DARTMOUTH: The Shubenacadie Canal Commission (SCC) is reaping the rewards of having two levels of governments work together in a partnership for the greater good.

At a press conference inside the Fairbanks Centre in Dartmouth overlooking the Shubenacadie Canal that stretches 114 kilometres from Dartmouth to the Bay of Fundy, Dartmouth-Cole Harbour Liberal MP Darren Fisher announced the federal government was investing $126,000 from its Innovative Community Fund (ICF). Bill Horne, Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank Liberal MLA and staunch supporter of the Canal, announced the province was chipping in $90,000 making the total contribution from the two sit at $216,000.

“We have some great news,” said Fisher beginning his speech. “We have an announcement that will have a positive and economic impact on Dartmouth-Cole Harbour and our surrounding communities.”

Fisher made the announcement on behalf of Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA, Navdeep Bains.

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The money would be used for upgrades to docks, portage links, and a storage shed along the Canal system, and to two storage facilities at at Lock 5 in Grand Lake and the Alderney Centre, plus interior upgrades at the Fairbanks Centre.

“This is a great day for us,” said SCC Chairwoman Deborah Windsor as she began her speech on the announcement. “This project help to make the waterway system more accessible to users, while maintaining its appeal as a historic, ecological, and cultural destination.”

Fisher said the history of the Canal is deeper than the canal, and is something that could be talked about all day.

He said the canal’s focus has shifted to recreation use, ecology, and tourism.

“The canal attracts those who just want to simply enjoy the outdoors,” he said.
There’s also something else lurking along the Canal.

“I’m also told that Shubie Park has a wealth of Pokemon,” said Fisher to laughter from those in attendance.

He said the investment, done through the Atlantic Canadian Opportunities Agency (ACOA), is being done so the upgrades can take place along the Shubenacadie waterways.

“These enhancements will help with continuous growth, making it more accessible and attractive to all outdoor enthusiasts,” said Fisher. “Specifically, these improvements will allow the SCC to replace and restore a number of canoe and kayak docks, and assist with repairs to two storage facilities along the route, as well as much needed upgrades at the Alderney and Fairbanks Centre.”

The announcement also was a historic one.

“This announcement marks the first time the Canadian government has made an investment in the Shubenacadie Canal Commission,” Fisher said.

Horne spoke about the province’s support for the “historical treasure” on behalf of Natural Resources Minister Lloyd Hines.

“I’m thrilled to be here,” said Horne. “Today is a very special day for the Canal Commission. The funding from the province will help in a number of ways as MP Fisher mentioned.

He said it’s important to note the funding will help to market the canal as a strategic tourism location.

”I have always felt that people travel to see these canals,” said Horne. “We’d like to see our canal become one of those, that it will be a destination site for cruise ship passengers and those that travel the world to see canals.”

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Pat Healey
Pat has grown up in East Hants, having called Milford, and now Enfield home. He graduated from the journalism program at Holland College in 2001, and has spent time at newspapers in NL and Alberton and Summerside, PEI before becoming a reporter/photographer at The Weekly Press/The Laker in October 2008. He has a rescue kitty named Asha that is much loved—and spoiled. Pat is also our "social engagement guru." Check him out on twitter!