REN meeting set for Wednesday in Westville

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PICTOU COUNTY – Over a year and six months later, Westville councillor Lennie White is happy to see a meeting time set to discuss the development of a Regional Enterprise Network (REN).

This Wednesday all six municipal units from Pictou County are expected to be in attendance for the county’s REN meeting, which was organized by Frank Reinhardt from the Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism.

In December 2012 White was appointed as the Westville representative for the process. The various representatives attended an information session in Antigonish, also hosted by the Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism. At that meeting there were members from Guysborough, Antigonish and Pictou counties. They discussed REN 5, which was expected to involve all three counties, but since that initial gathering there has been no meetings to White’s knowledge.

Since that initial gathering in Antigonish White has given multiple updates at Westville town council meetings about the lack of progress in the creation of a REN. He wasn’t blaming anyone or pointing any fingers, but just wanted the municipal units to get together.

“I’m really excited to see that there is finally going to be a meeting,” he said. “I think it will answer a lot of questions on how to proceed both individually and collectively to develop a REN. I’ve happy to see that happen. I’m also looking forward to Warden Ron Baillie’s thoughts on going towards the Cumberland REN. There is definitely some hope that we will be getting some answers on this (the REN creation process).”

White said he isn’t certain at this time what option is best for Westville or for any unit in Pictou County, but that joining or creating a REN is a step in the right direction.

Baillie told The News Monday that he believes joining the REN with Cumberland and Truro makes the most sense.

“We have more in common with that way than we do with Antigonish,” Baillie said. “We probably do more dealing with that way…. At the end of the day it just seems like a better fit.”

He admits there’s been no public consultation in the process, but said he hasn’t heard any complaints either.

He said they looked at both options and right now are leaning to REN 4 although it hasn’t been finalized.

“We’re going into this looking at all the options and we’re going to pick the one we think is most suited.”

The goal is to have a REN up and running by the end of the year although he said it may happen sooner than that.

Organizations: Department of Economic and Rural Development, Westville town council

Geographic location: Westville, Pictou County, Antigonish Guysborough

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