Agriculture minister introduces amendment to Provincial Exhibition Commission Act in effort to overhaul NSPE

Harry Sullivan
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HALIFAX – Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell introduced an amendment to provincial legislation on Wednesday intended to give him the authority to appoint members to the board of directors of the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition (NSPE).

If approved, the proposed amendment to the NSPE Commission Act will allow Colwell to appoint a three-person interim board to replace the current board, and “bring stability to the commission,” he said, earlier in the day during a live interview/conference call session at Province House.

Although the previous board has never officially been disbanded, Colwell stripped the commission members of their authority in January because of ongoing financial issues that saw the NSPE scrambling to deal with a debt load that last year had reached more than $1 million.

Colwell also identified the three members he has selected for an interim panel that is to oversee NSPE operations until a more permanent, five-member commission is selected at a later date.

The three members include former commission chairman Bruce Kennedy, who is to head up the interim panel, former commission vice-chairman Cameron MacEachen and Halifax business executive Gary Muise.

“All three have experience as directors of boards,” Colwell said in a news release. “They are dedicated to defining the business opportunities for the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition and for the province.”

The appointments are to take effect after Colwell’s amendment passes.

Colwell also announced the tender for a financial audit he has ordered of the NSPE operations has been awarded to KPMG. The audit, which is to examine the NSPE’s finances during the past two years, is expected to be completed in early July.

Colwell said that audit will be extended if information is found to warrant further investigation.

“These moves will ensure the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition Commission is self-supporting, has long-term stability and is able to help grow the Nova Scotia economy,” he said.

The minister added that business at the facility, including harness racing and other scheduled events, is continuing as usual while the management issues are sorted out.

A job posting for a permanent general manager will also be listed in the near future, he said.

 

Panel member bios:

Bruce Kennedy has operated a family business in Bible Hill for 35 years, has served as a member of the Business Advisory Council for Nova Scotia and

is former president of the Provincial Association of Convenience Stores in

Nova Scotia, as well as the Truro Harness Horse Owners Association.

 

Cameron MacEachen is a graduate of St. Francis Xavier University and has worked as a chartered accountant for the past decade. He and his family have been involved in the harness racing industry for nine years.

 

Gary Muise has been vice-president of operations with the Grafton Connor

Group for the past 11 years. He sits on the board of the Restaurant

Association of Nova Scotia.

hsullivan@trurodaily.com

Twitter: @tdnharry

 

 

Organizations: NSPE Commission, Province House, KPMG Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition Commission Business Advisory Council for Nova Scotia Provincial Association of Convenience Stores St. Francis Xavier University

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Halifax, Bible Hill

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