I have read several ‘outlook for 2010’ articles relating to Northern New Brunswick that were surprisingly positive. I think one was even titled something like ‘big things for Miramichi in 2010’ or similar. I hope so – I really do.
In 2009, I spent a lot of time thinking about Northern NB. I wrote an economic development roadmap for the region on behalf of the NB Biz Council and I spent time in the region talking with entrepreneurs and community leaders. I have also provided some input into the organization of several groups that are meant to lead the region into a new direction.
The scope and scale of the challenge in Northern New Brunswick should not be underestimated. The region is certainly at a tipping point and within a decade could have slipped into a role that some are calling for – a retirement community. The problem with that vision is there won’t be enough people or economic activity to support the infrastructure required for the region to sustain itself as a retirement community so you will see even the senior citizens move out.
The North needs a strong and stable economic base. I am not saying it has to grow rapidly or be some economic miracle. It has to re-emerge with an economic foundation – centred around its assets and its urban centres.
I enjoy reading Peter Lindfield’s columns. His tome today is about the vital need to properly education New Brunswickers about the challenges facing the province and the outcome of inaction. In a democracy, you need to have public support for major policy changes. You can try and ram things through but in the end it won’t truly work without support.