Major beautification project for Canso

New provincial grant part of larger initiative

By Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative reporter    
August 19 2020

CANSO – The historic seaside community of Canso will soon benefit from a major beautification project. Last week the provincial government announced that 50 projects would receive beatification grants to create “beautiful and inviting spaces” that will encourage economic development and enhance quality of life for residents. For Canso, funds received under this project will be part of a far-reaching beautification initiative undertaken by the municipality that could be valued up to $500,000.

The new provincial grants, including $17,500 for Canso, will support work including “landscaping, interpretive signs, lighting for public spaces and the creation and installation of an accessible outdoor art gallery” in various communities.

CAO for the Municipality of the District of Guysborough, Barry Carroll, told The Journal last week that this provincial funding announcement is part of a larger vision, one that hopefully will result in a $500,000 investment in the community of Canso.

Several weeks ago, the MODG put out a Request for Proposals (RFP), said Carroll, “looking for a consultant to come in and do a community enhancement program for the community of Canso.” The municipality has decided to use monies, close to $250,000, from the proceeds of the sale of the electric utility in the former Town of Canso and redirect them into a community enhancement program.

“First of all, we have reached out to ACOA to see if we can involve them in the program. They’re saying to us, that in order to avail of their funds, that we need to have a consultant involved to do a report; someone who would go out into the community, get ideas from individuals and groups, and then come back and file a report. Then the municipality would look at the items that are in the report, see what we could do and make an application to ACOA to see if we can get matching funding,” explained Carroll about the process of funding for the project.

“In the end we hope it would be something like a $500,000 project. The province, they had a maximum of $25,000 and we reached out to them to see if they wanted to be part of the project and we ended up getting $17,500 from them,” said Carroll.

The RFP for a consultant will close in late August. ACOA and the MODG will both have a say on the selection committee. Carroll expects a decision will be made in September or early October. Once chosen, “we have a $50,000 price tag on that; for the consultant to do that work,” he said.

Carroll told The Journal he expects the work to be done in 2021. “Instead of working on it this year with $250,000, we’re hoping we’ll get matching funding and it will be a much bigger project for next year,” he said.

As for what type of project will be selected, Carroll said there are no preconceived ideas and that it is the consultant’s job to report on what community residents want. He said that due to the, “historic nature of Canso we think there are lots of things a consultant can look to. We are waiting to hear what the residents have to say.”