In Brief: The formation of another Atlantic Gateway Council in Atlantic Canada carries risks warns AIMS executive Vice President Charles Cirtwill. He says while it’s a good thing that the public and private sectors are starting to work together, there is also a risk that the councils will work against each other.
A new group has formed to advance transportation issues and business opportunities in southern New Brunswick.
The Saint John Port Authority, the Greater Moncton International Airport, Irving Oil Limited, Logistec Stevedoring and the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan have all joined together to form the Southern New Brunswick Gateway Council.
The council is modelled on similar bodies in Vancouver, Hamilton, Ont., and Halifax.
The New Brunswick group will explore economic opportunities stemming from the Atlantic Gateway for the area of the province from Moncton to St. Stephen through the use of road, rail, air and sea transportation routes.
“The inauguration of the Southern New Brunswick Gateway Council is very timely, particularly in light of recent announcements coming out of Nova Scotia,” said Captain Al Soppitt, president and chief executive officer of the Saint John Port Authority, in a statement.
“The council will play an important role in bringing forward regional priorities and issues to the Atlantic Gateway table,” he added.
The port authority spearheaded the Southern New Brunswick Gateway Council. The authority hired InterVistas Consulting Inc. of Vancouver to help establish the new group.
The council’s founding members will hold an organizing meeting on April 4.
Earlier this month, Nova Scotia Premier Rodney MacDonald unveiled a $300-million wish list from businesses in the province for transportation infrastructure projects aimed at making the Atlantic Gateway concept a reality.
Charles Cirtwill, executive vice-president of the Halifax-based Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, said the formation of various gateway councils in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick presents benefits and risks to the Atlantic Gateway Strategy as a regional effort.
“You have the Halifax Gateway Council, you have the Sydney Gateway Council, now the Southern New Brunswick Gateway Council and I suspect that the Strait of Canso region will soon have a council. I think from one perspective it’s a good thing that the private and public sectors are starting to work together,” he said.
“I think it’s a bad thing from the perspective that we’re once again Balkanizing ourselves.”
Cirtwill said ideally all the various groups would put the region’s overall interest ahead of local interests.
Rob Robichaud, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Moncton International Airport, said the council provides the airport authority with the chance to work with communities throughout southern New Brunswick to explore transportation business opportunities.
Robichaud said the Southern New Brunswick Gateway Council would work with other groups in Atlantic Canada to advance the interests of the region as a whole.
“We have to work together,” he said. “At some point we have to come together with a list of priorities for our region. That is what I think the Southern New Brunswick Gateway Council is trying to do, to identify priorities for New Brunswick. Of course, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island will be doing the same.”