FREDERICTON, N.B. – The provincial government is establishing 12 economic development offices as part of a plan to improve services where New Brunswickers live and work.
The Department of Economic Development is establishing these offices, which will oversee new economic development districts, as part of the provincial government’s plan to decentralize services and decision-making.
"Empowering local economic growth and job creation is central to our government's vision of rebuilding New Brunswick," said Economic Development Minister Paul Robichaud. "This new approach will decentralize decision-making for programs and funding for small-and medium-sized businesses."
Effective April 1, 2013, the department is creating five district offices in newly established economic development districts: Edmundston (northwest region); Bathurst (northeast region); Fredericton (central region); Moncton (southeast region); and Saint John (southwest).
Each office will be headed by a regional director and supported by a planning coordinator and development officers. In addition, seven satellite offices will be established within the regional service commissions.
In addition to the districts and offices being created, 12 advisory boards will be created in each regional service commission to counsel the provincial government about community, economic and business needs. Each advisory board will consist of members from the private sector, supported by one of the five district planning co-coordinators and members of the regional service commissions.
"Decentralizing decision-making is the best approach to economic development and will offer our business community a quick and easy access to provincial funding programs," said Robichaud. "I am convinced this new system will better meet the needs of our communities and regions by putting more power in the hands of business leaders who know those needs best."
The roles of the advisory boards include:
•developing a regional, rolling three-year regional economic development plan to support Growing Together – An Economic Development Action Plan for New Brunswick;
•determining key industry and business sectors on which to focus for expanding investment potential in each region; and
•identifying strategies to achieve a prosperous and sustainable local economy.