Contributed photo On May 5, the owners of the Bike Shop in Port Hawkesbury hosted a grand opening and ribbon cutting.

PORT HAWKESBURY: The Town of Port Hawkesbury is preparing to welcome several new businesses to the community in the near future.

At a public hearing on May 1, Port Hawkesbury Town Council voted to rezone a property at 100 Reeves Street to a mixed industrial zone to accommodate the development of a new dog daycare business. The property is the planned location for Start-Up Port Hawkesbury competition winner Michele Tabensky’s new business, That Dog Place Doggy Daycare.

“Having that piece of property rezoned is definitely going to get her closer to having her building in place and having her door open for business,” said Port Hawkesbury Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton following last week’s council meeting

That Dog Place is not the only new business opening in town. On May 5, Antigonish-based Highland Bike Shop hosted a grand opening celebration for its new location on the Port Hawkesbury waterfront. Chisholm-Beaton said upcoming projects like the addition of active transportation lanes as part of the Destination Reeves Street project, as well as the establishment of the Blue Route provincial bike trail, will mean customers will have no shortage of bike-friendly areas to explore.

“It’s really a great fit for the strait, it’s a great fit for Port Hawkesbury and it’s a great fit for the waterfront as well,” said Chisholm-Beaton.

In addition, Evanston Contracting and Repair opened its doors in Port Hawkesbury’s light industrial park on May 1. Within the next two weeks, Kendra MacDonald plans to open a new hair salon on the Port Hawkesbury waterfront. Michelle Keizer is moving her business Total Effect Message to its new location at 305 Granville Street, adjacent to Island Enigmas escape room and game shop, which opened in February. Gateway Hyundai is also celebrating the recent opening of its new location on Paint Street.

“I really do feel like just since the onset of the Start-Up Port Hawkesbury contest in particular, we’ve had a real upswing in terms of opening businesses in the Town of Port Hawkesbury, and it’s a wonderful trend to embrace certainly,” said Chisholm-Beaton.

She added that there has been interest from other municipalities who are considering launching their own pilot projects to encourage business start-ups.

“Just in May with all these new businesses opening their doors, I think it’s quite telling of the potential that this contest can bring to a community,” she added.