Mayor iden­ti­fies need for re­gional de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer

The Southern Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - BY COLIN FAR­RELL

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.

TC ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

Mayor Paul Pike

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