Digby, Clare and Hantsport attend tidal talks in Parrsboro

Jonathan Riley, Digby Courier jriley@digbycourier.ca
Published on August 19, 2014

The Minas Basin and Cape Split as viewed from the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy in Parrsboro.

©Jonathan Riley

Representatives of the communities of Digby, Clare, Hantsport and Parrsboro met in Parrsboro to talk tidal.

Digby’s Mayor Ben Cleveland made the trip on Tuesday, Aug. 6 with Digby’s Warden Linda Gregory and Deputy Warden Jimmy MacAlpine.

“All of these rural communities are interested in seeing tidal energy developed in the Bay of Fundy,” said Cleveland. “All five municipal units realize there are opportunities for their rural economies.”

The mayor said Digby and Clare for example see themselves well positioned with a wet harbour, a big wharf and room to build a tidal servicing facility plus a workforce with marine construction and repair among their skillset.

“All of us are interested in a piece of the pie,” said Cleveland. “So we talked about that and about what each of us has done over the last three or four years. It was a round table discussion on tidal for rural Nova Scotia.”

Cleveland says the mayors and wardens want to see as much work as possible stay in Nova Scotia.

“Early on, some technology may be developed elsewhere, but once it takes off, we certainly want to see manufacturing and maintenance jobs here,” said Cleveland. “We saying this should be Nova Scotian driven. The five municipal units are all saying to the province and to the industry, we have the resources to do it here.”

Deputy Warden Jimmy MacAlpine says it was long drive but worth it to see the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) in Parrsboro.

“We learned a lot and we still have lots to learn about tidal,” he said. “You can throw up a wind turbine and everyone has that figured out, that’s not a big deal. But tidal is so new, we have a big job figuring out what the industry needs for a repair facility.”

Digby and the District of Digby want to build a tidal power maintenance facility either beside the Digby wharf or out along the Shore Road.

Cleveland pointed out that the Digby area is well on its way to becoming a regional hub for renewable energy.

“This area has wind energy, the anaerobic digestor, Fundy Tidal will soon be launching tidal units in local waters and now we’re making the big move,” he said. “$40 million has been invested in FORCE just to get industry where it is today and industry will need more investments and that will all create jobs.”