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Rural Population Change in Nova Scotia

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Alexandra Denis

on 15 April 2015

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Transcript of Rural Population Change in Nova Scotia

Rural Nova Scotia: Now and Moving Forward

design by Dóri Sirály for Prezi
Background Information
Community Hubs
Qualities of Resilient Rural Communities
If No Action is Taken...
Coastal Vulnerability
Positive Feedback Loop
Unemployment and Income
Inappropriate Regulations
Declining Tax Base
Aboriginal Comparison
The Ivany Report
Population Increase
Denis, Gao, Kader, Kent, Rosenblat
Implications and experiences
What the future might look like
Discussion and questions

Popular Misconceptions
Political Voice
Demographic & Cultural Changes
Ecological Homogenization
Business Challenges
Immigration, return migrants
Immigrant Integration offices across rural
Example: Rural Newcomer Navigation Initiative
More inclusive, welcoming rural residents
Retention of international students

Rural regulations created in an urban setting
Based on assumptions about rural life
Problems stem from lack of capacity
Manpower, financial capital, accessibility
Example: drinking water
Rural utility operators frustrated and overwhelmed
Net population loss in many rural communities
Property taxes = essential service provision
Nova Scotia's
Municipal Government Act
, SNS 1998, c 18
Cycle of decline
Centralized school boards, huge geographic regions
Decisions made far away from communities
Closure of small rural schools
Children bussed 2-3 hours each day
Siblings split up
Schools vital to community survival
"You have to have a child to have a village"
Disregarded potential for experiential and place-based learning
Aging communities
Strain on system
Shortage of healthcare professionals
Essential to community health-care provision
Emergency room closures
Long primary care appointment wait times, lack of urgent care, long distances for specialized care
Aging population in rural Nova Scotia
16% of residents older than 65
Loss of volunteers
Example: volunteer firefighting
Loss of traditional practices
Sheep shearing
Chicken sexing
Artisan crafting
Innovation and mobilization
Reutilizing existing assets in the community
Example: combining fire services

Openness to Change
Coming together to have difficult conversations
Pushing to be proactive in their planning
Example: Port Morien, coastal erosion working group

“We can either move, die here, or we can change.” – Rural resident

Schools and libraries
Cost-effective, locally-driven
Celebrate community, account for local insights and conditions
Genuine partnership
Example: The Peoples Place, Antigonish

Options for Fading Communities
Some face graver circumstances due to:
High levels of debt, low levels of natural capital
Planned decline
Palliative care for a community
“Turning out the lights”

Private sector to lead
Less dependence on government support
and solutions
Transformation of rural natural resource industries
More tele-commuting options
Example: Oxford Frozen Foods
Innovative housing loan initiative for employees

Business Development
Key Messages
Essentially, vibrancy and resiliency is related to three factors: (1) innovation, (2) mobilization, (3) committed champions
Change from within, but external support to bolster that strength is required
Capitalizing on what makes a community unique
Each requires its own special way of being viable
Solutions will need to be community specific

Commuter Migrants
Ecological Footprint
Long commute distances
Heavy reliance on cars
Out of province workers
Impacts to wildlife and biodiversity
Community hubs
Options for fading communities
Business development
Pathfinder program
Thinking as a province
Population increase
Considerations Moving Down the Road
Province is sinking, while sea levels rise
Projection for Lunenburg coast
Increased erosion
Port Morien
Pathfinder Program
Aid in facilitating change processes within a community
Provide access to resources
Dependent on community needs
External to government, but funded by government to ensure legitimacy
Coincide with the creation of a specifically rural department

Assertion of the natural environment
Time lag
Fewer humans does not necessarily mean less disruption
Commuting, recreation, and vacationing
Species at risk and protected lands monitoring and management
Seeking common ground on shared priorities
Less divide between rural and urban
Realization that benefits to one area will accrue all over the province
Example: tourism groups supporting the Convention Center

Thinking as a Province
"Homogocene" due to global "anthropogenic blender"
Not necessarily negative
Difficult to establish "what should be"
Land abandonment
Land-use history
Continued cuts to municipal services
Growing deficits
Increased job market competition
Decreasing property values and increasing real estate market saturation
Loss of culture and way of life
Rural ghost towns
April 10, 2015
Nova Scotia’s population estimated at 943,932 (2015)
From 2013-2014:
0.03% decrease (stable)
1.1% increase in Halifax County
1.9% decrease in Inverness
1,227 left Cape Breton
Outmigration due to:
Health care
Median age: 25.4
Connection to the land
Lower rates of out migration

Rest of Nova Scotia
Median age: 41.6
Higher rates of out-migration

Regulations to create more business are cumbersome
Red tape
Job market outlook
Loss of 3700 jobs province-wide in construction and natural resource sectors in February 2015
Factors related to weather and Alberta's oil woes
Example: forestry landscape
Example: Bowater Mersey Mill closed (2012)

Encompasses rural experiences and landscapes
35 public meetings
16 communities were visited
+1700 citizens contributed
102 written submissions
The Ivany Report
Three main messages:
Yes, there is a crisis and it is exacerbated in rural communities
There is hope for Nova Scotia
The retreat of the federal government is a serious constraint
Stretch goals
Change on

levels, as well as economic and policy
Popular conception: people leaving rural communities for urban centres
Rural Nova Scotians going “down the road”
Destination has changed: out west
Gradual movement from rural to urban
People actively choose to live in rural areas
42% of Nova Scotia in rural areas
Popular Misconceptions Continued
The conception that the decline across rural Nova Scotia is homogeneous
Rurality is heterogeneous in nature
Pockets of growth in rural areas
"Truth-producing falsehood" (TPF)
Impacts policies
Impacts funding decisions
Rural/urban divide
Projected Population Change 2009- 2034
Age Profile of Out-Migrants
Lack of political clout in provincial and federal arenas
Redistribution of NS provincial ridings
Federal Rural Secretariat disbanded
Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism
Rural files are orphan files
Today's Plan

Possible advocates elsewhere: Agriculture, Natural Resources, Fisheries
Mandates amenable to rural issues
Still, limited support
Grassroots groups lack capacity to replace government support

"It is one thing to have sufficient rural representation, but quite another to have attention to rural issues"
Political Voice Continued
Unemployment and Income Continued
Rural-urban income gap is one of the largest in Canada
Recent cuts to tourism jobs
Structural economic issues:
Shift in resource industry patterns
Subsidization of manufacturing industries outside of Atlantic Canada
Lack of job diversity

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