Cape Breton CBRM

Rebuilding is a Challenge

I don’t think I’ve come across anyone who doesn’t think the strengthening our local businesses and fostering entrepreneurship will not help boost the local Cape Breton economy.

cape bretonFrom what I’ve heard in regards to a report released this week from the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia, it’s got people talking again about the needs of the CBRM and how to make this place attractive to young people. You can download their full report for CBRM and other Nova Scotia communities on the Vital Signs website.

But, based on conversations I’ve had with local businesses, we have a huge problem moving forward.

In the local industrial park about a kilometre from where I live, there are two large factories which were shuttered and sold. Well, they are for sale again. They have been for some time. The asking price for these two buildings? Higher than when they were first sold a couple of years ago. Fine, sure, they can do that.

Here’s the problem. The new owners live in British Columbia and have done no maintenance on the buildings. The roofs now leak and the buildings are falling further and further into a state of disrepair. In other words, who would ever buy them?

These buildings could be fantastic community centres offering space to community groups. They could be recreation sites for youth in our community. They have so much potential.

But it’s going to waste!

Who has the money to buy these buildings and then bring them back to a suitable state of repair?

And that’s not all. In a conversation I had recently I’ve discovered another disgraceful act involving a once well respected business, that too was sold to a western Canadian buyer. This business is now being run by a local who has no experience in the industry in which this business operates. In fact, the manager has been told strongly that he is not to promote the business. He is not to seek to turn a profit!

Recently a popular restaurant closed. The details around the closure have not been made public. But I fear the same fate may be in store for that property as well.

I’m not sure at all how tax laws work in this country, but I am guessing that by holding these buildings and businesses someone is somehow making money. I guess this must be legal, but what about ethics? Are you so greedy to make a few dollars that you are willing to handicap, or worse destroy, the local business infrastructure and economy for your own benefit?

I need to know that our local leaders and politicians are aware of this and that they are working in some way to bring these valuable assets back into the hands of Cape Bretoners who are willing to turn these businesses into successful places to boost our local economy and bring families back home to Cape Breton.

Dear councillors, MLAs and MPs, I’m looking at you. Where do you stand?

Elections Provincial

Nova Scotia Election 2013: And Away We Go!

Nova_Scotia_flag_mapFinally, after months of speculation and a week where the moment seemed it could be any second we have entered into a provincial election.

The question now is, what’s going to happen?

Will there be excessive mud-slinging? Probably. But in NS those antics rarely pay off.

Will there be promises? Of course!

Will there be drama? We hope so, to keep things “interesting”!

With the last provincial election, we were voting for three parties that seemed to be unable to distance themselves from each other. And realistically, I think we’re going to get the same this time around.

In a system where parties are trying to be all things for all people we now have 3 political parties that mostly sound the same, especially in Nova Scotia.

Over the next few days, I’m hoping to sit down the the platforms of each of the three main parties and see what they have to say going into this election. Don’t worry, I’ll post my thoughts here.

As we go in, I should set out my position as a member of the community.

I do not publicly endorse any party or candidate. I never have, I doubt I ever will. I am politically engaged, in that I pay attention to what parties say at any time, whether it’s an election campaign or not. And, whoever is elected, I will get to know and be willing to work with this person to better the lives of the people in the community where I live. And I’m not afraid to let the official know if I am displeased, but will only do so personally, taking it public only if other avenues are not successful.

So… I’m going for a ride, one that will likely be all over the political map. I hope you join me for the ride!

Not sure how elections work in Nova Scotia? Check out the Elections Nova Scotia website.

Education Nova Scotia

The Value of an Education

schooldaysThe first day of school is just around the corner.

And it appears as though our education system is attempting to save money. They are squeezing everywhere they can.

But sometimes (many times) they squeeze too hard or in the wrong places.

Sometime over the last year the Department of Education decided it would centralize it procurement operations for the province. They decided it would be a good budget decision to have all purchases of in-school equipment go through Halifax.

And it does make some sense.

Except when they get really cheap.

In the news this week is how the all text book orders have been awarded to an American company. I guess I should get used to my kids saying ‘zee’ and forgetting their ‘u’ in words like favourite and neighbour, which they already do on a regular basis.

The other problem with this centralized procurement system is that it shuts out the local business. Several office supplies stores in Cape Breton were the suppliers of paper, pens, staplers, whatever your office needed… but that is no more. These small businesses have lost their largest customer, and they are going to have to lay off employees because of it… at the very least. A couple may even be forced to re-evaluate the future of their business.

So yes, I am in favour of saving money.

But not at the cost of impacting local economies which depend on the business. Not at the cost of losing teachers in the classrooms instead of bloated school board administrations.

Centralize to save money? Yes!

But maybe we should be looking at something like how many school boards and staff we have rather than who supplies the pencils and paint brushes.

Cape Breton CBRM

Science…. shmience

Here in Cape Breton there is a company wishing to build a wind farm. It’s often windy here in Cape Breton, we have lots of land, seems like a good fit.

linganwindThere’s only one problem.


Fear is a powerful tool used by those who either have an agenda of their own or are too lazy to do their own research.

Opponents of the wind farm are citing “stories” of how wind turbines are noisy and affect the health of those nearby the power generating site. Science on the other hand, actual research, has found no such connection. In fact, science has shown that health declines near wind turbines only after the stories of these alleged effects begin to circulate. A reverse placebo effect if you will.

The proposed turbines are going to be placed over one kilometre away from any residences. Locals want that changed to two kilometres which will pretty much banish from the island.

So instead, they’d rather continue with the current strategy of living down wind from the coal burning generator which pollutes their air and creates a whole lot more noise. Try driving to Lingan and stop by the turbines there. Listen. Then drive a little further by the coal burning generator and listen there as well. Notice any difference? I sure did!

Governments are being lobbied. People are being misinformed. All for what?

Can we please stick with facts and think ahead for a greener economy for a change? My kids would appreciate it.