David Beattie, President of the Parrsboro and District Board of Trade told Town Council last night he finds it “very troubling” that the economic development committee hasn’t met for three months.
Beattie spoke during the Citizens’ Forum immediately after the council meeting had adjourned. He pointed out he was invited to join the committee in December, yet hasn’t heard anything since.
“Three months and no discussions on economic development,” he said. “If that committee’s not meeting, it’s very troubling for the town.”
Coun. Rob Fancy replied he recently took over the committee and has been focussing on tidal power.
“I find committees don’t work,” he said, but quickly added that if Beattie wants a meeting, he will organize one.
Town clerk Ray Hickey suggested economic development efforts are continuing even if the committee hasn’t met. He mentioned the Parrsboro Creative initiative to attract artists to Parrsboro and the recently announced STEP program to promote tourism.
“It’s important that we keep our eye on the ball,” Beattie said, especially in a town that is struggling.
Other council news
1. Council agreed to implement a two-tier, low-income tax exemption for the 2014/15 fiscal year. Homeowners with incomes below $17,500 can apply for a $350 tax exemption. Those whose income is between $17,500 and $19,500 can apply for a $100 exemption. The deadline for applications is April 30.
2. Council decided to offer Parrsboro Creative office space on the second floor of the Town Hall. The space would be used by the group’s new director of marketing and communications. At its February meeting, Council had already voted to contribute $2,000 to the group, which is also receiving a $15,000 grant from the province.
3. Council’s public works committee report noted that there have been more than 14 frozen water lines this winter. The town clerk said the frozen lines have been mainly on the lower part of Main Street. The report reminded residents concerned about freezing to “leave a pencil sized stream of water running in the house.”
“Very troubling” indeed! Kudos to David Beatty for speaking out on this. But it gets worse.
As far as I am aware, the Economic Development Committee hasn’t met since October or even September. This for a town that has a variety of serious issues to face in its future, almost all of which bear directly or indirectly with economic development. As Beatty said: “It’s important that we keep our eye on the ball.” And this is a committee of Council, after all. Councillors are elected and paid to keep their eyes on the ball, as part of our public trust in them.
Something is wrong with this picture.