By Belle Hatfield
Yarmouth’s Joint Economic Development Committee wants direction from the councils it serves. The committee's mandate is to foster and promote economic development in the town and municipality of Yarmouth.
In a letter to councils, the committee chair Steve Paquette asked for assurances that the council will continue its financial support beyond March 31.
The committee is recommending a closer association with the Yarmouth and Acadian Shores Tourism Association and is asking that consideration be given to expanding membership to Argyle and Clare.
Committee member John Z. Miller also serves on the region's economic council, developed after the implosion of the South West Shore Development Authority. He appeared Thursday before a meeting of the town’s committee of the whole to speak about his representatiion on his service with that regional body.
“We were put together to come up with ideas for economic development, not to spend money,” he told council, adding that it isn’t the job of an economic council to create jobs, it is to create the environment that fosters entrepreneurial activity.
He mentioned several local organizations with which the council has consulted, including the Yarmouth International Airport Corporation, Yarmouth and Acadian Shores Tourist Association and the Nova Scotia International Ferry Partnership.
“After a year-and-a-half we have concluded with a strategic five-year plan for the economic development of south west Nova Scotia,” he said.
The inclusion of Digby into the province’s newly restructured Regional Enterprise Networks (RENs) will create some stresses and strains, Miller told council, adding that, with an area stretching from Lockeport to Digby, Yarmouth will need a strong voice at the table.
“That’s going to be very interesting since Yarmouth and Digby have very similar assets,” he said, adding, “Yarmouth continues to be the largest population area, the largest shopping area, the best community for recreation and entertainment.”
It is the business hub of southwest Nova Scotia he said.
Asked if there is still a role for a local economic development officer, he said, “Someone needs to pull together all these organizations that are trying to organize community activities and jobs and new enterprise.”