Survey says: Jobs are the top priority of residents
Created: Wednesday, 20 March 2013 10:09
March 20, 2013
Mayor Clarke says municipal government is focused on economic development
Seeks support from province to move capital plan forward
SYDNEY, NS – Cape Breton's 17.5 per cent unemployment rate is the top concern of residents surveyed as part of the CBRM's extensive budget consultation. When asked "What is the biggest issue or challenge facing CBRM today?" the answer "Unemployment" was the top choice of most residents.
As part of an extensive budget consultation process in recent months, 300 CBRM residents were surveyed by telephone and an additional 205 filled out surveys as part of the budget consultation meetings held in each of the municipality's 12 districts. The budget consultation was the first of its kind for CBRM and is part of the region's Reorganization Plan for Positive Change.
Mayor Cecil Clarke said the consultation affirms the clear, new direction for the municipality as outlined in the Reorganization Plan for Positive Change.
"Economic development and job creation are the municipality's top priority. Our aim is to become the most business and development friendly municipality in Atlantic Canada," said Clarke.
"An important step forward is to gain the support of the provincial government for our region's capital plan. The task of advancing our economy becomes more and more difficult if there is uncertainty in our year-over-year operations," said Clarke. "For this reason, we are continuing to ask for provincial government support for the CBRM's five-year capital plan. We are asking the province to support the plan and advance it as a provincial priority to the federal government."
When asked to rank the importance of the region's priorities, residents ranked "working with the federal and provincial governments" at the top followed closely by development of the port of Sydney, attracting large employers and increasing tourism activity.
Clarke said the municipality is under severe financial strain to maintain services with a shrinking tax base and declining economic activity.
At Tuesday's council meeting, Clarke presented an economic overview of the municipality that noted Cape Breton has the highest levels of unemployment and outmigration in the province.
Click here to see survey results.