This year everything changed.
The ways we live, work, gather, and participate. The ways we support, connect with, and protect one another. The ways we advance the critical work of antiracism and reconciliation. The ways we think about our relationship with the planet. The world changed dramatically and the convergence of wicked problems in 2020/21, including COVID-19, stopped us in our tracks and made clear that we have to change in fundamental ways—in Nova Scotia and around the world.
Our global context has never been more daunting—a pandemic, climate crisis, systemic racism, the critical work of reconciliation, and growing inequality. It’s an extraordinary time. And not just for the challenges and loss we face as a province, but for the opportunities it presents to come together to think and work differently—and not just build back better, but in a way that fosters the potential for all Nova Scotians to thrive.
To build places for everyone we need to build them with everyone. We need to build places with community to ensure what we build together also builds a more inclusive, resilient, and connected Nova Scotia.
For our part at Develop Nova Scotia, we’ve been focused on supporting economic recovery and building social fabric and community resilience. The role of social infrastructure has never been more critical—as a catalyst to bring people together, to build a strong economy that leverages our place-based advantage, to ensure the economy we (re)build is one where everyone can participate and thrive, and to enhance wellbeing for all Nova Scotians. To build places for everyone we need to build them with everyone. We need to build places with community to ensure what we build together also builds a more inclusive, resilient, and connected Nova Scotia. And we know that success doesn’t just live in what we build but how we build it.
This year we continued to refine our strategy to prioritize the three intersectional focus areas of Authentic Destinations, Thriving Communities, and Working Waterfronts. Through this work we focused on supporting public health and safety, business continuity, consumer confidence through recovery, and continuous access to critical public spaces. And our commitment to build placemaking capacity and contribute to improved places for people around the province began to come to life in communities across Nova Scotia.
We identified and seized opportunities with our committed internet service provider partners to accelerate the deployment of approved high-speed internet across the province and continue to work closely with our project partners to advance deployment of this critical economic infrastructure on time and on budget despite extraordinary project pressures related to labour and supply chain owing to the pandemic.
We leveraged capital funding opportunities to advance key projects in the communities of Lunenburg and Peggy’s Cove that contribute to sustainability, support local business growth, and enhance experiences for everyone.
In this time, reinvention is not an option—it is an imperative. And it doesn’t end with the close of a fiscal year. This work is big, it is just beginning, and we are convinced that success doesn’t lie in a top-down approach. We need to up-end the way we’ve always done it and work more deliberately to ensure all voices are at the table—including and especially those who haven’t been there before.
Nova Scotia has a strong value proposition in quality of life that is rooted in ‘place’. Building on this natural advantage to attract people, an increasingly mobile workforce, is a promising economic opportunity. Our focus is a network of intensely local places, and community is where the heart of place lives and where the authentic ideas and recipe for stewardship lie.
Realizing the promise of this advantage for Nova Scotia has never been more possible. It’s not only an economic opportunity but one that is built on investment in community and quality of life for everyone. Together we can build inclusive, sustainable, authentic places in Nova Scotia that will attract people. Our expanded mandate as Develop Nova Scotia emboldens us to continue to do important work with and for all Nova Scotians.