Saturday, September 8, 2012

Nova Scotia puts her Regional Development Agencies under the microscope

Our local newspaper, The News, just published a supplement entitled the Nova Scotia Business Journal.  I found Laura MacKenzie’s article in that RDAs ‘under the microscope’ Are they needed or have they ever been? very interesting. My conclusion is that we do in fact need an organization in the region to promote social and economic development in our communities but I feel they could be far more effective and successful if they took a little different approach. (... continued)

Here at our PRDA in Pictou County we have a super team headed by an extremely competent leader in Jack Kyte. Still it is not enough. Why is that? Because one small team working in one small office in New Glasgow can work their hearts out but they can never hope to spawn sufficient social and economic growth to properly sustain and grow our five towns, a native reserve, several villages and the rest of the County. That is what is required but, it is just too massive an undertaking and burden for anyone to expect out of one small office. And I would say the same in respect to every RDA in the province. So how could they do better by taking a different approach?

Think about it. Community social and economic development is not and should not be just the purview and responsibility of our RDAs. It’s community business and community business is everybody’s business. But as a society, we have housed in New Glasgow all our expertise in one small office of unelected appointees with no mandate from the public while leaving most of the rest of us including our elected municipal leaders, our mayors and councilors in large measure, totally unaware or ignorant of what they could and should be doing to promote all the social and economic development that is needed in our communities.

In a few days, we all will be in the middle of a municipal election. There are many seats to be filled. I’d like to see a healthy public debate proceeding among all the candidates running for municipal office concerning the social and economic development required by their voters and their plans to promote that following the election.

Following the election, I’d like to see our RDAs take on the task of teaching those chosen from the people through election and given the mandate to be the community’s leaders. Many will have very little idea of how to go about fostering the social and economic growth needed in their communities. Thus I see this as an important and needed role for the RDAs to fill - that of training to give these chosen and mandated leaders the knowledge, understanding and skill to be able to fill that community leadership role.

The End - Return to main page

No comments: