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TOM URBANIAK: Cabot golf controversy could hurt Gaelic College in Cape Breton

Tom Urbaniak Saltwire - Nov. 1, 2022

Full article published here

Former premier Rodney MacDonald: “There is a history of it (golf courses) now, it’s very positive.”

Dr. Tom Urbaniak is a political science professor at Cape Breton University and author of five books who writes extensively on community development.

I am genuinely concerned about MacDonald’s other role. Separate from his Gaelic College presidency, the former premier and tourism minister, a resident of Mabou, has been retained by the private developer Cabot Cape Breton. The company is working on an unsolicited proposal to develop a large chunk of the publicly owned and protected West Mabou Provincial Park as a luxury golf course.

Although MacDonald’s Cabot role is not his main job, it will use up a lot of oxygen, public attention and political capital. Unfortunately, MacDonald will need to deal with the same publics and the same government decision-makers in both roles.

As an institution, the Gaelic College will probably take no position on the overall Cabot proposal. However, the college – especially the Mabou campus – has its own direct interests to uphold. I am thinking of development impacts (positive and negative) on college accommodation, transportation and any use of Gaelic themes, language and symbols.

The president of the Gaelic College needs to be free to represent the institution on these matters.

... Rodney MacDonald’s two hats – as president of the Gaelic College and as a Cabot-retained public facilitator – put the venerable institution in an awkward spot. Read the full article here.

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