MULGRAVE: The Town of Mulgrave has decided to join a local economic development organization after withdrawing their request for membership earlier this spring.

During the regular monthly meeting of Mulgrave Town Council on June 4, members voted in favour of joining the Eastern Strait Regional Enterprise Network (ESREN) for the 2018/2019 fiscal year.

“Town council discussed their earlier decision not to participate in ESREN this fiscal year as the result of the clarification of the length of commitment ending March 31, 2019 and the amount of funding being firmed up,” said Jim Davis, CAO for the Town of Mulgrave.

In December 2017, Mulgrave Town Council voted in favour of submitting a formal request to join the ESREN. Beginning in March, several Strait area municipalities, including the Municipality of the District of Guysborough, the town and county of Antigonish, the Town of Port Hawkesbury, and the District of St. Mary’s sent letters of notice to ESREN, leaving the option open should they decide to leave the organization in the following year.

During the resulting discussions with the municipalities, Davis said the town decided to withdraw their request for membership.

ESREN’s Liaison Oversight Committee chair, Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton presented to Mulgrave Town Council on May 22. She told councillors that if they decided to join, there would be no financial commitment beyond the end of the current fiscal year. The cost for the town to join for the remainder of the year will be $9,928.

Davis said favourable exit conditions led council to recommit to their decision to join ESREN.

“We won’t be worried about having to stay in beyond this fiscal year ending on March 31 2019 if, say, we had budget problems, or we had a change of direction in the use of ESREN, or whatever. We didn’t want to be tied in,” Davis said.

If Mulgrave Town Council chooses to remain a member after March 31, it will need to enter into a new agreement with the other municipal partners who comprise ESREN.

ESREN staff will meet with council to identify priority areas and begin involving the town with upcoming regional projects. In a media release following last week’s council meeting, Davis said he was happy with the decision.

“Mulgrave is pleased to be associated with ESREN and looks forward to exploring economic strategies and connecting with Strait area municipalities through synergies and developing business opportunities, all with the assistance of a very capable staff,” Davis said.