NSPC Leader Tim Houston stopped by the Enfield Tim's to talk about a variety of topics. (Healey photo)

ENFIELD: The leader of the N.S. PC Party acknowledges there are many issues facing residents and businesses in the East Hants region, much like they are province wide.

During a one-on-one interview with The Laker News inside an Enfield coffee shop, Tim Houston was asked about what he had heard about issues in the area. These included the need to replace outdated schools; the impact the closure of Northern Pulp had on forestry businesses in the area; and rural internet, among other topics discussed.

“The issues are quite diverse,” said Houston. “There are a lot of people struggling. The issues I hear from this area are still access to healthcare; the economy, the forestry; and you can’t talk about the economy in this province without talking about rural internet. There are big challenges around rural Internet.

He feels rural internet could be an economic engine for the province.

“I believe that proper high-speed internet across the province would be the biggest economic development initiative since the railway,” said Houston. “It’s that important.

“That’s something I hear about a lot.”

Houston said the COVID19 pandemic has showed just how vital high-speed internet is, and the lack of it was troublesome for many who worked from home for weeks.

“The need for high speed internet was exposed with COVID19,” he said. “Our traditional highways were pretty empty. There wasn’t a lot of vehicles moving, but the information highway on the otherhand were just cooking along. There were a lot of people were working from home.”

He said other industries such as the environment, fishing, and forestry also play a key role in Nova Scotia’s economy.

“We have to find a way to find that balance between economic growth and environmental stewardship,” he said.