PORT HOOD: It’s a tall order, but helping to alleviate the affordable housing shortage in Inverness County is the mandate of Westside Enterprises and entrepreneur Damian MacInnis.

“There’s a lot of work to do, but with community consolation and some energetic investors who want to be a part of this, it could become a reality,” MacInnis said. “There is a shortage, but I think I’m building out a model that’s an answer to all that.”

MacInnis is no stranger to the business scene, as he was instrumental in the creation of Celtic Air Service, the air service provider operating the Allan J. MacEachern Port Hawkesbury Airport; he served as the executive director of the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce; and worked as an economic development officer for the Cape Breton Partnership. He’s currently the lead man with Colindale Business Solutions.

Should all go well with Westside Enterprises, part of the game plan would involve setting up a 24-unit apartment building in Port Hood. Other buildings would be set up in Whycocomagh and Mabou, as the project moves forward.

Port Hood would be a good starting point, MacInnis said, given that there are a number of amenities already present: sewer and water, bank, medical centre, fitness centre, grocery store, churches, walking trails, etc.

“You have to be innovative about it because the affordable housing piece of it all doesn’t leave much room for a return on investment for the private sector,” MacInnis said. “I’m hoping the new government will come in with some options to take the strain off the provincial and municipal governments.”

MacInnis spoke to The Reporter on November 20 after meeting with newly minted Cape Breton-Canso MP Mike Kelloway.

“Housing was a big topic, and he’s a big supporter,” MacInnis said. “He’s willing to help in any way possible.”

Community consultations will be coming up. For the latest news and updates on Westside Enterprises, the group has an active Facebook page where all are welcome.

With that, MacInnis encourages anyone currently living – or wanting to live – in Western Cape Breton to take a couple minutes to take a brief survey. The results of the survey will be a great help in MacInnis fleshing out the full business plan for Westside Enterprises.

The survey can be found at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/housingdevelopmentcapebreton?fbclid=IwAR1wSBNjcivonz4VUIcGyf356R_GSojM-g1z08eYM5sNOMaQDULkC6Ima18.