A longtime reporter with the Cape Breton Post who died while camping on Cheticamp Island is being remembered as a man who loved his job.
Chris Hayes, 62, was found at the base of a 30 metre cliff around 5:45 a.m. on Monday after an overnight search.
Police said Hayes and a friend were camping next to a communications tower on Cheticamp Island on Sunday night. The friend went for a walk in the nearby woods. When he returned at approximately 10 p.m., he discovered Hayes was missing and called 911.
Steve MacInnis, who worked with Hayes for 27 years, said the veteran reporter was a great and dedicated storyteller.
"Particularly when he covered politics, if there was an issue that might have been stymying council or the members, he would talk to others outside and find out another way of doing things," said MacInnis.
"In addition to doing the story, there would be hints of possible solutions there which — as a reporter that's part of your job because you try to give as much information to create discussion within the community so they can come to solutions and make things a bit better for people."
Bernie White, a longtime municipal clerk for the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, said Hayes always took an even-handed approach to covering municipal politics, no matter how contentious the issue.
"He had a good rapport with all the administrative staff and from what I saw, he was generally viewed as a very fair and thorough person," White told CBC News.
"The full coverage of the stories was always done."
The paper’s publisher, Anita Delazzer, said Hayes will be missed.
"He was just a dedicated newsman and always there to lend a helping hand to any of the news staff in the department coming in. He was just tenacious going after a story and he's going to be dearly missed," she said.
"I'd say his first passion was his family and his second was the love of the outdoors. If he wasn't hiking or camping, he was fishing and always bringing us back some smelts after a successful fishing adventure."
Hayes is survived by his wife and two sons. There's no word yet on funeral arrangements.