The last executive director to headthe Hants Regional Development Authority is now focused on helping the Glooscap First Nation prosper.
Claude O’Hara is the executive director of the newly formed Glooscap First Nation Economic Development Corporation, an entity that will be officially launched in April.
O’Hara, who ran for the Liberals in Hants West in the last provincial election following the close of the Hants RDA, says he did some consultancy work for Glooscap in the summer and, it seems, they liked his take on economic development.
He says the band council and forward-thinking Chief Sydney Peters, in particular, want Glooscap to be a catalyst for economic advancement within the region.
“We're recognizing the need for growth and to be sustainable,” said O’Hara.
Glooscap’s existing revenue centers include the gas bar, convenience store, fisheries operations and a gaming centre.
“We are exploring other retail opportunities,” said O’Hara, who couldn’t go into greater detail at this time.
“Clearly we have to explore opportunities where we have access to more people and more traffic.”
O’Hara says the goal is to improve operations at existing revenue centers, create new sources of revenue and expand Glooscap’s reach through strategic partnerships — all while promoting and protecting the community’s heritage.
“Eliminating reliance on government support is a universal motivator,” O’Hara said.
The Glooscap First Nation, with 80 reserve residents and about 340 members, has a geographic footprint of about 300 acres, O’Hara said.
O’Hara will be joined at the Glooscap First Nation Economic Development Corporation by CEO Jason Peters and Senior Director of Economic Development Liz Morine, the former executive director of the Annapolis Digby Economic Development Agency.
The trio will answer to a board of directors that includes band council representatives, high profile business people and the CAOs for Hantsport and Windsor.
“We see it as an opportunity to build a community. Really, it is,” said O’Hara. “I ran for politics because I wanted to do things — I have the opportunity to do it here.”