The Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Project started its first revitalization project in May 2011. Working in partnership with Cape Breton University, Habitat volunteers and community partners renovated a former company house on Mechanic Street in Glace Bay, built between 1901 and 1903. Work continued throughout Summer 2014 and the new owners moved in in October.
The Habitat Cape Breton Chapter has recently purchased property in Whitney Pier and will start building a new home on the site in the spring of 2015 for a qualifying family in need of decent, affordable housing.
In the heyday of the steel plant, Whitney Pier was the most multicultural community in Canada, with people from dozens of different nationalities and faiths coming together in one relatively harmonious community. At one point there were eight different churches within seven blocks and Whitney Pier became known as a community that works together to get things done. It’s appropriate, then, that some of those same churches should come together to help raise money for Habitat for Humanity Cape Breton Chapter’s new build.
The faith communities of Whitney Pier will be hosting a “Pier Pursuit” fundraising event, involving multiple sites, on the afternoon of Saturday, August 2. It’s an opportunity for teams to visit these beautiful sites with rich stories and answer trivia questions about the places and their people.
Each team can have from two to five members. Registration is $15 per person, and participants will get a Habitat t-shirt and invitation to the barbecue to be held later the same afternoon, at which all teams will be recognized and prizes will be awarded. All proceeds will go to the Habitat for Humanity Whitney Pier project.
The gathering time for teams on Saturday, August 2, is 12 noon at St. Mary’s Polish Church. Teams will have until 4pm to visit the sites and answer the questions, before returning for the barbecue. Teams must register in advance. To enter a team, offer a prize, or for more information, please contact Kim Sheppard of St. Alban’s Anglican Church at email@example.com or 539-8957. Families, businesses, organizations and friends are invited to enter teams. The deadline to register is July 27.
The faith communities are also working together on a fundraising board game called “The Pier”, to be ready by December. It will have both competitive and co-operative rules, as well as trivia questions about The Pier – its history, its diverse cultures, its people, and its places. Suggested trivia questions can be submitted to Tom Urbaniak at firstname.lastname@example.org. If your trivia question is used, you will be acknowledged. Half the profits from the board game will support the Habitat project and the other half will support the places of faith, most of which are historic landmarks.
Adrian Wilson, NSCC instructor and Chair of the Cape Breton chapter of Habitat for Humanity, explains, “We work with volunteers and donated materials, but there are materials and services we have to pay for. The money raised will pay for those.”
Representatives of St. Mary’s Polish Church, St. Philip’s African Orthodox Church, Holy Ghost Ukrainian Catholic Church, St. Alban’s Anglican Church, the Muslim Society of Cape Breton, Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, and Trinity United Church have been meeting since March. Also involved are the St. Joseph’s Lebanese and Syrian Benevolent Society, Bethel Presbyterian Church, the Salvation Army, the Whitney Pier Historical Society, the Cape Breton Council of Churches and other interested individuals.
The Pier sites that will be hosting the teams on August 2nd–and will be open to give tours to any and all visitor–are St. Mary’s Polish Church, St. Philip’s African Orthodox Church, Holy Ghost Ukrainian Catholic Church, the mosque of the Muslim Society of Cape Breton, Trinity United Church, and St. Alban’s Anglican Church.
Habitat for Humanity builds modest family homes and sells them with no down payment and zero interest to working families who don’t qualify for a regular mortgage. Then Habitat uses the monthly payments to build another home for another family.
The Cape Breton Regional Municipality Habitat committee was launched in 2008 following the “Options for Housing Revitalization” Conference at Cape Breton University. The renamed Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Project is a member of the region’s recently incorporated Affordable Housing Renovation Partnership (formerly Housing Revitalization Committee). The non-profit Partnership is working to turn some of the region’s 550 vacant homes into safe, affordable housing.