CHARLOTTETOWN - The Atlantic Mayors Congress wrapped up its final day of discussions today in Charlottetown. The purpose of the meetings were to discuss economic development in the region that included receiving a report from the region’s economic development officers, reviewing the Ivany Report and adding individual input at a roundtable session of the successes and challenges in each municipality represented.
Three identified areas of concern to contribute to the overall economic growth of the Atlantic Region came out of discussions of the economic development officers. It was suggested the positive attitude of the leadership be consciously expanded towards all sectors and areas of the region to frame positivity and forward moving efforts of the region. Process reform was also regarded as important to assist business start-ups as was recognition that the region’s talent base is leaving and every effort must be made to retain our brightest minds while encouraging immigration.
The mayors appreciated the recommendations noted and advised their own discussions also centered around these similar areas of working together to promote the successes happening in our region while also retaining our talent, both through immigration and home grown in this region. They believe it is necessary to look towards new ways of doing business; it is time to make change and tough choices need to be made.
The state of Atlantic municipalities revealed many collaborative initiatives that have occurred in the past and are currently underway, including shared services such as sewer and police. Mayor MacMillan of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia suggested that sharing services is a key way to go forward. "The sharing of services is of paramount importance to the future financial viability of municipalities in Nova Scotia." He adds, "The status quo is certainly not the answer. We must think differently and we must reinvent ourselves."
Raymond Murphy, Executive Director of the Union of Municipalities of New Brunswick also suggested that regional collaborations are also to be considered as positive movement forward. "These opportunities to work together have to be for the benefit of the people from the region rather than the municipality," says Mr. Murphy.
Mayors from across the region outlined many successes as well as the similar challenges that most regions are facing. It was felt the Ivany Report, although developed in Nova Scotia with data derived from that province, contains content that is applicable to many of the municipalities around the region.
"The Atlantic Mayors Congress is a valuable opportunity to build relationships between our individual municipalities while building one focus towards working together," says Mayor Clifford Lee of Charlottetown. "It is evident from our discussions that the Congress is building towards a collaborative future with many more successes to come."
A resolution for the regulation of exotic animals and of zoos and aquariums with revised wording was accepted as presented and will be forwarded to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
New Chairman, Mayor Paul Beazley from the Town of Windsor, Nova Scotia welcomed everyone to the next Atlantic Mayors Congress in Gander, Newfoundland in the fall of 2014.
City of Charlottetown