Therefore, if our transportation networks are not up to par, we will lose our ability to be competitive in the global marketplace. It is evident that our transportation networks are failing us, especially in the rural regions. We can not continue with such neglect, as rural Canada’s infrastructure needs are continuosly eroded or the needed investments never made. Rural areas are the regions that feel the most pain because of this neglect.
MHA Fitzgerald states, “I believe as a nation we need t revisit the thinking of Canada’s first Prime Minister and share the burden of bringing the country’s transportation network into the 21st century”. I agree with the Honourable Member.
Rural regions need an advanced transportation and communications network. We must lobby governments on all levels to make such investments in the appropriate infrastructure. “Infrastructure is essential to economic diversification. and diversification is integral to sustainability. A region is best-position for survival if it has many oars in the water at once.” This is a very logical argument. Newfoundland & Labrador’s rural economies have been typically built around natural resources and one-industry towns. We have certainly experienced the devastation of boom and bust when an industry shuts down or fails us. The Cod Moratorium of 1992, Abitibi Bowater closing its Mill in Stephenville, and later Grand Falls – Windsor to name a few.
To build stronger communities, a stronger Canada – a greater focus must be placed on rural regions despite our increasingly urbanized world. If we do not focus on investing in the rural economies, as Canadians we will all suffer if we just ignore the current infrastructure challenge that is only getting worse as the days go by…
Live Rural NL – CCM
Canadian Geographic Magazine ran a feature on the Northern Peninsula in its October 2009 issue under the headline, “Newfoundland’s Northern Peninsula is a region of depleting human and natural resources. Just the sort of place for a fisherman to be reborn as Bjorn the Beautiful.” (For the article visit: http://www.canadiangeographic.ca/magazine/oct09/northern_peninsula4.asp).
It is certainly true, the Northern Peninsula’s population has been reduced drastically since the closure of its primary industry; the cod fishery in 1992. The statistics speak for themselves as a number of communities and towns saw sharp declines as the world attempts to become more urban. However, our population decrease has slowed with signs of greater stability as more younger families build homes and lives around rural economies. I am proof of another young person that chooses to live rural Newfoundland & Labrador. Although the economy has yet to rebound to levels prior to 1992, I disagree with the author that the region has depleting natural resources.
Nearly 20 years later, the fishery still remains the backbone of the rural economies, with the forestry a close second. Moreover, today, the rural economy has diversified – the Northern Peninsula is engaged in various sectors, including secondary-food processing, value-added manufacturing, biomass fuels, oil & gas exploration, agriculture, aquaculture, manufacturing, construction, tourism, services, retail/wholesale, craft/gift/apparel, information technology, healthcare, education and transportation.
The article states, “An optimist will say that, through all the ups and downs, residents of the Northern Peninsula have always looked after themselves. After all, their connection to the rest of Newfoundland did not come until 1962, the year Route 430 opened, so they have a long history of living in isolation” (Russell Wangersky).
Imagine, it was not until 1962 in a country as rich as Canada that we as Canadians were isolated from the rest of the country. Yet, we overcame these obstacles and our communities adapted to change. Can you imagine that it took nearly 50 more years before the Trans-Labrador Highway was open!!! This highway now connects Red Bay to Goose Bay eliminating a long ferry run. Now visitors can drive from Montreal, QC – Labrador City, NL – Goose Bay, NL – Blanc Sablon, QC and take a 1 hour 30 minute ferry ride to St. Barbe on the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland and drive Route 430 to Deer Lake, NL and then take the Trans Canada Highway to the Capital, St. Johns, NL or to Port Aux Basque to take Marine Atlantic to Nova Scotia. This is an incredible achievement that presents a number of opportunities for not only residents, organizations and business owners of the Northern Peninsula and Labrador, but the entire world!
The recent completion of the Trans-Labrador Highway has already had a significant impact on business on both sides of the Strait of Belle Isle. The M.V. Apollo has adjusted to increased demand to ferry traffic by adding an additional run on Friday and Sunday during peak tourist season. There has been large increases in commercial traffic using both the service and the highway. The opening of Hotel North (former Vinland, St. Anthony) on September 1, 2010 which will include a Jungle Jim’s adds much-needed accommodations to the region. Although, not all businesses are ready for the spike in demand. For instance, if you wish to rent a car, make sure you book well in advance, or you may find yourself in a crunch when it comes to transportation.
On September 8, 2010 the Nordic Economic Development Board and Red Ochre Regional Board, among with its many partners are hosting a Transportation Forum at the St. Barbe Arena to reveal key findings of a study completed as a result of this new transportation link. The impacts it has had on road, marine and air transportation routes and what this has meant for business will be discussed. There are new business opportunities and areas of improvement that we all have a stake. If you are interested in attending please contact Mr. Andre Myers, Economic Development Officer at Nordic Economic Development Corporation via email at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible as space is limited, registration is free.
We no longer live in isolation and we are open to the world to see what we have to offer! We have in my view the best concentrated and diverse group of cultural assets that can rival any region. This includes two WORLD UNESCO Heritage Sites- L’Anse aux Meadows (First known Europeans to re-discover North America more than 1,000 years ago) & the Tablelands), Gros Morne National Park, archaeological finds and discoveries noting Maritime Archaic Indians, Paleo-Eskimo, Groswater Eskimo, Recent Indians (Beothuk, Innu, Inuit, Metis), Basque, Portuguese, French, British and others, a number of provincial and national historic sites, ecological reserves, abundance of natural resources, wildlife and natural beauty, high-speed internet access (in most regions), airports, ferry services, shipping/trucking, low business tax and low-cost of living. These highlights complimented by the Northern Peninsula’s strategic location to enter markets of Canada, Greenland, Iceland, New England States and Europe presents excellent opportunities for a company to export.
I will dismiss Wangersky’s Canadian Geographic article written just 2 months prior to this road opening, as the highway simply does not end at Route 430, The Viking Trail – but begins. We are now a pathway to the rest of North America.
Don’t miss out, as this could be the best investment you ever make.
Live Rural Newfoundland – CCM