Community welcomes federal announcement
Kellys Cove Marina receives funding to upgrade wharf.
Christine (MacDermid) MacVicar can remember as a young girl square dancing with her friend Margaret MacLean on the wharf at Kelly Cove.
“There was a coal mine here back then. There was a railroad in New Campbellton and the boats would pick up the coal at the wharf,” said MacVicar, who now lives in Sydney. “In our day it (the railroad) was still there, it was a very busy community and people came from all over to settle here.”
They were among a crowd of about 25 to 30 who were on hand as Sen. Michael L. MacDonald, on behalf of Rob Moore, minister of state for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, announced $32,310 through its Innovative Communities Fund (ICF) to enable Kelly Cove Marina to undertake upgrades at Kelly’s Cove Wharf.
“We don’t have a community hall. In the summer, this is it,” said Donnie Hamilton, treasurer of the Kelly Cove Heritage Society. “We have a pretty strategic location because the entrance is close to the Great Bras d’Or channel. We get a lot of boats over the summer months who stop in at night to wait out the tides or the winds.”
The marina provides an important navigational aid to boaters with a lighted beacon operating on the end of the wharf. From a safety perspective, this marina is an essential com-
MacDonald ponent to recreational boating infrastructure in the area.
The society has taken on a few capital projects to upgrade the wharf infrastructure. Last fall they refurbished the outer wharf, which acts as a breakwater.
“We are going to put a new ramp out to our floating docks and install more sheathing on the front side of the wharf,” Hamilton said. “We plan to replace some decking, and the big piece is replacing the entire section of the wharf that faces Kelly’s Mountain.”
He said the total cost of the work is approximately $70,000. Along with ACOA's contribution, Victoria County is contributing about $18,000 and the society will make up the balance, which is in the area of $20,000.
One of the major fundraisers for the society is the Little Wave Festival in August, which comes on the heels of the Big Wave Festival presently underway in neighbouring Big Bras d’Or.
“The only way we can operate the marina is with the support of the community and when we need something, they show up,” Hamilton said. “There is a core of permanent residents, and a really vibrant summer community.”
The society's primary goal is to preserve and maintain the marina.
“Looking after what we have is a challenge. We have about 14 on the board, and we meet a few times a year,” Hamilton said. “Cape Breton’s Bras d’Or Lake is a vibrant locale with a rich sailing history, and we want boaters to recognize Kelly Cove Marina as a safe haven that supports sailors with an array of services to make inlandsea-going voyages safe and memorable. We believe that these improvements will further enrich the overall experience of our local and visiting sailors for many years to come.”
The marina serves as a multiuse facility for both local and visiting recreational boaters, swimmers, sport fishers, divers, and kayakers. Although not a fullservice marina, Kelly’s Cove offers shore power, floating docks, ladders, portable toilets, and a launch ramp, as well as on-site amenities such as picnic tables and a swimming platform, with its most significant contribution to recreational boating on Cape Breton Island being its location.
“In some parts of the country this would be considered a small announcement, “Senator Mac- Donald told the crowd. “These announcements are important to smaller communities. When you have people like the folks in New Campbellton who put their heart and souls into a facility and get a base of money, but need a little more assistance — that's where the government and ACOA comes in and needs to be fully open to receiving and supporting these types of initiatives. Helping communities chart their own course to overcome challenges, build on local strengths and identify and develop strategic opportunities for growth.”
Victoria County Deputy Warden Fraser Patterson stressed the importance of the public being able to access and enjoy the Bras d'Or Lake.
Christine (MacDermid) MacVicar, left, and her friend Margaret MacLean, who were were on hand for Thursday's announcement of funding for improvements to the Kelly Cove Wharf, recall a time when New Campbellton was a busy community with its own coal mine.