DIGBY, N.S.: Digby Mayor Ben Cleveland playfully protested about being included with other ‘politicians’ as part of a look-back at 2017, look ahead at 2018 story series.
“I don’t think of myself as a politician,” he said, with a laugh. Then when asked to speak then as a town leader instead, he quipped, “I always say the town leads me.”
All joking aside, Cleveland said 2017 was a very good year for Digby, mainly for the following reasons:
1. Health care advances were Cleveland’s number one priority and focus for 2017, and Cleveland was very pleased by the addition of three new doctors to the town, two as part of the return-of-service program and one who simply decided Digby offered an exciting opportunity. “Now it’s up to the town of Digby to make it hard for them to leave,” Cleveland said.
2. Numbers just released show an amazing number of visitors attended the Tall Ships event – 10,000 people over a day and a half with great turnouts at other annual festivals all adding up to what Cleveland labeled as a “fantastic tourist season”.
3. Cleveland said Digby council continued to be responsible throughout 2017, carefully controlling its expenses to ensure continued fiscal health.
4. The clearing of development land for commercial purposes along Hwy. 217 now offers the opportunity for new, small businesses to move in.
5. New money invested in research and development for the tidal energy file. “Digby continues to be the service centre for tidal energy development,” Cleveland said.
As for 2018, Cleveland was realistic about the remaining issues:
1. Doctor recruitment remains a priority for Cleveland. “Unfortunately, the days of doctors staying in one place for 40 years are done, so we have much work to do.”
2. While fiscal responsibility remains a priority, Cleveland said the town also needs to earmark funds for local improvement projects. “We’re still considering the sidewalk improvements and other façade ideas for the downtown.”
3. Cleveland said he will also continue to meet with community members, members of the hospital board, other regional leaders and the Health Authority to discuss improvements in health care for the town. “We’re one of the few communities that has regular meetings with the health authority and that continues to be a very positive experience.”
Overall Cleveland was pleased with the town’s progress. “Digby has had a very good year.”