CBU Continues to Take Action on Housing

To the campus community,

On January 13, 2023, we at Cape Breton University released an open letter to the community promising to do more as it pertains to affordable housing for students. This letter to the community noted some of the many ways we are working to address some of the growing pains that our community is facing.

At that time, I announced an internal housing task force that would address a number of important issues, receive suggestions from the community and work with all of our stakeholders, including the Students’ Union, alumni and the three levels of government. I am proud to announce that this task force has been busy engaging with leading experts on affordable housing and has been reporting directly to me on a weekly basis with updates and solutions.

Here are the actions we have taken since then:

  • Work has begun on the renovation of existing residences to increase the number of beds available. The code review and preliminary design options have been completed. This work will allow for an additional 220 beds in on-campus residence. Upon completion CBU will be able to provide an additional style of on-campus living for up to as many as 220 students that previously were not available.
  • 40 beds on-campus have been purchased from our colleagues at the Cape Breton Language Centre in MacDonald Residence. There are currently 60 beds available on campus.
  •  We have reviewed existing meal plans and are now creating an additional option that will allow more flexibility.
  • We have had great success in discussions with several private developers who are interested in creating new housing for CBU students. Our goal is to ensure these housing options fit within the price range our students can afford.
  • We continue to advocate for the importance of affordable housing options in Cape Breton, not only for CBU students, but all community members and know that the Tartan Downs Housing Development is the answer to many of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality’s housing issues.
  • We first met with the CBRM in 2022 to stress the urgency of this initiative. We have had several meetings since then, and our task force again met with the CBRM Mayor and council on February 1 of this year. We have since followed up in writing and on February 15 and received the following reply, “Council are planning a workshop on affordable housing to discuss the options on what role CBRM will play in affordable housing. Following the workshop staff will bring an issue paper to Council with recommendations. I believe the Mayor and Clerk are determining scheduling for the workshop this week.”


I remain optimistic that CBU, along with our community partners, will continue to find both short and long-term innovative solutions to ensure the exceptional CBU experience is being upheld.  I look forward to hearing from you, working with you and addressing these challenges head on.  As I said before, CBU will do more, and we will continue to update you as progress is made.

If you have feedback or solutions, please email info@cbu.ca.

Yours very truly,

David C. Dingwall

President and Vice-Chancellor