Voices: Stories of Change

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In an effort to shine a light on the new narrative emerging throughout the province, Engage has been using our time on the road meeting with municipalities to find and record interviews with Nova Scotians who are stepping up and taking responsibility for changes they want to see in their communities.

This series of podcasts focuses on the stories of community leaders, first-hand accounts of their experience partnering with levels of government, mobilizing citizens, bringing dreams and innovative approaches to community development to fruition through mobilizing volunteers, raising capital and working together.

Listen below or subscribe via iTunes or Stitcher Radio.

Do you have a story that should be included? Email jeff@engagenovascotia.ca


Fusion Halifax is a network of young professionals committed to fostering opportunities for connection, professional and community development.

On May 18th the group hosted a full house audience for a panel discussion dubbed “How Do I Stay?”.

What follows is an unedited recording of the event.

The event brought together 3 young professionals who shared their experiences living, making a living and choosing to remain living in the city and the province.

While rural communities sometimes experience more severe or visible signs of out-migration of youth, cities like Halifax also wrestle with the evolving expectations, ambitions, and conditions that attract and root young professionals to their home of choice.

Sharing stories like those featured on this panel will continue to be part of the VOICES series as Engage seeks to highlight the emerging new narrative of a changing Nova Scotia.

The first voice you’ll hear is Ali Breen of Fusion, the panel facilitator.

You can learn more about Fusion at fusionhalifax.ca

As you will hear, even on a small panel of three, experiences vary greatly and advice from young Nova Scotians who choose to live and stay in the province is broad and varied.



David Stevenson is president of Colchester-Cumberland Wind Farm based in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia.

Just over a decade ago David and a group of residents had a dream to harness the wind to power their community. In this first of a two-part series taken from an interview with David at his home in Tatamagouche.

You can learn more about the project at CCWF.ca
You can learn more about the Community Economic Development Investment Fund local investment program at CEDIF.ca

Throughout Nova Scotia you’ll find – if you look – people like Rob Carver using the resources around them, their imagination and passion for bringing communities together.

On a particularly gorgeous, sunny and warm spring day earlier this month I met Rob at his family home on a hill overlooking the ocean to hear about the Lost Shores Grand Fondo, a cycling event in the Italian Tradition. A Big Ride he dreamt up that attracted almost 300 cyclists to the area last fall.

With more than 100 volunteers, bbq’ed ribs, local beer, music, and the support of the municipality, Rob’s created a unique draw for Guysborough. One that promises to grow in its second year this fall.

Learn more about Guysborough’s Lost Shores Grand Fondo at lostshoresgranfondo.ca

The event will take place September 9th. Registration is now open.

This the third and final segment taken from an interview with Adele MacDonald, executive director of Annapolis Investments in Rural Opportunity, a private investment company founded by Jane Nicholson.

Annapolis Royal is a vibrant community exhibiting an inspiring sense of optimism, a commitment to volunteerism and collaboration.

What moves people to be actively engaged in their community?
How can cross-sector collaborations change our attitudes about how our various levels of government serve or should serve us?
How can we re-engineer how we volunteer in our community?

Adele MacDonald is the executive director of AIRO – Annapolis Investments in Rural Opportunity.

AIRO is private investment company founded by Jane Nicholson, funded with her own money, committed to fostering growth in the Town of Annapolis Royal and surrounding rural communities in the area.

Today, March 28, 2017, AIRO released a report entitled Local Logic: How to get there from here.

This report ties together survey and interview results gathered by AIRO during the summer of 2016.

In this second part of a three-part series, Adele walks us through this report, challenges and opportunities identified by residents, and recommendations on what they think needs to be done to create a sustainable future for their region.

To learn more about AIRO and read the Local Logic Report, visit them online at www.ruralopportunity.com.

Adele MacDonald is the Executive Director of Annapolis Investment in Rural Opportunities or AIRO for short.

Founded by Jane Nicholson, AIRO’s approach to cultivating partnerships, fostering collaboration is innovating away from traditional ways of thinking about the potential of private investment.

This is the first in a three-part series taken from a recorded interview with Adele in the AIRO offices, located in a designated heritage train station along the old rail bed in Annapolis Royal - the building is an award-winning heritage restoration project led by Jane.

Timothy Habinski is the Warden for the Municipality of the County of Annapolis. He describes himself as an anti-political politician, a long-haired musician, and demonstrates an enthusiasm for his job that’s infectious and inspiring.

Timothy is also a harp-maker, an entrepreneur who exports his products to customers well beyond the borders of his district, and the province.

Last week Engage visited Timothy at his office outside the small, vibrant town of Annapolis Royal. He spoke to us about engaging residents throughout the large municipality, collaboration between town and county, and why he got involved in politics, to begin with.

Learn more about Engage at www.engagenovascotia.ca ; follow us on Twitter @EngageNS. And find us on Facebook to be sure you catch future episodes and learn of the work we and communities are doing across Nova Scotia.

Kerry Johnson was born in Digby, left the town and returned after a career in the military.

In February a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Acadia University, Universite St. Anne, and the Nova Scotia Community College.

These partners pledged to partner in the development of a community centre, one planned to serve the large African Nova Scotian community and others in the region.

Kerry is the president of the Jordantown Acaciaville-Conway Betterment Society or JACBA. This group of community members consulted residents of their region to get this project rolling.

Engage NS recently met with Kerry and heard about the project, the process of engaging residents, and his experience growing up in Digby.

30 stories of local success from residents of Pictou County, Nova Scotia, 2 minutes each! Recorded from the audience at Pictou County 2020 Discover, March 1, 2017. 


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