Friday, September 21, 2018Canada's Leading Online Business Magazine

Lunenburg

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The Municipality of the District of Lunenburg
Home to 26,000 citizens, the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg, they will happily tell you, is one of the most beautiful spots on the Canadian map. Scenic and with a celebrated history that permeates through the streets and shores of the Municipality, the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg is Nova Scotia’s third largest municipality (in terms of total property assessment) and covers over 432,000 acres around the towns of Bridgewater, Lunenburg and Mahone Bay.
 
A short commute to the provincial capital of Halifax, the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg’s reputation is being bolstered as much for its attractive business community as for its renowned charm and natural beauty.
 
“We are pro-business, and we are open to partnerships of all kinds,” says Don Downe, Mayor of the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg. “As a municipality, we want businesses to feel comfortable to come here and we like to help in any way we can to encourage businesses.”
 
And with a third of the population having trade certificates, and another third having post-secondary education, businesses are privy to an exceptional workforce.
The Mayor’s pro-business attitude has manifested in a thriving economy for the District. Despite a world-wide economy that has resembled the undulating waves on the District’s 600km coastline, the District has been thriving. “We have a very diverse economy in this Municipality, and that fact has helped us weather economic storms,” says Downe. “We have a large regional government sector in the county, a federal fisheries department, for one. These things bring stability to our Municipality that is enviable.”
Municipal neighbours 
While tourism has certainly put The Town of Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the map, Bridgewater (also in the municipality) is home to a large commercial and industrial sector. One of the largest employers in Bridgewater is Michelin Tires, one of the world’s largest tire manufacturing plants.
 
“We have a number of larger corporations here, and Michelin Canada is one of the largest at 1,300 employees,” says Downe. The Michelin plant has seen major expansion in this area, moving into wire manufacturing for the production of tires. 
 
“Michelin has been for the province of Nova Scotia a significant foundation of economic stability as they have been for our county,” Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter tells The Canadian Business Journal.  “They have provided billions of dollars in salaries and spin-off effects over the last number of years and with this major expansion they just completed, it looks like the future is strong with Michelin as a major employer. They employ people directly and indirectly in service requirements for the plant and the calibre of jobs are well paid.”
 
Tourism comprises of a steady 7 per cent of employment and agriculture 8 per cent for the region as a whole. Information from the Mayor’s office indicates that 30 per cent of the Municipality is employed in the service industry manning the shops, boats, restaurants and hotels—businesses that are continually growing.
Downe is also proud that the District is “the Balsam Fir Christmas tree capital of the world!”—an interesting offshoot of the forestry sector which comprises 35 per cent of the population workforce and includes Bowater sawmills, multiple trucking firms, harvesters and woodlot owners.
Osprey Village—Premier development
Osprey Village is a major commercial destination in the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg which is a growing and convenient shopping area for citizens. Businesses in the Osprey Village are close to international shipping routes by land and sea, and customers enjoy fast and convenient access to restaurants and stores such as Wal-Mart, Canadian Tire and Marks Work Warehouse. Osprey Village has been the catalyst for continued growth in the area, with the Truck 10 highway being expanded to accommodate high numbers of shoppers during peak times. According to the Economic Development Officer for the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg, $27 million worth of investments have been put into the Osprey Village infrastructure.
 
“It is our vision to see continued growth in commercial activities, along with the successful introduction of mixed use developments that will help to secure the community’s attractiveness for many decades to come,” says Downe.
 
As a commercial centre, Osprey Village is becoming an important central hub for the Municipality itself, with an estimated market trading area of over 65,000 consumers.
 
“Beyond the evident commercial advantages, Osprey Village is also home to the region’s brand new P-12 French language school, Ecole de la Rive Sud. Alongside private investment has come strategic public investment in infrastructure that provides modern and well-managed public services. Our Municipality recognizes the strength in seeing business and government both working together to shape the direction of future development,” continues Downe.
Hockey hero comes home
Opsrey Village is also home to a project which involves local businessman Rodney Grace and his partner, local hometown hero, former NHL star Glen Murray, who saw that the increased level of industry and commercial activity in the area necessitated greater accommodation in the area. The pair teamed up to open a new Best Western Hotel & Suites facility in the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg which will have 60-plus room and facilities to accommodate conferences, summits and meetings. The $7 million project was the manifestation of Murray’s vision to do something for the community and to further attract business to the area.
Nova Scotia icon
“The Bluenose II is the icon of Nova Scotia,” says Downe. 
 
In 1963, a replica of the original beloved racing and fishing schooner was built in Lunenburg. Built for the Olands Brewery as a promotional yacht, the province of Nova Scotia later purchased the ship to be used as a sailing ambassador which continues to sail every summer based out of Lunenburg. Starting to show its age, the federal government has committed $4.9 million towards a keel-up restoration of the vessel, as part of their economic stimulus program.
 
“The major, multi-million dollar refit is taking place in our local community of Riverport. The consortium includes Covey Island Boatworks, Snyder’s Shipyard and Lunenburg Industrial Foundry & Engineering have won the contract to rebuild the Bluenose II. It’s really exciting that our heritage and culture will live on in the resurrected Bluenose II,” says Downe. “And she will be fast and seaworthy.”
 
In a press conference in Lunenburg announcing the federal partnership, Prime Minister Stephen Harper exclaimed “Nearly 50 years of wind and water take their toll on the finest of woodwork and the strongest of ships. We are doing this because our government and our provincial partner believe Bluenose II should continue to promote Lunenburg, Nova Scotia and Canada to the world for decades to come.” 
 
The provincial government also announced a $12.5-million contract to the Lunenburg Shipyard Alliance for a major overhaul of the vessel, scheduled to be finished in March 2012.
 
The Honourable Darrell Dexter, Premier of Nova Scotia told The Canadian Business Journal, “One of the major things is that it is an icon for the province of Nova Scotia, often referred to as our sailing ambassador, schooner on the dime. It is a big part of the heritage and image and what Nova Scotians identify as an emblem of our province.”
Safe harbour
It can be hard to keep up with the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg’s social calendar. A relatively new addition to list of public events is the Bridgewater Sustainability Festival, held annually in the Town of Bridgewater. The festival, a celebration of green community initiatives, extends from the Bridgewater Integrated Community Sustainability Plan, which promotes sustainable business endeavours. The festival attracts over 500 participants to the Municipality.
 
The Municipality of the District of Lunenburg has proved to be a safe harbour for business and industry at a time when the global economy has been stormy. Government incentives foster an environment that is attractive to business and companies and has a track record of forging business relationships that have endured.  
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