Port Hawkesbury to host summit

PORT HAWKESBURY: The Town of Port Hawkesbury will host the “One Cape Breton: Future Forward Leaders’ Summit” on November 23 and 24 at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre.

The summit is an annual event that brings together municipal elected officials from Cape Breton’s five municipalities, municipal staff, and community stakeholders to share updates, ideas, concerns, and information.

Brenda Chisholm-Beaton, Mayor of the Town of Port Hawkesbury, says this edition of the annual get-together includes the island’s First Nations leaders, as well as their councillors and staff. She also notes the two-day summit will be facilitated by Danny Graham and his team from Engage Nova Scotia.

“Our island’s future will be best informed by the coming together of all of our island’s diverse municipal and First Nations leaders to have an open conversation about our shared and unique opportunities and challenges, and to work towards regional understanding and collaboration for a stronger more robust Cape Breton,” said Chisholm-Beaton.

“We recognize our island is on the cusp of such great opportunity, and prosperity will mean rolling up our sleeves and getting to work,” she said, adding that it felt like time to change the annual conference that first began in 2012 in a way that engages all of our diverse elected leaders in Cape Breton.

Chisholm-Beaton met with the Unima’ki First Nations chiefs to discuss the Summit. Chief Rod Googoo of Waycobah First Nations is happy to be a co-host of the event with Mayor Chisholm-Beaton. All five Unima’ki leaders agreed to attend.

“Cape Breton can be more sustainable and successful when we speak with one voice. Since we know our communities best, we have to figure it out together,” he said.

Victoria County was the first to host the summit five years ago. Warden Bruce Morrison agrees adding more voices and leadership to the gathering will greatly improve discussions and outcomes.

“A united Cape Breton would be a force to be reckoned with, especially if we collaborate in growing our positive assets and opportunities,” said Morrison.

The daytime conference for the elected officials and staff will be an interactive series of conversations and round table discussions about Cape Breton, including discussions about shared challenges, opportunities, and future possibilities through collaboration and a regional vision. The November 23 evening for stakeholders includes a dinner keynote address by Senator Dan Christmas and a Dragon’s Den-style Start-Up Port Hawkesbury Finale, with a networking reception. The evening will connect First Nations and municipal elected officials together with Cape Breton’s various stakeholder groups and business leaders.

Anyone interested in tickets for the evening dinner and events for the “One Cape Breton: Future Forward Leaders’ Summit” is encouraged to contact Dawna MacDonald, Town of Port Hawkesbury communications and administrative officer, at: dmacdonald@townofph.ca or (902) 625-7893.