When is now?

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Six months have passed since the Ivany Commission Report Now or Never: An Urgent Call to Action was released.

It was met with robust affirmation that people need to take control and act to build the economy. Its 19 goals, focusing on populations, economic development and governance, along with a dozen strategic directions, were haled as “game changers.”

It’s disappointing to learn so soon after the hype and excitement incited by that document that according to a Halifax-based think-tank the overall economic performance in Atlantic Canada was weak in the first half of 2014.

The Atlantic Provinces Economic Council that released the report points to a slowdown in employment, retail sales and general exports as contributors to the soft performance.

However, it says, hope is on the horizon. It cites a list of major capital projects believed to be keys to turn around the economy such as plans to build warships in Halifax and construction on the city’s new convention centre.

Colchester County and Truro were fortunate to benefit from two major construction projects in recent years with the Colchester East Hants Health Centre ($184 million, open in November 2012) and Rath Eastlink Community Centre ($48 million, open in September 2013).

There are no other major projects such as these on the horizon for this region. While the promise of jobs in Halifax is closer than Fort MacMurray and other western job meccas, people want to work where they live, especially while raising families.

There will be benefits to some businesses here as supplies and a smattering of jobs will be filled with our residents but it is not enough.

New entreprenures need increased support and encouragement. Retaining businesses that are here is equally important. Increased efforts must be made to attract immigrants to the area to boost our tax base and use of infrastructure in place must be maximized.

If the time to act “now” to improve the economy of the province was six months ago we wonder when is the new “now” to take action?

Organizations: Atlantic Provinces Economic Council, Colchester East Hants Health Centre, Rath Eastlink Community Centre

Geographic location: Halifax, Atlantic Canada, Colchester County Fort MacMurray

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