Time for action, not words after Michelin cuts

Sueann Musick, The New Glasgow News
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PICTOU – A county councilor said it's time for councilors to take action, not words, in light of a local tire manufacturer’s workforce reduction.

Michelin plant in Pictou County

Coun. Robert Parker asked that council approve a motion for the formation of working committee made of representatives from the local business world, MLAs and fellow municipal councils to try to improve the economic future for the area.

“The province is putting something together, but where do we go from here?” he asked. “Leadership has to come from the other five councils as well. We need a working group to see where we go from here.”

Michelin Tire announced Monday that it would be reducing its workforce at its Granton plant by 500 people by June 2015 because of a decrease in demand for small vehicle tires.  The plant will continue operations as usual in southern Nova Scotia.

Parker said the Pictou County Regional Development Corporation is no longer operating and anything that will replace it, isn't even established yet.

“We need to get a message out to the people that this council will a part in looking for a plan for this county,” he said. “We need to roll up our sleeves, get the right people involved and do something about it.”

Deputy Warden Andy Thompson agreed with Parker, saying that something needs to be done to help rural municipalities, adding that some behind the scenes work has been taking place on the economic development front.

“We are working strategically with our municipal parkers to create new opportunities,” he said. “We are coming into a transition period and it started today. Michelin is the bedrock that supplied a work directly and indirectly.

Parker said he appreciates the work that has already been done, but now is the time to show local residents that council is supporting them in this difficult time.

“The public needs to knows we are taking the bull by horns and its needs to instill faith in our general public,” Parker said.

Thompson agreed saying that the county recently advertised a position for a new economic development officer for the county and New Glasgow that will concentrate on bringing business opportunities to the area.

“We can wallow in the bad news or try to use it to our advantage and make it a better county to live in,” he said. “A lot of people are working at the Michelin plant and want to stay here.”

Coun. David Parker said the county has to be seen doing something and suggested that it might want to look at lowering its business tax rate or residential tax rate in the new fiscal year if it has another large surplus at the end of the month.

In 2013, the county ended its year with a $50,000 surplus and it is expecting it will be in good financial standing at the end of this fiscal year in March 2014.

“It is not wise to carry a surplus when businesses are struggling and home owners are struggling,” he said.

Coun. Leonard Fraser said council should give this idea some thought before it reacts because when a business downsizes, property assessments drop and the county collects less taxes, meaning its surplus may not be as plentiful in the future.

In the end, councilors unanimously agreed to establish a working group on the issue of economic development for the county and will be in touch with other potential members to begin work. 

Organizations: Pictou County Regional Development

Geographic location: Granton, Southern Nova Scotia, New Glasgow

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Recent comments

  • County Gopher
    March 05, 2014 - 14:53

    Being a county gopher I don't want to amalgamate with the Towns. Sorry, on your own!

  • Up to the residents
    March 05, 2014 - 12:02

    Amalgamation should be up to the residents not the mayors or councilors. There should be a way to have the public vote on it. I am pretty sure it would fly.

  • Good Grief
    March 05, 2014 - 11:30

    Another call to action, sigh. I'm with Stephen McNeil, let business drive economic development and let government do what it knows best and that helps business as well as the general population (education, infrastructure, utilities, public services etc.)

  • J
    March 04, 2014 - 15:29

    amalgamation anyone? for too long its been a dirty word in Pictou Co. Perhaps now our many councillors will see the value of centralized decision making, leadership / decision making and value that can come from streamlining services. And most importantly the appearance of a positive/cooperative economic climate that can attract and retain business and industry. Big picture thinking is required for that however- and positive action and are you ready for this- cooperation...JMO

    • Johnny smoke
      March 05, 2014 - 11:35

      Naw just get the government to legislate that all cars from now on will have to be equipped with 13-14-15-inch tires. Why not? They try to legislate everything else from milk to eggs, from gas to electricity and beyond. Everything else that government's put their hands on fails. Oh by the way those lost 100 jobs at stinky Maritime Steele sure look good now do they not ? Well they do to the unemployed not the up nosed pensioners who could care less, no sense naming names you all know who you are.

    • mark mackay
      March 05, 2014 - 13:00

      Agree with everything you said. We need a single municipal unit in Pictou County. These horse and buggy towns need to go.