Nova Scotia

Cecil Clarke vows to keep Sydney container terminal project in public eye

With summer approaching and Cape Breton regional council not holding regular meetings in July and August, Mayor Cecil Clarke says he is taking steps to keep citizens in the loop about developments regarding the creation of a container terminal at the Sydney Harbour.

Clarke says he plans on using social media to post updates this summer about the project

The idea of a container terminal in Sydney was given a significant boost recently when the Canderel Group of Companies, based in Montreal, announced it was ready to build a logistics park next to the harbour. (Warren Gordon)

With summer approaching and Cape Breton regional council not holding regular meetings in July and August, Mayor Cecil Clarke says he is taking steps to keep citizens in the loop about developments regarding the creation of a container terminal at the Sydney Harbour.

"We have many moving parts right now," he said.

On Wednesday, Clarke posted an update on his website that included information about plans for the port. The posting included a link to a YouTube video that was produced and paid for by one of the municipality's partners.

The Canderel Group of Companies, based in Montreal, commissioned a video arguing its view that Sydney is better positioned than any other North American port to become an international shipping hub, especially for traffic coming from the Suez Canal.

The concept was given a significant boost when Canderel announced during Sydney's annual Ports Day that it was ready to build a logistics park next to the harbour, a development it calls Novazone.

A logistics park is a place where goods are repackaged after being off-loaded at the port, to be sent on to other centres.

Canderel's CEO, Jonathan Wener, said at Ports Day that Cape Breton's recent designation as a foreign trade zone makes it much more attractive for business.

The container terminal project has been branded Novaporte.

A memorandum of understanding between the Port of Sydney and Egypt's Suez Canal was signed during a visit by Egypt's ambassador to Cape Breton.

More visits lined up

Clarke says another delegation from Egypt will likely visit in July.

"The people that will be spending the money from the Suez Authority itself will be coming next," he said.

A visit from the China Construction Communications Company (CCCC)  is expected over the summer, says CBRM spokesperson Christina Lamey.

The company is developing a technical feasibility study for the container terminal and it's hoped it will play a leading role in engineering and construction.

Clarke's post also pointed out that former prime minister Jean Chrétien is involved in the project as an international advisor to CBRM's private-sector development partner, Harbor Port Development Partners.

More updates coming

Clarke says there will be lots of updates made about the project over the summer.

"With ... social media, you can put that out in a very cost-effective way," he said.

There is only one more regularly scheduled council meeting before the municipal elections in October, but Clarke says he does not rule out calling one or more special meetings if warranted.

with files from Peggy MacDonald

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