Southwest N.S. jobs task force OK'd
The Nova Scotia government is now ready to fund an economic development task force in the province's southwest region.
The task force is to fast-track business ideas that will bring jobs to the area.
Percy Paris, the province's minister of economic development, said no to the idea just three weeks ago.
He said he's changed his mind after he was assured that the $100,000 of taxpayer's money would be well protected.
"At the end of the day I wanted to see a full accounting of those dollars," Paris said. "I wanted them to be invested wisely and I wanted to see a paper trail and cheques and balances and receipts, etcetera, etcetera — a real accounting put in place so that money could be accounted for."
The minister said the money will ultimately come from the government in the new fiscal year.
The Yarmouth area of Nova Scotia has been hard hit by the shutdown of the high-speed ferry service to the U.S. The governing NDP also pulled the plug on the local regional development authority after a report by auditors raised serious questions about who was running the organization and where its money was going.
Paris said the task force would do the job until a new development agency can be set up.
"I think $100,000 will go a long way and my hope would be that they wouldn't even have to spend the whole $100,000," said Paris.
Task force supporter Keith Condon said the goal of the group is to fast-track good business ideas.
"The task force is simply a conduit to be able to get projects into the ministry as fast as possible that are related to bringing people into the region," said Condon.
Condon said the money would pay for two staffers and office expenses.