CBU Continues to Look for Housing Solutions

To the Cape Breton Community,

Housing remains a priority for Cape Breton University. As such, yesterday, we released two official Requests for Proposals (RFP’s) for the development of housing to support CBU students. One of the RFP’s is specific to on-campus housing options, and the other is specific to off-campus or community housing options.

We have heard from students, and we know there is a strong desire to live within the Cape Breton Regional Municipality or on-campus with flexible, affordable meal plans and the infrastructure to allow for cooking in each unit. These RFP’s will allow us to work with high-quality developers to build the appropriate housing options to meet the needs of our students.

We at CBU continue to advocate for The Tartan Downs Housing Development as we believe this will solve many housing issues for students and the community alike. Since my last update, I have personally visited Ottawa to meet with leadership in government, including members of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion. I remain optimistic that by working with all levels of government, including the Cape Breton Regional Municipality Council, we can make this project a reality that will benefit the community for generations to come.

As always, I look forward to hearing from you, specifically regarding these newly issued RFP’s.  We at CBU will continue to address challenges head-on and look for solutions to better the student and community experience. As I said before, CBU will do more.

If you have feedback or solutions, please email info@cbu.ca. The RFP’s can be found directly at the following two links: Here for on-campus, and here for off-campus.

Yours very truly,

David C. Dingwall

President and Vice-Chancellor


Background Information 

  • The primary reason we are still seeing significant enrolment at this time is due to visa processing delays related to COVID-19. This has meant that many students who were accepted to CBU from 2021 to 2022 had to defer their studies because they either could not travel to Canada or were still waiting for visa approval. Now, in 2023, we are welcoming a double cohort of students to our campus.
  • As part of our strategic enrolment management planning, we have introduced enrolment caps and adjusted admissions timelines to allow for a controlled decline in enrolment in the post-baccalaureate business programs, which are in high demand by international students.
  • The CBU Housing Taskforce continues to meet with private developers and looks for both short-term and long-term solutions. To date, more than 30 meetings have been held with promising discussions.
  • CBU provides all new students with information on both on and off-campus housing so they know what to expect when they arrive in Cape Breton. We share this information directly and through various communication channels. The fact that housing is limited and should be secured before arrival is communicated clearly and early, including on acceptance letters and in pre-departure sessions.
  • CBU has 100 vacant beds available on-campus today for the May semester for enrolled students. Students are not taking advantage of these opportunities, and while we respect their right to choose where they live, we have stressed the advantages of living on campus. These are safe and affordable accommodations with utilities included for $560 a month and an all-you-can-eat meal plan for $26 per day.
  • Work continues on the renovation of existing residences to increase the number of beds available and create spaces where students can safely cook in more units. This work will allow for an additional 220 beds in on-campus residence. Upon completion, CBU will be able to provide more housing options with access to preferred kitchen facilities.
  • We continue to advocate for the importance of affordable housing options in Cape Breton, not only for CBU students but all community members. The Tartan Downs Housing Development will help alleviate many of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality’s housing issues.
  • CBU will do more. And we will continue to update the community as progress is made.