Cumberland County’s former development authority took another step toward dissolution earlier this week when Amherst announced its decision to rescind its appointments to the beleaguered organization’s board of directors.
It’s a decision that will be carried out by each of the county’s five municipal units and is one that makes sense considering the liability that could remain with winding down the organization amid an ongoing forensic examination by a Halifax consultant.
The Cumberland Regional Development Authority will soon be a memory, and while its last few months saw more than its fair share of negative publicity, a troubling question has to remain. Now that CRDA is gone, what’s going to take its place?
When the province announced its decision to move away from the RDA model it suggested creating regional enterprise networks to continue the work of the regional development authorities. It appears as though this model has now been discarded. What comes next?
Several months of inaction have resulted in lost momentum. There’s a need for a regional economic development model outside Halifax, but it appears to have fallen off the radar. If the system of enterprise networks is not the answer, it’s time the province, the municipalities and feds find something that is because whether you like them or not, most regional development authorities, like CRDA, were successful for many years.
While we are all well aware of the bad news stories, such as what took place in southwest Nova Scotia and CRDA, there were more than a few good news stories. We can’t forget that CRDA played a role in UNESCO World Heritage designation for Joggins, the refurbishment of the Thinkers Lodge in Pugwash and a lot of tourism development along the Fundy Shore from Parrsboro to Advocate and up to Joggins.
Now that a new government is in place, hopefully it moves quickly to restart the discussions that result in a new model that works for all areas of Nova Scotia.