The visit of Premier Darrell Dexter and MLA Pam Birdsall to The HUB on Friday brought much attention and excitement to Mahone Bay. A quick coffee at the fabulous Biscuit Eaterand it was over to the MBC for some great chat about the future of The HUB (South Shore and beyond) and Nova Scotia, and in particular how they are an integral part of each others DNA.
It was particularly refreshing to hear that our belief that a hidden economy exists in rural Nova Scotiais shared at high political levels. And how encouraging to hear that something is being done to give that economy a voice.
There is a realisation that Nova Scotia is an attractive option for Canadians to start their own business, as well as an amazing opportunity for come-from-aways to come and start a new life. This is affirmed by the governments committment to increasing the number of immigrants and also supporting them to settle into their new way of life. The HUB network can help facilitate the transition.
Our conversation also proved that this is not a 3 man crusade: it is more than Tim, Matt and Dave. This is a movement across Atlantic Canada born out of a need within Rural Communities. As Mauricio Duarte explained, The HUB Annapolis Valley represents a need to keep local talent local, with increasing numbers of young brainiac’s heading to Halifax and beyond.
Alastair Jarvis made the point that Halfax is the centre of gravity, but The HUB South Shore and other rural hubs can help change that. Tracy and Jo from The HUB Halifax explained that the model for Atlantic Canada cannot be to force a HUB upon a community, rather than to let the need for one provide the catalyst and they like the rest of us will be there to connect and support it.
However, as explained to the Premier these Hubs do not come without a cost, the major stumbling block for many hubs being start up cost. The founders of The HUB South Shore lead a fortunate life with the capacity to invest personal income, supported amazingly by the Mahone Bay Centre and the incredible volunteers who work there. However, not all hubs are in this position, and investment is required to make them become a reality. Our meeting today was a great opportunity to highlight the problems we all face, and to acknowledge that we are not alone.