Map showing proposed site of RV park in Big Pond.

Developer Gets Zone Amendment for Big Pond RV Park

March 7, 2018 at 12:36 pm

Cape Breton Regional Municipal Council voted on Wednesday morning to approve a zoning by-law amendment to allow developer Chris Skidmore to establish a 211-site RV Park in Big Pond Centre. The vote was 7-6 with Councilors Clarence Prince, Earlene MacMullin, Steve Gillespie, George MacDonald, Darren Bruckschwaiger, Jim MacLeod and Mayor CecilRead More

Sign at Sydport wharves, 9 March 2016.

Shipbreaking in the Free Market

March 7, 2018 at 12:32 pm

You’ve got to love the free market. Look at the wonders it produces when simply left to its own devices: an Ontario-based shipbreaking outfit suddenly realizes it should be busting up old naval ships in Sydney harbor, so moves here and starts hiring.   Although, as the Cape Breton Post explainedRead More

CBRM Council: RV Park Postponed

CBRM Council: RV Park Postponed

February 28, 2018 at 12:38 pm

CBRM planning staff seem really keen on this Big Pond RV Park idea. I don’t know how else to interpret the time and effort planning director Malcolm Gillis and planner Karen Neville have put it into Calgary developer Chris Skidmore’s project — first in their original recommendation that council amendRead More

Ottawa Marriott Hotel

Mr. Bettens Goes to Ottawa

February 28, 2018 at 12:32 pm

One of the (many) messed up aspects of our access to information system here in Nova Scotia is that responses to municipal FOIPOP inquiries are not made public, unlike federal and provincial responses, which are published online. Fortunately, some civic-minded Cape Bretoners share the results of their municipal FOIPOPs withRead More

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

February 23, 2018 at 10:30 am

Eating (some) crow I received a detailed response to last week’s Fast & Curious from CBC Cape Breton Information Morning panelist Stephen Tobin of the Horizon Achievement Centre. He took issue (see what I did there?) with my critique of his list of Nova Scotia mayors who remained in office whileRead More

The Power of PISA

The Power of PISA

February 21, 2018 at 12:08 pm

This space had been reserved for reporting the results of an interview I did last Thursday with Nova Scotia Education Minister Zach Churchill. I thought I’d have some new insight into the government’s determination to push through the recommendations in educational consultant Avis Glaze’s administrative review of the Nova Scotia educationRead More

To RV, Or Not To RV?

To RV, Or Not To RV?

February 21, 2018 at 12:04 pm

Do you know what struck me most forcibly, watching the CBRM’s public hearings on the proposed Ceilidh on the Lakes RV Park for Big Pond yesterday afternoon? That if developer Chris Skidmore (who, God love him, looked like he was in the dock at his own trial when he spokeRead More

Top: Kameron coal truck by Yvonne LeBlanc Smith, CBC Cape Breton.  Bottom: Lingan coal-fired generating station, Cape Breton (Photo by By Ken Heaton (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons)

Letter to the Editor: Trucks versus Trains

February 14, 2018 at 12:04 pm

I have been keeping a jaundiced eye on the Cape Breton coal trucking story since the 1980s when my friend Leo Evans was shining a public spotlight on the decision by Devco to “rubberize” a part of its coal transportation system.   Made no sense then – makes no sense now.Read More

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

February 9, 2018 at 10:00 am

Rail Schmail Do my eyes deceive me, or has even the Cape Breton Post become a bit skeptical about the great Sydney container port project? All it took was port developer Albert Barbusci suddenly playing down the importance of a functioning railway to their project. As the paper reported Thursday:Read More

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

February 2, 2018 at 9:23 am

Mayor Clarke I have been critical of CBRM Mayor Cecil Clarke’s high-handed style of governing, his penchant for secrecy and his preference for springing deals on council at the last minute, forcing them to digest reams of information and vote on important motions without adequate time for deliberation. I haveRead More