Kings-North MLA Jim Morton
By Jennifer Vardy Little
The Kings County Advertiser
Kings County needs to start thinking beyond its own borders, says Kings North MLA Jim Morton.
Morton is urging local municipal representatives to throw their support behind a new provincial proposal for a Regional Enterprise Network, which will replace Regional Development Agencies left struggling after the plug was pulled on federal funds.
Under the proposal, the new REN would stretch across multiple municipal borders, encompassing all of the area from West Hants to Digby.
The boundaries make sense for the Valley area, at least, he says.
“We would be wise to think of our community as larger than just Kings County,” he said. “The Annapolis Valley is a kind of place that’s stretched across municipal borders.”
Already, the school board and health authority encompass more than just Kings County, he pointed out.
“What happens in Middleton helps Kentville,” he said, adding that the story is the same across the Valley, especially here in Kings County.
“I live in Kentville, and it’s nestled in Kings County. It’s hard to think of Kentville and the County of Kings as different. They’re wrapped up in each other. It’s hard to separate that.”
The province would put the same amount of funding into the new RENs as they did the RDAs, but it would have to be matched by the municipalities.
“We know that if these RENs are going to work, they have to be collaborative. The municipalities need to play a role in its success,” he added.
The municipalities have already started discussions on the potential REN, which Morton finds encouraging. He’s hoping all 11 municipalities encompassed in the new model will come together.
“We need to find ways to work together,” he said. “What benefits one benefits the other.”
He’s particularly hopeful that Kings County will reconsider its announcement earlier this year that it would cut funding to the RDA after March 2013.
“Frankly, the County of Kings decision to withdraw funding to the RDA was discouraging. But now there’s a new council and I’m hoping they’ll revisit that decision,” Morton added.