

It also shows co-operation between the three levels of government, said the regional councillor.

"There's not a lot of that around."

During a first phase of the park renovations, there was extensive renovation to the lower pond part of the park including landscaping, new fountains, a gazebo and a tunnel running under Kings Road and eventually to the Sydney boardwalk.

Engineering plans are being developed for the bandshell and area which will be renovated in a final phase of the project although those plans no longer include an earlier proposal for a freshwater interpretive centre called a fluvarium.

The park renovations have been a big hit with Sydney residents, Paruch said.

"People seem to be really pleased."
The mentioned phase is the area in red.

There'll be more in tomorrow's paper.
Coal company holding open house

Section: Glace Bay/New Waterford

Officials from Xstrata Coal Donkin Management and CBCL Ltd. will hold an open house 2-4 and 6-9 p.m., today at the Donkin fire hall.

This is one of several open houses planned as part of the ongoing consultation with the community on the progress of the proposed Donkin mine.

Different aspects of the project will be discussed and residents will be given a chance to comment or ask questions on the project.

Thursday, another open house will be held from 2-4 and 6-9 p.m. at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre.
Columbus Club working on plans for housing complex

Section: Glace Bay/New Waterford

By Julie Collins, cape breton post
The Columbus Club, under the auspices of the Knights of Columbus in North Sydney, is working on plans for an 18-unit affordable housing complex.

The Nova Scotia Housing Development Corp., in partnership with Canada Mortgage and Housing, is seeking proposals for the development of new modest rental units.

The program provides a one-time limited capital cost contribution to reduce the development costs of new housing units in the form of a forgivable loan.

The proposed complex would be located on property across the street from the KOC hall owned by the Columbus Club and would include two handicapped-accessible units.

The land for a portion of the building has been surveyed. If the club is successful in obtaining the funding, a request will go to the Cape Breton Regional Municipality for an additional piece of land to accommodate the remainder of the building.

A committee has been working for several months with Cape Breton Regional Municipality planning officials on the project. It is believed this is the first venture of its kind for any KOC in the Maritimes.

"We've had excellent co-operation with CBRM officials," said Dave Tobin, a member of the planning committee.

"A key fellow in all of this planning is fellow club member Lawrence Shebib, who has dedicated an enormous amount of time to this project."

The other committee members are Robert Parsons, John Parsons, Alistar MacIsaac and Paul Perry.

Committee member Robert Parsons added the club is waiting for word from Canada Mortgage and Housing on the status of the one-time grant.

"This proposal has received an excellent response from councillors, businesses and private citizens," Parsons said. "If we are successful in obtaining the necessary funding, we could get through the zoning process without too much difficulty and hopefully be under construction by early June. Our tenants could be in their new units by December."

The Columbus Club is a not-for-profit group. The rental proceeds would go to the maintenance of the building.

"Anybody that qualifies for modest housing would be considered, regardless of denomination," Parsons said.

"If we are successful in getting this project off the ground, there could be others in the future."

Last edited by Smevo; Feb 22, 2009 at 8:23 AM.
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Old Posted May 11, 2007, 3:44 AM
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These are from Thursday, May 10, 2007 Cape Breton Post

It's not development, but it's good news that shows you can have a successful business headquartered in Sydney.

AG Research named as this year's winner of provincial business award

Section: Business

AG Research Inc. of Sydney has been named this year's recipient of the Export Growth through Partnership Award. Nova Scotia Business Inc. and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency have chosen AG Research as this year's winner in recognition of its outstanding export achievements and contribution to Nova Scotia's economy.

AG Research Inc. was founded in 1991 and has grown to be the largest independent software solution provider in Nova Scotia. With offices in Sydney, Port Hawkesbury, Halifax, Bermuda, and the UK, AG Research plans to open another Caribbean office, in Trinidad, within the next year.

The awards ceremony was held at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax and the award was presented to Eric Whyte, CEO.

"AG Research has been blessed with an extraordinary team of professionals who have never shied away from opportunities. I am particularly proud of our international partners, especially ILLUMAT of Trinidad, who are working with us globally," said Whyte, of Boularderie.

AG Research Inc. attained Microsoft gold certification in March 2007, placing it in an elite group of leading software companies in Canada, the only one outside of Metro Halifax.

The company currently employs 40 staff and expects rapid growth in the near future.
Donkin Update!
Moving Donkin coal by truck not acceptable to residents

Company officials listen to various concerns

Section: Cape Breton

By Chris Hayes,
Donkin, a small coastal community in eastern Cape Breton, has some big concerns about a $300-million coal mine project that is being explored by its new neighbour, international mining giant Xstrata Coal.

Local residents at an open house in Donkin Wednesday had concerns about how Xstrata and its partner, Erdene Gold Inc. of Dartmouth, would transport up to five million tonnes of coal out of the community to world markets, if the project gets a green light.

Hugh Kennedy, head of a local community liaison committee, said residents are dead set against trucking.

"We don't support trucking whatsoever," Kennedy said firmly. "There is just too much damage to the roads and the community."

Fishermen and other residents in Donkin and nearby Port Morien and Port Caledonia also have some concerns about the environmental impact of two other options, moving the coal by rail or constructing a pier at the mine site to ship it to market.

"Obviously, we have environmental concerns on both and we have community concerns, so we have to work through those," Kennedy said.

Darren Nicholls, the project manager, said Wednesday the company has not yet made up its mind about how it will transport the coal but has definitely heard the community's concerns about trucking.

The company hoped to hear from people at the open house about the issue, he said.

Donkin Coal Alliance, the company formed by Xstrata and Erdene Gold, is spending $15 million draining the flooded mine tunnels and testing the coal to assess the feasibility of opening the mine.

The company is 2,000 metres down into the mine and has about another 1,700 to go to get to the coal face where it can get a close-up look at the coal seam, Nicholls said.

It is close to the feasibility side of the project, he said.

"We are expecting to move and are still on track for a decision point on a yes or no by the middle of 2008."

Kennedy said people in Donkin see the mine project as a rebirth for the community and that so far, the company has been getting it right when it comes to answering their concerns.

Bruce Howie, the local fire chief and a member of the liaison committee, agreed, noting local fishermen were reassured by the answers they received from the company about how it is dealing with some 350 million litres of water being pumped out of the abandoned mine.

Fishermen have lots of questions about construction of a pier, he added.

"They might not be happy over it if they do put the big pier out there," he said. "That is going to be a big issue I would say."

Howie expressed confidence the company will come up with an acceptable solution, however.

Nicholls said their tests show better than required levels of iron, zinc and sediments by the time the water that is being pumped from the mine passes through settling ponds out to the ocean.

Open houses will also be held today from 2-4 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre.
Trucking will destroy the already bad highway, but the other two options shouldn't cause too much trouble.
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Old Posted May 30, 2007, 4:30 AM
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Sorry for another gap in posts...there are pertinent stories in this gap too that I have to go back and find, as well as stories from the first gap as well. A result of going to SJ twice a week I'm afraid. Anyway, here's the updates I'm able to give you for now.

From Wednesday, May 23, 2007 Cape Breton Post

Keddy's Motor Inn demolition finishes up

Remaining steel-framed structure may yet face wrecking ball

Section: Business

The company demolishing the former Keddy's Motor Inn has completed its work.

John MacDonald said he understands a decision may be made this week on whether the remaining steel-framed section of the building will face the wrecking ball or remain intact for potential buyers.

"From what I understand there are a couple of prospective buyers that are interested in a development there. I guess the word will be coming Friday whether they will want those units that are standing; if not, they will be going too."

MacDonald's company, John MacDonald Trucking, Birch Grove, was contracted to demolish the modular-constructed 200-room wooden section of the sprawling Kings Road multi-storey motel that closed a decade ago.

MacDonald, who is foreman for the demolition, said they finished cleaning up the three back sections of the building last week. Subsequently, the owner ordered the wings fronting Kings Road and the original motor inn, a 50-foot wide wooden section, removed.

All that is left is a steel structure with metal siding, housing the pool and a ballroom that's on the second floor. If that's to go it will involve the use of a crane, MacDonald noted.

Debris was trucked to the municipal landfill.
Council considering $112.5M budget

Tax rate unchanged; revenues will increase

Section: Cape Breton

By Chris Hayes,
Council in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality is poring over a proposed $112.5-million budget that if approved, would include additional tax revenues in spite of a freeze on residential rates.

Finance director Marie Walsh started the day-long budget session Tuesday by walking council through a proposed 2007-08 operating budget in which the total tax revenue rises to $73.9 million.

Taxpayers would contribute another $1.5 million because of assessment increases of 1.8 per cent in the total value of commercial property and 3.8 per cent in the total value of residential property.

If a residential property owner's assessment increases, so will the taxes they pay.

The municipality will also collect about $1.7 million in taxes on new commercial and residential growth and raise commercial rates to shift $2 million of the business occupancy tax which is being phased out in Nova Scotia on to the commercial tax rates.

Coun. Wes Stubbert said assessment increases, which are calculated by the provincial government, have raised the total tax revenues for the municipality by $7.6 million in three years taking 2007-08 into account.

"How long do you think homeowners can absorb that?" he asked.

Stubbert argued council should cut back on money it gives to organizations in the community, like a $1.5-million contribution to the $10-million expansion of the Cape Breton YMCA, as well as community pools, rinks, boardwalks and concerts.

"We can't afford to do it," he said in an interview outside the council chambers.

Coun. Ray Paruch was concerned by the $13 million in new borrowing in a proposed $29.3-million capital budget. Paruch said it contradicts a policy in the municipality to borrow money for projects that are cost-shared with the federal and provincial governments.

"What we are doing here now, and what we are going to continue to do . . . is to saddle the taxpayers, the children, the sons and daughters of the taxpayers of today, we are going to saddle them with huge amounts of debt," he said in an interview.

Chief administrative officer Jerry Ryan said the municipality has to borrow to do capital improvements.

The $29-million capital budget includes dollars for large cost-shared projects, improvements to the Sydney Ports Access Road, rehabilitation of collector and arterial roads and a general capital program for curb and gutter work throughout the municipality.

The budget presentation showed the municipality is receiving $16.7 million from the provincial equalization program.

Walsh told council the municipality's equalization program entitlement increased by $2 million but its actual grant is down by $956,915.

The proposed budget doesn't include money to cover training and education costs for council members. In March, council voted to rescind councillors' use of the professional development fund after a controversy surrounding tuition and hotel bills charged to the fund by Coun. Vince Hall.

Council will get back to its budget deliberations today.
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Old Posted May 30, 2007, 4:31 AM
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From Thursday, May 24, 2007 Cape Breton Post

Mayflower Mall welcomes new tenants

Section: News

By Wes Stewart,
The opening of Sport Chek this week signals the roll out of seven additional retail outlets in coming months at an expanded Mayflower Mall.

The 20,000-square-foot sporting goods store is located near the mall entrance in space formerly leased to Wal-Mart.

The mall's owner, Toronto-based Burnac Corp., is spending $10 million to covert the 120,000-square-foot space for retailers Sport Chek, Future Shop, due to open in late July, and the Winners retail outlet, which will be ready Sept. 20.

Five smaller stores - Ricki's (June 11), Fairweather (August), an expanded Music World in July, and The Rolling Phones to open by August - will be located in the renovated space, said mall manager Paul Carrigan.

Burnac is also sectioning off the former Sobeys store, located next to the main mall to meet demand from retailers interested in locating in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

The work will begin in September to divide the 51,000 square feet to be used by three unnamed retailers.

"The way things are going now I would say it's quite possible in the future there could be a link or at least another building in between (the mall and the former Sobeys store)," Carrigan said.

Those clothing and other retail outlets will open in the spring of 2008, he said.

Sobeys, an anchor tenant, closed its store next to the mall earlier in the month.

Burnac carried out a major retail expansion over the past two years by opening land on the new Sydney Ports Access Road for its "big box" concept that includes Home Depot, Canadian Tire and Wal-Mart.

Carrigan said the Mayflower Mall has become a model to those malls that are losing their Wal-Mart store.

"Our leasing department is talking to developers all the time about how we did it.

"We are very proactive and were well aware eventually Wal-Mart would be leaving," he said.

The mall has been in Sydney for 26 years and employs 800 people.
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Old Posted May 30, 2007, 10:11 PM
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Good news for Sydney, smart development plan
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Old Posted May 31, 2007, 4:47 PM
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From Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Council approves funding for active transportation plan

Greener spaces, healthier population among benefits

Section: Cape Breton

By Chris Hayes, Cape Breton Post
Council has given the green light to an active transportation plan for the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

Cyclist Andre Gallant says a $75,000 contribution approved by council last week will pay off in a lot of ways.

"Greener spaces, cleaner air, reduced motor vehicle traffic, which will lead to reduced road maintenance costs, a healthier population (and) friendlier neighbourhoods," he said.

Gallant, vice-president of the cycling group Velo Cape Breton and a member of the municipality's active transportation committee, said the plan will also mean more recreational opportunities and make the area a nicer place to live.

"We want to attract people," he said. "We want to keep people. We are losing population."

The provincial government is also kicking in $15,000 and other agencies have been asked to contribute, he said. Velo Cape Breton is contributing $250.

Malcolm Gillis, of the municipality's planning department, hopes to issue a request for proposals for the plan this summer, looking for a consultant to hold a series of wide-ranging public sessions and to write the plan.

"This is a daunting task and nobody here at the CBRM has either the time or the expertise to do a bang-up job on this," he said.

Gillis noted the plan has to be a regional strategy taking in a number of communities unlike active transportation plans for areas like Moncton.

Council will be asked to adopt the plan, he said.

Gallant congratulated council for finding the $75,000 contribution in what was a tough budget year.

"It just demonstrates great leadership that they are looking long-term because the benefits are going to take years to accrue," he said.

"It is going to take time to do the plan and it is going to take multiple years to implement the plan fully.

"Some of the stuff is many years off."

The plan in a general way will identify active transportation (walking, running, cycling, skateboarding) opportunities and needs and a way of connecting neighbourhoods for the activities. Gallant suggested there could be some kind of park or public area on the former Sydney steel plant site eventually.

"How do we make that accessible to people from Whitney Pier without having to drive a car there?" he asked. "How do we make it accessible to the people from downtown Sydney? How do we connect that to the Green Link plan that is going on for Rotary Park?"

The plan could find its way into municipal bylaws, zoning permits and public works budgets with recommendations, for example, about improving sidewalks, he said.
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Old Posted Jun 1, 2007, 11:28 PM
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This will be in tomorrow's post, but I'll be away, so here's what's out so far from the Cape Breton Post Online.

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Last updated at 11:03 AM on 01/06/07

Port Hastings candy shop on track for June opening: owner
Breaking News
The Cape Breton Post

PORT HASTINGS - The owners of a shop being billed as Canada’s largest confectionery store are hoping it will open its doors this month.

The Candy Shop is planning a grand reopening at its new location at the former Smitty’s restaurant in Port Hastings, overlooking the Canso Causeway at the entrance to Cape Breton.

“We don’t own the building yet, and so we have to wait for the people who are fixing the thing to finish putting the roof on before we can actually start, and we don’t have a date for that,” said Charles Bosdet, who owns the business along with his wife, Peggy Ann.

The shop will be located just above the Port Hastings visitor information centre, the busiest site of its kind in the province.

Read the full story in Saturday’s Cape Breton Post.
These are from the Friday, June 1, 2007 Cape Breton Post

Cambridge Suites earns tourism award

Section: Business

By Chris Hayes,
Cambridge Suites Hotel has received a tourism award recognizing the professionalism of its employees.

Cathy Burt, the Sydney hotel's human resources manager, said the Cambridge Suites was one of only six hotel properties in Nova Scotia to have received the National Business Recognition Award for Professional Certification.

The award is presented by the Nova Scotia Tourism Human Resource Council which is the human resources division of the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia.

It recognizes that the Cambridge Suites has met national criteria for implementing professional certification for employees, including front desk clerks, room attendants, food and beverage servers and other positions. The award signifies 86 per cent of employees have achieved national certification, the highest tourism credential available for employees in Canada, Burt said.

Burt noted the hotel has received the award for four years in a row.

Hotel employees must pass exams to receive the certifications that are based on study guides provided by the tourism industry group. They are also evaluated by tourism officials acting as mystery guests.

Burt said employee expertise is an important part of the hotel and tourism industry.

"When people hear that your hotel is investing that amount of time and money in the employees so they can give the best service they can, I think that speaks high volumes to the guests. I am hoping it does,"

Hotel guests filling out comment cards consistently rate service standards at over 94 per cent, Burt noted.

Lisa Dahr, manager of professional development for the Nova Scotia Tourism Human Resource Council, said the award was created about five years ago for operators who were obviously investing in their workforce.

Dahr said she would like to see more Cape Breton employers receive the award.

"You could do some good marketing around that if you have good creative marketing," she said.

The hotel also noted employees including line cooks in Goody's Café, the sales manager, human resource manager, assistant general manager, maintenance manager and evening manager have also received other certifications within their professions.

While many tourism businesses are struggling with high turnover rates, the hotel maintains a higher than average industry rate of staff retention, Burt noted.

In December, 2006, Cambridge Suites Hotel, Sydney was also presented the Tourism Industry of Nova Scotia's Crystal Award - Human Resources Leadership Award.
CBRM getting greener with construction of water treatment plants

Deadline for completion is April of 2008

Section: Cape Breton

By Chris Shannon,
The construction of the community's water treatment plant is just one piece of the puzzle that's being developed to make the Cape Breton Regional Municipality a greener place.

Under provincial legislation, municipalities across the province are required to meet the guidelines of the Nova Scotia Water Protection Strategy by April, 2008.

Louisbourg is one of three remaining facilities which must be built to ensure the CBRM has fully treated water supplies, which meet the highest standards.

The other two facilities are in New Waterford, which is about one-third complete, and North Sydney which won't be tendered for construction until the fall.

CBRM utilities manager Mike MacKeigan said the municipality is not only keen to improve the quality of its water, but how much of it residents use.

"We're trying to do things like water conservation," MacKeigan said.

"We've got a fairly aggressive leak detection program in place and we're always tightening the system up so we can get as low as we possibly can in terms of the demand."

He said the Louisbourg plant is estimated to cost $7.5 million and service about 500 of the village's residents. The New Waterford facility, at a cost of $11 million, will be ready for commissioning by next spring, and the Northside plant based in North Sydney, has an estimated cost of $14 million, servicing as many as 18,000 residents.

In Sydney, there were $1.5 million in upgrades to the water treatment facility to accommodate residents from Sydney River, Westmount and Coxheath, who were connected to the Sydney wellfields water supply.

On average, 3.2 million gallons of water are used each day by about 28,000 customers in the Sydney area. At peak periods 3.6 million gallons are used.

"It was minor upgrades to the filtration system . . . so the filters can run for longer periods of time before they need backwashing. It was all done as a means to economize the amount of water that's being used."

The Department of Environment and Labour is fully aware of the CBRM's construction schedule for these facilities and MacKeigan acknowledges the municipality won't make next April's deadline.

"They don't appear to be concerned that we're not going to meet the April, 2008 timetable. They've indicated their support for what we're doing. They're pleased that we are moving forward with all of our plants and everything on our go-forward plan."

Municipalities such as Halifax have asked the department for an extension to the deadline because more work needs to be completed.

The new guidelines were released back in 2002, giving municipalities six years to comply with the regulations. The legislation was developed after seven people died in Walkerton, Ont., in 2000 after drinking water contaminated with E. coli bacteria.
And the biggie is back again...

PlanetSpace evaluating two launch sites

Chairman says talks with province going well; project on schedule

Section: Front

By Tanya Collier MacDonald,
PlanetSpace will pick the site for its orbital launch pad by the end of July, says the company chairman.

"Everything is going really well with our discussions with the province of Nova Scotia," said Dr. Chirinjeev Kathuria. "We've settled on two launch sites and we're evaluating them."

Kathuria declined to identify where the sites are but did confirm both are located on the island. Original reports had the launch site near Alder Point, a small rural community outside Bras d'Or. The final decision must be made soon so the company can meet milestones set out in a Space Act agreement it signed with NASA in February.

Kathuria said the U.S.-based company, which has its corporate offices in Chicago, Ill., is gearing up for operations. Its sub-orbital manufacturing facilities are running in Ohio and it has nearly completed a full-scale engineering mock-up of its rocket ship, the Silver Dart.

As soon as the location is finalized, PlanetSpace will open an office here within 60 days, he said.

"We'll be spending a lot of time between Cape Breton and Chicago," he said.

The proposed site will be similar to the Kodiak Launch Complex in Alaska, he continued.

"If you actually look at Kodiak launch sites and see launches, you probably can't tell if it's Cape Breton or Alaska."

In an economic impact document prepared for the Alaska centre, it's reported the complex produces 45 direct and 72 indirect jobs in Kodiak. Its employees are among the highest paid workers in the community, with average monthly earnings of $5,120.

The centre used local vendors for about 25 per cent of its purchases of goods and services, spreading about $6.7 million among 82 Kodiak-area businesses in 2005.

It spent another $7 million with other Alaska vendors that year, with portions flowing to the Kodiak economy. Its launch customers spent about $1.9 million on travel and hospitality during launch operations, including 480 trips to Kodiak and 7,000 room nights. Overall, the impact on Kodiak was about $24 million.

Kathuria said PlanetSpace is working to launch a demonstration cargo spacecraft to low-earth orbit from Cape Breton by December 2009.

"The entire spacecraft needs to be completed, tested and flown, but from Cape Breton's point of view, we have to complete an entire launch site well before then," said Kathuria. The launch site will take under one year to complete.

"You'd probably see orbital launches out of Cape Breton, sub-orbital space tourism, manufacturing and (research and development) of some core parts of the space craft," he said.

"It'll be fascinating."
That's all for now...I have a brief vacation from my SJ trips, so hopefully I'll be able to catch up and fill in the gaps within the next 2 weeks.
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Saturday, June 2, 2007 issue of the Cape Breton Post

Stakeholders to meet on proposed civic centre

Section: Northside/Victoria

By Julie Collins, Cape Breton Post
Dozers could be on the site of the proposed Northside Civic Centre within weeks.

Regional Councillor Gordon MacLeod is hosting a stakeholders meeting Thursday and hopes to bring the final proposal to regional council the following week.

"We'll meet to go over the specifics," MacLeod said. "These are people who are interested in seeing the project become a reality. Once we see where we are with the plan, we'll take it to council for approval."

MacLeod said the regional municipality has to take the lead if the project is to move forward.

"Once that happens and people see machines on the site, the support will grow for the project. We have to spend the money we have now in order to get more money to complete the project."

Infrastructure money earmarked for the project has to be spent prior to March 2008.

MacLeod said the Northside Civic Centre Society will continue to be the proponents for the project.

"The municipality's role is to lead this project, similar to what was done in communities like Port Hawkesbury and Springhill," he said. "The provincial and federal government are onside and I'm sure will be there when this project is ready to go."

Northside Civic Centre Society chairman Leo Steele is excited about Thursday's meeting.

"The mayor and council have always supported the project," Steele said. "It's imperative that we get this project underway. We feel the community has done everything asked of it and we have to move forward. We are hoping the society will get this project moving prior to our annual general meeting June 19. The project has to go now."

Since November the society has raised $1.3 million in pledges and has $250,000 in the bank. This portion of fundraising doesn't include banks and grocery stores.

Steele said the society is anxious to break ground for the building.

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

For further information on the project visit the Northside Civic Centre Office at Archibald Wharf or call 794-3839.
Candy Shop owners sweet on Port Hastings location

Section: Business

By Nancy King,
The owners of a shop being billed as Canada's largest confectionery store are hoping it will open its doors this month.

The Candy Shop is planning a grand reopening at its new location at the former Smitty's restaurant in Port Hastings, overlooking the Canso Causeway at the entrance to Cape Breton.

"We don't own the building yet, and so we have to wait for the people who are fixing the thing to finish putting the roof on before we can actually start, and we don't have a date for that," said Charles Bosdet, who owns the business along with his wife, Peggy Ann.

"We're looking forward to it, there's just a lot of work to do between now and then."

The shop will be located just above the Port Hastings visitor information centre, the busiest site of its kind in the province.

"I think that it will be a great thing for Cape Breton, I can't think of too many things you could put at the entrance to Cape Breton that would say welcome better," Bosdet said.

The location is expected to offer hundreds of varieties of handmade fine chocolates, retro candies, hard to find specialties, and other candies. There are also plans for a chocolate bar, which will offer a selection of chocolate-based beverages, both hot and cold.

The original Candy Shop opened on Isle Madame in 2004.

The Candy Shop's parent company, Isle Madame Confections, has relocated its chocolate manufacturing into the Creamery building on the Port Hawkesbury waterfront.
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Monday, June 4, 2007 Cape Breton Post

Sydport well placed to gain advantage from container terminal

Section: Business

By Wes Stewart,
Direct access to road and rail infrastructure, a modern fabrication yard and plenty of backup land put the 450-acre Sydport Marine Industrial Park in a good position for a container terminal, says the park's chief executive.

"Frankly, we still very much like Sydney's odds," said CEO Jim Wooder, following the announcement this week of a $300-million container terminal for Melford on the western side of the Strait of Canso.

"We have an existing rail line servicing our site, infrastructure that is paid for and competent to be able to do what we want it to do."

BCA Investment Co-operative, Membertou First Nation, New Dawn Development, Sydney Airport Authority and Grow Cape Breton are shareholders, as well as such business leaders as Jim Kehoe, Marty Chernin, Brian Shebib and Hugh Tweedie.

Sydney businessman Chernin said the Melford announcement has not deterred the group from its path to build a terminal on Sydney harbour.

"It doesn't change anything for us; we've known for some time there are promoters for the Strait of Canso. I guess our focus is not the Strait or Halifax, but Virginia (terminal plan), and making sure we are able to create something in Sydney that is internationally competitive and economic."

Wooder noted he was glad to the hear the Melford proponents seem to have accepted that the project's economics need to include the supporting infrastructure of road and rail.

He feels road, rail and land services are second to none at Sydport.

"We believe on a dollar-per-TEU (container unit) basis you will not find a better place to do business than at Sydport if we are going to succeed and grow capacity in Nova Scotia and capture the biggest piece of this opportunity, whatever it is."

Wooder added that Sydney Ports Corp. has a master port plan and a group of companies working together to try to put Sydney back on the Maritime map.

"Our project is a very strong contender and we are going to keep working it."
Site chosen for new heritage museum

Section: Northside/Victoria

By Julie Collins,
The new heritage museum will be located adjacent to its present location, the Wilfred Oram Memorial Library.

North Sydney Historical Society president Jim Walsh is confident construction of the new building will begin within the next few months.

"Now that we have approval of the purchase of land from the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, we're ready to move forward with the assistance of the three levels of government," Walsh said. "Our architect, Ken MacNeil, is working on plans for the two-storey building."

The building will also be home for the North Sydney Senior Citizens and Pensioners and the Northside Artist Association's art gallery. There will also be an information centre on the corner of the building.

"In the front of the building, we are going to have an area to display North Sydney's 1919 fire truck."

The historical society was formed in 1980. The museum, which opened in 1995, is located in the lower level of the library building across from Archibald Wharf.

"Our present location doesn't allow for any expansion," Walsh said. "We don't really have enough space to display our artifacts to their best advantage."

The present location will be maintained as a workshop and also used for storage.

"The fact that other organizations are coming in with us is going to be good. Between the three, there will be about 175 people involved with the building," he said. "The seniors and pensioners are so active, this bodes well for this new development."

The North Sydney Heritage Museum will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the month of June. The museum will be staffed by Cynthia Gallop, a student from Memorial University in Newfoundland, who is on a provincial summer grant. A federal grant will allow for a second student to be added for the months of July and August.

The museum features various theme rooms, such as the communications room, the Rice gallery, Dutch Heritage area, library and fire department display. There are also areas dedicated to the war years and the focus on the North Sydney community.

Walsh said North Sydney and surrounding communities have a deep history, adding part of the mandate of the historical society is to keep that history alive through its museum.
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Tuesday, June 5, 2007 Cape Breton Post

Pharmaceutical plant set to open in August

Keata Pharma plans to employ 65-75 workers

Section: Business

By Wes Stewart,
The pharmaceutical plant nearing completion in the Northside Industrial Park will have upwards of 75 staff when it begins commercial production before year-end.

Keata Pharma, a division of Ontario-based PharmEng International Inc., a full-service consulting and contract manufacturing company, has tendered for the completion of the interior of the 46,500-square-foot building.

"We are actually looking at producing commercial product at that plant sometime in the last quarter of this year," said Bernie Boudreau.

Keata Pharma will be hiring in August, "to work up to the opening workforce number (75) before the end of the year."

The company president said the plant will be training local hires, about one-third of the staff, to work on the packaging line and to do maintenance work.

When the plant opens in August, following permitting by Health Canada, there will be between 65-75 people working, about 20 of whom (mostly Cape Bretoners) are graduates of the Cape Breton University pharmaceutical program now working at the company's plant in Perth, Ont.

"They will form a lot of the core of the workforce, (and) senior management team will move in as well in August," he said.

The senior managers will be recruited from across North America.

The Northside plant encountered a fairly significant delay of about a year when it redesigned some of the building.

"We made something like 72 design changes in the building, but that is past us now," Boudreau said.

They are awaiting the arrival of a couple of pieces of machinery needed by the firm's mechanical subcontractor.

PharmEng, in its first quarter outlook released this week, reported revenues of $2.8 million on a consolidated basis. But it showed net losses after taxes for the same period of $700,000.

Company CEO and chairman Alan Kwong blamed a slowdown with procuring new U.S. contracts and an increase in business development costs associated with its expansion into Asia.

He also noted the "build-out of the new Cape Breton facility are challenging our bottom line."

Boudreau said if the plant in Northside Industrial Park had been up and running it would have contributed to the situation.

"The losses this quarter particularly had to do with some situations in the U.S., but it does not impact on our construction schedule at all.

"That money is already budgeted and it is going forward as fast as they can do it."

The plant will manufacture two types of products - solid dose (tablets) of various kinds and over the counter private-label products once they get the establishment licence from Health Canada.

In addition, they will make generic products - drugs that have come off patent - for a company that may be interested in marketing them.

Enterprise Cape Breton Corp. contributed $6.25 million in repayable loans to the business and Nova Scotia Business Inc. is helping in new job creation with a $3.6 million payroll rebate to be paid over five years toward the project.
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From Wednesday, June 6, 2007 Cape Breton Post

Businesses must separate organics: CBRM

Section: Cape Breton

By Chris Hayes,

The Cape Breton Regional Municipality is reminding businesses that organics must be separated from their garbage.

Solid waste manager Donnie Burke said many businesses and facilities are already separating their organics so an ad in Saturday's Cape Breton Post was mostly meant as a reminder to those that aren't on stream.

"The big target right now is the restaurants because there are a lot of them that kind of haven't been doing it yet, so this will be their . . . 20-minute warning or whatever."

Burke said it appears some smaller "mom and pop" grocery stores are also not separating out their organics yet for delivery to the regional municipality's new composting facility.

The ad said that starting July 1, all organic wastes must be separated from regular mixed garbage.

"As of July 1, there should be no more organics," he said. "You are going to get your little residual left but from a Department of Environment perspective and our perspective, everybody has been dully notified and have to comply now."

Burke said some larger supermarket chains have already been separating out organics that were being shipped out before the regional municipality opened its own composting facility this year.

Schools and hospitals were also already separating out organics, he said.

The municipality will probably start rejecting haulers showing up with organics mixed in with the rest of the garbage, requiring it to be sorted before it is returned, he said.

Burke said the municipality has distributed almost 20,000 of the 35,000 green carts that are being distributed to hold household organic waste material. The organics are picked up at the curb and delivered to the municipality's composting facility

The first finished compost will be ready Wednesday, he said.

The municipality also plans an open house Saturday when residents can bag their own compost to take home.

"We are hoping that at least twice a year we will have a public pickup where they can come in and take some home."

The compost will be used in the municipality's parks and hopefully marketed to sites like the Sydney tar ponds or former Devco sites, he said.
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Thursday, June 7, 2007 Cape Breton Post

New tenant in wings for vacant call centre

Province hopes to make announcement 'very soon'

Section: Business

By Nancy King,

A new tenant for a vacant call centre building is expected to be made "very soon," a spokesperson for the provincial agency that's been leading the search said Wednesday.

Sarah Levy of Nova Scotia Business Inc. added she couldn't provide a more specific time frame or give other details of the negotiations until they are completed.

"We're confident that we will be in a position to announce a new client very soon," she said.

EDS Canada recently wound up operations at its Port Hawkesbury call centre, after announcing last November it would shut it down, to concentrate on operations at its Sydney centre.

Bob MacEachern, president of the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce, said Wednesday he is hopeful an announcement could come by the end of June.

"There's a lot of hope, especially for those who had worked at EDS and they're finding themselves without work right now," he said. "We have great concern for them that they get employed sooner rather than later; we don't want to see them leave the area, obviously."

The area's retailers have been affected by the loss of the payroll provided by EDS, MacEachern added.

In March, the chamber put out a call to people in the area with experience in the sector to develop a database of people qualified and available to do that sort or work. They also urged them to be patient and remain in the area.

Having a skilled, experienced, ready workforce was one reason why the chamber was confident a new tenant would be found, MacEachern said.

"We now have a track record based on the knowledge of the employees," he said.

The body wasn't worried that EDS's decision to leave the centre would hinder interest by other clients, MacEachern said.

The marketing effort for the location has also included the Strait-Highlands Regional Development Agency, Enterprise Cape Breton Corp. and the Nova Scotia Office of Economic Development.

The Port Hawkesbury call centre opened in November 2002, a year later than was originally expected. An expansion of the centre was announced in 2004.
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Monday, June 11, 2007 Cape Breton Post

CBRM residents hit pay dirt

New compost facility opens to the public

Section: Front

By Laura Jean Grant,

With a green cart program now in full swing, the Cape Breton Regional Municipality opened the doors to its new compost facility Saturday.

Throughout the afternoon the public was invited to tour the facility, pick up information about composting and recycling and even take home some compost to use in their backyards and gardens.

The CBRM started dropping off about 35,000 green carts May 7 to all residents of single-family dwellings or duplexes in urban and suburban areas of the regional municipality. Green carts are designed to store organic waste materials from the home and yard, like table scraps, food waste, used paper towels, napkins, fish, bones, meat, shellfish and leaf and yard waste like grass and leaves. The material is then picked up and delivered to the compost facility.

And Saturday residents got a chance to see what happens to all that organic waste once it leaves their curb - an important step in raising awareness according to Donnie Burke, manager of the CBRM's solid waste department.

"The big thing is to showcase our facility," he said. "Hopefully it'll increase participation and help the whole process."

Burke noted officials are really encouraged by the initial response to the program.

"We expected 60-65 per cent participation and we're seeing about 80 per cent," he said.

Those who took part in the public tours Saturday got a chance to see the equipment used in the mixing and shredding process and how the material is fed into the tunnels where it composts at set temperatures and conditions for a specific period of time.

Burke said the whole composting process takes about 30 days and, in fact, the first batch of compost from the facility was available for people to take home free of charge.

Among those taking advantage were Rod and Ann Marie Fraser, of Victoria Mines, who planned to use it in their vegetable and flower gardens.

The two said they were impressed with the facility.

"It's super. It's the right way to go," said Rod.

"To think what we can do with the waste off our table," added Ann Marie.

Burke said they plan to continue offering compost to the public for free several times each year. He also expects the compost produced at the facility will be used in several remediation projects in the local area and landscaping companies may purchase the compost for their use.

Henk Roeven, technical manager of Christiaens Controls B.V, who designed the CBRM composting facility, was on hand Saturday and said he's pleased with the finished product.

"It's practical and not too complex," he said, of the state-of-the-art facility.

"A lot of the organic material can be treated in a short time and stabilized," he explained.

Roeven added that in walking through the facility people will notice there's no strong smells as odours associated with the composting process are confined to sealed areas.
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Tuesday, June 12, 2007 Cape Breton Post

Health of fish will be used to determine condition of Sydney tar ponds

Mummichog will play pivotal role, says professor

Section: Cape Breton

By Chris Shannon, cape breton post

Time will tell if the cleanup of the tar ponds is successful in removing toxins from Muggah Creek and a biology professor is hopeful the mummichog fish will play a pivotal role in determining the degree to which aquatic life can survive in the area.

The mummichog, a silver-and-black killifish of saltwater marshes along the Atlantic coast, is the main source of research for Martha Jones and her team of students looking at how the tar ponds has affected varying species of fish, eels and crab.

"They're not deformed overall in terms of their bodies," Jones said.

"They show fin deformities and fin erosions but they do appear to be complete fish and they actually have nice colouration during the spawning season and the females do bear eggs."

The information gathered in a lab at Cape Breton University will be a bio-indicator for the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency, which is overseeing the $400-million cleanup of one of the country's worst toxic waste sites created from a century of steelmaking.

Up until now Jones and her team have been collecting specimens from the tar ponds once a month. The process of tagging fish could begin as early as this week.

The invasive green crab, which first appeared in Cape Breton in the Bras d'Or Lakes more than a decade ago, has found its way into estuaries such as the tar ponds and due to its bountiful number could be included in the tagging process as well, she noted.

Jones is comparing findings from the tar ponds with a handful of other estuaries in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, looking at the health of the different ecosystems by using minnow traps and seines to see what is and isn't present, parasites and the health of fish and their growth rates.

"Fish are a better dipstick (than other marine life) I guess, in terms of how well is the ecosystem improving."
Sod-turning ceremony takes place today

Construction set to begin on Alzheimer's unit

Section: Our community

By Julie Collins, Cape Breton Post

The sod will be turned today to begin construction of the new 15-bed Alzheimer's unit at the Northside Community Guest Home.

The unit will be located at the back of the guest home facing the harbour.

"It has always been our dream to have a specialized unit for Alzheimer's residents," said Donnie Brown, chairman of the home's board of directors. "The unit will have private rooms and living areas creating a home-like atmosphere."

Over the past 10 years the guest home board met and worked on proposals for an Alzheimer's unit. Something that became a reality in the fall of 2006 when the Department of Health approved its proposal for the 15-bed unit.

"This unit is going to fill a real need in the community," Brown said. "We're proud of the staff who have taken special training in Alzheimer's patient care. They are excited about putting their training to work."

Brown expects construction to begin within days with the removal of the carport in front of the building. The driveway will also be widened to allow the trucks to make their way to the back of the building.

Once construction begins, there will be absolutely no parking for staff.

"The parking lot at Munro Park is a possibility and it is just a block away," he said. "We've encouraged the staff to car pool as much as possible. We realize this is very inconvenient, but it is something we are going to have to live with while construction is ongoing."

He added that once construction is finished for the day, there could be limited parking available for visitors.

"There will also be changes made to the interior of the home as we prepare for further expansion. We have to increase our kitchen area to plan for the 39 additional beds," Brown said. "This is going to be an extremely busy place over the next few years, but I'm sure everyone realizes the need and what these additional beds will mean for our community. I'm sure this will offset any inconvenience."

The rooms on the lower level now occupied by Alzheimer's patients will be reverted to regular rooms once the new unit opens.

Provincial Health Minister Chris d'Entremont and Cape Breton North MLA Cecil Clarke will be on hand for today's sod-turning ceremony.
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Wednesday, June 13, 2007 Cape Breton Post

Deadline coming up fast for Cape Breton Casting buyer

Section: Business

Less than three weeks remain for Enterprise Cape Breton Corp. to find a buyer for a troubled automotive die-cast plant.

The Cape Breton Growth Fund sunk more than $25 million to get the Northside plant up and running before taking over the Cape Breton Casting plant.

ECBC spokesman D.A. Landry said consultants Ernst & Young, the agent hired to find a buyer, "has a number of expressions of interest and is working toward the July 1 deadline."

They are now evaluating those expressions of interest, meeting with the prospective buyers, with a view to making a recommendation to ECBC before the deadline, he said.

The Cape Breton Growth Fund lost its quorum on the board of directors in January and its duties were assumed by ECBC.

The formalizing of that process to reconstitute the growth fund board to be fully functional is now underway, Landry said.

The plant is operating with a staff of 64, making die-cast parts for its single customer, automotive giant Magna International.
New client found for former EDS building: sources

Section: Front

An announcement of a new client for the former EDS call centre building here is expected to come Friday, sources tell the Cape Breton Post.

A spokesperson for Nova Scotia Business Inc., the provincial government agency that has been leading the effort to find a new operator for the centre, said Tuesday she could not confirm or deny that an announcement would take place Friday morning, but indicated that word was expected very soon.

Premier Rodney MacDonald is expected to be on hand for the event.

The effort to find a new client has been underway for a number of months, since EDS Canada said earlier this year it would shut down its operation in the Strait area, focusing on its business in other regions.

Local business officials have urged former call centre workers to be patient and remain in the area, hopeful that a new operator would be found.
Ground broken for Alzheimer's unit

Section: Northside/Victoria

By Julie Collins, Cape Breton Post

People suffering from Alzheimer's disease will soon have their own private rooms and living areas in an expanded Northside Community Guest Home.

Provincial Health Minister Chris d'Entremont and Cape Breton North MLA Cecil Clarke attended the official sod-turning Tuesday, along with board members and guest home staff. Also in attendance were Cape Breton Regional Municipality Mayor John Morgan, Deputy Mayor Gordon MacLeod and councillors Wes Stubbert and Clarence Prince, who also serve as board members.

Along with the new 15-bed Alzheimer unit, the home will also see major renovations to the kitchen and lounge areas and new treatment rooms where medical professionals can meet with their patients. Changes will include a new staff room, offices, hairdressing shop and canteen.

"Nothing pleases me more than seeing happy seniors living in places that they can call home and where they can be comfortable," said d'Entremont. "It's my personal commitment as minister of health and that of our government to make sure we have the correct number of beds across the province; to ensure seniors are getting the care they so well deserve."

The minister noted that government can build buildings, but it wouldn't work without a dedicated staff and the work they do each day to provide quality care for seniors.

Cape Breton North MLA Cecil Clarke commended the board and staff for recognizing the needs and special circumstances of those people who are experiencing Alzheimer's disease.

"They knew the level of care and environment required was different and the board and staff worked tirelessly through various cycles and cleared every hurdle with success," Clarke said. "This is about turning the sod for this new unit, but also for work put into the application for additional beds that were awarded to this home."

Clarke added that when government was ready to move forward with a large number of beds, the guest home was able to receive those beds through the hard work of staff, management and the board.

"Without people, the rest is walls and infrastructure."

Guest home administrator Joanne MacNeil said the next 10 months will have its share of challenges as the home endeavours to expand and improve and at the same time care for the 90 residents in its charge.

"This is a dream come true for us," MacNeil said. "We've studied the needs of Alzheimer's residents. Contractors and architects have helped us with our proposal. It's a great day because now our Alzheimer's patients will be in a facility that best meets their needs."

Initially, there was some concern about noise levels, but a week into construction, MacNeil said the residents seem to be enjoying watching the work progress.

"We plan to keep the residents busy over the summer and offer more day trips. We'll take it day by day; the support from everyone concerned has been terrific."

Patsy LeBlanc, co-ordinator community initiatives (Cape Breton) with the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia, said safety and security are important in the care of those people with Alzheimer's.

"A lot of people with Alzheimer's disease tend to roam. This type of unit will ensure the safety of people who live there," she said. "Because of the unit's circular system, you don't walk to the end of a hallway and not know where you are, you will end up back at your room."

The unit will have additional staff with expertise in Alzheimer's disease.

"Families will feel their loved ones are in a safe, comfortable environment."
Remediation underway at former Princess mine site

Section: Northside/Victoria

By Julie Collins, Cape Breton Post

Tenders will go out this month for remediation of the washplant area of the former Princess mine site.

Work on the 11-hectare site is expected to begin in early July, part of Devco's remediation of the Sydney coalfield.

Richard Crowe, client service director with Public Works and Government Services Canada, said the work will include grading, bringing in new soil, hydroseeding areas that don't have vegetation and development of walking trails.

The site will be remediated to light industrial and recreational use.

"We divided the property into two sections, the area south of Ocean Street, which is referred to as the washplant site, and about 40 hectares northeast of Ocean Street which is referred to as the waste rock area."

Later in the summer, work will begin on the waste rock area to address drainage issues. The work will include ditching and grading work and is expected to take about two years to complete.

"That's probably as much as will get done this construction season on the waste rock area," he said. "We'll return the following year to put in walking trails, cap the site, do some hydroseeding and plant some trees."

Devco owns approximately 600 properties covering about 1,000 square kilometres in 35 different communities within Cape Breton. These range from urban lots, forest fields, wetlands and ponds to ocean frontage.

When Devco ceased operation, it turned to Public Works, a federal department with experience in environmental clean ups and project management.

"We still have major projects to do and the one on our radar at present is Princess mine site," Crowe said. "We've had a number of open houses in Sydney Mines to explain the progress and answer any questions. We take it in stages, easing ourselves into the work so there aren't any surprises for the residents living close by."

Once the work is complete on these two sites, Public Works will move on to nearby Edward's Pond.

"We will be able to observe the effects of the ground water to determine the best way to manage Edward's Pond."

Public Works spent the past year on the Princess mine site taking samples and trying to determine the environmental condition of the property.

The goal of the remediation program is to leave former mining sites in a stable, safe condition and return it to its former land use or an acceptable alternative.

Crowe said one of the key things Devco wants to do is leave a positive legacy for future generations.

"Devco is serious in their efforts to have these concerns addressed," he said. "We've been at this now for about five or six years and have about 50 per cent of the work completed," he said.

The majority of the demolition work is done and the majority of sites have been assessed to determine their environmental condition.
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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Keddy's structure to be assessed by CBRM for safety

Section: Business

By Wes Stewart,
Two steel-frame structures remaining on the site of the former Keddy's motor inn will be assessed by municipal officials.

The structures enclose the pool area, the lobby and ballroom of the original building.

A demolition company removed the sprawling wooden two- and three-storey sections on orders from the Cape Breton Regional Municipality to the owner of the building.

Rick Fraser, CBRM manager of building services, said the contractor, John MacDonald Trucking, which demolished the wooden structures has been advised by the owner he is finished whatever he is going to do right now.

The Birch Grove contractor said last month he has completed what he has been contracted to do on the site - demolition of the modular-constructed 200-room section.

CBRM officials will inspect the site today to determine the condition of what is left of the building and if it is safe.

"We still have an outstanding order approved by council to demolish the property," said Fraser, adding, based on the evaluation and discussions with legal counsel, a decision on how council will approach it will be made.

Originally, the prospective buyer was interested in the steel-framed segments of the building for future development, he pointed out.

Fraser wants an inspection done, to contact the real estate developer and the property owner, businessman Hugh Lynch, before making a final decision.

"If we see something we feel is unsafe when we are there that requires immediate attention, then we will deal with it," Fraser said. "If it's structurally stable but poses a hazard to children or trespassers in the area, we will board it up."
Independent board to oversee tar ponds cleanup

Section: Cape Breton

An independent board is being created to help oversee the cleanup of the tar ponds and coke ovens site.

Applications to join the remediation monitoring oversight board will be accepted until June 28.

Environment and Labour Minister Mark Parent committed in January to create the board, when he approved the environmental assessment for the project.

The independent board will monitor the progress of the Department of Environment and Labour in ensuring provincial environmental regulations are followed during the cleanup.

The board will also monitor the department's procedures for reviewing applications, granting permits and responding to public concerns.

The cleanup project is entering the permit stage.

Board applicants should have skills and qualifications that relate to environmental remediation and contaminated sites management and experience with Nova Scotia's environmental legislation and permit procedures.

More information is available on the Environment and Labour website at www.gov.ns.ca/enla/ea/tarponds.asp.
Mining society to focus on demand for minerals

Section: Cape Breton

By Wes Stewart,
The increasing world demand for minerals is driving the resurgence in mining, now a $400-million GDP (gross domestic product) industry in the province.

The Mining Society of Nova Scotia is holding its 125th annual general meeting today and Friday at Dundee Resort in Richmond County, showcasing mining activity.

"The industry employs over 5,200 people," said society outgoing president Paul Smith, a liaison geologist with the Department of Natural Resources.

"If the Xstrata Donkin mine comes on line that will probably double that GDP to $800 million, that's the significance of just one project."

He said world demand is driving exploration.

"We have virtually every gold deposit in the province staked and there is some degree of work going on at those (sites). Companies like Acadian Gold are doing a lot of work on gold deposits, Atlantic Gold is in the process of developing a deposit at Moose River and have other projects on the go," including the Jubilee deposit in Cape Breton, he said.

"We have companies in from Australia who are taking a hard look at doing real serious expenditures here," looking for copper, gold and silver.

Smith said the industry fluctuates with the base price of metals and minerals, "if the metal prices are good, people will come in an spend $40 million, but if it is not good then they won't do that."

The 125 to 150 delegates will hear presentations from companies doing work in the province.

Smith said Natural Resources geologist John Calder will present a mineral resource map for Nova Scotia that will identify old mine sites and claims and areas of interest.

A topic that is bound to draw a lot of debate is a review of uranium deposits. The province has a ban on exploration on the mineral used in nuclear generation, he said.

"There is uranium here, but we don't know where it is all located."

One of the reasons Smith would like to see the ban lifted and exploration take place would be to delineate where it occurs.
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Old Posted Jun 15, 2007, 4:55 AM
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I am kinda mixed on the Duncan mine. It does provide a good sources of provincial income, then again a lot of people are complaining about the mine, then again who are they to turn down jobs in an area that needs them, then again who I am to tell them what to do, then again I should shut up.
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Old Posted Jun 19, 2007, 11:14 PM
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The Donkin mine would be a good idea to open, imo, if they (re)establish a rail line connecting to the old rail bed of the Devco tracks, or if they constructed a port in an inconspicuous area adjacent to the mine property. The only thing that would not be a worthwhile is if they relied on truck traffic...the Donkin "highway" is poorly maintained as it is, and it's curvy with poor sightlines in areas and is one of those two-lane back highways where there's a dominant habit of speeding despite the high potential for vehicle-vehicle or vehicle-big game accidents. Nomatter which way they do it, they're in for an investment, so it's my opinion that they might as well do it right the first time and using the highway is not doing it right.

Anyway, that's all just my opinion.
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Old Posted Jun 19, 2007, 11:20 PM
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Friday, June 15, 2007 Cape Breton Post

Accommodation numbers up in Cape Breton

Conventions, sporting events credited with boost to industry

Section: Cape Breton

By Nancy King, cape breton post
The occupancy rate for Cape Breton accommodations was up for the first quarter of the year over the same period last year, which one tourism official is attributing to more conventions and events.

The province released its key tourism indicators for the month of April this week.

Provincially, the total number of visitors was down two per cent year-to-date over the same period last year, and down seven per cent for the month of April, although room nights sold were up four per cent in April and two per cent for the quarter.

In Cape Breton, the occupancy rate is up 30 per cent year-to-date and 32 per cent for the month of April. The number of room nights sold on the island is up 14 per cent year-to-date, and 29 per cent for the month of April.

Sandra MacDonald, general manager of Destination Cape Breton, noted the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and Victoria County, in particular, saw a boost.

"You have to attribute that to events and sporting activities and meetings and conventions at that time of year, because most of the accommodations aren't even open," she said.

Those events include the annual Vince Ryan tournament, the Grand Slam of Curling hosted at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre, and other sports tournaments.

"All of those things are key and vital to growing the shoulder season and helping out the economy in Cape Breton," she said.

Investments made in improved facilities such the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre, the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre and the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion in Sydney are paying off, MacDonald believes.

"We have to have the infrastructure in order to have the buy-in by the bodies," she said. "It all helps to make a better product for the island."

How island tourism operators are faring in early bookings for the summer season depends on who you speak to, MacDonald said. Not much road traffic is currently being seen around the Cabot Trail or in areas such as Louisbourg which likely has a lot to do with poor weather, she added.

"It's always too early to make a prediction at this time, but some of the operators have reported that they have 70 per cent of their bookings on their books now," MacDonald said.

"We're hopeful . . . We've done a lot of promotion as far as what we can do with limited dollars and so we just hope it pays off for the industry because it is so key to the economics of Cape Breton."

Generally speaking, it's businesses which have invested in marketing campaigns that seem to be doing the best, she noted.
Municipality asked to support health, wellness complex

Staff to examine funding possibility

Section: Cape Breton

By Chris Shannon, cape breton post
A local pediatrician and senior official with Cape Breton University boasted about the benefits of a health and wellness complex in the area during a presentation to municipal politicians Thursday.

The Cape Breton Health Recreation Complex project, estimated at a cost of $12 million, would be built at Cape Breton University and include outdoor and indoor soccer facilities, a synthetic multi-lane track and a community fitness and wellness centre.

It's expected to cater to the needs of the entire community - from primary school students to the working age population, seniors, as well as those who are at risk or suffering from cardiovascular disease.

The group is encouraging the Cape Breton Regional Municipality to contribute $1 million to the project over two years, beginning in the fiscal year 2008-09.

From there, the committee set up to oversee its development will be pushing for $4 million each from the provincial and federal governments. The community will raise the remainder.

Gordon MacInnis, vice-president of finance and operations at Cape Breton University, said money first has to be secured at the municipal level before other governments come on board.

"They have demonstrated leadership on the issue of the smoking bylaw several years ago and we believe that this is very much the parallel of that," MacInnis said.

Councillors at Thursday's corporate services committee were largely in favour of the project. A motion passed unanimously for staff to look at funding the centre, which would be included in next year's budget.

Dr. Andrew Lynk, a pediatrician and member of the project's executive committee, admitted it won't be an easy task convincing people to get off the couch and turn automatically to an active lifestyle.

"With an indoor soccer facility, not only can you play soccer there but for older people, there's lawn bowling and they can walk," said Lynk, who's also a member of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board.

He noted it won't happen overnight, but it will start a process of changing unhealthy attitudes toward diet and exercise.

The project could begin as early as the start of the 2008 construction season.
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Old Posted Jun 19, 2007, 11:31 PM
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Saturday, June 16, 2007 Cape Breton Post

Federal money for harbour development in Grand Etang

Section: Cape Breton

The harbour in this community will soon be opening its doors to more than just fishermen, following an investment of more than $1 million from the federal government.

The funding was announced Friday by Peter MacKay, minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

The funding will allow the harbour authority to move forward with its diversification plan, which involves building a major home base for fishermen in the region, a wind turbine, an interpretive centre, retail kiosks, a multi-tenant building, a lighthouse and other improvements to surrounding lands.

The total cost of the project is $1.5 million. The federal government, through ACOA, the Department of Human Resources and Social Development and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, contributed $1,065,000 toward the cost of the project.

The Grand Etang Harbour Authority is a not-for-profit organization, established in 1995, with a goal of contributing to the overall development and strategic direction of the Grand Etang area of Cape Breton.
Minacs opening call centre in Strait

Total of 350 people to be employed by in-bound business

Section: Front

By Laura Jean Grant,
In less than two weeks the first Cape Breton employees of Minacs will be on the job.

"If you're looking for work, we're open for business," declared Jeff Williams, executive vice-president of sales and marketing with Minacs, during an announcement Friday morning that the international business outsourcing company will set up shop at the former EDS building in Port Hawkesbury.

The in-bound call centre is expected to employ 250 people by the end of this year and another 100 within five years for a total of 350 jobs. Minacs will receive a payroll rebate from Nova Scotia Business Inc. to a maximum of $2.68 million over the next five years.

Williams said the company's experience at its Halifax location coupled with the understanding they've gained about the Cape Breton workforce is what drew them to Port Hawkesbury.

"It really boils down . . . to people. We have to get the people part right," he said, adding, "We are very proud of our expansion here and are committed to being a productive member of the community."

Employees of the Port Hawkesbury centre will field calls for a financial services sector client, which Williams declined to name citing confidentiality agreements. He did say the client has been with the company for five years.

Williams was joined by Nova Scotia Premier Rodney MacDonald, NSBI board member Larry Evans, Strait Area Chamber of Commerce president Bob MacEachern and Port Hawkesbury Deputy Mayor Hughie MacDougall for the announcement, Friday morning.

Minacs employs 600 people at its Halifax location and MacDonald said the province is excited to provide assistance to the company, through NSBI, in establishing a second home in Nova Scotia.

"It's about making strategic investments . . . and clearly I believe this is a smart investment," he said, adding, "Three hundred and fifty jobs is going to have a significant impact on the economy here in Port Hawkesbury and the Strait region. It's going to mean more dollars in the local economy, more opportunities for other business."

MacEachern agreed the jobs will be a big boost.

"We really have found the retail sector hurting in the Port Hawkesbury region since EDS announced its closure," said the chamber of commerce president. "So . . . this type of business and these types of jobs, with the level of employment and the kind of incomes they provide to the employees, really do help to support the economy in a huge way."

Describing Minacs as much more than a call centre company, Williams said there will be a range of positions at the Port Hawkesbury contact centre in the fields of human resources, information technology and administration.

Prospective employees can drop in at the centre, located at 24 Queen St. Extension, for a career event 11 a.m.-4 p.m., today or at the Minacs recruitment office which will be open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., beginning next week. People can also apply online at www.minacs.com.

Work is scheduled to start June 25 and the centre will begin full operations by the end of July.
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