Dramatic historical and natural landscapes can frame great place-making projects to attract people and investment. Photo: Tourism Nova Scotia.

Get ready for new opportunities to attract people and investment to your community. Read our blog about Develop Nova Scotia.


Two key concepts for regional economic development were enshrined in provincial legislation in Fall 2018. The centerpieces of the new Develop Nova Scotia Act are “place-making” and “strategic economic infrastructure.”

  • Place-making (in government language) means “the attraction and retention of people to the Province to promote economic growth and business and social enterprise expansion that provides economic benefit to the Province.”
  • Strategic economic infrastructure means “real property, improvements to land and physical assets, including telecommunications infrastructure, with demonstrable benefits to economic growth, and that align with the Government’s strategic economic priorities.” (Note: this definition excludes land and infrastructure with a primary use that is not economic or that falls within the core mandate of another part of government.)

Develop Nova Scotia, a newly named Crown corporation (formerly the Waterfront Development Corporation), will lead this new strategy. Reporting to the Minister of Business, its mandate is to drive economic growth by developing strategic property and infrastructure, to attract people and investment. This mandate includes fixing broadband service gaps across the province.

In addition to extending and improving broadband coverage, the focus on place-making and property development is a welcome move. The money and services flowing through Develop Nova Scotia will benefit communities and, in some cases, businesses.

The Act permits the Crown corporation to “acquire, hold, improve, develop, whether directly or in partnership with the private sector, strategic economic infrastructure, to promote place-making.”

Such capital investments will stimulate local economies, especially if local businesses can win procurement contracts.

These projects will also engage communities – often through the co-ordinating role of chambers, business associations, municipalities, government staff, and Regional Enterprise Networks.

In turn, communities will become more skilled and confident in pursuing local development strategies and projects. In many cases, community groups that have successfully led other financial projects – such as Community Economic Development Investment Funds (CEDIFs) or renewable energy generation or other pooled investments – will be ahead of the curve and ready to act on these opportunities.

Valley REN staff have joined in several consultations with Develop Nova Scotia staff and we are impressed by their skills and vision. As new opportunities arise, we will share these with you.

In the meantime, we encourage chambers, business associations, and municipal politicians and staff to follow news from Develop Nova Scotia, to see how their goals align with your priorities for development.

To start with, here are some useful briefs from Develop Nova Scotia:

Presentation to key Stakeholders – August 2018
Summer Engagement Sessions Recap
Stakeholder Communications Update – October 24th
Elected Official Handout – October 2018
Presentation to key Stakeholders – December 2018

 

As research analyst for the Valley REN, Rachel Brighton brings 25 years’ experience as a journalist, editor, publisher, manager, consultant and not-for-profit director in Canada and Australia.

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