During the Town of Mulgrave’s regularly scheduled council meeting of June 4, 2018, council voted in favour of joining the Eastern-Strait Regional Enterprise Network (ESREN) for the 2018-19 fiscal year. The motion to join ESREN was made by Councillor Russell and seconded by Councillor Chisholm.
With the Town of Mulgrave choosing to formally join ESREN, this makes six municipalities for which ESREN is responsible for delivering regional economic development services. ESREN currently leads on economic development for the Town of Port Hawkesbury, Town of Antigonish, Municipality of the County of Antigonish, Municipality of the District of Guysborough, and Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s. These six municipal partners represent 50 per cent of ESREN’s mandate. The other 50 per cent partner is the Province of Nova Scotia through the Dept. of Municipal Affairs.
Earlier last year, the town submitted a formal request to join ESREN and this request was unanimously supported by the other partner municipal units that comprise ESREN along with the Province of Nova Scotia. In March of this year, when ESREN partner municipalities entered discussions resulting from a notice to withdraw by the Municipality of the District of Guysborough, the Town of Mulgrave made a motion to withdraw their notice to join while discussions were taking place. Following discussions with Mulgrave by ESREN’s Liaison Oversight Committee Chair Brenda Chisholm-Beaton and ESREN CEO John Beaton, Mulgrave has voted in support of joining ESREN for the remainder of the 2018-19 fiscal year. If the Town of Mulgrave chooses to remain with ESREN past that timeframe, it will have to enter into a new inter-municipal agreement with other municipal partners who comprise ESREN.
ESREN CEO John Beaton says, “We are working toward having a new agreement in place with our municipal partners that ensures that ESREN is providing regional economic development services for the long run.”
Beaton adds, “Having the Town of Mulgrave on side is a big step forward for ESREN – we see that unit as very much being part of our bigger economic region and we plan to advance economic and local business priorities with a focus on all six of our municipal partners unique assets.”
Chair of ESREN’s Liaison Oversight Committee Brenda Chisholm Beaton states, “The ESREN will help raise the tides for a stronger economic position for the Eastern-Strait Municipalities and I am so pleased that the Town of Mulgrave will be part of our Regional Enterprise Network. Working regionally will improve our collective investment readiness, as we position ourselves for economic growth in the Eastern-Strait Region. This latest development regarding the Town of Mulgrave is great news and attests to ESREN as a collaborative force for economic development – as the network grows we bring much more to the table as a region.”
With the latest motion by town council, ESREN staff will meet with town staff and council to gauge priorities and begin incorporating Mulgrave into upcoming regional initiatives. Beaton says, “Part of the work in identifying opportunities in Mulgrave will include speaking with the local business community as we do in other areas of the region.”
Beaton added, “In the short time we have been in operation, we have learned much from local business leaders about challenges and opportunities in the region. Some of our projects such as Startup Port Hawkesbury, Investment Readiness, the Connector Program, Communication Tools for Business Focus (Broadband/Mobility), etc. have all been put in place because of the gaps we identify through talking to business and we are looking forward to hearing what businesses in Mulgrave have to say.”
Beaton said, “There are opportunities in Mulgrave to capitalize on assets such as the newly acquired school building and proximity to Strait of Canso. We also believe that Mulgrave can stand to benefit from an economic focus that involves a larger regional strategy.”
Jim Davis, Chief Administrative Officer with the Town of Mulgrave noted, “Mulgrave is pleased to be associated with ESREN and looks forward to exploring economic strategies and connecting with Strait Area Municipalities through synergies and developing business opportunities all with the assistance of a very capable staff.”
The Board of Directors of the Eastern-Strait REN are also pleased with Mulgrave’s decision to join.
Andrew Beckett, ESREN Board Chair says that, “Mulgrave is an important piece of the ESREN regional strategy – our Board of Directors has been focused on ensuring that our projects and initiatives answer to every corner of the Eastern-Strait Region surrounding the Strait of Canso. We’ve always looked at Mulgrave knowing that there are opportunities for cooperation there, and we are pleased to be entering this new chapter of ESREN’s membership and working on creating a key impact there.”
Eastern Strait Regional Enterprise Network is accountable to six Municipal Councils (Municipality of the County of Antigonish, Municipality of the District of Guysborough, Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s, Town of Port Hawkesbury, Town of Antigonish and Town of Mulgrave) and the Province of Nova Scotia.