By Greg Bennett
The Town of Shelburne is doing some serious wavering on its decision to stay out of a new regional economic development group with municipal units in Queens and Lunenburg counties.
Although deep concerns have been expressed with the process of forming Regional Enterprise Networks and members have questioned what benefit the town would receive from joining; a councillor and the Town’s CAO took in the most recent organizational meeting of the Region 2 REN.
The new network is intended to join Shelburne County municipal units east of the Clyde River with those in Queens and Lunenburg Counties.
In the past, Shelburne councillors have expressed that they did not want to repeat former mistakes, noting the problems experienced with the Southwest Shore Development Authority.
Recently though, some municipal politicians in eastern Shelburne County have warmed to the idea of joining the network of south shore municipal units.
A staff report for the Town of Shelburne noted possible benefits of being involved including potential increases in provincial and federal funding for the area’s economic development initiatives.
As a result, Town CAO Dylan Heide and councillor Elizabeth Rhuland represented the town during an April 9 meeting in Queens County about the REN. Representatives from the municipality of Shelburne and the Town of Lockeport were also at the meeting.
Heide said council could still decide not to join the network, but that a special meeting to discuss the issue would likely be held before the end of the month.
“We need to talk about it …it’s getting close to decision time,” said Heide.
Although the Town of Clarks Harbour and Municipality of Barrington were slated to be a part of the Region 1 REN, including municipal units in Yarmouth and Digby counties, both of those councils have remain steadfast against taking part.
That REN is pressing on without the Shelburne County.
The government and six municipalities in Yarmouth and Digby Counties named a nine-member board of directors to oversee the new Western Regional Enterprise Network in February.
The Western Regional Enterprise Network will include the towns of Yarmouth and Digby and the municipalities of Yarmouth, Argyle, Clare and Digby.
The final step is the network's incorporation, which will happen when the municipalities sign an inter-municipal agreement.
A committee made up of municipal and provincial representatives appointed the board.