Well Yarmouth, the winter weather has hammered at us, but it’s not kept us down. There’s so much going on, at times it’s difficult to keep track! First of course to the ferry: Crews have been working on the ferry terminal for over two months, I’m in continuous contact with Nova Star, and both the terminal and ferry are on track. We will be seeing rates and schedules online very soon. Having travelled throughout the Atlantic Provinces this past month, I can say that both the excitement and support are far-reaching.
After months of working on partner agreements for our economic development engine, the WREN (Western Regional Enterprise Network) Board of Directors was announced this past week. The board consists of Allister Surette, Ron Smith, David Saxton, David Arenburg, Warner Comeau, Craig LeBlanc, Angela Thurber, Clark Sigfridson and Michel Comeau. What we have is an amazing team of leaders complete with a wide range of expertise in critical areas. The WREN board of directors is the governing body of the regional network. The municipal partners, along with the Province, decided that it’s our business leaders that are best positioned to lead regional economic development. Their major roles will be to approve an action plan for the region focused on growing what we have here already, and attracting new business to the area. They will work with our provincial partners, like NSBI, who have international contacts, and will ensure that South West Nova Scotia gets on the map and is always a consideration for new business opportunities! We’re thankful for the Board and wish them all the best as we work together to develop our area.
On another economic front, the date for the Entrepreneur’s Forum has been set. March 28-29 will see entrepreneurs, business leaders, mentors, landlords, government representatives from a wide array of expertise, and many others come together under one roof at NSCC Burridge Campus to give our entrepreneurs the tools to a proper business startup. Stay tuned for more information and ways to become involved. If you have a business idea, or wish to grow your business, you need to be there to take in the speakers, workshops, trade show and more!
In these very difficult economic times, it’s imperative to take a look at where we are and where we want to go. To this end, Council met to discuss priorities. We were in agreement on the main priorities which are to grow the tax base, save money with a long-term infrastructure plan, grow the economy by being more open and inviting and becoming more efficient in admin and governance. From this point forward, when decisions are being made, we will be asking, “Will this help us achieve one or more of our priorities?” - erase the reactive and bring on the proactive!
Finally, and perhaps most important, if you haven’t read the One NS “Now Or Never” Report on the economy, I strongly encourage you to do so. Go to http://www.noworneverns.ca/ to download the report. While the usual doom and gloom group will see only the negative, in the past couple days I’ve spoken with leaders throughout Nova Scotia and beyond, including members of the Commission’s team, who agree that while things do not look good, if we are ready and willing to make some changes, we will come out of this a better Province. For me there were no surprises. Creating silos, playing at small-time politics, drawing boundaries to protect what we think we have and many other “diseases” that have been killing us, have to cease. I’m tremendously thankful that the Commission had the guts to say it like it is. Now it’s up to EACH of us to put pettiness and partisan differences aside, understand that we CANNOT do it alone, support our leadership and experts and be willing to get on board to do whatever it’ll take to turn this amazing Province around. It’s doable. Together. ARE YOU IN?
Oh… the “All Hands On Deck” initiative was mentioned at the Report revealing at Pier 21 in Halifax on Wednesday. That, dear citizens, is testament to the fact that down here we’re willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Every single day I’m humbled to be part of this community. Let’s keep doing what we’re doing and be ready for more. (The followup date to the “All Hands…” will be announced in the next week!) Our fortitude and resilience is second to none: never underestimate the power we have to be a huge part of not only moving Yarmouth forward, but indeed the entire Province!