The staff-prepared Integrated Community Sustainability Plan was defeated by council earlier this month, effectively sending the municipality back to the drawing board.

At September’s monthly council meeting, the municipality’s Economic Development Manager, John Whalley, presented his Integrated Community Sustainability Plan. The report argued that the region must be served by one government to be sustainable, noting that the CBRM has not been sustainable for the past five decades. Adoption of the plan would essentially make the CBRM its own province in all but name.

CBUPolitical Science Professor Tom Urbaniak said that the CBRM staff-prepared report would actually delay work that needs to be done to address the economic and social needs of the region. Urbaniak suggested turning to the community for help in revisiting and finishing the report. Council, including District 9 councilor Tom Wilson, largely rejected the recommendations in Whaley’s Sustainability Report. The only two who voted in favour of accepting it were Mayor John Morgan and Councillor Jim Macleod.

District 9 Councillor Tom Wilson, along with almost the entire council, votes to defeat the original sustainability plan.

The report was commissioned as part of a federal gas tax transfer agreement requirement. The five-year agreement, which expires next year, requires all Canadian municipalities to submit a draft plan by the end of the year, although there are rumblings that the CBRM has had their deadline extended. So starting from scratch and with a looming deadline, Council went back to the table to try to determine which direction to pursue.

A special meeting two weeks later called for another plan. This time, six Councillors, the Chief Administrative Officer and two senior staff will form a committee that will draft a plan for sustainability in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.  No word yet as to when the new report will be completed.