Saturday, January 9, 2016

Now or Never, My Provincial Presentation Part 5

This is the adorable Mariko, in her Halifax Home Based Studio.  Here's her web site.

In Summary, the significant turnaround in the Nova Scotia economy that the Commission feels is necessary will require much stronger business growth than we are now seeing in the province.  We need more start-ups and, in the larger scheme of things, it does not matter whether they are goods producers, service sector firms, or creative sector enterprises.  And their size doesn't matter  whether they are conventional private businesses, or co-operatives or social enterprise.  We Just need them to grow, employ more people and participate in out-of- province trade.  -The One Nova Scotia Report

Part 5 of my presentation to the Building Advisory Committee, who will be making recommendations to the Nova Scotia Government to unify interpretations of the Building Code, across the province,  as related to Home Based Businesses.

The Ivany Report
We are all familiar with the one NS report.  It tells an alarming story for the future of Nova Scotia, unless all Nova Scotians can work together to find solutions.
The report has given us a way out.  Support entrepreneurship, encourage exports, attract immigrants, retain immigrants, attract people from other provinces and think out of the box.  Business as usual is not good enough.
Before being known as the hat lady who challenged her local government, I was known as the hat lady who was featured in a Lunenburg promotional video to encourage entrepreneurs to move to Lunenburg.  This video has been viewed over 40,000 times.  I have personally sat down with several people wishing to move to this province and I know that many have since moved here and started businesses of their own.  Some are waiting in the wings until they are sure that this interpretation of existing rules is clarified.
Shortly after this video was released, I tried to open my studio to my customers and faced many of the challenges outlined in the Ivany report:  Indifference with regards to the success of entrepreneurs, closed minded attitudes and narrow interpretations of existing rules.  When The Ivany report was released  I took personal inventory and checked off many boxes.  I am from another province, I brought with me an American husband who is also an entrepreneur and we have a young child.  My business has been successful enough to occasionally farm out work to other local women.  I ship all over the world.  My business attracts tourists.
 After reading the Ivany Report for the first time  I remember feeling such frustration that I had pretty much encompassed the ideal of what sort of person we need to move to this province, yet no one in our local government was connecting the dots .  When I finally shared my story with the community, I found I had opened up the flood gates.   Stories like mine existed in all corners of the province.  As entrepreneurs we were doing more than our share to move this province forward, yet at a governmental level we were being held back.
If indeed as a province we want to welcome entrepreneurs, immigrants and young families  from other provinces we had better be sure that we are not asking people to invest their life savings into Nova Scotia only to make it impossible to move forward.  I collected many letters from home based businesses in Nova Scotia which can be seen on my blog and this sad scenario repeats itself over and over.   We all need to open our eyes and witness what is going on.
The Ivany report has tasked every one of us to respond to the Rallying cry of Now or Never.
 I realize that as the Building Advisory Committee you cannot change existing attitudes or attract immigrants, but you can clarify the one misunderstanding of how land use and the building code work together.  The current lack of understanding does not serve the future of our province.
Anna's Notes:   Here's the video, Live Well in Lunenburg. (The video was released twice, the two versions comes to over 40,000 views.)  I still adore this place and this community.  It is a wonderful place to live.  This does not mean that there are not existing problems.  
 I feel strongly that if we are to move forward as a province then Municipal governments need to take responsibility for things which could have been handled differently as well as taking responsibility for the future well being of businesses of all levels. The ability of a municipal government  to  acknowledge  a problem is the most important step required to fixing it.  I don't yet feel that The Town of Lunenburg is accepting  responsibility for past actions or accepting the responsibility to understand how land use informs the building code.   The understanding of the connection between land use and the building code will allow all municipalities in Nova Scotia, who have land use bylaws, to remove red tape for Home Based Businesses.  I believe that the province will assist our building officials to understand this connection, but no town needs to wait for the province.  It is time to take responsibility at a municipal level.  That is the kind of leadership we need in this province.  Who does this current  interpretation of rules serve?  Let's make the recommendations of The Ivany Report be the guide to our decision making.


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