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Talks on rural development begin

Strengths and gaps in how economic development programs are delivered across rural and northern Manitoba are the focus of consultations now underway by the provincial government.

The consultations will involve a wide range of stakeholder groups and aim to build stronger partnerships among both government and non-government groups delivering these programs, a provincial news release last week stated.

The province’s own Creating Opportunities report, released in 2006, listed various challenges to rural development, including lack of access to capital to develop new industry and need for more local education and training opportunities.

In 2003 the Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM) released a task force report of its own, outlining municipal leaders’ concerns that economic development program delivery had become unncessarily bureaucratic, and calling for more efficient and accountable service delivery.

Results of the stakeholder consultations will be reviewed later this month.

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