Politi­cians weigh in on down­town cam­pus is­sue

‘I think that that’s some­thing that we have to pur­sue’

Cape Breton Post - - Cape Breton - BY NANCY KING nkikng@cb­post.com

Ge­off MacLel­lan has re­it­er­ated his sup­port for a pro­posal to open­ing a wa­ter­front cam­pus Nova Sco­tia Com­mu­nity Col­lege in Syd­ney but there are no con­crete funding com­mit­ments at this point to mak­ing it hap­pen.

MacLel­lan again raised the con­cept when ad­dress­ing Cape Bre­ton Re­gional coun­cil Tues­day. Mayor Ce­cil Clarke had ex­tended an in­vi­ta­tion to the three par­ties cur­rently rep­re­sented in the leg­is­la­ture and run­ning can­di­dates in the CBRM in the cur­rent pro­vin­cial elec­tion cam­paign to ap­pear be­fore coun­cil. MacLel­lan, who is run­ning for re­elec­tion as the MLA for Glace Bay and served as Trans­porta­tion Min­is­ter, ap­peared on be­half of the Lib­er­als while Syd­ney River-Mi­raLouis­bourg can­di­date Al­fie Ma­cLeod rep­re­sented the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives.

While the NDP ac­knowl­edged re­ceiv­ing the in­vi­ta­tion, Clarke said, they did not have a rep­re­sen­ta­tive ad­dress coun­cil.

MacLel­lan and Ma­cLeod shared their par­ties’ pri­or­i­ties for the re­gion.

“This isn’t an an­nounce­ment or a rib­bon-cut­ting or any­thing of that na­ture but … I re­ally do be­lieve one of these pieces that we’re go­ing to pur­sue if given the op­por­tu­nity is a wa­ter­front cam­pus for the NSCC,” MacLel­lan told coun­cil. “I’ve al­ways be­lieved in that, ev­ery­one that I’ve spo­ken to about this sees the merit, the con­struc­tion would be tremen­dous but the traf­fic and what the im­pact is would be sig­nif­i­cant.

“I think that that’s some­thing that we have to pur­sue and we will do that and I think that’s a good thing for us.”

Two years ago, Clarke ap­proached the prov­ince about a down­town Syd­ney devel­op­ment that would house the NSCC Mar­coni Cam­pus, the pro­vin­cial build­ing, a new li­brary, and some other uses.

The NSCC’s Mar­coni cam­pus is cur­rently lo­cated on the Syd­ney-Glace Bay High­way next to Cape Bre­ton Univer­sity. When it was ini­tially pro­posed, there hadn’t yet been any of­fi­cial talks with NSCC or li­brary of­fi­cials re­gard­ing the pro­posal. The NSCC leases the Mar­coni cam­pus build­ing from the De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion and In­fra­struc­ture Re­newal.

“To hear that brought up, it could be a huge eco­nomic driver,” Clarke said.

There has also been some talk of a new Syd­ney li­brary be­ing part of the po­ten­tial devel­op­ment. As far as the li­brary it­self, Clarke said the mu­nic­i­pal­ity cur­rently has lim­ited dol­lars avail­able and the other two lev­els of gov­ern­ment have to be at the ta­ble.

“I was pleas­antly sur­prised about that com­ing up and when I think when peo­ple look at those types of projects that are very large cap­i­tal projects, when we try to talk about what our so­lu­tions are about a new li­brary for the cen­tral branch that these types of in­vest­ments could help make these other projects a re­al­ity.”

Clarke said he’s had con­tin­ued talks with the prov­ince about the pro­posal and it was some­thing the Mc­Neil gov­ern­ment was will­ing to en­ter­tain, but there were other pri­or­i­ties and the CBRM had to come for­ward with a pro­posal, ac­knowl­edg­ing it would be an ex­pen­sive project.

“I’m just glad that it’s get­ting some more dis­cus­sion dur­ing the cam­paign,” he said.

For his part, Ma­cLeod noted the PCs plan to twin dan­ger­ous roads and ad­dress the poor con­di­tion of ru­ral roads, im­prove ac­cess to high-speed In­ter­net, and sup­ported the CBRM’s ef­forts to ob­tain a mu­nic­i­pal char­ter with ex­panded abil­i­ties. He added more than 10,000 Cape Bre­ton­ers are with­out fam­ily doc­tors and there were three lo­cal emer­gency de­part­ment clo­sures last week­end. Ma­cLeod also noted the cur­rent wait for a men­tal health con­sul­ta­tion stands at 354 days while it’s 319 days for a cataract con­sul­ta­tion in Glace Bay and an­other 230 days be­fore a pro­ce­dure can be sched­uled.

“We know all of these chal­lenges have a trickle-down ef­fect on this mu­nic­i­pal­ity and on our peo­ple,” Ma­cLeod said.

Clarke also wel­comed Ma­cLeod speak­ing about the need for eco­nomic devel­op­ment and tar­geted money for the CBRM.

MacLel­lan also spoke about the fu­ture of Cape Bre­ton’s rail­way, say­ing owner Ge­ne­see & Wy­oming have re­newed in­ter­est in it, although it con­tin­ues to not op­er­ate. He said the sup­port for the fu­ture of the rail line tran­scended party lines.

Nova Sco­tians go to the polls May 30.

IM­AGE BY TRIFOS DE­SIGN

A mixed-use fa­cil­ity in­clud­ing both a wa­ter­front Nova Sco­tia Com­mu­nity cam­pus and new Syd­ney li­brary are among the pro­posed de­vel­op­ments that have been dis­cussed for the CBRM.

NANCY KING/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Glace Bay MLA Ge­off MacLel­lan and Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive can­di­date for Syd­ney River-Mira-Louis­bourg Al­fie Ma­cLeod lis­tens to a pro­posal be­ing made for a wa­ter­front cam­pus Nova Sco­tia Com­mu­nity Col­lege in Syd­ney at a CBRM coun­cil meet­ing Tues­day night.

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