Chedabucto Lifestyle Complex moves forward

Funded by federal, provincial and municipal governments

By Lois Ann Dort    

GUYSBOROUGH – After years of waiting, partnership funding has finally come through for the Chedabucto Lifestyle Complex in Guysborough. On Wednesday, April 19 Cape Breton-Canso MP Rodger Cuzner joined Guysborough- Eastern Shore – Tracadie MLA Lloyd Hines at a meeting in the Municipality of the District of Guysborough Council Chambers to announce funding for the project. Both provincial and federal governments will fund the CLC to the tune of $1.5 million; total investment of $3 million.

The council chamber was full with municipal government representatives, members of the public and community stakeholders. There was an air of excitement in the room as funding was announced. As MP Cuzner noted, it’s always a good day when investment comes to town.

Cuzner said of the sizeable federal funding, “If we are looking at growing and sustaining communities it has to focus on the economy...If you want companies to come here, invest and set up shop; those companies are looking for amenities in the community...They want to see an array of opportunities for their families.”

Speaking to why this project received federal monies, Cuzner said, “This has been an idea, a dream...kicking around since 2004. With our new government we have made a commitment to invest in infrastructure and the provincial government, they see the merit of this and the importance of it. The opportunity presented itself and this community was prepared.

“It is a pretty significant investment. The fact that the entire council has been behind it, the fact that the community has shown support for a great number of years...It’s a community project, driven by warden and council, supported by both Lloyd (MLA Hines) and myself,” said Cuzner adding that benefits will be seen immediately in terms of construction jobs and long into the future.

Hines, when asked why the province parked so much money in the small community of Guysborough, quipped, “I guess it is because the province has such an effective MLA representing them.”

On a more serious note, Hines said the province supported the project largely due to timing and government goals. “First of all, it’s really happenstance. It is the spring and the contract is being signed here. The timing is really happenstance. This is when projects like this would normally begin.

“This was in the works and I have been talking to the ministers and the departments and to the Premier for over a year on this project. So this isn’t something that just fell out of the sky. This is a result of a lot of hard work and great design and great commitment from the community to bring this to this point.”

“This project fit the goals of this government in terms of what we are trying to do to strengthen and build communities. This is an infrastructure project that will help the economy of this area. Obviously there is the bounce from the construction...people looking for a place to live, they look for amenities, they look for those kinds of things...It’s our job as provincial, federal and municipal governments to make the communities attractive,” concluded Hines.

Last week, The Journal ran an Op-Ed piece from the President of the Nova Scotia Teacher’s Union Liette Doucet which criticized the provincial governments’ “March Madness” spending spree in light of the recent contract dispute with teachers. When asked to respond to this criticism, as the province continues to make pre-budget spending announcements, Hines said, “What would you expect that lady to say?”

Guysborough Warden Vernon Pitts was delighted with the announcement. “We love partnerships and we have created one here with all levels of government and the community that allows construction of this project to move forward.”

Pitts, in his comments to those in attendance for the announcement stated, that in combination with all the existing infrastructure in the immediate area; the swimming pool, tennis courts, playgrounds, ball field, performance centre-- the addition of these new facilities would “create a complex unlike anything you’ll see in all of North America.”

Guysborough CAO Barry Carroll spoke to the media about cost to date, projected cost of construction and projected annual operational cost after the funding announcement on Wednesday. The current total project cost stands at $11.6 million with money spent to date $720,000; $120,000 on site work and $600,000 engineering. The projected annual increase in budget cost for running and maintenance of the CLC is an estimated $70,000 a year outside of the current recreation budget. Carroll also said the time frame for completion of the project is 10 to 12 months with shovels expected in the ground within weeks.

Later in the day on Wednesday, MODG council met and awarded an $8.9 million tender to Marco construction company for the CLC. The vote to award the tender was unanimous.