Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Whale Sanctuary Project opens visitors centre

  • November 3 2021
  • By Helen Murphy    

SHERBROOKE – A major milestone for the Whale Sanctuary Project was celebrated on a beautiful fall Friday afternoon, when more than 100 people came out for the grand opening of the project’s operations and visitors centre on Main St. in Sherbrooke on Oct. 29.

The new centre, featuring interpretive panels about beluga whales and plans for the sanctuary site at nearby Port Hilford, is a place where residents and visitors can drop by to learn more about the project and have their questions answered.

“It’s incredible when you see developments like this in small communities,” said Central Nova MP Sean Fraser at the event. “It reminds me that just because you come from a small community doesn’t mean you can’t do big things.”

The centre also provides office space and accommodations for project leaders, when they are in St. Mary’s.

Fraser saluted Senator Wilfred Moore’s work on Bill S-203, federal legislation that bans the practice of keeping whales in captivity in Canada. Fraser thanked community members and WSP leadership for getting the project to this point.

“I do want to say thank you in particular to the community,” he said. “These projects go where they are wanted. People from this area said, ‘We see this as an opportunity for our community to grow, for us to do something positive on an issue that may be bigger than the District of St. Mary’s.’ And, because of your willingness to accept an investment of this nature, our community is going to do a wonderful thing for Sherbrooke and the surrounding area and for all of northern Nova Scotia for a generation to come.”

Fraser added, “This is the kind of thing that is going to drive economic development. When I look at the social and cultural element, there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s the right thing to do.”

In his remarks, Charles Vinick, WSP executive director, recalled the far-reaching search for the right site for the project in Nova Scotia.

“It was this community that helped us find a site for whales in Port Hilford Bay,” he said. “And we wouldn’t have found that site on our own. We found it because of all of you. So, yes, this is for the whales, but it’s because of you that we are able to do it.”

Other special guests at the event included Lieutenant Governor Arthur J. LeBlanc and Her Honour Patsy LeBlanc, retired senator Wilfred Moore and Kerry Prosper, Paqtnkek Mi’kmaq Nation.