Tom Ayers


Tom Ayers has been a reporter and editor for more than 30 years. He has spent the last 16 years covering Cape Breton and Nova Scotia stories. You can reach him at

Latest from Tom Ayers

COVID-19 forces cancellation of coal mining celebration, memorial to miners

The 300th-anniversary celebrations of North America's first commercial coal mine and the annual memorial day for Nova Scotia miners who have died on the job were both set for Port Morien, N.S., this year, but the COVID-19 pandemic has forced their cancellation.

Cape Breton University offers glimpse of Tartan Downs development

Cape Breton University is planning to build a large residential and commercial development on the site of the former Tartan Downs horse racing track in Sydney.

CBU business dean bullish on quick recovery of local economy after COVID-19

The dean of Cape Breton University's Shannon School of Business says the local economy should quickly rev up once public health restrictions really start to ease up.

Membertou commercial building going up just as N.S. shut down due to COVID-19

Just as Nova Scotia was shutting down due to COVID-19, construction started on a large new commercial building in Membertou First Nation, but Chief Terry Paul remains optimistic about the future.

N.S. government continues subsidy for idled Cape Breton rail line

The Nova Scotia government is continuing to subsidize a rail line in Cape Breton, even though no trains have run across the island since 2015. Business Minister Geoff MacLellan says the line will be needed if a proposed container terminal is secured in Sydney.

Mulgrave mayor calls for fairer treatment from N.S. government

The mayor of the Town of Mulgrave is calling on the Nova Scotia government for fairer municipal infrastructure funding after finding out the province is paying Cape Breton Regional Municipality's share of a large wastewater treatment project.

Louisbourg couple needs zoning change to sell homegrown produce

Supporters of a couple in Louisbourg, N.S., seeking to rezone their residential property to allow selling of excess garden produce say the COVID-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on the need to address food insecurity and poverty in Cape Breton.

Cape Breton moose hunt to go ahead as population count increases

The Nova Scotia government is going ahead with its annual lottery for moose hunting licences after the latest survey found Cape Breton moose numbers have rebounded from a low of 1,300 last year.

Port of Sydney takes hit after losing more than 50 cruise visits this season

Holland America and Princess cruise lines issued notices this week cancelling the remainder of the season in Atlantic Canada, citing global health concerns, and that's taking a huge bite out of the Port of Sydney's budget.

Idled underground coal mine in Donkin suffers another rockfall

About five weeks after it was idled due to unstable roof conditions, the underground coal mine in Donkin, N.S., has suffered another rockfall.

CBRM hospital redevelopment plans move ahead despite COVID-19

Heavy equipment is moving some earth at the hospital in Sydney, marking the start of the Nova Scotia government's health-care redevelopment project in Cape Breton Regional Municipality. It is going ahead despite the state of emergency.

CBRM to make paying property taxes a little easier this year

Amid widespread job losses and businesses closed due to the COVID-19 state of emergency, Cape Breton regional councillors plan to offer residents the option of financing this year's property taxes over 30 months.

N.S. equalization funding to municipalities remains frozen

The total amount of equalization money going from the Nova Scotia government to municipalities remains frozen this year, despite the expected financial hit coming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

'A new legacy': Pictou Landing chief pleased with Boat Harbour efforts

Pictou Landing First Nation Chief Andrea Paul says she was overcome with emotion when she had a look at the Northern Pulp effluent system this week after finding out all wastewater has stopped flowing to Boat Harbour.

CBRM to reopen landfill site after garbage collectors overwhelmed

Cape Breton Regional Municipality's landfill site has been closed to the public during the pandemic, but it is reopening next week because garbage collectors have been dealing with a huge increase in trash left at the curb.