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CORNER BROOK Although sudden and unexpected, the Greater Corner Brook Board of Trade expects having Tom Marshall as interim premier of the province will have a positive impact on the business community in Corner Brook and the surrounding region.
“We are very appreciative of the efforts of Premier Kathy Dunderdale during her years of service,” said board president Matthew Connolly in a press release issued Thursday morning. “The position of premier is a difficult role with great responsibility, criticism, and personal sacrifices.”
Connolly said with Wednesday’s resignation of Premier Kathy Dunderdale and the appointment of Marshall, the MHA for Humber East, to the role there is “an undercurrent of excitement” in Corner Brook because of Marshall’s Corner Brook connection.”
Connolly said Marshall, who is also the current Minister of Finance, has always been engaged with the business community in Corner Brook. “We are excited to see someone now leading the province who understands the unique situation in Corner Brook and the surrounding region. He is a strong, competent person who’s always been available to listen to our business community, and who understands the importance of diversifying the Corner Brook economy.”
He said this provides a significant opportunity for the business community and Corner Brook.
“The ball is in our court now to step up to the plate together, to present a strong, united voice and agenda to the new premier,” added Sharon McLennon, the board’s first vice-president, in the release.
“The board of trade has a long history of promoting diversification and the responsible economic development of new industries such as oil and gas in Western Newfoundland. The new interim Premier Tom Marshall in our experience supports and shares this focus. That is why the board of trade’s agenda for the premier encourages government to move forward with regulatory review, research and consultations on hydraulic fracturing and dissemination of information to the public on the facts.”
However, the board recognizes that such a sudden change in the political landscape could mean some uncertainty in terms of what projects and plans will get implemented, what will not, and their timelines.
McLennon said the board expects government, with the professional public service, to continue moving forward with current priorities, including planned pre-budget consultations,
commitments to Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, support for western Newfoundland oil and gas exploration, support for the Corner Brook Port Corporation and implementation of plans for the new regional hospital.
“We also encourage government to accelerate business and economic development priorities focused on support for new entrepreneurs, particularly young people, existing business owners and new industry development,” said McLennon.