GUYSBOROUGH — Two months after hosting its first visioning conference, the Guysborough District Business Partnership (GDBP) has begun launching concrete initiatives to “achieve the goals” of its new strategic plan for the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG).
“Sub-committees will be struck to try to tackle existing issues as we move forward with community input and direction,” GDBP Executive Director Ashley Cunningham Avery told The Journal last week. “Specifically, a volunteer committee will focus on how we ensure our volunteers are given the support, resources and training that they need.”
As well, she said, “a welcome wagon committee [will] provide resources and direction to new residents and make them feel welcome. Creating an ambassadors committee... will ensure that we have the positive folks out there whose job it will be to share the great things we have to offer across the municipality.”
The initiatives, she said, stem directly from the recommendations contained in a report by Alberta-based community development consultant Doug Griffiths, approved by the GDBP late last year. That document urged civic leaders and community organizers to remain open to collaboration and resist parochialism.
“The region needs [more] people to grow the economy and become more prosperous,” he told a crowd of approximately 75 residents at a presentation at the Chedabucto Lifestyle Complex in Guysborough on Nov. 16. “[This] will require more businesses... more housing and housing diversity... If we don’t market ourselves, and our potential, we won’t attract developers to build the housing. [The] good quality of life in the region is at risk without [more] people, businesses and housing growth.”
In a follow-up interview with The Journal, he said, “There is still a little bit [too much] focus [across] the entire district about what’s missing, and what people don’t have even, while things are changing and good things are happening. That kind of undermines the success of the region, its brand, its reputation, its ability to attract new people, new developers, new businesses, new investors.”
Last week, Avery confirmed that new partnerships with groups and organizations across the municipality are already underway. “They will absolutely be necessary moving forward as we work to achieve the goals outlined in the new document.”
In particular, she noted that the Tourism Guysborough County Association (TGC) – which represents a variety of operators and marketing professionals – and the GDBP are working hand-in-glove. “Attracting people to our area is a key part of this plan, whether it be through new families or tourists, so working with the group who is the voice for the tourism industry in our area only makes sense.”
She added: “TGC are currently working on their own strategic planning activities as well, so I would encourage everyone who is thinking about entering that industry with a new business or event, or is already providing a service in the tourism industry, to reach out to them or to the GDBP.”