Richmond continues partnership with CBREN

Carla Arsenault

ARICHAT: Richmond County will remain part of the Cape Breton Regional Enterprise Network (CBREN) for the time being.

On March 9 during Richmond Municipal Council’s committee-of-the-whole meeting in Arichat, district 4 councillor Gilbert Boucher made a motion for the municipality to remain a partner in the CBREN, which was seconded by Deputy Warden Alvin Martell and passed unanimously.

During a special emergency meeting on Monday afternoon in Arichat, council approved the recommendation from the committee-of-the-whole to remain as a member, until at least March 31, 2021.

The vote came after a presentation from Cape Breton Partnership president and CEO Carla Arsenault who noted they were reviewing applications for Richmond County’s vacant economic development officer position.

Arsenault, a native of Richmond County, concluded her presentation by imploring council to continue their financial support for the REN.

“I think that having Richmond working with all of our municipal and First Nation partners is incredibly important to moving this area forward,” Arsenault told council. “As someone who was born here and continues to have a home here, I know that Richmond County has a lot to offer and I think that our Cape Breton Partnership team has a lot they can offer Richmond County.”

During the regular monthly meeting last March, Boucher, Martell and Warden Brian Marchand voted to give one-year notice to leave the CBREN, while councillors Jason MacLean and James Goyetche voted against the motion.

Marchand introduced the motion to leave the REN in light of the municipality’s loss of revenue from assessment changes and increased costs.

In her presentation, Arsenault pointed to a number of programs and projects the partnership is currently part of or administering which include employers, groups, residents, and schools in Richmond County.

Some examples are the Cape Breton Local Immigration Partnership which includes the municipality, and the Youth Retention Program which involved schools in the municipality. Arsenault reported that a Creative Minds event is coming up on March 31 at the Bras d’Or Lakes Inn in St. Peter’s and the Dream Business Program held a pitch session at the St. Peter’s Marina last year.

“We hosted a number of events where we reached about 100 different stakeholders and decision-makers,” Arsenault said. “And the [Permanent Residency Admissions] stood at 15, so that means there are 15 individuals who have chosen residency here in Richmond County, specifically.”

Arsenault said the partnership is finalizing a Richmond County Community Profile document with investment information available to any interested companies, as well as the municipality. They are in the final stages of a profile of the assets at the Point Tupper Industrial Park which the municipality can also use. The St. Peter’s Main Street Consultation also took place a month ago, Arsenault said, noting that some Richmond County businesses are part of their Business Planning Module, which provides support in making business plans.