Thursday , May 6 2021

Small towns that refuse to die: Shells for getting new blood more than just staying alive

Jay Patel decided four years ago that he wanted to buy a motel. He lived in Brampton, Ont., And worked as a mechanic in a warehouse, a job that he performed at several different places since Immigration to Canada from India in 2000. Work has enabled Patel and his wife Sudhi to buy enough money to raise a home and raise a baby, but he failed to provide the 50-year-old with what he really wanted: his own job and sense, sink or swim, that he was in charge of his destiny.

Last August Patel made his move. He found a place, conveniently named Motel Moose at Smooth Rock Falls, Ont., A former paper mill site about 800 miles north of Brampton, and bought it from his former owner, Naynesha Patel (no connection).

Naynesh Patel was also a dreamer from India and had Moose a year before he was burdened with health challenges that accelerated the sale of motels, though he promised to return to the city after recovery to open the sandwich because, as he said late afternoon in the afternoon , his wife and three little children love the place and "the community has done everything possible to make it feel welcome".

The two Patel families are ready to take advantage of the city that remained dead in 2006 after the forest gigantic Tembec Inc. the local mill was closed, these are the adventurous souls that they hoped would draw when they changed to "Near the North, near the perfect" Canadian town a year ago.

"We used to be a reactive city council," said Michel Arseneault, a three-year-old mayor and a third-generation resident. "Now we are proactive. Finally, we feel like controlling our destiny. "

A place that some did not think had the prospect of selling pitches next to the golf course for $ 500 per pop, offering business owners and newcomers a big tax break in order to move in, guaranteeing loans for new residential and non-residential construction projects and publishing the World, or at least so hope that Smooth Rock Falls, the 1,400 population, is not lying on the edge, but on return.

Motel Moose in Smooth Rock Falls, Ont.

Brochure / City of Smooth Rocks / Canadian Printing

Regardless of the admiration, the struggle of a small city for survival blurs a much greater truth of the 21st century: the vast majority of us live and work in cities, saving the Smooth Rock Falls, or any of the hundreds of other days seen, the Map Point, probably just a fiscal meaning for people stuck who live there.

But there is also the other side of this claim and belief among some that our rural communities are not just the remains of the past, but the islands of potential growth.

"We have faced this dilemma in Canada, we have no command economy, we are not like Russia – where we can close the city – and allow these communities to fail, sometimes die, and sometimes fight," said Ken Coates, regional innovation researcher at Saskatchewan University in Saskatoon. "They refuse to give up, and they push and push, and come up with ideas – and the apartment for (discounted) housing is really interesting."

Coates, a small town in Yukon, believes that, depending on location and access to amenities such as health care, small towns can be a significant part of the future.

Finally, we feel like controlling our destiny

Michel Arseneault, mayor of Smooth Rock Falls

One of the growth paths is graying populations. A recently retired baby boomer with a home without a mortgage, outdoor affection, aversion to traffic, and faith in dating neighbors can replace that home for one in Smooth Rock Fall that costs $ 70,000, give or take.

"People can move to these places and live as royal parents," Coates said.

Small towns can also work for elderly people with fixed income loans, which might need affordable care. And instead of fleeing young people in favor of larger urban centers, they can work as access points to the global economy.

Before generation, if you were a manufacturing company, say, shoe, the idea was to get as much market share as sales of gazillion footwear. Now the internet makes the world a metaphorical footwear trade and serves as the ultimate marketing tool: an independent cobbler, modiste, a tailor, a professional writer, a custom-made-to-craft trader with a customized sales product can live somewhere convenient and still have access to their consumers / audiences.

"In these cities I see a great opportunity for the craft industry," Coates said, adding that a large number of former industrial cities are close to the main source of energy.

For example, Smooth Rock Falls is the home of a hydro power plant. Cheap electricity, in the digitized economy with intense electricity consumption, can focus on the storage of a full Internet server.

A welcoming sign in Smooth Rock Falls, Ont.

"We do not need hundreds of thousands of people to migrate to these cities," Coates said. "Thirty people can turn the community at risk of being sustainable."

In macro-scale, rural communities are economically important, even though people might think.

Report from the Canadian Municipal Association of 2018 – Challenges in rural areas, the national opportunity – numbered more than four million Canadians working in rural areas / small towns and contributing to 27% of the national GDP.

The fastest growing sector in rural economies is health care, while their greatest need for youth injections. Boomers and their bank accounts are great, but the city needs young people to be truly sustainable.

"Not so much money, it is energy injection into place," said Ken Stannix, Mayor McAdama, N.B., who, like Smooth Rock Falls, set up for sale.

Thirty people can turn the community at risk of being sustainable

Ken Coates, Canada Department of Regional Innovation Research at Saskatchewan University

The city, which has 1,250 inhabitants, has been sparked by the country's rush over the past few days, prompting the council's announcement to sell 16 residential building plots – for one dollar per piece – by principle the first arrival, the first server.

Stannix, a retired Canadian aviation veteran, spent the first week of December returning some of the 500 phone calls his home office received from Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, parts between and parts as far away as India.

"I'm not quite sure why we picked the dollar," he said, but that decision certainly attracted attention.

For example, "Grace and Wayne," future customers from Winnipeg, appeared in McAdam on Monday morning. The mayor personally visited the village with the historic railway station near the Meadow / New Brunswick border, talking to them as they went. In the late 50s, the couple have expressed an interest in opening a job and launching a new chapter in their lives.

Historical Railway Station in McAdam, N.B.

Melanie Patten / Canadian Press Files

McAdam, by all means, has its attractions for those who want to escape the hurly-burly of the big city. Similarly, Smooth Rock Falls has always been the gateway to some of the purest wilderness in northern Ontario, but that was not enough when Tembec Mill died 12 years ago.

"We all thought we had a job for life and that our children would also," said Mayor Arseneault, who was a miller and 53 when the mill closed. "We ended up in a situation where all of our young people had to go to work somewhere else. It has destroyed our local school, our sports facilities – no children, few hockey teams – the prices of our homes have decreased. It was terrible. "

People who are left are still good people. There were no traffic jams, the houses were cheap, and waiting time at the local hospital was negligible. In the year since the rebranding process was launched in the city, 24 families, representing the age mix, purchased, including Patels from Brampton. The city also sold six commercial zones, although the mayor can not yet say what the new owners are planning to build.

In Moose motel, Jay Patel trained six guests a few weeks before Christmas. He and his wife hired a local person to help clean up, and the couple had great plans for spring to continue working Naynesh Patel: painting, renovating and revitalizing a 30-room town on the Trans Canada Canadian los statue in front.

"We're happy here," Patel said. "We're not worried about winter. We had the winter in Brampton.

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