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Monday, 21 February 2011

Rural: Is It Worth Saving?

In 2006 the Harris Centre of Memorial University hosted a presentation and discussion panel titled "Rural: Is It Worth Saving?" at the Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in Corner Brook. This question has long been on the lips and in the hearts of those in Newfoundland and Labrador and after years of study and research there appears to be even more questions and fewer answers.

The session focused around a presentation by Dr. Ivan Emke followed by a panel discussion. Dr. Emke is a CFA who has been living and studying here in NL for many years and is widely respected as a leading academic in the field of communication and rural development. His presentation highlights both the complexity and the simplicity of the issue of rural survival.

At the time the title of the session alone caused a mild stir in the province as people have always held the "rural life" close to their heart even if they spent very little time there. It seems that as a people we hold close the rural ideal but yet fail to recognize the true importance of rural in our overall existence. Governments at both the Federal and Provincial levels have divisions called Rural Secretariat. While they play slightly different roles at both levels they are both responsible to provide a "rural lens" while developing government policy. One point that Dr. Emke makes very clear is that if we attempt to address rural areas without including the importance of the rural-urban interaction, then we'll have a difficult task to arrive at any real success.

I suggest you go here and watch at least the first 40 minutes and decide for yourself based on Dr. Emke's presentation.  I concur with Dr. Emke's conclusion, I'd rather pay now.

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