Now that the provincial election has come and gone, the three Members of Legislative Assembly who represent constituents in Colchester County are looking forward to what 2014 may bring.
Here’s what they had to say about their hopes and dreams for their respective ridings:
Larry Harrison, Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley
While he doesn’t yet have an office, newly-elected Progressive Conservative Larry Harrison already has a vision.
“One of the things I’d like to see is the communities maintaining their community spirit,” said Harrison, who wants to help the rural communities in that aspect. “These days, more and more is being lost in the communities and it’s tough for them to hang onto things.”
Harrison wants to teach things to residents in the communities in the Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley riding.
“Rural communities are taking a beating, but statistics have shown that rural communities are growing. That’s where people want to live.”
One of the communities within Harrison’s riding that has shown growth during the past few years is the Town of Stewiacke. Only a short drive to both the province’s main airport and Halifax Regional Municipality, the town is seeing new housing starts each year as of late.
Harrison is also hearing from his constituents about what is concerning them.
“People need assistance and I’m trying to help them in that respect,” he said. “There are a lot of little things, such as assisting people on applying for grants. A lot of people are on a fixed income and at the end of the year, it must be hard on them. I can’t even imagine.
“Helping the constituents is certainly my main thing.”
Lenore Zann, Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River
As the Liberal party claimed a majority government in October’s election, Lenore Zann was just one of seven New Democrats to be elected and the former actress held onto her seat.
“There are a few things that are still ongoing in the riding from last term,” said Zann. “I’m really hoping the (new elementary) school in Bible Hill gets things sorted out and gets built, and the future of the Truro Raceway. I did a lot of work on those.”
One of the biggest changes that came at the hands of Zann’s work is the riding having been changed from Truro-Bible Hill to now encompass all constituents.
“I wanted the riding to be inclusive of the entire area, and to reflect that,” said Zann about the private bill she introduced.
Another bill the MLA introduced pertained to the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition (NSPE) Act, opening up the board to members of the public.
“I care deeply what happens to the NSPE and would love to see things work out. The commission had asked for a provincial loan to be dissolved and the province said no, so now, what the NSPE commission has to do is come up with a good business plan to show that the NSPE can be sustainable. I’m sure if we do that, the NSPE can make some money and go for another 50 to 100 years.”
By introducing the bill to the NSPE Act, Zann said new members have joined the board, members she thinks can be a strong asset to the NSPE.
“It’s my job to help make things happen and bring people together, and that’s what I tried to do there. I would like to see it succeed and bring people to the table with the knowledge and expertise.
“I will do everything I can to try and help, but I think my job there is over.”
Other projects on Zann’s radar include the arts.
This coming year, Zann has plans to bring in Ballet Jörgen, a national dance company, to perform at local elementary schools.
“Every elementary school child in this riding will have a chance to see a professional ballet performance,” she said.
Arts are a huge love for Zann, and she’s also planning another Shakespeare in the Park performance. Plans this year are to perform ‘Romeo and Juliet’ for the public.
She will continue to talk about bullying and is set to release an anti-bullying and mental health song she wrote with her 12-year-old nephew.
“It’s a message about love, not hate, and hope for the future,” Zann said about “Ghost Before My Time.”
Karen Casey, Colchester North
With a new premier and new majority government, Liberal Karen Casey says the new year is one filled with optimism and hope.
“We need to recognize our challenges, not just in Colchester North, but in the province, and focus not on what we can’t do, but focus on what we can do,” said Casey, adding Colchester North has “a lot of assets we need to capitalize on.”
She said agriculture is a good example, citing good agricultural land being farmed and worked, producing crops to generate revenue.
“I’m very encouraged by that,” she said.
“There is some agricultural land in Debert that is gaining interest by farmers, so I think we can cultivate that as well. Debert has lots of potential and experience in growth.”
She said Debert is a “prime location” because of its own airport, proximity to the Trans-Canada Highway and the fact it has a rail line passing through the community.
Regarding the North Shore, Casey calls Tatamagouche a “unique and special community that’s strong.”
“Things that have worked in Tatamagouche can work elsewhere in Colchester North,” she added. “They are really strong, community people who work hard and explore special projects with community work. I think other areas in the riding could tap into human resources that are available and take pride in their communities.”
She said communities shouldn’t be hung up on the past, but to say “here’s what we have, now let’s see what we can do with it.”
She gives the province’s growing wine industry as an example, an industry that is growing internationally.
“It’s that kind of creative, futuristic thinking that we need. Communities certainly can be creative and make the best use of what they have.”
When it comes to the riding as a whole, and even the province, Casey says there needs to be co-operation, not competition.
“Let’s not compete with one against another,” she said. “What is good for one part of the county is good for other parts of the county, and the province. The rural economy needs the city, and the city needs the rural economy. Colchester County, the Town of Truro, Village of Bible Hill, Tatamagouche, Stewiacke and Millbrook … we all benefit when any one of those prospers.”
The MLA said there needs to be more rural economic development and areas shouldn’t be driven by just one industry.
“We need some small industries, and there needs to be government support,” she said. “There needs to be some incentive for small businesses and support from the government because small businesses employ people and they generate revenue.”
Casey said all the hopes and dreams didn’t come from her but her constituents.
“These are their ideas and suggestions and it’s important for them to be heard,” she said.