Wednesday, August 26, 2009



This morning I want to engage you in the beginning dialogue... that I believe is necessary if we are going to create the organizational structure we need to better promote the socio-economic development of our communities in Shelburne County.

As you may have noted from a review of the comments provided by readers, a number of readers have identified their preference regarding the geographic coverage of our new RDA.... One thing is clear..... no one voted for the continued participation of Shelburne municipalities in an RDA that covers Shelburne, Yarmouth and Clare.

Some voted for two RDAs.... one for Eastern Shelburne County and one for Western Shelburne County. Some suggested RDAs for each municipality..... while others suggested we didn't need an RDA ..... and that municipalities should simply deal with provincial and federal governments directly.

All of the options voted for have some merit.

Below I have briefly outlined my take on each of these options and my preference.

Option 1 - No RDA.

The primary problem with this option is that RDA's were originally established to provide technical support and training to local populations at large and municipal governments generally by providing assistance to the community in the implementation of annual strategic plans.

The view then was that RDAs could help private citizens by supporting their efforts to create and/or build businesses, RDAs would also be a local resource to help municipal governments, NGOs and others to develop the skills to manage or put together proposals for socio-economic and business development in our communities. Passing this responsibility to municipal governments would require significant budgets and the recruitment and administration of a staff complement that would be prohibitive for each community.

Option 2 - Separate RDAs for Eastern and Western Shelburne County

The primary problem with this alternative is that some of the natural advantages dictated by geography, built infrastructure, natural resources, heritage and size are lost to the separation of communities at the Clyde. As a result, I rank this option as my second choice. That said, there is not doubt that the municipalities on either side of the Clyde could effectively make use of an RDA devoted to their socio-economic development. However, it would be a more expensive solution and some common strategies for development would be more difficult to embrace and develop.

Option 3 - A Shelburne County RDA

While this option makes the most sense, it is plagued by historical tension between residents on either side of the Clyde. Creating a viable RDA without aggravating these tensions would require that the RDA stick to its technical support mandate. Not an impossible task ..... but one that would require the role of the RDA to change from the all-powerful dictator of development efforts we have experienced over the past 13 years.

In a new world, a new RDA that was devoted to supporting residents, local organizations, businesses and municipal governments achieve their development objectives instead of being a political power broker, could work well and serve all of Shelburne County. That would mean that the new RDA was not dominated by politicians or organizations but rather people who were selected by their communities for their skills and knowledge... and commitment to the development of Shelburne County. This new innovative organization would require folks to think about what they wanted the RDA to do and who might best help achieve this objective.... Takes work but I think it could be a productive effort....

For what its worth..... that's my take on it........ What is yours?



Anonymous said...

Bureaucracy has become so bloated the red tape is never-ending in acquiring funding for new projects and business, but surely with communities the size of ours hiring one development manager for each council would not be that costly. In the run of a week I doubt if he/she would be run off their feet. Considering what MDS budgets for development, isn't it possible this would be more effective in the long run? It would remove all the infighting amongst councils and we would be responsible for our own success or failure. What am I missing in this picture?
Doesn't our local CBDC play a major role in assisting small business development, and without an RDA wouldn't we qualify for ERD support to maintain our own Town or Municipal Development Offices?
I think the divide between West and East is too wide to allow success in a Shelburne Co. RDA.

Anonymous said...

If our citizens with time,energy, plenty of helpful information, mostly obtained from this source,(thanks to Ed &Tim) keep their positive energy and ideas in motion maybe the ones in control of meeting at Shelb. Fire Hall will get the vibes and become our example for more co-operation from all to get improvement in economy in many ways that have been discussed with valuable input from bloggers.Keep up this means of letting news spread.Appreciate heartfelt opinions! (It is okay to not always agree.)Thanks !

Anonymous said...

I don't know the best route to take, but we have let these same local pols run the show without much success. They sat on the SWSDA BofD and let things go without any checks and balances. It's been over ten years and not much was achieved for Shelb. Co. It seems SWSDA was a hindrance in gaining any valuable development in the area but we see MofB still doing business the old way. It's going to take major changes in the way our councils operate to get back on track. Things have to pick up speed here or we'll be talking ourselves into oblivion.

Anonymous said...

If SWSDA is allowed to reform under the current leadership, we are doomed.

A small R D A just for Shelburne Mun. sounds a little expensive. Unless the new little R D A makes some sort of miracle happen.

I certainly hope someone comes up with something good, for everyone's benefit.

Anonymous said...

With the failure of SWSDA in Shelb. Co. whatever we opt for will be an improvement. If the five councils decide they can work together for the good of the whole county, great, but if they feel there is too wide a gap between East and West we don't have much choice.
MOB are in the midst of a meltdown and it's going to be difficult for them to entice new business to the area. If our councillors haven't learned any lessons from the past 13+ yrs. they should resign today.