Cape Breton Partnership focusing on Point Tupper

ARICHAT: The Cape Breton Partnership (CBP) will spend several weeks working on two studies regarding Point Tupper’s industrial activity, including a look at one of the Strait area’s largest employers and a breakdown of the community’s readiness for further industrial development.

In a presentation made to this week’s regular monthly meeting of Richmond Municipal Council, CBP staffer Jeff Stanley confirmed that the partnership is currently preparing an investment-readiness study for Point Tupper and is also expected to wind down a prospectus for the Port Hawkesbury Paper (PHP) mill by the end of June.

Speaking to the March 27 council meeting in Arichat, Stanley noted that a January gathering involving himself, CBP executive director Keith MacDonald and Richmond municipal officials underlined council’s desire to see Point Tupper outlined as a priority area for the partnership. He noted that the community’s industrial park is currently responsible for 475 full-time jobs, 1,100 spin-off jobs, and an annual municipal property tax contribution of $1.7 million – a figure that could rise to $2 million or $3 million if current liquefied natural gas (LNG) prospects reach their full potential over the coming years.

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“There’s a willingness of local and provincial government to develop industry here, including LNG, which you don’t get in a lot of other areas,” said Stanley, citing New York City and Savannah, Georgia as contrasts to the Strait area approach.

“There’s great opportunities there, but very few with the LNG, just because of safety issues. Being more of a rural area, the LNG is certainly welcome here.”

While Stanley suggested that a successful completion of efforts such as the proposed Bear Head LNG project could raise the value of other properties in the Point Tupper industrial park, he said the CBP’s investment-readiness study is crucial in terms of promoting the area to potential developers that arrive without giving significant notice.

“Some of the businesses and some of the landscaping are deplorable – it just doesn’t look like a place that you’d want to invest a lot of money into,” Stanley remarked.

“So we want to identify some of those opportunities and see if we can’t clean that up a bit… When you drive in, it would look like it’s relevant and it would look like it’s cleaned up.”

As for the PHP prospectus, Stanley suggested that the partnership wishes to help the long-running Point Tupper mill achieve its goals of diversifying its product line, and he pointed to the potential for bottling the mill’s excess water as an example.

“Port Hawkesbury Paper has six million liters of distilled water a day that’s available,” Stanley reported.

“It’s of the highest quality – you could actually have a bottling plant sitting right there. And it’s those types of pieces of information that we’d like to get out to different businesses that might just make it more feasible for them to set up in Point Tupper and add to the Richmond County tax structure, rather than going somewhere else.”