Jason Blanch said there is no need to rush into hiring a replacement.
“That there is no need to rush to hire a new, permanent, position that may not
be the direction that the new council wants to go with regard to business development,” said Blanch.
The former federal and provincial Green Party candidate said that newly elected officials often want to push the community in a different direction, but they are limited by a lack of finances to implement new ideas and the staff required to manage new programs.
For Blanch, having a director retire so close to a municipal election is a great opportunity for a new council to have some resources available to chart a new course for the town and community. He suggests the town should look at its shared services agreement with the county as a potential area for the town and Cumberland County to work more closely together.
“There are so many opportunities for us to take advantage of with regard to business
development,” he said.
One area of increased co-operation could be in Beaubassin, a soon to be Parks Canada National Heritage Site.
“ There is a great deal of Acadian history within our community that we can rediscover and promote. What position could we co-create with the county that could develop the potential of this opportunity, an Acadian Trail where tourists follow the historic wave of Acadian settlement around the county, stopping first in Amherst to insure a proper visit to Beaubasin Historic Site,” he said. “By working together with the county, how much more money could we leverage from the provincial and federal government to develop tourism infrastructure and create tourism related jobs?”
Blanch feels that by filling this position now, before the new council takes its seats, it will tie their hands to do something different.
“I am running for town council because I want to create and implement a prosperous vision for our future. Please, don’t take my resources just days before I begin,” he said.
Blanch expressed that his perspective on business development sees the close proximity of
Moncton as a positive.
He said he often hears people concerned about Amherst residents going to Moncton to spend their
money and protectionist strategies on how to keep our money here.
“Buying local is important but I feel we need to see Moncton as an opportunity and work toward bringing more of its 80,000 people here to Amherst to support our businesses,” he said. “I know that this is already happening for many of the successful businesses in town. I feel that if the new council decides a business development officer is the right decision, one of their key roles would be to help other Amherst businesses tap into the Moncton market.”