Rural Newfoundland & Labrador has suffered immensely with the moratorium of the cod fishery in 1992. In nearly two decades that would follow we would see the plight of our youth, transient families and the de-population of our rural communities – all leading to erosion of infrastructure and services that are inadequate to meet the needs of current residents and unable to create a climate to attract enough young people and families to live rural. There are better ways to serve our rural economies.
Let’s take a look at the region and we will see the drastic decline in population since 1991. The 2011 census will only reinforce the fact that our region is facing continued population decline and further aged population.
|Community||1991||2001||2006||% Change 1991-2006|
|Port au Choix||1,260||1,010||893||-29.1%|
Copyright: Stats Canada Census Counts (http://www.economics.gov.nl.ca/pdf2007/regionaldemographicprofiles.pdf)
The sad realities of our communal landscapes in Rural Newfoundland – images you will not see promoted by the Department of Tourism in our Award Winning ads.
Once vibrant fishing rooms, sheds, stages and wharves are now losing their bright red glamour. A fishing boat on the shore, not seeing the water for a while…
Once a vibrant family homestead that was painted brightly orange and trimmed with green. It has not seen life running around the kitchen in several years…
More vacated homes…
A not so happy jellybean row…
NDP Leader, Lorraine Michael argues Newfoundland and Labrador’s wealth from the offshore oil industry is not finding its way into enough pocketbooks, including rural areas in a recent CBC interview. (Read here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/story/2011/09/05/nl-oil-wealth-ndp-905.html)
In this region there are still roads that are unpaved, communities and regions that do not have broadband Internet coverage, cable options or cellular telephone coverage. And yet, we live in Canada? In the 21st century? What about community-based day care, providing meaningful employment, working with the Federal Government to address fishery issues and cutting red tape and regulations (rural areas do not require the same policy for development as required by larger urban centres).
We must take greater care for people. Some have forgotten it was the rural regions that provided the resources to enable larger centres to thrive whether the resource fish, timber or minerals – even the oil is offshore. The Government needs to be more responsible when sharing our wealth, resources and being enablers that can provide rural regions the ability to re-vitalize. Better decisions need to be made now or I only fear the bust our economy will face once we begin to experience life after oil.
We must work together to find co-operative solutions that will revitalize our rural economies. No longer can we stand for the mis-management of our resources, including the way we are treated.
Live Rural NL –
Christopher C. Mitchelmore