Loss of economic development boards leaves a void
Cartwright-L’Anse au Clair MHA Yvonne Jones claims the Dunderdale Government’s decision to cut its funding to Regional Economic Development Boards (REDBs) is the final nail in the coffin for REDBs throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.
Ms. Jones said “For many communities in Newfoundland and Labrador, especially in the rural regions, REDBs are the catalyst for community economic development.
“The 19 existing REDBs have played a very important role in communities since their inception in 1995, and the loss of funding from both the federal and provincial governments puts the sustainability of the boards in jeopardy.”
The Schooner Regional Development Boards on the Burin Peninsula is among the 19 regional boards.
Ms. Jones noted up to this year, ACOA contributed 75 per cent of the funding to REDBs, while the province contributed the other 25 per cent. The federal government slashed its commitment to the boards in its 2012 budget, effective May 2013.
The Liberal MHA said the Dunderdale Government has decided to discontinue its funding, effective July 2012. The total amount of provincial funding is in the vicinity of $1.25 million.
“The sudden decision to stop the funding to REDBs by the Dunderdale Government is an indication of their lack of commitment to community economic development. The real question now is who will step in to fill the void that will be left if the REDBs are not able to continue their operation?
“The volunteers and staff who serve on these boards have made a tremendous contribution to economic development in this province and to see all their efforts go down the drain is shameful.”