Posted in Event Review

The Valley Brand

logo_VRENThursday morning at the Berwick Fire Hall, it was the Annual General Meeting (AGM) for the Valley Regional Enterprise Network (REN). The team presented the accomplishments for the 2018-19 year. The details, including the Annual Report and the Business Plan 2019-20, can be found by contacting staff through the web site.

As a member of the Board until late this Spring, I was interested to hear about future directions. Therefore, the item that attracted my attention was the hiring of Pierre Tabbiner to develop a ‘Valley’ brand to promote the region as a whole.

From a geographic perspective, the physiographic region extends from the Windsor gateway, following the Annapolis River to the Digby Gut, including historic Annapolis Royal. Middleton remains the ‘Heart of the Valley’.map_annapolisValley_satelliteView

From a municipal unit perspective, the Valley REN includes the Municipality of the County of Kings, Municipality of West Hants, the towns of Berwick, Kentville, Middleton, Windsor, Wolfville, and Glooscap First Nation.

From a literary perspective, e.g. Ernest Buckler ‘The Mountain and the Valley’ the emphasis is upon Bridgetown, Centerlea, West Dalhousie, Annapolis Royal. He talks in terms of different attitudes and values within the region.

Here are some of the questions that I would ask our Councillors in Annapolis County and Annapolis Royal. Given, they have decided not to join the Valley REN how do we ensure that the marketing of the region truly represents the diversity of interests in the Valley? And not only the Valley, but also North and South Mountain and the Bay of Fundy shore? Certainly, tourism does not stop at Middleton.

Current evidence suggests that a different value set exists as we move further west in the region. For example, the independent, activist mindset of citizens engaged in the maintenance of our forest landscape. For example, the Municipality support for land use planning at the local level. The emphasis upon the history of the landscape centred on Annapolis Royal. Is agricultural land use different in Kings County from Annapolis County? What about the Valley REN emphasis upon manufacturing?

My hope is that there is a rich conversation from across the region, and all interests are heard about the ‘Valley’ brand. This may ultimately result in a more inclusive, representative Valley REN. The ball is firmly in the court of our municipal councillors.
The same argument can be made with regards to the status of high-speed Internet services in the region. Or Valley Waste management. Or CleanTech.

paradiseCornerCafeJust stopped for lunch at the Paradise Corner Cafe, chowder and homemade meat pie. Their byline is:
‘Paradise a Place of Community. A Place to Relax, Past and Present’.
Highly recommend.

Saturday, we drove to Great Village to attend the AGM of the Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia (EBSNS). The agenda included poetry readings by Margo Wheaton and Harry Thurston. Rita Wilson spoke about her children’s book: A Pocket of Time: Elizabeth Bishop’s Poetic Childhood, to be published this Fall.

I noted two lessons for the Ernest Buckler Society (EBLES). As part of the centenary celebration,EBSNS held a writing competition, the contributions were published as Echoes of Elizabeth Bishop (edited by Sandra Barry and Laurie Gunn). EBSNS celebrated its twenty fifth anniversary this year. The second lesson is that a number of the speakers had been Artist in Residence at the Elizabeth Bishop house in Great Village. Perhaps something similar could happen in Centrelea or West Dalhousie.

Final comment.

The quality of the communication materials from the Valley REN is excellent. It is attractive, well-written, and easy to digest. If we could extend these services to meet the needs of all citizens in the Valley region, we would have something of high value and world class.

The existence of both the EBSNS and EBLES shows an intimate appreciation and sense of place. I anticipate that there are other EB’s waiting to be discovered.

Acknowledgements

To the Valley REN team for their contribution to the AGM. Thanks to Sandra Barry, Secretary of the EBSNS for hosting their AGM. To Edward Wedler for his graphics.To Heather Stewart for sharing the driving.

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