Think about now, but don’t forget about the future.
That’s the advice of Halifax Chamber of Commerce president Valerie Payn when discussing the recession and how to beat it.
“We need to remember this will be over,” she explains. “The economy is cyclical and we must not forget that. But also then remember this is an opportunity to look to the future and make sure we’re planning and have all the building blocks in place for it.”
While not feeling the pinch like other parts of Canada because our economy doesn’t rely as much on manufacturing, Payn knows the recession is still affecting many in the Halifax Regional Municipality. However, she remains “very confident” it will spring back, and we must be prepared when that happens.
She says an important step for Halifax, and the rest of the country, is to develop a population strategy. Payn says even before this recession hit, HRM was struggling to find trained workers for certain employment fields.
She warns our current demographic forecast predicts that only getting worse in the coming years.
“We’re going to need people, we’re going to need people who are educated (and) who are able to participate in the work force,” says Payn, who also points to environmental initiatives and energy sustainability as important economic measures moving forward.
Payn loves many things about HRM, but water is her top choice. Her home in Bedford overlooks Halifax Harbour and she says water is a “wonderful aspect of our life that is available for everyone.”
She also points to Point Pleasant Park and the Public Gardens as places that are free to enjoy in tough economic times.
“There are so many things to do in this city, and the things are free,” she says. “It’s such a natural and beautiful place in the world.”