Cape Breton summit tackles economy, tourism
More than 80 municipal leaders take part in island-wide meeting
Municipal politicians, along with administrative staff, have gathered at the Gaelic College of Celtic Arts and Crafts in Saint Anns for a two-day summit to discuss ways to co-operate on economic development, tourism and transportation.
Victoria County hosted and organized the meeting and invited the mayors, wardens, councillors and top administrators from Cape Breton Island's five municipalities. More than 80 people are attending the summit.
Bruce Morrison, the warden of Victoria County, said as far as he knows this type of gathering is a first for Cape Breton.
"Certainly not in the 15 years that I've been involved in municipal politics. We have some of our senior councillors that have been around longer than I and they haven't seen this been proposed before," he said.
"I really see this as the first time that we can sit down as a group, as one, and have an open discussion and dialogue."
Morrison thinks there will be lots to talk about, from ways to develop the economy and transportation links, to effectively marketing Cape Breton Island.
Brenda Chisholm-Beaton, the newly-elected deputy mayor of Port Hawkesbury, said she's excited about the meeting.
"I guess it's just a feeling of renewal, that maybe with all the new people on board that we're going to look at our issues and maybe potential solutions to common problems with a set of new eyes," she said.
Chisholm-Beaton said she hopes the municipalities can find ways to share some costs and reduce their tax burdens.
Morrison said it will be up to the group of municipal leaders to decide where they go from here and whether there should be more summits in the future.
The summit concludes Friday.