CBC is reporting that the Village of McAdam is offering 16 serviced residential lots for $1 dollar. The mayor says he has had requests from out of province to look at the land. My fear is that a few people will look to retire in McAdam (remember my post about Dorchester) and then spend the next 20 years fighting every attempt at economic development in the area while wanting good quality public services.
I’d like the village to have a little more ambition. There is a rail line close by. There is an international border crossing. The village is an hour from Fredericton and at least 20 minutes by car from Harvey so it should be focused on ensuring it is a tiny ‘services hub’ for the wider area. I took a look at the business registry down there and there isn’t much in the way of services.
What they should be doing is looking at the wider area, assessing timber, minerals, tourism opportunities, local services opportunities, ways to possibly benefit from the border crossing, the rail line – etc., carving off a few small but important economic opportunities for the area and then giddyup – get out there and get it done.
The problem, as I have stated ad nauseum on these pages, is that there is very little capacity to do this in our smaller towns and villages.
No one is coming from Fredericton or Ottawa to save McAdam. There are still a few ‘big’ businesses out there – a gypsum products manufacturing, a plastics manufacturer, several smallish trucking firms and a few local retail businesses. The local business leaders should work with local government (and the regional services commission) on an economic development plan. Offering free lots might be one way to do it but I have to believe in that area of the province there must be more opportunities than that.
I think a little more focus on the smaller, mostly forgotten places in New Brunswick would go a long way to raise spirits in this province. I’m not suggesting that every small village in New Brunswick can miraculously become a boomtown but you can chip away at it. Attract some Millennials that want to set up adventure tourism. See if there are mineral deposits that might have potential. Get a little positive momentum and then see what might happen.