First lot sold in former coal mining neighbourhood revitalization project

Al Moore of the New Aberdeen Revitalization Society shows off the first lot of land sold in a former coal mining neighbourhood in Glace Bay, N.S. (George Mortimer/CBC)

A community group working to revitalize a former coal mining neighbourhood in Glace Bay, N.S., has put up its first sold sign on a lot of land.

The New Aberdeen Revitalization Society will soon welcome a former resident and her family. The Cape Breton Regional Municipality is making 40 lots available to the group to encourage people to come back.

Al Moore, the vice-chair of the revitalization society, said the first house to be built in the neighbourhood will be a mini-home. 

“When you have someone coming into a community and putting a $100,000 home on a lot, obviously that person sees something of value here, as we do, and it’s a great start,” said Moore. “And when you get a start like that, others will follow.”

Cape Breton Regional Municipality council approved the sale of the lot to the society this week for $1. The society will resell it for $3,000. The profits will go back to the society to support further development.

The municipal councillor for the New Aberdeen area says the new CBRM bylaw allowing mini-homes will spur land sales. (George Mortimer/CBC)

People started to leave the once vibrant community 20 years ago when underground coal mines operated by the Cape Breton Development Coproration (DEVCO) were closed.

Darren Bruckschwaiger, the regional councillor for the area, helped form the revitalization society and told a meeting of council this week that it’s a great way to build up the area with affordable housing. 

“This is the result of our new land-use bylaw now for mini-homes, and I think the lots in New Aberdeen, the former coal mining communities, will certainly benefit from this new bylaw,” he said.

“In this case where you’ve got a mini-home, the lots are usually 40 feet wide by 120 in length, it’ll fit on there very nicely. I think it’s the start of some good development for us.”

Moore said he hopes other municipalities across the province will copy their efforts.

“My brother-in-law is a councillor in Stellarton and he was interested in the specifics of this program because they have a situation up there, a former mining town as well,” said Moore. “This is the sort of prototype in a way.”

The new lot owner is expected to put her house on the site in the fall.

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