Sunday , June 11 2023

The small towns that refuse to die: Schemes to encourage new blood into more than just survive


Jay Patel decided about four & # 39; years ago that he wanted to buy a motel. He was living in Brampton, Ont., And works as a machine operator in & # 39; store, work done in a few different places since emigrated to Canada from India in 2000. The work to Patel and his wife, the Sudha, enough money to buy a home and raise a child, but failed to provide the 50-year-old something b & # 39; what he wanted really: his business and the sense, leaning or swim, which was responsible for his fate.

This past August, Patel made his move. He found a spot, well known name Moose Motel in Smooth Rock Falls, Ont., City of paper mills was about 800 kilometers north of & # 39; Brampton, and bought from its previous owner, Naynesh Patel (no relation).

Naynesh Patel was also a dreamer from India and the Moose had been owned for one year before it was linked & # 39; health challenges to facilitate the sale of the motel, although he hopes to return to the city with his recovery to open the sandwich shop, because, as he said after a late afternoon of November, his wife and three young children love the place and "the community did everything it could to tħosshom welcome. "

The willingness of both Patel families to take a chance on a city left to death in 2006 after the forestry giant TEMBEC Inc. beat local mill, are exactly the kind of adventurous souls Smooth Rock Falls hoped to attract when it was rbrandat itself as the Canadian city near "near north, almost perfect" years ago.

"We had a city council reactive," said Michel Arseneault, the mayor & # 39; three terms and city residents third generation. "Now we are proactive. At last we feel that we are in control of our destiny. "

Place some thought had no future is to sell lots near the golf course for $ 500 a pop, offers business owners and new arrivals large tax breaks, guarantee loans on residential construction projects and new non-residential He and hopes, to Smooth Rock Falls, population & # 39; 1400, is a trend on the leading edge, but on the way back.

The Moose Motel in Smooth Rock Falls, Ont.

Handout / City & # 39; Smooth Rock Falls / The Canadian Press

However admirable, the struggle of a small town survival hide far greater reality of the 21st century: the vast majority of us live and work in cities, thus saving Smooth Rock Falls, or any of hundreds of other places of days seem to mark the map, perhaps only makes fiscal sense for people stuck living there.

But there is another side to that argument and belief, among some, that our rural communities are not just relics of the past, but islands & # 39; potential growth.

"We are facing this dilemma in Canada, m & # 39; We should command economy, m & # 39; are like Russia – where we can close city – and b & # 39; so leave it to these dry communities, and sometimes die and sometimes respond back, said Ken Coates, Research Chair of Canada in Regional Innovation at the University & # 39; & # 39 in Saskatchewan, Saskatoon. "They refuse to give up, and push and push, and come up with & # 39; ideas – and accommodation (discounted) is really interesting."

Coates, a small child from the Yukon city at heart, believe that depending on the location and access to amenities like health care, small cities can be a significant part of the future.

We currently we feel we are mastering our destiny

Michel Arseneault, Mayor Smooth Rock Falls

One of the ways is growing aging population. Baby Boomer who has just retired, b & # 39; free mortgage life, love & # 39; abroad, aversion to traffic and belief to get to know the neighbors can turn this house for one in Smooth Rock Falls to cost $ 70,000, give or take.

"People can go in & # 39; these places and live as royalty," said Coates.

Small towns can also work for seniors crisis on a fixed income may be needed affordable treatment. And instead of being places for young people flee in large urban centers, they can act as points & # 39; access to the global economy.

A generation ago, I had a company that manufactures, say, shoes, the idea was to get as much & # 39; has a market share by selling gazillions & # 39; shoes. Now, the internet makes the world of metaphorical shoe store and serves as the ultimate marketing tool: the independent cobbler, milliner, Tailor writer, professional kittiem, you-name-it-craftsperson with personalized product to sell can & # 39; & # 39 x survive, anywhere and still have reasonable access to consumers / their audience.

"I see a great opportunity for industries based on handicrafts in & # 39; these cities," said Coates, adding that many of the cities & # 39; before & # 39; One industry located near major source & # 39; energy.

For example, Smooth Rock Falls is home to a hydroelectric generating station. cheap electricity, digitized economy in b & # 39; high intensity & # 39; electricity, can & # 39; be directed to housing & # 39; & # 39 filled with store; of & # 39 services; online.

Sign & # 39; welcome in Smooth Rock Falls, Ont.

"M & # 39; we need the migrations & # 39; hundreds & # 39; & # 39 thousands, of people to these cities," said Coates. "Thirty people can change from being in community & # 39; risk viable."

On a macro scale, rural communities economically import, despite what people may think of cities.

Report of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities 2018 – Rural Challenges, national opportunity – amounted to more than four & # 39; Canadian million work in & # 39; rural / small town areas, and contribute 27 per cent of national GDP.

The most rapidly growing sector in rural economies is health care, while their biggest need is youth injection. Boomers, and their bank accounts are great, but city needs young people to be truly sustainable.

"Not much money, is the injection of & # 39; & # 39 in energy; place," said Ken Stannix, mayor & # 39; McAdam, N.B., which, like Smooth Rock Falls, put up for sale.

Thirty people can change from being in community & # 39; venture to be viable

Ken Coates, Research Chair of Canada in Regional Innovation at the University & # 39; Saskatchewan

The city, 1,250 population, was seized by a rush of land in & # 39; recent days, caused by the news of the village council was selling 16-lot residential buildings – for piecemeal – on a first come first.

Stannix, Canadian veteran of the air force retired, spent the first week of December to return some of the calls of 500 plus the village office received from Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, parts between and parts & # 39; away from India.

"M & # 39; INIX really sure why you chose dollars," he said, but that decision certainly drew attention.

For example, "Grace and Wayne ', prospective buyers from Winnipeg, appeared in & # 39; Makdam Monday morning. The mayor gave a personal tour of the village with the historic train station near the border Maine / New Brunswick, and chatted with them as they go. The couple, at the end of 50 years, expressed interest to open a business and start a new chapter in & # 39; lives.

The historic train station in & # 39; M McAdam, N.B.

Melanie Patten / The Canadian Press files

McAdam, by all accounts, has its attractions for those who want to escape from the bureaucracy & # 39; big city. Similarly, Smooth Rock Falls has always been a gateway to some of the most pristine wilderness in northern Ontario, but it was not enough when TEMBEC mill closed 12 years ago.

"We all thought that we work lives and our children were also," Arseneault said the mayor, who was the heart and shop 53 years when the mill closed. "We ended up in & # 39; a situation where all our people had to leave to find work out & # 39; anywhere else. It destroyed our local schools, our sports facilities – no children, less hockey teams – our housing prices climbed. It was terrible. "

The people who remained were still good people. There was no traffic, housing was cheap and waiting times at the local hospital were negligible. In the year since the launch of the effort mmbrar the new city, 24 families, representing a mix of ages, bought, including Patel from Brampton. Six properties b & # 39; commercial areas were also sold by the city, but the mayor can not say, still, the new owners are planning to build.

Back in Moose Motel, Jay Patel guests tended to six weeks before Christmas. He and his wife bought a local person to help clean, and the couple has big plans for the spring to continue the work started Naynesh Patel: paint, renovation and revitalization of the 30-room place on the Street Canada road moose statue outside.

"We are happy here," said Patel. "M & # 39; aħniex worried about the winter. We had also winter in Brampton. "

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