Strait Area Mayors and Wardens Committee could expand

PORT HAWKESBURY: The Strait Area Mayors and Wardens Committee would like to include representation from Victoria County, as well as the area’s First Nations leaders.

Following the Port Hawkesbury Town Council November meeting, Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton said the Strait Area Mayors and Wardens agreed at their October meeting to send letters of invitation to the neighbouring county and First Nations groups.

“In order to take a look at our Strait region, we need all of our leaders around that table to try to discuss our unique and also shared opportunities and challenges,” said Chisholm-Beaton. “It’s a great place to take those topics, so that we can support each other and try to come up with joint collaborative solutions.”

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Chisholm-Beaton said that Strait area municipal leaders have partnered with local First Nations communities on a number of projects recently. This month, Cape Breton’s five First Nations leaders will take part for the first time in the “One Cape Breton: Future Forward Leaders’ Summit.” This is the annual meeting of Cape Breton’s municipal units, which will take place in Port Hawkesbury.

Victoria County has also come together with Wagmatcook, Waycobah, and the Town of Port Hawkesbury to partner with the recent Raising the Villages initiative. The project is aimed at supporting families and children in western Cape Breton and each of the groups hosted a “Welcoming our Youngest Citizens Event” as part of the project.

“Victoria County is part of our Eastern District Planning Commission as well, and there are a lot of things that we collaborate on,” said Chisholm-Beaton.

The conversation to invite the local leaders began in late 2016. The mayor believes that Victoria County, as well as local First Nations leaders, have a lot to contribute to the Strait Area Mayors and Wardens Committee, and she hopes they will all be present for the group’s next meeting.

“We have a tremendous synergy around the Strait, and all kinds of potential,” said Chisholm-Beaton. “It’s a new era of Strait area leadership, and I’m very excited to see where that goes.”