Three cheers for urbanity

The Globe & Mail has a story today entitled “Saint John gets its swagger back”. The article is a positive piece focused mostly on the energy sector in the city.

New Brunswick needs a strong and vibrant Saint John. If Saint John had exhibited similar population growth rates as Moncton and Freddy over the past 10 years, the population of the overall province would be up instead of being down.

I have written elsewhere that New Brunswick is the only province in Canada where there isn’t an urban centre (CA or CMA) that has at least 25% of the provincial population. Moncton has 17% of the population. We have no dominant urban centre. Therefore, the three southern engines need to grow strongly combined.

Now don’t throw that southern NB urban ‘bias’ charge against me. I have been pushing for serious development efforts in the north as well. But as I have said, it can’t be either/or. It must be both. If we could stop the bleeding in the north, help to build strong, successful economies (not necessarily with booming population growth but stable, successful economies) and have dynamic urban centres that attract immigrants, build needed infrastructure and foster more cultural institutions, I think we might have a good blend for the 21st century.

So raise your glass to Saint John.