Offshore exploration will not lead rural Nova Scotia to prosperity

The Nova Scotia Commission on Building our New Economy is examining the province’s rural economic prospects in a series of community meetings held around the province.

Acadia University president and commission chair Ray Ivany, called the commission’s work a chance for Nova Scotians to discuss potential future prosperity for rural areas in NS.

“Nova Scotia is on the brink of its greatest opportunity in generations. We’ve got the shipbuilding contracts, offshore exploration and construction of the Maritime Link… It’s exciting. But I believe that our local economies throughout Nova Scotia – not just in HRM – can thrive, not simply survive, by understanding these opportunities, and sharing ideas about building a better future.”

One wonders what planet Mr. Ivany lives on to suggest that offshore oil exploration can build a better future for Nova Scotians. Not everyone agrees with him.

The Pictou Advocate covered the meeting in Stellarton, NS. In the April 3, 2013 edition, the article notes:

“Some residents have been skeptical of the exercise due to growing concern over oil and gas exploration, such as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, proposed to extract possibly viable underground natural gas supplies inland, as well as exploratory drilling in the Gulf of St. Lawrence that stakeholders fear would harm the gulf’s fishery.”

The article goes on to quote a local resident, Trudy Watts, who is president of a community development cooperative in the area who stated:

“The blowout of the Deepwater exploratory oil well in the Gulf of Mexico – and the resulting damage to tourism, fishery and restaurant industries – should be enough to bump offshore exploration off Mr. Ivany’s Top 3 list,” she said. “I hope that the commission is truly open to a diversity of ideas that will no doubt include enhancing our fishery and tourism sectors, as part of the way we build a smart, sustainable economy that includes rural Nova Scotians.”

We can only hope that the commission’s interim report, due to come out later in April, will showcase the ideas for a healthy sustainable future which include an oil free Gulf of St. Lawrence.

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