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Funding to make Gaelic College more energy efficient

By Kelli Rickard Jun 10, 2024 | 11:49 AM

Ottawa is investing money to preserve and promote Cape Breton’s unique Highland history and heritage.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Sydney-Victoria MP, Jaime Battiste, has announced a non-repayable contribution of $300,000 to complete energy efficiency upgrades at the Gaelic College in Englishtown.

The funding is through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Innovative Communities Fund.

Improvements include the installation of solar panels, heat pumps and a new steel roof on the campus’ main building.

According to a release, it’s the only Gaelic College of its kind in North America and is an important cultural centre for authentic Gaelic cultural experiences and education. It offers year-round programing in the culture, music, language, crafts, customs, and traditions of immigrants from the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.

Battiste says, “The Gaelic College is the heart of Highland heritage and the Gaelic language in Cape Breton. Today’s announcement will help the college operate in a more environmentally sustainable and cost-effective manner so it can continue educating and entertaining locals and drawing tourists to the area to experience some of the flavour that makes our region unique.”

In a statement, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA, Gudie Hutchings says, “Atlantic Canada has a wealth of cultures and languages that offer visitors an experience like no other. Projects like this one with the Gaelic College Foundation help preserve and promote the region’s unique Highland heritage and traditions so they can continue to enrich the lives of residents and visitors alike.”

President of the college, the Honourable Rodney MacDonald, says “Today’s announcement will enable us to continue to make much needed improvements to our site. Strategic infrastructure investments such as those announced today are important for our cultural organizations. We welcome this good news from ACOA.”

It is estimated there are about 2,000 Gaelic Speakers in Nova Scotia today.