[YARMOUTH, NS] — The federal and provincial governments are contributing $142,240 each for the establishment of a council to lead regional economic development efforts in southwestern Nova Scotia in the absence of a regional development agency.
West Nova MP Greg Kerr made the announcement Wednesday in Yarmouth on behalf of Bernard Valcourt, the minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.
Under this project, eight municipal units in the region (including the three Yarmouth-area units) will work together in establishing an interim economic development council for a period of 14 months.
During this time the council’s efforts will focus on providing referral services to businesses, advancing high-impact projects and stimulating tourism by attracting events during the off-season, according to Wednesday’s announcement.
The 14-month time period is meant to allow the council and interested communities to establish a long-term economic development strategy and model.
The federal money for the council is coming through ACOA’s Innovative Communities Fund.
The provincial share is coming from the Nova Scotia Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism.
Making the announcement at the Yarmouth town hall, Kerr acknowledged that the region faces challenges and that the situation has not been helped by the lack of an organization to lead economic development efforts.
He was referring to the absence of a regional development agency for this part of the province since the South West Shore Development Authority ceased operating in 2010.
“Our government is pleased to support the development of an organization dedicated to providing leadership and guidance to drive business development and restore regional economic leadership to our region,” Kerr said.
Yarmouth Mayor Phil Mooney said the announcement is good news for the region.
“There is a tremendous amount of potential here in southwest Nova Scotia and a lot of hard work to be done,” he said. “I am looking forward to seeing the council established so that it may capitalize on this potential and collaborate with our local businesses, community members and other economic development partners to do great things for this area.”