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Environmental
Design and
Management
Limited

Land Use Plan &
Re-development
Strategy






 
 


2.3


What the Future Can Hold

 

 

There are, and will be, a variety of opportunities for growth in modern manufacturing (smaller facilities that can re-tool quickly), the new, more technologically intense economy and in the service sector. However, despite the opportunities for expansions in manufacturing suggested by economic data and the advantages of the SYSCO site for industrial siting, the CBRM has weaknesses it must overcome.

First, the island is located at some distance from major markets. This weakness could be overcome if the eastern Canadian offshore hydrocarbon sector blooms. It can also be overcome with the creative use of transportation and communication technologies.

The CBRM also faces a dual challenge providing for the labour force displaced due to the decline of the traditional economic base, while at the same time in-vesting in the infrastructure and training support services needed to bring the new labour force into the new economy. Thirty-five years of focus on supporting the steel and coal sectors have left a large part of the labour force with gaps in the skill sets needed by modern manufacturing and other emerging sectors that are more technologically intense.

Several studies have documented these challenges. The Cape Breton Growth Fund Corporation (CBGF) addressed the situation in "Growing the New Economy: Findings of the Economic Adjustment Fund Public Consultation process on Cape Breton Island” (Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation, Spring, 2000). The Cape Breton County Economic Development Authority (CBCEDA), and the CBGF and its
private sector working groups have begun to address these challenges. They are implementing plans to renew the economic base via call centres, spin-offs from environmental remediation, and higher technology businesses, among others.

The re-development strategy for the SYSCO property provides one of the tools (infrastructure for reuse) needed to provide new jobs for displaced workers and new entrants to the labour force. However, there will also be a need to continue with skills training, thus ensuring that the skilled labour and management (especially middle management) needed to attract business are available when companies arrive.

We believe that the long-term trend suggests that most of the direct impacts of the downsizing of the primary fishery and the closure of the coal mines and SYSCO have been absorbed by the CBRM economy. Total employment has remained about the same, as has earned income. This suggests that the underlying Island economy is producing jobs independent of these elements of the historic economic base.


 
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