The Cabot Links golf course in Inverness is truly a success story and one we are proud to share with Canada and the world.
It is easy to see many elected officials are supportive of continued investment and tourism there. As the representative of all 50 Nova Scotia municipalities, the Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities (NSFM) champions opportunities for municipal economic growth and prosperity and we applaud Inverness’ continued success in attracting golfers from around the world.
However, recent discussions by both the federal and provincial governments to invest in an airport in Inverness – largely in support of a private operation – cause the NSFM great concern.
Little consideration appears to have been given to the impact the rumoured $18 million investment in an airport near the Cabot Links will have on surrounding municipalities and the business community.
The Allan J. MacEachen Airport is only an hour away in Port Hawkesbury, and it is reasonable to expect it could be sent into a tailspin. Talk of scheduled flights into a new airport are worrisome for J.A. Douglas McCurdy Airport in Sydney, just a two hour drive from Cabot Links, which has worked hard and succeeded in retaining affordable scheduled service from both Westjet and Air Canada.
Further concern stems from the lack of proper stakeholder consultation and the speed at which this particular project appears to be moving forward. Our member municipalities own many transportation assets, including airports. It is notable that neither the Allan J. MacEachen nor the Yarmouth Airport, enjoying over a thousand landings per year each, are able to access federal and provincial funding for infrastructure. In fact, both airports have survived and grown based on wise municipal and private sector investments.
It is our position that funding for this project should be paused and other levels of government should engage with municipalities and other stakeholders to develop and fund a provincial airport strategy.
This strategy should focus on building on current successes and ensure that investments are made fairly across the province that maximize the benefit to all residents and communities. Ultimately, a project should only be funded if it does not cause undue harm to existing assets and businesses and only if it supports the greater good.
Let’s take some time and have a conversation and make sure this process is fair to everyone in Nova Scotia.
President, Nova Scotia
Federation of Municipalities