PORT HAWKESBURY: Despite cancelling their scheduled joint council meeting later this month with the Municipality of the County of Richmond, the mayor says she still has confidence that the two municipal counterparts can have an ongoing and successful partnership.

“We are always going to look for potential opportunities and we’ll always look to resolve joint challenges together,” Brenda Chisholm-Beaton said following the regular Port Hawkesbury Town Council meeting on April 2. “Our nearest neighbours, whether that’s across the Causeway or very near neighbours in Cape Breton, I think that collaboration is one of the pedestals that in Nova Scotia the Ivany Report sits on.”

On February 27, officials with the Town of Port Hawkesbury passed a motion during a special public meeting to confirm their decision to withdraw from the Eastern Strait Regional Enterprise Network as of March 31.

In their decision Chisholm-Beaton indicated the town would apply for membership with the Cape Breton Regional Enterprise Network (CBREN) based on their geographical location and the fact they have current and upcoming projects that are directly tied to Richmond County.

Municipal tensions have been building within Richmond County, which has seen them in recent weeks file withdraw notices from both the CBREN and the Eastern District Planning Commission, along with terminating the contract of CAO Kent MacIntyre during a special meeting last Monday.

“At this point in time it doesn’t change [anything], we have our active request in with the Cape Breton Regional Enterprise Network and we’re waiting for a potential decision,” Chisholm-Beaton said. “If we want to be strong as a town, we need to work with our rural partners; a strong town will lead to strong rural communities and vice versa.”

She highlighted the most recent project to come to fruition, the Landrie Lake Water Utility, an inter-municipal agreement between the town and Richmond County came into effect on April 1, after the pumping station was divested to them through provincial officials.

“We’ll always look to partner with Richmond County, Inverness, Guysborough, Antigonish Town and County, Town of Mulgrave, all of our Strait area and our Cape Breton rural town municipalities.”