While it may not seem like there is much happening in the East River Business Park, New Glasgow CAO Lisa MacDonald says work is ongoing to promote it and find companies to build there.
The park is managed by The New Scotland Business Development Inc., a corporation created by the Town of New Glasgow and Municipality of Pictou County in 2014. That year the municipalities purchased 17 acres of land adjacent to the existing business park to develop it and create lots ready for businesses to move to. The cost of the land was approximately $2.7 million.
The New Scotland Business Development Inc. board is made up of members from both councils and meets monthly, MacDonald said. In addition, the two municipalities’ business development officer Frank MacFarlane has been working to find interested buyers.
She said the decision to purchase the land was important for the municipalities as they sought to entice business to the area.
“We didn’t have available land until the expansion took place. So having the expansion in place is ensuring that we have investment-ready land to deal with people,” she said. “We really weren’t in a position before to have done that.”
After purchasing the land, the municipalities put in infrastructure such as natural gas lines and sewer and water lines.
Since the new extension of the park was created, the New Scotland Business Development Inc. has seen the construction of an office for Sullivan’s Fuels and members have been in discussions with a number of companies interested in the area.
“There’s been lots of people that have been inquiring,” MacDonald said.
She said they are in the negotiation stage with a couple of potential buyers.
The focus with the municipalities’ search, she said, has been to attract new businesses instead of just shuffling around the businesses that already exist in the county.
“Shuffling business hasn’t created any net positive impact for the county,” she said.
The New Scotland Business Development Inc. board believes they can attract businesses similar to the wholesale-type suppliers that are in the park which has been operating since the 1980s, such as Stright-McKay, Wolsely and others.
The Town of New Glasgow and Municipality of Pictou County still have an outstanding loan balance on the park for $2.72 million which they share equally. MacDonald said all the financial information is available to the public in both municipalities’ financial statements.