Nova Scotia

McNeil ventures up to Cape Breton to tour new rink and cruise-ship berth

Premier Stephen McNeil was in Cape Breton Thursday to celebrate a recently renovated rink and a newly opened cruise-ship berth.

Liberty Pier honours Canadians soldiers who fought the Nazis to liberate the Netherlands

Stephen McNeil took his first official trip to Cape Breton during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Matthew Moore/CBC)

Premier Stephen McNeil was in Cape Breton Thursday to celebrate a recently renovated rink and a newly opened cruise-ship berth.

The newly named Miners Forum (formerly the Bayplex) now has an expanded ice service, improved dressing rooms and repairs to the roof. It was the first time elected officials and residents had a chance to look inside. 

It was also McNeil's first official trip to Cape Breton since the COVID-19 pandemic started in March. 

A full opening ceremony for the $9-million upgrades will happen later and will include hockey players.

Liberty Pier

McNeil then travelled to downtown Sydney to announce the new cruise-ship berth will be called Liberty Pier, a name selected earlier in the summer. 

It's named for Canadians who fought for the liberation of the Netherlands in the Second World War, including the Cape Breton Highlanders, a regiment that played a key role in battle against the Nazis.

Premier Stephen McNeil officially opens the renamed and refurbished rink Thursday. (Matthew Moore/CBC)

Cecil Clarke, who is running for re-election as mayor of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, took part. But he said he wasn't trying to drum up support for his campaign. 

"The timing is just coincidental," Clarke said. "We take that as how important those projects were to the premier personally to take the time and come."

Six candidates running for mayor

McNeil, a Liberal premier, said he wasn't coming to support Clarke, who once was a Progressive Conservative MLA. 

"I know one of the councillors is running for mayor as well, so we as a government will work with whoever is elected," McNeil said. 

McNeil said he wasn't endorsing any particular candidate. "As many of you know, the mayor and I sit on different sides of the political fence provincially so this not about any of that for me."

Unlike in federal and provincial politics, municipal candidates are allowed to make announcements and attend official functions during their campaigns.

Clarke is one of six people running to be mayor of CBRM, along with District 8 Coun. Amanda McDougall, and in alphabetical order, Chris Abbass, Kevin MacEachern, Archie MacKinnon and John Strasser. 

MORE TOP STORIES

now