PICTOU - It is taking time to for a new economic development agency, says Municipality of Pictou County Warden Ron Baillie.
Baillie said Pictou County has approached Colchester and Cumberland counties about coming together in a partnership that follow the province’s proposed Regional Enterprise Networks, but it is still waiting word from one these groups.
“We had some initial talks with Colchester and Cumberland and we heard back that Cumberland was interested, but Colchester needs to sort through some CoRDA issues,”said Baillie.
CoRDA is Colchester County’s former regional development agency, similar to the Pictou Regional Development Agency, that were both dissolved this spring after the province withdrew its funding.
Regional boards are expected to be replaced by RENs that will encompass larger areas, but still provide regional economic leadership and help develop regional economic strategies while supporting small, local business.
In the spring, it was proposed that Pictou County join together with Guysborough and Antigonish counties to form a RENs, but Baillie said Colchester and Cumberland counties are a better fit.
Baillie said he sent an email off to Colchester Wednesday asking where their decision stands and if Colchester agrees to the partnership, a proposal will be send off to the provincial government.
He said each county could have its own representative working on its behalf and developing economic areas in each county, but the REN partnership would be beneficial when it had issues to be addressed to with the province.
“It would give us a bigger voice with the province,”he said.
Baillie said he has heard nothing from the province on the issue since the spring, but the need for economic development in the area hasn’t changed.
“We are willing to work together and hopefully the province will recognize us as a REN,”he said.
He told council during a recent committee meeting that he didn’t expect the province to provide funding for municipalities who were want to form their own economic development agencies rather than partnering with other areas.
“The province said you can set it up the way you want, but it has to be recognized as a REN,”Baillie said, adding that funding for the REN will be based on population.