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The Trouble With Cabot

Lorna MacNeil GoCapeBreton - March 19th, 2023

Full article published here

In the magical world of developing golf courses, nothing matters but the golf and the money that comes from selling real estate near the golf.

I was reading an article titled Ben Cowan-Dewar’s pursuit of a destination empire - for my sins - trying to understand why this developer believes that he should be handed 150 acres of protected land in Mabou to build golf, when I came to this:

"Cowan-Dewar candidly acknowledges that neither of his early land acquisitions — the site in Cape Breton or the parcel of land on the coast of Saint Lucia — were discoveries in the truest sense.

Prior to Cabot’s development, notable individuals such as composer Philip Glass and sculptor Richard Serra owned summer homes in or near Inverness; and Alexander Graham Bell had a home on Cape Breton, once declaring the area as the most beautiful place on earth.

'Great people were there already, they had discovered that it was this amazing summer destination with four miles of sandy beach,” Cowan-Dewar says. “They had been there for decades. So, I had this enduring belief that we could eventually sell real estate, but we had to really execute on the first piece of the puzzle, which was build great golf and offer great accommodations."

(I should say that Phillip Glass has nothing to do with any of this.)

So, Ben Cowan-Dewar's plan seems to be to bring “great” people to Inverness and sell them real estate. After all, there were already two great people in Inverness, surely more would come.

What a shame that Inverness has been wasted on the “not great” people for… well, the Mi’kmaq have been here for more than 13 thousand years, and the Scottish Highlanders first found shelter in Cape Breton in 1775, I believe.

Alistair MacLeod, the universally acclaimed writer, wrote about his favourite place in the world, Inverness County:

“My favourite place is a plot of land in Nova Scotia’s Inverness County …The land of which I speak was first settled in 1808 by my great-great-great-grandparents…basically followed the shoreline.

None of this group were ever to leave Cape Breton. Members of our family have been on this land ever since. I and many of my relatives feel very strongly about what was left to us. We feel that this land has, somehow, been entrusted to us and that we are part of a stewardship.“

So, what is my point?

Read the full article here.

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