The province is creating a new six-figure position in a late game attempt to make the Atlantic Gateway dream a reality.
There’s federal money up for grabs, but so far the province only has a list of projects rather than a coherent plan.
They’re hoping that will change as they bring on Kevin Hamm to lead the Nova Scotia Gateway Secretariat at a pay of $165,000 per year.
“He’s going to act to coordinate all the efforts on the Atlantic Gateway,” said Premier Darrell Dexter.
“Up to now, there’s been kind of a diffuse arrangement where there have been a series of gateway councils and many different interests in many different places.”
There’s some urgency as deadlines to access pots of federal gateway money loom. Dexter said if a convincing business case isn’t presented to Stephen Harper’s government soon, Nova Scotia may lose out.
“We’ve reached a point now where if there’s going to be action on the Atlantic Gateway it has to actually take place,” he said.
The idea of turning Nova Scotia into a hub for receiving and transporting goods has been tossed around for years, with some debate around how realistic it is. One problem the province needs to overcome is competition from Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Whereas Nova Scotia and New Brunswick both benefit from a gateway beginning at the Halifax harbour and heading inland, the other two provinces are pushing projects with a more northerly approach.
“One of the things that’s a little bit frustrating for us is that in B.C. you have one jurisdiction acting on their own and here you have four,” said Dexter.
“With all respect to my colleagues in Newfoundland and P.E.I. ... I don’t think they have the same interest in this that we do.”
Hamm brings with him experience as a senior executive in the telecommunications and retail industries across Canada.
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