Dear Editor: Phantom Container Terminal

A ridiculous article appeared in the Cape Breton Post on 20 May 2021.

It might have been entitled “Man Yells at Cloud.” The protagonist, a Mr. Jerry Gillis, was astonished at the gall of the CBRM in following procedure in the handling of its committees and not just rubber stamping him back into his Lord of the Board position on the port board. It seems Mr. Gillis has an entitlement issue.

Port of Sydney, NS, signThe article went on to describe how fellow board members were aghast and infuriated by this turn of events. I wonder if there was foot stomping and wailing? In any event, it sounds completely unprofessional. Mr. Gillis communicated to the writer of this article that people were unaware of the work that goes into “dealing with shareholders and the CEO.” May I remind Mr. Gillis the shareholders in this situation are the citizens of the CBRM, represented by elected mayor and council? Is the term “dealing with” equivalent to “fending off?” I’m sure Mr. Gillis is fully aware that this board does not submit minutes for public scrutiny. We DON’T KNOW what this board is doing, and neither does our current mayor and council. Perhaps this is the crux of this whole situation.

The larger saga at hand here is the one-time fantasy that we were going to build a container terminal that would receive said containers and ship them down the line on rail cars. A port board was created municipally to support a CEO who works for the Port of Sydney Development Corporation. Then our former mayor decided to keep the container terminal project close to his chest and, ostensibly, the port board could concern itself with cruise ships and other port business. Mind you, we have NO IDEA what the port board really does, so maybe they still are in the business of this fantasy. Neither Elon Musk nor Jeff Bezos is attached to this project, so the rail line will remain fantastical too.

I will admit, a decade ago, there may have been a kernel of opportunity. But the mishandling, questionable decisions, obfuscation, nepotism, exclusion and treatment of the tax-paying public as children (remember the cheap seats) drove it into the ground. With the absence of needed infrastructure and no billions on the horizon to build it, the nails were in.

Mr. Paul Carrigan has served in running our port and cruise ship business admirably. I’d recommend that the port board share any work it has completed concerning the actual port as it exists with Mr. Carrigan in his capacity as general manager at the Port of Sydney, and he can share it with his team.

I believe the port board in its current form and its CEO are superfluous in 2021.

Frankly, this “news” article was a lame attempt by Mr. Gillis at smearing our elected mayor and council. How dare he? The previous mayor was not re-elected. Get your affairs in order.

Rhonda MacDougall Gale
South Bar