There was a time when the Colchester Regional Development Agency (CoRDA) was a major player hereabouts.
Formed in 1992 by Colchester County, Truro and Stewiacke to promote the region, its stated mission was ‘to drive sustainable economic growth, create healthy communities, prosperous business and opportunities for citizens.’
And with success stories such as the attraction of Community Metals to Debert and S and S Supply to the Truro Business Park, not to mention providing important ‘background work’ to get Home Hardware's multi-million dollar expansion underway at Debert, some would argue that CoRDA did its job well.
But the ground shifted seismically 17 months ago when the federal government announced the one-third core funding it provided to the province for its 12 regional development agencies (RDAs), including CoRDA, would be cut.
Equally strapped for cash, the province revealed six months later the 12 RDAs would be replaced (eventually) by six regional enterprise networks (RENs).
Not content to slip silently into the night, CoRDA attempted to reinvent itself, at one point even floating the idea of using nearly one million in cash and fixed assets to possibly take over a major role with the cash-strapped Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition.
Colchester County and Truro elected officials, however, argued that those assets belong to the municipalities, including Stewiacke, and not to CoRDA.
In addition, both municipalities substantially reduced their funding to CoRDA.
The county hasn’t coughed up a penny since providing a first-quarter payment of $78,000 while the town has cut its funding from $130,000 in 2012 to $60,000.
And, so, CoRDA inches awkwardly towards its March 31, 2014 wind-up date.
On the one hand, past chairman Laurie Jennings, of Masstown Market fame, is asking Colchester County council to provide some direction because CoRDA’s board and staff is fully prepared to continue on with economic development initiatives.
On the other, the county has already made plans to hire its own economic development officer and mayor Bob Taylor says, “We’ve made motions to wrap up CoRDA and they’ve refused to wrap up.”
“I expect that the directors should be forwarding information on what files they’re working on. I’m not hearing much.”
Sounds to us like a once-happy relationship irrevocably broken. So sad.