Economic growth should lead Atlantic provinces: minister
Communities around the Bay de Verde Peninsula are having their waste management regionalized as local landfills and incinerators shut down and garbage is shipped to Robin Hood Bay.
When it comes to growing the economy, Ross Wiseman, the province’s minister of Business believes Newfoundland and Labrador is not only well positioned, but is stronger than ever.
“ The last year and a half has been quite a turbulent time all over the world and while this province has felt the impacts. I think it’s fair to say we have weathered it better than most,” said Wiseman. “ Overall Newfoundland and Labrador’s economy is set to resume growth in 2010, and according to many forecasts our economic and employment growth should lead the Atlantic Provinces.”
The promising economic forecast was part of a keynote address the Business minister served up at an economic development luncheon in Bay Roberts, April 14. Approximately 75 people representing the business community attended the event, hosted by the Bay Roberts Economic Development Committee and the town council.
According to Wiseman the province is seeing significant growth in a number of areas including personal and disposable incomes, retail sales, consumer confidence, housing starts and tourism.
Referring to the Cuipds 400 celebration he said, “ this area will benefit from this celebration which will include historical re-enactments, an international conference and various festivals and events. Along with that there’s the construction of an interpretation centre with a family genealogy resource centre, and archaeology lab and a hall. It’s a $5 million project with $3.5 million coming from the provincial government. This will have ongoing con- tributions to the area and also be a lasting attractions for future tourists.”
The Lower Churchill Hydro project, White Rose expansion, Hibernia Southern extension, nickel plant in Long Harbour and potential offshore and onshore exploration work were just a few of the projects Wiseman mentioned as contributing to the province’s strong economic foundation.
“Our population is increasing too,” he added. “It went up by half a per cent from July 2008 to July 2009. That may not seem like much, but it was the largest annual increase since 1983. And it rose another 0.3 per cent from July to October of last year. These increases are due mainly to positive net migration, in other words inmigration and not the opposite.”
The minister also listed off numerous investments announced in the 2010 provincial budget a few weeks ago.
“As my colleague the minister of finance (Tom Marshall) said on budget day, now is not the time to slam our foot on the breaks, when the world is emerging from the recession,” said Wiseman. “ We need to strike a balance that keeps us on an upward growth path; not retrench and halt our momentum.”
Meanwhile Philip Wood, Bay Roberts deputy mayor and chairman of the council’s economic development committee highlighted the economic growth in the town and praised the business community and residents for their efforts.
Bay Roberts is very proud of its growth in the past number of years in both residential and business terms,” said Wood. “During the past three years the town has had a record number of housing starts, increased business activity and with Vale Inco in Long Harbour and our new business park we’re hoping to see even more interest in our town. When one looks at rural communities throughout our province, times have not necessarily been kind. Fortunately Bay Roberts because of a variety of factors, notably our business leaders, residents, community volunteers and the leadership provided by the town council and our government representatives, has had many successes.”
The April 14 event also provided the opportunity for the deputy mayor and the minister to present a certificate of recognition to Dave Powell of Atlantic Grocery Distributors and Jeff Simmonds of Tims Hortons for their outstanding leadership and recent business awards. In February Powell, owner/operator of Atlantic Groceries Distributors won the 2010 Restaurant Appreciation of the Year award from The Restaurant Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, while Simmonds, owner operator of the Bay Roberts Tim Hortons received the 2009 Always Fresh Award.