CBRM, Mi’kmaq reach agree­ment on ter­mi­nal de­vel­op­ment

‘ We don’t want to stop de­vel­op­ment’

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY NANCY KING SYD­NEY

Reach­ing an in­terim agree­ment on eco­nomic ben­e­fits as­so­ci­ated with the pro­posed Syd­ney Marine Ter­mi­nal ex­pan­sion with the Mi’kmaq will al­low the port to fo­cus on ob­tain­ing fund­ing from the other lev­els of gov­ern­ment to pro­ceed with the pro­ject, Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity Mayor Ce­cil Clarke says.

It was an­nounced Tues­day that the Assem­bly of Nova Sco­tia Mi’kmaq Chiefs re­cently signed an in­terim agree­ment with the CBRM on the pro­posed ex­pan­sion, un­der the terms of ref­er­ence for a Mi’kmaq-Nova Sco­tia-Canada con­sul­ta­tion process.

The CBRM has com­mit­ted $ 6.7 mil­lion to the ex­pan­sion and has sub­mit­ted fund­ing pro­pos­als to the province and the At­lantic Canada Op­por­tu­ni­ties Agency.

“Part of the re­quire­ment of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment is that it has the abo­rig­i­nal con­sul­ta­tion, this is crit­i­cal to that,” Clarke said.

Un­der the deal, the CBRM will only pro­vide and ac­cept bids that in­clude a stip­u­la­tion that at least five per cent of the pro­ject de­vel­op­ment costs are to be at­trib­uted to the Mi’kmaq.

Mov­ing for­ward, it will also em­bed the five per cent ar­range­ment in any other ma­jor agree­ment re­lated to sim­i­lar or public works de­vel­op­ments, al­low­ing projects to move for­ward more quickly.

“It shows that (the CBRM) came for­ward to work with us in good faith and as a re­sult we have an agree­ment that ev­ery­body is happy with,” Mem­ber­tou Chief Terry Paul said.

“We un­der­stand the im­por­tance of the ex­pan­sion and rec­og­nize that it will con­trib­ute sig­nif­i­cantly to the tourism in­dus­try, and we rely on the tourism traf­fic. I ex­pect that we at­tract it, too.”

Mem­ber­tou and Eska­soni First Na­tions, are lead­ing the Syd­ney har­bour con­sul­ta­tions on be­half of 12 Mi’kmaq com­mu­ni­ties.

“We don’t want to stop de­vel­op­ment, we want de­vel­op­ment,” Paul said.

The agree­ment will cre­ate the foun­da­tion for fu­ture long- term deals with com­pa­nies and the mu­nic­i­pal­ity, he added.

Clarke said the agree­ment will pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for build­ing tourism ca­pac­ity around the Mem­ber­tou Her­itage Park and the Goat Is­land ex­pe­ri­ence of­fered by Eska­soni.

“These are open­ing doors be­cause what we want to do is dou­ble our traf­fic,” Clarke said.

With­out ad­di­tional ca­pac­ity to han­dle ships, the port is miss­ing out, he added, not­ing Royal Caribbean dropped Syd­ney be­cause it couldn’t be guar­an­teed a berth.

The en­vi­ron­men­tal side of the pro­ject has also been ad­dressed, which leaves the fund­ing as the fi­nal piece to the puz­zle.

Clarke said the CBRM will ap­proach Syd­ney-Whit­ney Pier MLA- elect Derek Mom­bour­quette to ad­vo­cate for the pro­ject.

Paul noted the Mi’kmaq have con­sti­tu­tion­ally pro­tected rights and a stake in any pro­ject that hap­pens on land and wa­ter.

The pro­posed Syd­ney Marine Ter­mi­nal ex­pan­sion will in­volve the con­struc­tion of a sec­ond cruise ship berth in Syd­ney har­bour that is ca­pa­ble of dock­ing ves­sels larger than 300 me­tres.

The pro­ject is ex­pected to take about 18 months to con­struct.

If fund­ing was to be con­firmed in the fall, work could be­gin next year, Clarke said. The po­ten­tial eco­nomic ben­e­fits would ex­tend be­yond Cape Bre­ton County into neigh­bour­ing ar­eas such as Vic­to­ria and Rich­mond coun­ties, he added.

CAPE BRE­TON POST

The Maas­dam, the cruise ship that most of­ten calls at the port of Syd­ney, was in port Tues­day as word came that the CBRM and the Assem­bly of Nova Sco­tia Mi’kmaq Chiefs have signed an in­terim agree­ment on the plans to ex­pand the Syd­ney Marine Ter­mi­nal, with the ad­di­tion of a sec­ond berth to host ships.

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