TRURO - A new national report on business friendliness within Canadian municipalities places Truro third from the bottom.
Only Saint John, N.B. and Cape Breton fared lower among Atlantic communities regarding their status as being "small business friendly," according to a national report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).
But the Hubtown was not alone in poor scoring, as only one Nova Scotia municipality - Kentville - cited in the report broke into the top 50 cities. Like Truro, Halifax and New Glasgow also scored in the bottom half of the list.
"With municipal elections around the corner, there couldn't be a better time for this report to come out," said Leanne Hachey, CFIB vice-president for Atlantic Canada. "We have (a) real window of opportunity to do things differently and place a real emphasis on attracting and supporting entrepreneurs as a vital source of energy, inspiration and growth for communities."
The report, called Communities in Boom: Canada's Top Entrepreneurial Cities, deals with comparisons between 100 Canadian municipalities with population sizes of at least 25,000 (Colchester County was included in the Truro numbers) on 14 different indicators, including the business tax burden, the number of business start-ups, and the optimism of small business owners.
The only Atlantic Canada city to break the top 10 was St. John's.
The Western provinces, meanwhile, have the largest number of cities at the top of the list.
Don Hay, president of the Truro and District Chamber of Commerce, said that while disappointing, Truro's placement does not come as a complete surprise.
"I think Truro's a good place to do business but there's some pressures," Hay said, adding that the problem appears to be widespread throughout the Atlantic provinces and not confined to Truro.
But he believes more could be done to change the outlook found in the report.
"We think from a chamber standpoint, we hope our local governments promote small business a little better in the area and look at commercial tax rates and red tape and make it a better place to do business."
A lack of business promotion by local municipalities, along with high commercial tax rates and red tape are common complaints from local small business owners, he said.
"That's what we hear from our members a lot of times, that there's a lot of red tape. A lot of times politicians don't give them the time of day. It seems like our business interests kind of drop off the table in front of a lot of other interests a lot of times."
"We would like to have better attention to promoting business and helping the area grow."
Hay said he believes the local promotion of small business has not been a priority in the area for awhile, a factor he would like to see changed."
"I think our government has to be more business friendly. I think that might be some of the reasons for the low score.
To view the full report, log onto: www.cfib.ca/ns.
The qualifying Atlantic Canadian municipalities appeared in the following order, beginning with those most small business friendly (rank, out of 100; overall score, out of 100):
St. John's (N.L.) 10 57
Miramichi (N.B.) 26 52
Charlottetown (P.E.I.) 33 51
Corner Brook (N.L.) 35 51
Kentville (N.S.) 38 50
Fredericton (N.B.) 40 50
Moncton (N.B.) 45 50
Bathurst (N.B.) 54 48
Halifax (N.S.) 55 48
New Glasgow (N.S.) 75 45
Truro (N.S.) 77 45
Saint John (N.B.) 78 45
Cape Breton (N.S.) 93 41