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New non-profit would lead proposed fisheries heritage centre

  • November 22 2023
  • By Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter    

CANSO — With plans to incorporate a new non-profit next year to oversee its proposed fisheries heritage centre, the Canso Area Development Association’s (CADA) dream of having a true cultural centre to anchor the community’s waterfront is inching ever closer to reality.

“We’re really now looking at the structure, which is almost like the governance piece,” CADA president Harold Roberts told The Journal following the community group’s annual general meeting (AGM) last week (Nov. 14). “We’ve gone through the initial stage, getting the conceptual work and class ‘D’ [capital costs] estimates done by Fathom Studios [Dartmouth]. Now, [the proposed centre] will be under another non-profit group. CADA would have a seat on that [board], but it would be a new entity and we think there is wisdom in that.”

At the AGM, Roberts acknowledged Fathom’s “good consulting work” on the project, which has been under development since 2020. “We have [also] made presentations to Guysborough municipal council, the Guysborough District Business Partnership and Paqtnkek band council.”

Last spring, he reported, “We filed an application with the Guysborough [County Community] Business Development Centre for phase two funding to advance the fisheries heritage centre to the next stage. Third Sector Enhancement Ltd. [community and non-profit] consultants were selected and contract work was completed for the next steps to advance the proposed project for the fisheries heritage centre. We were [also] invited to meet with the Director of Small Crafts and Harbours and the Canso Harbour Authority to present our conceptual drawings.”

Speaking to The Journal, Roberts emphasized that the centre – estimated to cost approximately $8 million – will be “much more” than a museum.

“We can’t really call it that,” he said. “It will have artifacts and Parks Canada will be the lead tenant in this new waterfront structure. But, it will have multifaceted functions... good for a variety of things, including for bringing in tourists. There will be space in this facility for a small café [and] for the harbour authority, as well. There will be space for community access, such as a multipurpose room.”

He noted that incorporating as a non-profit some time over the next 12 months will establish the legal and administrative apparatus necessary to advance the project efficiently. “It will next have to look at doing a feasibility study before it goes to funders. The third step is public consultation.”