Island businesses praised for entrepreneurship and ingenuity

Steve Sharratt
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Chef Michael Smith, right, and wife Chastity accept the emerging business growth award from sponsor Jarret MacPhee of Grant Thornton for the couple's expansion at the Inn at Bay Fortune.

Dozen nominees recognized for excellence by Eastern P.E.I. Chamber of Commerce

GEORGETOWN - Premier Wade MacLauchlan mentioned it not once, but twice, during his address to the Eastern P.E.I. Chamber of Commerce business awards here recently.

He was praising the entrepreneurship and ingenuity of the region and noted that almost two dozen new businesses have sprouted up in the eastern P.E.I. district recently.

However, he concluded his remarks with a direct focus on the current plan for seven communities to join forces as the “Three Rivers” region on two separate occasions.

“This is a good night to acknowledge the considerable effort and leadership involved in the initiative to create strong regional government in the Three Rivers area,’’ said MacLauchlan. “The province encourages this initiative with funding support and we look forward to further stages of this work.”

The premier made the point blank comment during the 2016 awards banquet at the Kings Playhouse. Town mayor Lewis Lavandier, is the chair of the proposed Three Rivers regional effort and was in the audience. Also attending were representatives from most of the communities involved in the talks and a collection of councillors and Mayor Richard Collins seated at a table reserved by the Town of Montague.

MacLauchlan's remark comes on the heels of a recent derailment of the process as the Town of Montague voted to step out of the talks and request a smaller regional zone that comprised the town’s fire district. The move has drawn considerable concern from the six other communities pressing ahead with the regional concept and the ire of government that was addressed tactfully by the premier. Some Montague councillors have said privately they wish to return to the regional talks.

“The practical implications (of amalgamation) have been a priority since I announced an intent to get involved in political life and a clear policy of government going back to the (Judge Ralph) Thompson report (on land and local governance),” said MacLauchlan, noting that financial and institutional growth for the area were part of such a process.

The premier pointed out the motto of the 120 plus members of the eastern P.E.I. chamber was “together we grow” and acknowledged the success of the dozen nominees in four business categories.

“As I visit places across this province I know there is one essential ingredient behind every success story…nothing succeeds without entrepreneurial leadership,” he said. “You have it here in this chamber and in this community.”

The premier noted the changing demographics – the aging population – is of concern, but noted the arrival of Amish farmers coming to the region and Syrian refugees are all part of the future growth. He also acknowledged that aging entrepreneurs were also part of the trend to build an even stronger economy in the region.

“We have to learn to live within our means,’’ he said, almost foreshadowing the pending provincial budget. “And because we are small, we can be nimble.”

The gathering was told the province has assisted in the development of $250 million worth of projects since 2009 and almost half have been in rural P.E.I.



And the winners are...

Employee of the year – Shirley Bradley CIBC Montague

Pillar of community – James MacAulay, Community of St. Peter’s Bay

Emerging business growth award – Chief Michael Smith, Inn at Bay Fortune

Business excellence – Jason Aspin and Chunying Li, Aspin Kemp and Associates



Organizations: Eastern P.E.I. Chamber of Commerce, Three Rivers, Kemp and Associates

Geographic location: Montague, GEORGETOWN

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Recent comments

  • laurent Beaulieu
    March 01, 2016 - 16:24

    The Premier has vision and this is great for PEI. Together we are stronger. Everyone should look at the big picture.

    • Cromwell
      March 02, 2016 - 13:28

      Looking for a patronage appointment, Laurent? You are likely next in line, after Dunkin. Please tell us what vision and leadership MacLauchlan has provided PEI. Ghiz was an abject failure, but in comparison, he was better than Maclauchlan. BTW, I see Mr. Thibodeau is still censoring comments.

  • Pat McGowan
    February 27, 2016 - 15:34

    Hope Mr.Collins was listening to the Premier's comments.Some of us have attended and have spoken at a Council meeting,but had the impression the mayor wasn't listening.Some of his Councillors have indicated that they were pressured into saying they were against the combining if the 7 districts.The time has come,Montague,to look at the big picture!!

  • olddog70
    February 27, 2016 - 14:37

    Should be the kiss of death , any mention from wade. Also, Smith was in favor of the PNP feast, I remember being disappointed he tried to defend what happened. Guess it proves, the more you favor politicians the further you fall.

  • same story
    February 27, 2016 - 14:35

    How many time has the Inn been resurrected? It has been down there for almost fifty years and Smith has been involved with it for at least thirty years. As for the Amish they contribute nothing to the economy .

    • don
      February 27, 2016 - 16:21

      what does the amish get from the area? what do they give back? and the comments from Pat McGowan sounds like you have a BULLY as the mayor..