DE­VEL­OP­MENT

Pro­mot­ing what ex­ists in Syd­ney Mines.

Cape Breton Post - - CAPE BRETON - BY JULIE COLLINS jcollins@cb­post.com

The pro­posed At­lantic Me­mo­rial Park would ad­dress a sig­nif­i­cant gap in the cur­rent Cana­dian com­mem­o­ra­tive land­scape, ac­cord­ing to the newly in­cor­po­rated Syd­ney Mines Tourism De­vel­op­ment So­ci­ety.

“This park would add to Canada’s com­mem­o­ra­tive land­scape and pro­vide an op­por­tu­nity to learn about the sig­nif­i­cant wartime con­tri­bu­tion of Syd­ney har­bour,” said board mem­ber Brian Fer­gu­son, a re­tired senior ex­ec­u­tive with Vet­er­ans Affairs Canada.

“I don’t be­lieve there is an­other place in Canada where you would have his­toric for­ti­fi­ca­tions, a mon­u­ment (mod­elled on the Vimy Mon­u­ment in France), an au­then­tic First Na­tions en­camp­ment, fam­ily park, a beau­ti­ful beach and walk­ing trails all sur­rounded by a spec­tac­u­lar panoramic view of the ocean.”

The pro­posed site con­sists of about 120 acres of pub­licly owned land in Syd­ney Mines and along with Chapel Point Bat­tery in­cludes Lochman’s Beach, Ed­ward’s Pond, Neil’s Woods and the for­mer Princess mine site (Swivel Point).

Along with the his­tor­i­cal, ed­u­ca­tional and recre­ational com­po­nents, from an eco­nomic per­spec­tive the project could pro­vide sig­nif­i­cant di­rect op­er­a­tional rev­enue and spinoff ben­e­fits for lo­cal busi­ness.

“We are go­ing to do this project in chew­able chunks and each phase will be done when the fund­ing be­comes avail­able to com­plete the phase,” Fer­gu­son said. “The plan is to be­gin with the Chapel Point Bat­tery site and we are go­ing to need the whole re­gion to get be­hind this ef­fort.

“I read about this ini­tia­tive in the Cape Bre­ton Post, that’s what peaked my in­ter­est. We are up for the bat­tle and are con­nect­ing with ev­ery fed­eral de­part­ment that has a role to play in com­mem­o­ra­tion.”

The so­ci­ety hopes to uti­lize a study com­pleted in 1993 by Porter Dil­lon Con­sult­ing. The study de­tailed the restora­tion ac­tiv­i­ties re­quired for Chapel Point. The re­quire­ments would be re­viewed and up­dated to re­flect to­day’s con­text and would pro­vide the launch­ing pad for site restora­tion.

“This will bring many more tourists to the re­gion and will ex­cite the cruise ship com­mu­nity which is al­ways look­ing for some­thing new,” Fer­gu­son said.

“The part­ner­ships we’ve es­tab­lished with key eco­nomic and tourism re­sources on the is­land, the link­ages we are in the process of es­tab­lish­ing with key fed­eral de­part­ments and agen­cies and the fact that we can build on the work done in the past is key.

“This project is na­tional in scope and has to be man­aged in phases. I’ve worked for Vet­er­ans Affairs and see this as a huge com­mem­o­ra­tive op­por­tu­nity.”

Board mem­ber Cyril Aker is en­cour­aged by the sup­port the project has re­ceived to date from gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials at all three lev­els, the busi­ness and pro­fes­sional com­mu­ni­ties, aca­demics and the lo­cal le­gion (Syd­ney Mines), which has al­ready do­nated to the project.

“We need the sup­port from every­one, we can’t stop if we are go­ing to make this hap­pen,” said Aker. “We also have lo­cal peo­ple from that area who have ap­proached us and want to help. The tim­ing is right for this project. The his­tory and her­itage that is al­ready here should be more widely known, not just lo­cally but na­tion­ally and glob­ally.”

JULIE COLLINS/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Cyril Aker, left, and Brian Fer­gu­son, mem­bers of the Syd­ney Mines Tourism De­vel­op­ment So­ci­ety were busy this week re­search­ing in­for­ma­tion on Chapel Point Bat­tery, one of seven for­mer for­ti­fi­ca­tions around Syd­ney har­bour.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Chapel Point ob­ser­va­tion tower.

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