A private firm in Nova Scotia has been given three more years to search for developers for a proposed container terminal project in Sydney harbour.
Cape Breton Regional Municipality's mayor and council granted a three-year contract extension Tuesday to Sydney Harbour Investment Partners, whose five-year contract was set to expire in December.
Two councillors rejected the proposal.
Coun. Earlene MacMullin said CBRM has already spent between $8 million and $10 million on the proposed container terminal property, and approving the extension means fewer checks and balances for the firm, also known as SHIP.
"We have a lot of skin in the game," the District 2 councillor said. "We know this development can be a game changer for the island…. I will not support the abandonment of the current agreement, which [would remove] our ability to re-evaluate our situation as we move forward."
'You hold someone accoutable'
Sydney-area councillor Glenn Paruch also rejected the three-year extension while reaffirming his support for the Port of Sydney.
"But my personal preference is 18 months, you hold someone accountable. They can check in, show me something," he said.
Council also approved the creation of a steering committee Tuesday to assist in moving the project forward while engaging with a councillor, who would then report back to council.
SHIP was formed to create a business consortium for the development of a deepwater, multi-use port to be known as Novaporte in Sydney harbour.
But MacMullin said there has been little information coming from the group headed by consultants Barry Sheehy and Albert Barbusci.
Mayor Amanda McDougall agreed it has been difficult getting information, but said she voted in favour of the extension because the Membertou First Nation has signed on as a partner in the proposed development.
"We've seen what Membertou is capable of doing, in terms of the Clearwater [Seafoods] agreement. That's billions of dollars into our fishing industry. That is the only thing that is giving me any confidence that this project is going to move forward, quite frankly," she said.
Membertou led seven Mi'kmaw communities in the $1-billion purchase of the seafood giant earlier this year.
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