Strategic Environmental Assessment – Cape Breton Region

Stantec Consulting was selected by the Offshore Energy Research Association to develop a Community Engagement Report on Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) to support a future Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for the Cape Breton Coastal Region of Nova Scotia, inclusive of the Bras D’Or Lakes. Stantec Consulting completed the project in partnership with Cape Breton University (CBU) and the Eskasoni Corporate Division. The SEA process consists of two elements: the Background Study (Part A) and the Stakeholder and Community Engagement process (Part B) which is the focus of this study.

The SEA engagement process has been developed to obtain opinions, comments, issues or concerns and recommendations from stakeholders, Mi’kmaq and community members. The feedback serves as input into the SEA for the Cape Breton Coastal Region, inclusive of the Bras D’Or Lakes. It assists in identifying potential impacts resulting from the future development of marine renewable technologies on communities and Nova Scotia’s offshore and coastal environment.

The overall objective of the Cape Breton SEA is to provide an assessment and recommendations of social, economic and environmental effects and factors associated with potential development of MRE resources in the Cape Breton coastal region with an emphasis on in-stream tidal. The objectives of the consultative process are:

  • Broad-ranging engagement with key interested parties including current users of the marine environments, coastal communities, aboriginal interests, government agencies, municipalities, community organizations, environmental/conservation organizations, business suppliers and energy developers, and their associations, and the general public, in written form and through public meetings.
  • To develop an inclusive engagement process that enables the participation of Mi’kmaq communities in Cape Breton.
  • To understand the potential concerns, issues and general feedback regarding the development of MRE in Cape Breton including the Bras d’Or Lakes.
  • To enable development of recommendations based on consideration of principles and priorities for deciding if, where, and under what conditions MRE developments in the Cape Breton Region are in the public interest over the long term.

The key elements of the consultative process are:

  • Provide access to results of the background report and research into potential ecosystem and socio-economic effects.
  • Generate dialogue, generated by an interactive, visual and engaging array of activities and mediums.
  • Develop a conversation that is sincere, easily accessed, experienced and understood by individuals and diverse communities.
  • Provide opportunities for community input and validation of this input over the course of the engagement process.
  • Transparent gathering, recording and analysis of information, knowledge and concerns through the engagement process.

The SEA reports are available to the public to help elicit recommendations, and inform decision and policy making.  The goal is to ensure the responsible development of tidal energy in the Cape Breton regions.  To view the 2014 Cape Breton SEA Community Response Report and the 2012 Cape Breton Background Study, please see below.