What to do with Quebec’s aging dysfunctional towns?

What to do with Quebec’s aging dysfunctional towns?

Quebec City (Quebec) 2 February 2015 – In the past week there have been discussions between the government and the Conseil du patronat du Québec ( The Quebec council of employers) about what to do with the province’s smaller towns and villages that are no longer economically viable.

The CPQ, which consists of approximately 75,000 large and small business owners and operators, sees the small towns as becoming ghost towns if their local economy doesn’t improve. There are villages that no longer have employment for its residents but still want to exist as a town in its own right.

The CPQ however finds the problem somewhat of a burden on the government and on the economy as a whole and suggests that maybe it would simply be better to have the people of such towns move somewhere else where they could find employment.

Most of the young people in these villages have already left to work elsewhere, leaving a small more elderly population with little money holding the municipality together on a shoestring, quite often supported wholly by government subsidies.

It is a touchy subject for the people living in these hamlets, because they don’t want to move but, at the same time see their surroundings deteriorating around them. Property values decrease, local businesses close and people suffer financially when there is no more work in an area, and so what is the solution?

The CPQ has suggested that some of the towns in question, mostly up the north coast of the Gaspesie region, should regroup and be more flexible towards amalgamating to create more viable centres.

The suggestion was met with some strong resistance from the towns involved which is forcing the council to reconsider their options. They would also like to see some kind of restructuration for these towns but, don’t want the economics of a support system draining the province of its subsidy funds.

Most of the towns in question lived off fishing and farming in the past but, have since lost their credibility as food producers because of imports and farming expansion to the south and west.

The council and the government will work together in the coming years to try and reach a solution for the towns affected so that the rural areas of the province don’t become uninhabited wastelands.

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