GUYSBOROUGH – The federal government is investing $14.6 million in small craft harbours in the region, including locations in the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG).
Cape Breton-Canso MP Mike Kelloway visited New Harbour and Larry’s River on July 5 to deliver the good news that $2.2 million of that money would be invested in small craft harbours in the MODG. The communities receiving funding are Canso, for electrical upgrades and a concrete launching ramp; Upper Whitehead for wharf reconstruction; New Harbour for sheeting installation on wharf; and Larry’s River for advance planning, design and permitting for breakwater development.
The Journal spoke to Kelloway last week and asked why it was the right time to make these investments. He said that during his time in office he’s learned, “The significant importance of the small craft harbours to the economy of rural Nova Scotia; for all of Nova Scotia for that matter. For a harbour to be viable, you need that strong infrastructure. I look at these as very much economic hubs, innovation hubs.
“For us to build on the impact of small craft harbours, build on the impact of the success of the fishery, we need strong infrastructure, sustained investment in infrastructure.
That’s why this time last year myself and a handful of MPs made numerous pitches, numerous proposals, to cabinet on the importance of increasing the investment in small craft harbours because, one, of the significant need; two, the significant opportunity and significant impact it would make on the economy whether you look at [it] in terms of individual fishers, or your talking about companies or your talking about communities; [and] establishing and generating community wealth and the impact and the ripple it has on not just the fishing sector but also on sectors that have connectivity to the fishing sector – that’s essential,” added Kelloway.
Investing now is only the beginning, he said.
“I don’t want to stop here. I want to look at other ways that we can increase our investment in small craft harbours. For me, this is our manufacturing sector. This is our Oshawa car manufacturing sector. It’s in Larry’s River, it’s in Whitehead, in Canso. We need to do more to build on it; infrastructure is one of those things.”
And Kelloway wants to get these projects underway immediately. He said, “The focus is on this calendar year going into the next. In some cases, there are projects that are more shovel ready than others, and, in some instances, they’ll have to issue tenders –the goal is to get this going as soon as we can.”
While he was on the ground in fishing communities last week, Kelloway said he received positive feedback from local fishers.
“What I heard from folks in Larry’s River and in Canso and in Whitehead was number one, quite frankly I think, was an appreciation of working with me and me with them. I really appreciated the progressive nature of the Harbour Authorities in Guysborough County; having their ducks in a row and being very aware of the file and just wanting to work with someone who wanted to work with them… this is a significant start but by no means was it the end. We talked about the need to continuously meet to look at what the priorities are. Obviously DFO is the lead on that, but I am an activist MP, I want to be involved in projects from the ground up and they’ve taken me up on it,” said Kelloway, adding: “I am incredibly excited to see this money being put to use and I am already setting up meetings with these groups to talk about what is our next phase for each of the harbours.”
MODG warden Vernon Pitts is also excited about the funding announcement.
“Any time the federal government can invest a couple of million dollars in the municipality it is a good day. This is something we really need. Our wharves, some of them are in pretty bad shape… I was down to the announcement in Whitehead, they’re pressed for space down there. If they can do something for an expansion there that would be fantastic.”
Pitts added, “I’d like to thank Mike Kelloway for his investment in our community harbours. It means a lot to MODG.”