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  • #16
    Originally posted by RichardS View Post
    ...regional rail is not a solution...the issues with small towns go far deeper than commuting...
    It's a solution but not the solution.

    Well we could also talk about halting or reversing the relentless centralization of government services, like the dissolution of health and school boards. We could talk about the chronic shortage of rural doctors. We could talk about the lack of higher-education opportunities in smaller centres. We could talk about the clustering of industry in a few locales (e.g. Nisku and Fort Saskatchewan) to the expense of all others. We could talk about the fact that the provincial government puts all its royalty income into general revenues to be spent mostly in cities instead of giving some to the local communities where the resources are actually produced. We could talk about the commodification of agriculture which has resulted in rural depopulation.

    I honestly think that for towns within 100 miles of Edmonton, the future lies with hitching their economic wagon to the big city. That means attracting commuters, as well as businesses, to move out of Edmonton (but close enough to still serve Edmonton). Edmontonians might not like that idea much but there are better and worse ways that can happen (e.g. rail is better than road, dense commuters towns are better than sprawl). It also means that agriculture near the city needs to abandon producing bulk commodities for export and shift (back) to producing niche products for the local market. This trend is already underway but is still in its infancy.
    Change the incentives and our car-dependant city can change too.

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