Dozens of tourism jobs to be moved out of Halifax
New tourism agency created in Windsor
A new Nova Scotia tourism agency will be created in Windsor, which will see dozens of government jobs moved to the Annapolis Valley as part of the provincial government's ongoing attempt to boost employment in rural areas.
Percy Paris, the Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism, told reporters on Thursday that 34 jobs will move from Halifax to Windsor by the end of September 2013.
"For years governments centralized jobs in the city while rural communities struggled. We are doing things differently," Paris said in statement.
"Tourism plays a significant role in rural economies across the province. Residents depend on the industry for good jobs and the revenue generated to keep their communities strong. It just makes sense to set up this new agency where it will have a greater impact."
Pat Sullivan, the newly-appointed CEO of the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency, said he was ready to commute to Windsor to do his job.
"I bought a house in the HRM but I will be commuting to Windsor. I bought a house in Bedford," he said.
Nova Scotia's NDP government announced earlier this year that it was working to move dozens of civil service jobs out of Halifax as it decentralizes several departments.
Union opposes job moves
More than 20 jobs with the Department of Justice were moved to New Waterford, while another 68 jobs with the Fisheries and Agriculture Departments were slated to be moved to Digby, Shelburne County and Truro.
The announcements were met with opposition from the union representing many of the affected employees, who said the majority of workers didn't want to move.
Joan Jessome, the president of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union, echoed those comments on Thursday and said her members do not want to add two hours to their daily commute.
"It didn't work for the other three departments and I can't see it working here," she said.
"People live and work where they choose and when you decide to move their jobs and throw everything up into an upheaval, it has negative impacts."
But many in Windsor said the relocation of 34 high-paying jobs is a welcome reversal of some bad economic news in the area in recent years.
Scott Geddes, who runs the Cocoa Pesto Bistro at The Woodshire Inn, said it would be a plus for his business.
"Rural Nova Scotia certainly had a hard time in the last few years and these little bits and pieces make everything better for all of us," he said.
"It's psychological for the community as well, knowing that the big government is thinking about the small communities."