Federal department building community partnerships

By Tanya Collier Macdonald
Cape Breton Post
Tues., July 20, 2004

A series of meetings dubbed as partnership building initiatives were recently held in Sydney between community stakeholders and senior officials with Public Works and Government Services Canada.

On the guest list were representatives from Membertou, Mayor John Morgan, of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, officials from the University College of Cape Breton and Enterprise Cape Breton, and other business leaders.

Ken Swain, project director with the federal department, said the meetings took place Thursday and Friday and were part of the department's continuing consultations with area representatives.

Among the topics of discussion were the need for an acceptable line of communication with the region's mayor, meaningful participation and economic involvement with Membertou, and potential opportunities for the area's university.

The general public will have its say when a community liaison committee is formed, he said. The 14-member committee has yet to be announced.

Public Works and Government Services Canada took the lead following the May signing of an agreement between the province and Ottawa that has the two forking over $400 million over the next 10 years to clean up the Sydney tar ponds and coke ovens sites.

Along with the consultations, Swain said the federal department is also preparing to open an office in Sydney in the coming months.

"The role of PWGSC is to provide oversight and accountability for the federal share of the project," said Swain. "There will be a federal presence in Sydney."