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Talking points for Amherst’s economic development

["Walt's World with Walter Jones"]
Walt's World with Walter Jones

Walt's World with Walter Jones

I was in sales for a number of years and the one thing I learned fast was if I wanted to sell my product I had better have some good talking points.

Are we trying to sell Amherst? I noticed that the promotional budget was cut this year. Bean counters are necessary, but they have absolutely no imagination. Don't let them dominate.

Here are some talking points.

Sunshine - we have more sunny days than anywhere in Nova Scotia. Jost turned it into wine. We now have 20 wineries in Nova Scotia. How many in Cumberland County, just one - even though Jost claimed it was the best area to grow wine grapes.

It can also be turned into power through solar energy, generate electricity for the grid or use it to run your factories.

We have 33 per cent of the agricultural land in Nova Scotia. John Bragg, with a little imagination, turned what was once a seasonal industry into a year-round, international business when he started flash freezing wild blueberries. He was so successful that he now has more than he can sell.

One of his biggest customers in Japan, who buys hundreds of thousands of pounds, makes jam.

One of my favourite wines is wild blueberry, or a blueberry apple blush.

Amherst is in the middle of blueberry country. Wine or jam anyone? A few years ago there was a contest to see who had the best water in Canada. We placed second.

We once had a pop bottling plant here.

We are the geographical center of the Maritimes. Amherst was once the home of the Maritime winter fair - can anyone say trade show?

Tourism -  We have more historic buildings than any town or city in Nova Scotia, except possibly Halifax.

There are several bus tour companies that do Bay of Fundy tours and simply pass by Amherst. Has anyone contacted any bus tour companies or travel agencies?

We have more history than Liverpool and they are a UNESCO site. Does that give anyone any ideas?

Cost of living is much lower than Halifax. We have a college and a university. Mount Allison is the best undergraduate school in Canada and it’s in our backyard.

I had great hopes for our new council and mayor, but just protecting the status quo is not enough. We need imagination and initiative.

Walter Jones column appears weekly in the Amherst News

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