Happy New Year to all residents of the Municipality of Pictou County from myself and fellow councillors.
Here’s hoping that 2019 is a prosperous year for the economy of Pictou County and that each of you enjoy a healthy year.
On the economic front, our new REN (Regional Enterprise Network) is up and running and I continue to have confidence that this body will help attract new business and good paying jobs to all of Pictou County. The results will certainly take time as this volunteer board feels its way into a new role. It’s a monumental task to ask of busy community people to give up time to start a new organization from ground zero. These are a diverse group of individuals, all from the private sector or community individuals, devoted to improving the economic prospects of Pictou County.
Our Municipality, along with the five towns and Pictou Landing First Nations, are enthusiastically behind this joint endeavour for at least the next five years. We each have a representative on an oversight committee, along with the provincial government, as these are the funding bodies and need to be sure taxpayer dollars are protected.
As we enter 2019, a big concern for our County is the issue of Northern Pulp and the legal obligations with the Province of Nova Scotia to have a new effluent treatment plant established by January 31, 2020 to replace Boat Harbour. There is no doubt that this is a very divisive situation in our County, pitting one large resource industry against another with, so far, very little give from either side. It is leading to division between neighbours within communities and even within families. Municipal Council is voicing very clearly to both Provincial and Federal governments that we cannot afford to lose any jobs from either the forestry or fishing sector as they are both major parts of Pictou County’s economy.
It is not within the mandate of Municipal Government to find a solution to this issue, but meetings have been held between myself and these two industries and also with the Premier and the Ministers of Provincial Government departments.
We are encouraging all to show leadership and get around a table to attempt to find a middle ground. I think it will be difficult, but not impossible, and it is critical for the future of our County, the economic well being of many of our citizens, as well as the safety and health of all.
Our Council held its annual planning session to review accomplishments of 2018 and priorities for 2019.
Of our five priorities set in January 2018, three are complete, or will be substantially completed in the next few months. The ongoing priorities in 2019 are high speed internet/cellular goals and increased communications with neighbouring municipalities, including Pictou Landing First Nations.
Substantially completed are:
Our three new priorities, which I will explain in more detail in another update, are:
Please let your Municipal Government in rural Pictou County know what you think- good, bad or otherwise – on any issue.
I know not everybody can agree with every decision we make, but I also know that all of us around the council table are determined to make the best decisions we can for all our citizens. Also, our staff is here to serve you on a day to day basis and we are always striving to improve that service. Satisfying you, both as Council and staff, is our ultimate goal.
Winter well, smile often and look after each other.
Warden of the Municipality of Pictou County