Loss of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment boards leaves a void

The Southern Gazette - - NEWS -

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.”

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