After two days of closed door meetings, Cape Breton Regional Municipality Mayor Cecil Clarke says Sydney is one step closer to having its own container terminal.

“This is the turning point for the port of Sydney,” Clarke says. “It is where we step off now to the global stage for the investments necessary to put the shovels in the ground for a container terminal and the logistics park.”

Legal paperwork first needed to be sorted out. Now, Cecil Clarke and council have granted developers of the port permission to finalize agreements with shippers.

Clarke won’t say who that will be.

“We wouldn't have brought this before council if there was a company or companies interested in being here and the consortium needed this decision of council in order to finalize their agreements,” he says.

Whoever decides to pull into port will have to cut a cheque to the CBRM for $10 million, meaning taxpayers are not on the hook for any developments.

Clarke pointed out that Sydney is in competition with other ports in the Maritimes, including Halifax and Milford.

But not everyone was onboard with Monday’s decision. Councillor Ray Paruch was the only one to vote down the motion.

“I believe all councillors would agree that there's information overload,” he says.

A third-party legal firm reviewed the agreements between the developers and the municipality, saying "it's a low risk approach for encouraging economic development."

“What we have is the actual detailed agreements themselves. They embed financial agreements, formulas and calculations of how revenue streams would flow. As a result of those items, we as a municipality had to have save guards in place,” says Clarke. 

Clarke will be traveling in the coming weeks to continue to promote the port, and he says there could be a final announcement before Christmas or early in the new year.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.