I was recently watching one of Jack Nickelson’s best performances of all time (in my opinion) as the colourful Joker in the original Batman movie. During one of his many profound rants during the film, the Joker yells out ‘This Town Needs an Enema!”
If you don’t find it too graphic, I think this mantra could be applied to Greater Moncton. After a number of years of success, it looks like things might be ‘clogging’ up in a metaphorical sense. In the early 1990s, some of the top innovations in economic development were coming out of this community (for example, the new City Hall complex, the Caledonia Industrial Park, the CN Shops environmental cleanup, etc.). But as they say, necessity is the mother of invention.
It may be true that Greater Moncton may not be as ‘needy’ as it was back then but I submit that the stakes are even higher today. Back then, the focus was on just getting this community back on the rails – back to an acceptable level. However, it is becoming abundantly clear now that Greater Moncton is increasingly becoming the dominant urban centre for all of New Brunswick. It will have to shoulder a much larger burden of economic growth if New Brunswick is to turn its fortunes around.
While Greater Moncton has been humming along over the past 15 years, the province as a whole has tanked. Now, even the Premier (Prosperity Plan aside) is raising the issue of population decline in New Brunswick. Just like Toronto in Ontario, Vancouver in BC and Winnipeg in Manitoba – the fortune of New Brunswick lies, at least in part, in the success or failure of Greater Moncton.
So to my friends in the development community (EGM, MID, DMI, Dieppe, Riverview, Moncton), roll up your sleeves and get busy. The stakes are higher now than they ever were.