By Belle Hatfield
It will be Yarmouth’s opportunity to join the conversation about how to rebuild Nova Scotia’s economy when the Nova Scotia Commission on Building Our New Economy convenes at the Mariners Centre in Yarmouth on Thursday, March 7. The public discussion will run from 7-9 p.m.
One Nova Scotia, as the commission refers to itself, is an independent commission mandated by the Premier’s Advisory Committee on the Economy to gather input from Nova Scotians about the economic future of Nova Scotia. There is a particular emphasis on rural development.
It is comprised of Ray Ivany, John Bragg, Susanna Fuller, Dan Christmas and Yarmouth resident, Irene d’Entremont.
Although factors that drive the economy are complex, in an economics primer on the commission’s website, the challenge is distilled.
“The province needs to create new wealth, to attract and retain more people and investment, and generally to find ways to build a new economy,” it says.
The commission is asking people to consider their answers to three questions:
1. What do you like most about living in your Nova Scotia community?
2. What is working well in your community to provide jobs and build the economy?
3. What ideas do you have to make your community more prosperous?
The commission’s chair, Ray Ivany, believes all Nova Scotia can share in the economic vitality that Halifax and its feeder communities enjoy.
“Nova Scotia is on the brink of its greatest opportunity in generations. We’ve got the shipbuilding contracts, offshore exploration, construction of the Maritime Link. You drive into Halifax and you see cranes and development all over the city. It’s exciting. But I believe that our local economies throughout Nova Scotia – not just in HRM – can thrive, not simply survive, by understanding these opportunities, and sharing ideas about building a better future,” he writes in an introduction to the commission’s public meeting process.
In his other life, Ivany is the president and vice-chancellor of Acadia University and has a long history in executive management. During his tenure as the head of the Nova Scotia Community College, (1998-2005) he oversaw a period of transformation, rapid growth in enrolment, and major expansion of campus infrastructure.
In its introductory literature, the commission says, “The choice before us is not whether to change, but how. Do we let the forces around us play out, and adjust our expectations accordingly? Or do we actively engage in shaping the future? That’s the conversation we need to have now – at coffee shops, kitchen tables, classrooms, community halls and online.”
The commission is asking Yarmouth to join that conversation on Thursday.