By Eric Bourque
Economic development tops the list of council priorities for the Municipality of Argyle.
The list also includes tourism, transportation, community improvement and having an “age friendly community.”
Creating new jobs and protecting the jobs now in place “has been identified as the most important issue in our strategic plan,” says the priority document for 2014-15, which has been approved by Argyle council.
Developing new employment opportunities and maintaining existing jobs are key to keeping young people in the area and increasing the Municipality of Argyle’s population, the document says.
“While retaining our youth is another strategic objective, jobs will be what will enable our youth to stay and live in Argyle,” it says.
Under the broader heading of economic development, another priority of council is to continue to be involved in the development of the Western Regional Enterprise Network.
Under tourism, council wants to continue tourism efforts – both locally through the Bon Temps group and regionally through the Yarmouth and Acadian Shores Tourism Association – notably promotion of Acadian culture as a tourism product.
Under transportation – the third of the five broad priority categories on Argyle’s list – the document cites continued support for ferry service restoration efforts.
The airport is identified as another key transportation-related item, the document noting that as council enters the final year of a 10-year contract agreement regarding the airport, a priority of council is ensuring “they make an informed decision” with regard to renegotiating the contract. Council would like to reduce the cost of operating the airport while continuing to support efforts to attract activity to the facility.
Under community improvement, priority items include community beautification – improving the attractiveness of the municipality, for example, by trying to clean up abandoned, older or unmaintained properties – as well as streetlights and sidewalks. (However, Argyle CAO Alain Muise says the municipality is “in research mode” where streetlights and sidewalks are concerned.)
Lastly, the fifth broad priority category on Argyle council’s list for the coming year is titled “age friendly community,” council recognizing the need to try to address the outmigration of youth, including re-connecting with those who have left, perhaps encouraging them to come back.
Seniors represent another priority for council, the document citing in particular the benefits of having a senior safety coordinator. This program has been in place for two years and “continues to improve and increase its service base.”