It’s an editorial in the Miramichi Leader.
Route 11 is a feeder into the greater Moncton area. It is a way not only for goods to get from other parts of the country to that area, but a way for people in the north to quickly and conveniently make their way to Greater Moncton.
And that’s what this is really about. This is a plan to create more prosperity for Greater Moncton. A better highway will make it easier and more tempting for people from our area, and throughout the north and along the Acadian Peninsula, to travel to Moncton for shopping, entertainment and vacations.
Already businesses take a hit as more and more Miramichiers choose to spend their disposable income in Greater Moncton and the competition from shops and attractions in those areas make it more difficult to convince businesses to open their doors here knowing each weekend Greater Moncton is filled with customers spending their money on Trinity Drive or at Champlain Place.
At the end of the day the provincial government is spending nearly $1-billion to further boost the economy of what is already the most prosperous area of our province.
It is unbelievable. The Miramichi Leader is worried about protecting some retail activity. That’s its preoccupation. Quite frankly, this kind of attitude doesn’t even warrant a response but I will anyway.
Remember my blog the other day about the auto industry in the southern U.S.? You could also say the same thing about southern Ontario as well. All of these massive manufacturing plants are located at least an hour from the urban core – or about the distance between Moncton and the Miramichi on a good four lane highway. All of the literature on this issue that I have read in the past few years points to the importance of building stronger links between the large urban centres and the smaller ones in their orbit (like Miramichi and Moncton).
But we always come back to this scarcity mindset that is insidious and corrosive in New Brunswick. The Miramichi Leader wants to hold on to a little retail sales activity and completely ignores the massive potential of being connected. The Moncton airport becomes a relatively easy shuttle drive from Miramichi. Manufacturers in the Miramichi can be more effective shipping their goods to market. People looking to move to the region will know they are a short, one hour drive on a good highway to specialized services in a larger urban market that are not available in the Miramichi.
This should have been heralded in the Miramichi but instead it is criticized because some small minded editor at the Leader has no faith in his/her community and no belief in the opportunity of the future.
And that paper is widely read by Miramichiers – who will likely adopt a similar stance.
Now, having said all that – the astute reader will remember I am not a big fan of building all these new four lane highways without a parallel strategy for economic development. And I still believe that. A billion to attract four auto manufacturing plants (hey, don’t laugh there are at least three current large auto plants being considered for somewhere in the USA right now) would do far more for the Miramichi than any new road.