Four Cape Breton municipalities to work together on economic development
Created: Tuesday, 28 January 2014 10:32
Declaration of Cooperation reached on new development organization
January 28, 2014
SYDNEY, NS – Cape Breton Island's four largest municipalities, representing all four of the island's counties and most of the island's residents, have agreed to collaborate on the establishment of an economic development organization. The municipal leaders of all four municipalities participated in a signing today at the Whycocomagh Fire Hall.
The new organization will be a part of the province's Regional Enterprise Network (REN). Regional Enterprise Networks will provide regional economic leadership and help develop regional economic strategies, while supporting small, local businesses.
The Cape Breton Regional Municipality and the municipal leadership of the counties of Inverness, Richmond and Victoria will work with the provincial government to fund the REN as the lead agency for cost-shared economic development initiatives across the island.
Economic and Rural Development and Tourism Minister Michel Samson says the province is looking forward to working on the details with the four Cape Breton municipalities. "This collaboration among Cape Breton's four counties is a great step forward in setting up a REN," said Samson. "It is a positive approach to working together to focus on economic development, pursue investments, and help local businesses to grow and create new jobs."
Victoria County Warden Bruce Morrison agreed that a unified approach will lead to a stronger effort and better outcomes.
"As an Island, we have shared interests in natural resources, tourism and cultural industries," said Morrison. "Working together ensures our priorities are clearly articulated and heard by business interests, investors, and the provincial and federal governments."
Warden Steve Sampson of Richmond County says the municipalities will meet to work out more details on funding and the name and structure of the organization.
"We're very pleased to be able to partner with our neighbouring municipalities to ensure we are putting forward a professional, world-class effort on economic development opportunities," said Sampson.
Duart MacAulay, Warden of the Municipality of the County of Inverness, said he hopes the new collaboration on economic development sends a strong signal to others about Cape Breton Island.
"We're united in many ways, but most importantly, we're united in being open for business and developing new opportunities for our residents," he said. "An investment in Cape Breton is supported by all Cape Bretoners."
Cape Breton Regional Municipality Mayor Cecil Clarke says the municipalities are in the early stages on details, but are in agreement that collaboration among the municipalities and the province on the economy is important.
"We can achieve more if we pool our economic development expertise than by trying to do it separately as individual municipalities," said Clarke. "It strengthens us as an island and ensures the economic development priorities of local government are moved forward, together with the province, for positive change."