© John DeMings
Randy Delorey, the Nova Scotia Minister of Finance and Clare-Digby MLA Gordon Wilson spoke with Mayor Ben Cleveland and business owner Roger Marshall during a budget consultation tour through Digby.
DIGBY – Randy Delorey, Nova Scotia’s minister of finance, swung through Digby on his budget consultation tour.
Clare – Digby MLA Gordon Wilson arranged for Delorey to meet with 15 or so business owners from Middleton to Yarmouth on Feb. 4 for an hour and a half conversation.
“It went beyond just the budget and on to some higher level topics,” said Delorey. “It was more about informing me about some of the challenges in this area and about the opportunities.”
Delorey said for example fish plant owners told him they were struggling to find enough employees.
“I can appreciate those challenges,” said Delorey. “It’s helpful to get these messages although I’m sure it’s not news to Gordon (Wilson).”
Delorey said the objective wasn’t necessarily to hear specific policy proposals but for him to get a better feel for the broader priorities of Nova Scotians
Roger Marshall, a retail business owner in Digby, says it was nice to have the minister sit down with local people.
“It was nice to have someone in the cabinet hear the concerns of our area,” he said. “Someone with the ability to make the types of decisions he can make hearing our concerns directly.”
Marshall said he found it interesting too to hear what the other business owners were up to.
Marshall’s big concerns are mostly with tourism.
“Some others in the room told the minister that this end of the province needs tourism infrastructure just like other parts of the province so we can do our part in attracting visitors,” he said.
Marshall also thinks the province could do a better job marketing Nova Scotia as a tourist destination.
“When I’m watching TV at night I see another province showing the beautiful scenery and the great attractions in their province,” he said. “Maybe we are doing it too, but I’m not seeing it.
“The minister made a good point though that each sector or organization that presents a challenge, has to be able to contribute to the solution.
“I too believe we can’t just expect government to do anything for us without us putting in our own effort to make it happen.”
Marshall says he plans to put some of his concerns and suggestions in writing and send it in to the Department of Finance this month.
“He is looking for input this whole month,” said Marshall. “Sometimes just off the cuff, you might not have everything figured out that you want to say or you may not have time to present your whole idea.
“I think putting it in writing, at least it will get them thinking.”