Cumberland South MLA Jamie Baillie wants the county's politicians to get behind an effort to make Parrsboro the base for tidal power development in the Bay of Fundy.
PARRSBORO – Cumberland South MLA and PC Party leader Jamie Baillie wants Parrsboro to be prepared to compete for to be the base for the multi-million-dollar tidal power initiative underway in the Minas Channel and the Bay of Fundy.
Speaking to the Parrsboro Board of Trade on Monday, Baillie said Parrsboro needs to focus on ensuring its wharf can handle the demands of the project and should be prepared to go after the federal and provincial funding necessary to making the required improvements.
Parrsboro, he said, is going to find itself competing with Hantsport and Digby in Nova Scotia and Saint John in New Brunswick to be the base of operations for tidal power.
“We have the advantage in that we are the closest,” Baillie said. “We need to make it easy for those jobs to come to us.”
The key, he said, is making sure the wharf can handle the traffic and whether there are enough berths for the companies that are servicing the power project. He wants to work to get the wharf tidal power ready.
“It’s a necessary project to me. The role of government is not to be bailing out private companies, but there is a role in putting in place infrastructure to allow private companies to succeed,” he said. “With a lot of private company investment coming, we are going to subsidize them, but we’re going to make sure the wharf is tidal ready and the bridge and aboiteau are tidal ready and the Town of Parrsboro does an assessment to determine what it needs to be tidal ready.”
Baillie said tidal power is going to happen. The question, he said, is which town is going to be base. Parrsboro has every right to be that town if it gets the infrastructure in place.
The Cumberland South MLA said he wants to get all the county’s municipalities on board as well as MP Scott Armstrong so they are working toward supporting Parrsboro’s efforts.
Baillie also spoke to the board about getting the community ready to respond to the Ivany report on Nova Scotia’s new economy. He said a lot of work has to be done to improve the local economy and suggested a municipal committee.
“The Ivany report says we should focus on our natural resources. In Cumberland County we have the fishery on both the Fundy and Northumberland shore, we have agriculture, blueberries and maple syrup and we have forestry,” Baillie said. “We’re going to have to kick start those industries from the ground up.”
Baillie suggested Cumberland County municipalities create a municipal report card to see how they are doing at implementing the recommendations of the Ivany report.