Council approves funds for crabwalk
Cape Breton Regional councillors have approved allocating $400,000 for planned improvements to Louisbourg’s “crabwalk,” part of Synergy Louisbourg’s plan to further develop tourism in the community.
The group plans to upgrade the existing boardwalk, wharf and boat launch area, and rebrand it as the crabwalk, to acknowledge the community’s ties to the crab fishery. The facilities were originally built by the former town of Louisbourg and are all on property now owned by the CBRM. The total cost of that component of the plan is $1.2 million.
“What they’re proposing really goes beyond some repairs, it’s really revitalizing that facility that’s been there for more than 20 years,” said CBRM planner Rick McCready.
“The $400,000 ... really is to upgrade and improve properties that we own and are responsible for now.”
Synergy Louisbourg’s full funding request for the municipality is $1.3 million over four years. Other funding partners are expected to include Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the province and Parks Canada.
The CBRM’s funds for the boardwalk improvements will come from the 2016-17 budget. It is contingent on funding being approved by other levels of government.
With the CBRM making the funding commitment, there’s a reasonable chance the project will receive word on its ACOA application fairly soon, McCready said.
The CBRM will also put $40,000 toward the estimated cost of design work, a third of the total.
Council also voted in favour of donating the motor vehicle home park site, with a value of about $130,000, for the construction of a planned visitor centre.
“We do feel it is a good opportunity to stop visitors when they’re travelling through the community on their way to the fortress to actually stop in the community, get information, buy tickets to the fortress and find out more about what’s on offer up at the fortress,” McCready said
Parks Canada plans to close the visitor reception centre located at the fortress. Synergy Louisbourg’s plans for a visitor information centre also includes a proposed restaurant and craft shop.
In an issue paper for council, McCready noted that compared to some other communities, relatively little effort is being made to promote the community of Louisbourg as a destination, adding it has restaurants, a playhouse showcasing local talent and a coastal hiking trail. He said the community should work together to market those assets.
“It’s all about working together,” Dist. 8 Coun. Kevin Saccary said.
Synergy Louisbourg is a group with representation from a number of bodies and businesses in the community that are working to establish a sustainable tourism expansion program. Its full plan is expected to cost about $10 million. The CBRM has deferred consideration of other initiatives under the plan until the crabwalk and visitor centre components are completed.