Is Nova Scotia home to the most Intelligent Community in theworld? We’ll have to wait until Friday, June 11, to find out. The Western Valley region of Nova Scotia is one of the world’sTop Seven Intelligent Communities for 2003, according to theIntelligent Community Forum (ICF), a nonprofit think-tank thatresearches the impact of broadband and information technology(IT) on economic growth at the local level. The ICF top sevenprovide best-practices models from which communities around theworld can learn. Contenders for the number one spot are: Glasgow, Scotland (UnitedKingdom); Spokane, Wash. (USA); Sunderland, England (UnitedKingdom); Taipei (Taiwan); the State of Victoria (Australia);Western Valley region, N.S. (Canada) and Yokosuka (Japan). The nomination for the award recognizes achievement bycommunities in deploying broadband, building a knowledge-basedworkforce, bridging the digital divide, encouraging innovationand effective economic development marketing. “On behalf of the province, I congratulate the Western ValleyDevelopment Authority team and the people, businesses and sevenmunicipalities of the Western Valley on this significantachievement and wish them the best of luck in New York,” saidEconomic Development Minister Ernest Fage. “This nominationillustrates what we have always known about the inherent capacityof Nova Scotia communities and regions to develop and implementworld-class, innovative initiatives that produce significanteconomic and social benefits.” The Western Valley region has experienced a significantturnaround since the closure of CFB Cornwallis and the collapseof the ground fishery in 1994. Businesses in Cornwallis Park nowemploy twice the number of people as the base did when it was inoperation and the fisheries sector has rebounded to become one ofthe most lucrative in Canada. Other indicators of confidence inthe economy include a 12 per cent growth in average family incomeand an 81 per cent home ownership rate, 20 per cent higher thanthe national average. Municipalities have also taken the lead inconstructing a community-owned fibreoptic network with theMeteghan to Weymouth connection completed in January and othersin the works. Mr. Fage said the positive turnabout is a tribute to thepersistent optimism of businesses and municipal and communityleaders, whose work together has contributed to the region beingchosen as one of the top seven Intelligent Communities in theworld. “It is a real honour for the communities throughout Digby andAnnapolis counties to be selected as one of the top seven regionsand it represents quite a unique opportunity for a ruralcommunity to be showcased at an international business event inNew York City,” said Janet Larkman, executive director of theWestern Valley Development Authority. “The award nominationrecognizes that the people in our communities have accomplished alot by working together to build a vibrant area that isattractive for business investment and has a very rich quality oflife.” The conference and awards event take place in New York today andFriday. Guest speakers include Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton andvarious leaders from around the world. The nominees will beshowcased this evening at a reception hosted by the ConsulGeneral of Canada, Pamela Wallin, and the winner will beannounced at an awards luncheon on Friday.