Sheila Fitzgerald is the mayor of Roddickton-Bide Arm and she says the aftermath of a report released by Memorial University’s Harris Centre was not a death sentence for the Northern Peninsula but rather a critical warning.
The report looks at population and survival rate considering birth rate, death rate and outmigration. The overall picture is grim: with predictions of shrinking populations and the inevitable extinction of some Northern communities, if new policies and planning aren’t put into place.
Fitzgerald says most residents agree with the data but are upset with reports of doom and gloom before questions on fixing the problem were asked.
Roddickton-Bide Arm is an exception. With a population of 999 the town is a hub on that part of the Northern Peninsula. With the highest density of moose and hunting resources there’s growing outfitters industry.
But Fitzgerald says the town can no longer survive independently. She says, after reading the report, communities need to band together and form regional layers of governments. Such that towns have more control over things like roads, fire departments, and hospitals.