Be it enacted by the Governor and Assembly as follows:
1 This Act may be cited as the Regional Community Development Act.
2 The purpose of this Act is to encourage and facilitate community-based planning for economic, social and institutional change by
(a) enabling, upon the request of a municipality or of participating municipalities, the establishment of regional community development agencies to work with the community to plan and carry out regional development strategies and action plans that will further the development of the community;
(b) facilitating the co-ordination of provincial and municipal public sector development programs affecting the roles of private and voluntary sector groups, labour groups, companies, non-profit organizations, co-operatives, universities and community colleges in the support of community development;
(c) assisting regional communities in developing local planning capability, institutional capability, community entrepreneurship and the essential infrastructure that will promote the creation of business investment, jobs and opportunities for individuals through education, training and participation in locally driven ventures; and
(d) improving the economic and social conditions of rural and urban areas of the Province.
3 In this Act,
(a) "agency" means a regional community development organization established pursuant to this Act;
(b) "development" means economic, social and institutional change brought about by a broadly representative community process aimed at improving the community as a better place to live and work;
(c) "Minister" means the Minister responsible for the Nova Scotia Economic Renewal Agency, including Tourism Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Marketing Agency;
(d) "municipality" means a regional municipality, town or rural municipality;
(e) "participating municipality" means a municipality that is represented on an agency; (f) "regional community" means the geographic area of one or more municipalities located within the boundary of an area of locally accepted economic development interest;
(g) "regional development strategy" means a three-year comprehensive multi-sectoral economic and social development program prepared in consultation with community groups and individuals.
4 The Minister has the general supervision and management of this Act.
5 Such employees as are necessary for the administration of this Act shall be appointed in accordance with the Civil Service Act.
6 (1) Where a municipality or municipalities propose to prepare and adopt a regional development strategy for the municipality or municipalities, respectively, the municipality or municipalities, as the case may be, may request that the Minister establish a regional community development agency for the area covered by the regional development strategy.
(2) Upon receiving a request from a municipality or municipalities pursuant to subsection (1), the Minister may, by order, establish a body corporate to be the regional community development agency for the area covered by the regional development strategy.
(3) An order made pursuant to subsection (2) may specify
(a) the name of the agency;
(b) the regional community for which the agency may exercise powers;
(c) the municipalities that are to be represented on the agency;
(d) the number of members on the agency s board of directors to be appointed by the councils of the participating municipalities;
(e) the number of members of the agency s board of directors to be representatives of the regional community s economic sectors and other relevant groups;
(f) the term of office of members of the board of directors of the agency and the conditions under which members of the board of directors cease to be members of the board;
(g) the proportions in which each of the participating municipalities shall contribute to and provide the funds required to meet the expenses of the agency, subject to the participating municipalities ability to approve its contribution on an annual basis;
(h) the date when the contribution of each participating municipality is to be paid to the agency; (i) the officers and organization of an agency and how and when meetings of the agency are to be held and the business of the agency transacted;
(j) the fiscal year of the agency;
(k) such other matters as the Minister deems necessary to carry out effectively the intent and purpose of this Act.
(4) A vacancy on the board of directors of an agency does not impair the right of the remaining members to act or the corporate capacity of the agency.
(5) A member of an agency s board of directors or a municipality s advisory committee is not entitled to remuneration for serving on the board or committee, excluding reimbursement of expenses actually incurred.
(6) An order made pursuant to this Section may be varied or rescinded by the Minister after notice to all participating municipalities.
(7) The Minister may disestablish an agency and determine the manner of disposing of the assets of the agency.
7 (1) An agency may
(a) advise the council of any participating municipality with respect to matters affecting the economic and social development of the regional community;
(b) promote interest in activities of the agency and encourage and assist the participation of public, private and voluntary sector groups;
(c) prepare, update at regular intervals and implement a strategy and action plan for the development of the regional community;
(d) encourage interested groups in participating in the strategic planning process and set priorities for development action;
(e) act as financial, industrial, promotional, marketing, training or planning advisers with respect to the development of the regional community in accordance with a regional development strategy;
(f) encourage the formation of partnership groups to evaluate, plan and organize implementation of specific development actions and projects that fall within the framework of the regional development strategy;
(g) facilitate contact with those who may be able to provide technical, professional and policy resources needed to enable project groups to be effective;
(h) facilitate access to those who may be able to provide funding to implement projects and business plans in accordance with a regional development strategy; (i) provide managerial, technical or other support services to other business or operations of any community development group, company, syndicate, labour group, non-profit organization, co-operative, partnership, enterprise or undertaking in respect of achieving the purpose of this Act;
(j) provide training to those individuals or groups involved in regional community planning to assist in the implementation of a regional development strategy;
(k) collect, analyze and disseminate information;
(l) co-operate with governments and agencies of governments;
(m) perform such other functions or duties as are assigned to an agency by the Minister.
(2) An agency may enter into agreements with the Government of Canada respecting the sharing of expenses associated with the encouraging and facilitating of community development.
8 (1) An agency may exercise such powers as are necessary or conducive to attaining the objects of the agency and, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, may
(a) acquire by way of grant, gift, devise or otherwise funds to carry out the objects of the agency;
(b) invest any money of the agency not immediately required for the purpose of the agency;
(c) enter into agreements with the participating municipalities, the Province or the Government of Canada with respect to the funding of the agency;
(d) employ such persons as are deemed necessary by the agency to carry out the objects and purpose of the agency and determine the remuneration of such persons;
(e) do such other acts or things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the objects and purpose of the agency.
(2) Subject to the approval of the Minister, an agency may make by-laws for the internal management of the agency and, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, may make by-laws
(a) respecting the conduct and duties of the officers and employees of the agency;
(b) respecting the method of calling meetings and the conduct of business at meetings;
(c) respecting the order and proceedings at meetings; (d) designating a name for the person who presides over meetings.
9 (1) An agency shall keep proper books of account and records, which shall be open to the public for inspection upon request.
(2) An agency shall annually cause the accounts of the agency to be examined and audited by a registered municipal auditor who may be paid such remuneration as the board determines.
(3) An agency shall, not later than June 30th in each year, submit to each of the participating municipalities and the Minister an audited statement for the immediately preceding fiscal year showing
(a) the revenue for the immediately preceding fiscal year;
(b) the expenditures;
(c) a revenue fund balance sheet as of the close of the fiscal year;
(d) changes in the surplus or deficit account during that fiscal year with explanations of such changes;
(e) an auditor s certificate; and
(f) such other information and accounts as the participating municipalities or Minister may require.
10 (1) An agency shall, not later than January 31st in each year, submit to the council of each participating municipality for approval an estimate of the amount required from each of them for the purpose of the agency for that year.
(2) Sums paid pursuant to this Act are held to be sums required for the ordinary lawful purposes of the municipality.
(3) Sums paid by a council prior to the coming into force of this Act to an incorporated body whose objects are similar to those of an agency under this Act are deemed to be sums required for the ordinary lawful purposes of the municipality.
11 An agency shall annually submit to the council of each participating municipality and the Minister a report detailing the progress made in achieving the objectives of the regional development strategy.
12 Nothing in this Act means or shall be construed to mean that
(a) an agency created pursuant to this Act is a Crown corporation or an agency of Her Majesty in right of the Province; or
(b) any property, right, privilege or obligation of any agency is the property, right, privilege or obligation of Her Majesty in right of the Province.
13 (1) The Governor in Council may make such regulations as the Governor in Council deems necessary to carry out effectively the intent and purpose of this Act.
(2) The exercise by the Governor in Council of the authority contained in subsection (1) is regulations within the meaning of the Regulations Act.
14 Chapter 116 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Cumberland Development Authority Act, is repealed.
15 This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.