A Song and a Read for a Summer Day
Small Town Canada
This week Greyhound announced that it will be ending its bus service in Western Canada with the exception of one route (Vancouver to Seattle). For many small communities this creates a big problem – the bus is relied upon not only for passenger transportation, but also for delivery of important parcels.
Greyhound has made its decision because the routes in rural areas and small-town Canada are no longer financially viable. This is not the first time a large bus company has shut down for similar reasons. Acadian Lines served the three Maritime provinces from 1938 until ceasing operations in late 2012.
The story here is really much deeper than just about bus companies shutting down! Small town Canada is struggling to survive. The CBC is running an interesting summer series about How Canada’s Small Towns are Trying to Survive and Thrive in Changing Times.
There are no simple answers to the challenges facing small town Canada. Maybe this series of stories from the CBC will a little help a little by highlighting a few success stories that can be replicated elsewhere. After years of auditing and evaluating economic development initiatives and watching both success stories and spectacular failures that have cost the public purse millions of dollars, I believe that the best hope for small communities lies in small to mid-size home grown solutions, which the CBC series is touching on. I also think the concept of Economic Gardening pioneered in Littleton, Colorado merits more attention than it seems to get in many small towns in Canada.
Small towns – some will disappear as times change, but others are finding their footing as they grapple with change which is encouraging. I am from small town Canada, in fact a tiny community in Cape Breton near a small town that I am looking forward to visiting next week. I think John Mellencamp captured much of the sentiment well when he penned Small Town – enjoy the song, check out the lyrics and read the story behind the song.