We should seek out ur­ban mi­grants

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page - -- Richard Ma­honey

Give us your wealthy, your stressed, your hud­dled masses of city dwellers yearn­ing for free park­ing, smooth com­mutes and some peace and quiet. Mi­grants from the big cities could hold the prom­ise of re­vi­tal­iza­tion for the many East­ern On­tario com­mu­ni­ties that are strug­gling to cope with stag­nat­ing pop­u­la­tions and in­creas­ing drains on pub­lic purses.

Seek­ing so­lace from the hus­tle and bus­tle of the ur­ban jun­gle, more and more har­ried city dwellers will be look­ing for more af­ford­able place to spend their golden years. And the Celtic Heart­land of On­tario is as good a place as any for them to call home.

Ev­i­dence of an im­pend­ing ex­o­dus to the ru­rals is found in a Royal LePage sur­vey. The poll con­cluded that 17 per cent of Cana­dian baby boomers, about 1.4 mil­lion peo­ple who were born between 1946 and 1964, are plan­ning to pur­chase a new home in the next five years.

The Royal LePage Boomer Trends Sur­vey shows that smaller cities and re­cre­ational ar­eas will at­tract more in­vest­ment than ma­jor cities between now and 2013. Many peo­ple be­lieve that they can­not af­ford to re­tire in large cities, said Royal LePage pres­i­dent and CEO Phil Soper.

With the rapid ap­pre­ci­a­tion of home prices in the prov­ince, boomers in On­tario are the most likely to con­sider down­siz­ing as they ap­proach re­tire­ment. Al­most half (49 per cent) of all re­spon­dents said they plan to move into a smaller home as they near or en­ter their golden years.

As boomers in On­tario plan their re­tire­ment, they are also the most likely to con­sider chang­ing cities as they look for a home they can af­ford. Forty per cent of re­spon­dents stated that they are will­ing to move to a new city or sub­urb where homes are more af­ford­able while 32 per cent of those will­ing to move would con­sider mov­ing more than an hour away from their cur­rent city.

“Boomers in On­tario are look­ing to re­duce ex­penses as they ap­proach re­tire­ment,” said Caroline Baile, a bro­ker with the real es­tate cor­po­ra­tion. “By down­siz­ing to a condo or mov­ing to a more af­ford­able city, boomers are able to tap into the eq­uity in their homes and have more cer­tainty about their costs. They are look­ing to tran­si­tion into a life­style that gives them more free­dom to pur­sue other ac­tiv­i­ties with­out hav­ing to deal with time-con­sum­ing up­keep and un­ex­pected re­pairs.”

In gen­eral, it is cheaper to live in the country and in small vil­lages than in big cities.

But across Canada, ru­ral pop­u­la­tion has been de­clin­ing be­cause of low fer­til­ity rates, the de­par­ture of young peo­ple seek­ing greener pas­tures in ur­ban cen­tres and the in­abil­ity to at­tract im­mi­grants.

As mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties must con­tinue to main­tain water, sewage, waste man­age­ment ser­vices, as well as roads, bridges and cul­verts, they keep lob­by­ing for more sup­port from the provin­cial and fed­eral gov­ern­ments.

Fis­cally chal­lenged ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties need re­lief from ever-grow­ing bur­dens and re­duc­ing tax bases.

There is am­ple space left in Canada, where about 10.4 mil­lion peo­ple, or 31 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion, live in ru­ral ar­eas.

In On­tario, ru­ral res­i­dents ac­count for only 20 per cent of the over­all pop­u­la­tion.

With the pop­u­la­tion ag­ing, and boomers seek­ing cheaper places to re­tire, this re­gion could ben­e­fit from an in­flux of city folks. New res­i­dents are needed to re­vi­tal­ize ru­ral ar­eas and lighten the load on ev­ery­one.

At­tract­ing city dwellers ought to be part and par­cel of our eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment strate­gies.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.