The warden of the Municipality of the District of Guysborough says he remains optimistic regarding some long-awaited big-ticket projects for the area.
Plans for a container terminal in Melford and LNG facilities in Melford and Goldboro have been in the works for years; there were no shovels in the ground for any of the projects in 2017, and there’s no indication there will be in 2018 either.
In a year-end interview with The Hawk, Vernon Pitts, Guysborough’s warden, says there’s no panic from municipal officials.
“Council is not really concerned about it taking so long- we’re fully aware of what it takes to get your permits, (and) negotiate your contracts, your labour agreements,” he says. “Since this time (in 2016), all these developments, proponents coming forward, they’ve made substantial gains.”
Pitts says Melford International Terminal officials have finalized a labour contract and lined up the largest terminal operator in the world.
He says Goldboro LNG proponents have raised $50 million in a very difficult LNG market.
Pitts says 2017 did bring significant steps toward one new project in the municipality.
Councillors voted to go forward with the $8.9 million Chedabucto Lifestyle Complex in April; ground was broken in May.
The facility includes an outdoor rink, a figure-eight skating loop, an artificial turf field and four-lane running track, and a new community recreation centre.
Pitts tells The Hawk he can’t understate the facility’s importance.
“I think this is a flag-ship project for the municipality,” he says. “For years, we never had a suitable place to hold a function of any means, be it a conference, or workshop, or whatever- we have that now.”
Pitts says things remain on schedule for a March/April opening.
He says there was some opposition to the project early on, but that negativity has disappeared, and community fundraising has reached almost $400,000; provincial and federal officials have each committed $1.5 million to the project.
Pitt says the proponents of a spaceport project in the municipality will be aggressive in 2018.
Officials with Maritime Launch Services announced they selected Canso as the site for their base in March; they assessed 14 potential locations in North America.
Company officials have held several open houses in the area, including their latest one Dec. 14.
Pitts says MLS reps are moving fast.
“They’re hoping to have shovels in the ground this coming year (2018)- that’s very aggressive I think, and I wish them luck in doing it,” he says. “We’re engaged with both the federal and provincial governments- by going through this together, one can help the other, one enhances the other.”
Company officials have set a goal to launch satellites into space from Canso by 2020, and have said they could hire as many as 300 people for various roles by 2021.