Mayor identifies need for regional development officer
St. Lawrence Mayor Paul Pike would like to see the return of regional development officers.
In the past Atlantic Canada was represented by 19 Regional Economic Development Boards. That was until 2012 when the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development announced they would no longer provide core funding for the boards.
Pike, who chaired the Schooner Regional Economic Development Corporation at the time, brought up the issue when council met on Nov. 22.
“As a town we feel that the Burin Peninsula would certainly benefit from having a regional economic development officer,” he said.
Pike added that such a person could work with all the area communities.
“Right now with the province in such dire straits when it comes to employment, we feel that this particular person could work with the communities in a region to develop the ideas and to put forward proposals to hopefully attract business to their region and as well to create employment in their region,” he said.
Pike said the Town of St. Lawrence has a lot of activity happening with Canada Fluorspar developing the mine and other industries looking to do business in town.
Pike feels that a regional development officer working directly with the town, to attend trade shows, and promote the area as a place to do business would be beneficial to the town and the region.
Pike suggested that one option would be for towns in the region to set funds aside in their budgets to help fund a regional development officer position.
“Partner with government on it and try and come up with some funding so that government could help with the remainder,” he said.
Pike added the Burin Peninsula could be used as a pilot project for a regional development officer.
“If that could be the case and town’s buy into it, then we could get government to focus on this particular region as a pilot just to see how it benefits the region,” he explained.
The Mayor also feels the economic growth of some communities is limited by factors beyond their control.
Santa Claus is looking forward to visiting all local children.
Mayor Paul Pike