# 02 No shortage of good advice ? let’s check

Former economic development officer shares thoughts on MOU debate Published on April 24, 2016

Bill MacCulloch with a photo of himself announcing a 1965 New Glasgow Rangers hockey game (Rosalie MacEachern photo)                   Among Friends by Rosalie MacEachern

Bill MacCulloch sees the current MOU debate through the prism of more than 50 years working in Pictou County – in radio, banking, economic development, tourism, mining, financial services and now operating his own business.

“There’s exaggeration in the positive and the negative camps, but if we don’t go forward with a regional system of government, we’re going backward. Pictou County is paying a price for not acting as one and we’ve been paying it for a long time.”

MacCulloch spent 20 years with a county economic development agency that evolved out of a grassroots group called Ten for the Task.

“It was formed in the very late 1950s when there was high unemployment in the county and a lot of concern for the future. It began with the local clergy and unions coming together to talk about the economy and the need for leadership.”

By the 1970s, when MacCulloch was hired, the agency was known as PICORD – Pictou County Research and Development Corporation.

“I spent 20 years working with the six councils and it definitely was parochial. It was very much five little kingdoms with the county being the sixth one, the large one.”

If a business prospect came to the county to scout for a possible location, MacCulloch had to take the client to a variety of locations, including some he knew to be unsuitable.

“If I didn’t take a prospect to a certain municipality, the next thing that municipality would be threatening to withdraw their funding from the agency. It was a waste of time, but it had to be done,” he remembers.

One striking example of the municipalities’ inability to work together stands out in MacCulloch’s memory.

“We were organizing celebrations to mark the bicentennial of the landing of the Ship Hector. We had community people from all different backgrounds working together to recognize the arrival of the Scots, but two municipalities refused to contribute because they saw it as a Pictou event.”

While MacCulloch sees a county-wide regional government as a step in the right direction, he thinks more is required.

“We need a regional approach from the Strait through to Truro. If we could do that, we’d be the region able to compete with Halifax, given our fine university and colleges and good people. Tourism is moving in that direction,” he said, citing the western islands and highlands of Scotland as an area that has been successful regionally.

MacCulloch grew up in Blue Mountain and the north end of New Glasgow. When he left high school, further education was a financial impossibility, so he found a $24 a week job at the local radio station.

Discouraged by the cost of board and necessities such as cigarettes, he briefly followed his family to the U.S., but returned when Doug Freeman bought Radio CKEC and offered him a job.

“I was delighted to come back to a place and work that was familiar,” he said, adding it also brought him back to the Trenton girl he later married.

Radio, in those days, required a lot of machinery, so MacCulloch studied electronics at the Stellarton Vocational School at night.

“Any job I ever worked, I always felt undertrained because I didn’t have a college degree, so I took all the training I could get, anything that was offered and anything I could find related,” he said, adding he became one of only two certified economic development officers in Nova Scotia while working for PICORD.

For some of MacCulloch’s working years, he had more the one job. The one he may be best remembered for is being the announcer on Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling where the likes of Killer Karl Krupp, The Cuban Assassin, Macho Man Randy Savage and Leo Burke strutted and roared for the television cameras and huge audiences.

“I did it for 10 years and wrestling has started more conversations and got me more introductions than anything else I ever did.”

And the eternal question, of course, is was it all fake?

“Those guys were great athletes, phenomenal athletes. It was programmed to a degree but it could and often did come un-programmed very quickly.”

MacCulloch spent four years in retirement, becoming very active in the Masonic Lodge, flying model airplanes and having extra time for his four grandchildren, before becoming owner-operator of a UPS store in New Glasgow.

“It certainly wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy retirement, but my son was unemployed so we got into negotiations to buy a UPS store together. Then he got a fulltime job so that left me with more of the business than planned.”

He’s done his fair share of volunteering as well.

“If you live in a community, you have to be involved. I’ve been in Kinsmen and k-40, the United Way, the Pictou County Fuel Fund, my church, the lodges  – anywhere I thought I could help and make things happen.”

As a New Glasgow resident, he admitted he is frustrated by surveys that place New Glasgow at the bottom of a list of attractive towns to live in but more frustrated by jibes from people in the other county municipalities.

“That’s not a reflection on the town; that’s a reflection on the New Glasgow market area and that is all Pictou County. We have to get away from the negative image that exists out there in clippings services and social media.”

 

Rosalie MacEachern is a Stellarton resident and freelance writer who seeks out people who work behind the scenes on hobbies or jobs that they love the most. If you have someone you think she should profile in an upcoming article, she can be reached at r.maceachern@ns.sympatico.ca

Very telling story, so we have here a fine gentleman trying his best for how many years watching Pictou County and decades for PICORD(etc) and then he offers us this advice??  Of course problem can not be solved if confined in some of the indicated activities and associations and by his own description things are still the same. Good for him to have held on to such a nice plum job but today’s reality does not show many fruits of all his strenuous labor!

  • sees the current MOU debate through the prism of more than 50 years working in Pictou County
  • but if we don’t go forward with a regional system of government, we’re going backward
  • Pictou County is paying a price for not acting as one and we’ve been paying it for a long time.
  • ”MacCulloch spent 20 years with a county economic development agency
  • formed in the very late 1950s when there was high unemployment in the county and a lot of concern for the future
  • “I spent 20 years working with the six councils and it definitely was parochial. It was very much five little kingdoms with the county being the sixth one, the large one.”
  • If a business prospect came to the county to scout for a possible location, MacCulloch had to take the client
  • the agency. It was a waste of time, but it had to be done,” he remembers.
  • While MacCulloch sees a county-wide regional government as a step in the right direction, he thinks more is required.
  • “We need a regional approach from the Strait through to Truro. If we could do that, we’d be the region able to compete with Halifax, given our fine university and colleges
  • When he left high school, further education was a financial impossibility,
  • “Any job I ever worked, I always felt undertrained
  • he became one of only two certified economic development officers in Nova Scotia while working for PICORD.
  • becoming very active in the Masonic Lodge,

“If you live in a community, you have to be involved. I’ve been in Kinsmen and k-40, the United Way, the Pictou County Fuel Fund, my church, the lodges  – anywhere I thought I could help and make things happen.”

Super the recipe for a flourishing town, where prosperity abounds. Is not what you know it is all about who you know. Success for a limited circle, bravo! Hopeless …

 

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