A tale of two futures

A lot of statistics came up during the skills gap analysis workshop in town recently.

A lot of statistics came up during the skills gap analysis workshop in town recently.

One telling stat we didn’t include in our story was the growth potential for nursing. Nursing is a growth industry in the region, no matter what scenario plays itself out over then next 10 years, but under two completely different sets of circumstances.

In the first case, where none of the projected resource projects come online and forestry continues its decline, we’ll need more nurses to take care of an increasingly aging and aged population as the region’s young leave to find someplace to work.

Nursing becomes, according to the report, one of the top five growth industries in the region.

The report didn’t mention what the demand for nursing would be like under the second scenario where projects come online, the workforce grows, people find good work, have families, and the young have the option to stay here and work.

It’s not a stretch to recognize that the demand for nursing will naturally increase. Win-win for the nurses. But what about for the region?

In the first case, we need more nurses because the region is fading. In the second case we need more nurses to take care of the day-to-day minor trauma that goes hand-in-hand with a vital and growing population.

It’s no secret that the second scenario is tied to increased resource extraction and transportation in mining, oil, and gas. If projects don’t move forward, the region slowly contracts.

Some will say that it’s no coincidence that a provincially-funded study turns up results that support the provincial agenda, insinuating the study is just propaganda for industrial expansion.

Propaganda use bits of truth to construct a bigger lie, but I don’t think the accusation fits here. It seems sensible to believe that if no new industries or projects come online to replace the decline in forestry, then the region will be diminished.

By diminished I mean decline and become poorer, both economically and in terms of opportunities for education and personal advancement.

The filpside of the story is that quite possibly the environment is the better for it.

But will the environment be better for it in the long run?

Consider what goes with a regional decline in population, youth, prosperity, education, and jobs: the electorate gets poorer, less educated, and more frustrated.

A desperate population is not in a position to make sound choices, environmental or otherwise. Look at the exploitation of poverty-stricken people world-wide. They’re unable to counter the sway of industrial dollars and power.

What does an educated, prosperous population have? It has the power to shape the circumstances that surround its prosperity.

Just a few weeks ago TransCanada was in town and reported they had diverted their proposed natural gas pipeline route around Bald Hill to accommodate the handful of residents there.

It looked like at least a kilometre of extra pipe and work. At 10 million dollars or so per km, that’s a significant concession.  Peanuts in the overall profit margin?  Maybe, but that’s not the point. Twenty years ago, would that concession have been made?

The point is, with education, a media-savvy electorate, and a ground- swelling of environmental activism, we seem to be at a point where industry is ready – or forced – to play by a different set of rules.

Not the set of rules where they don’t make money and resources don’t move. But the set of rules were the region’s citizens play a big role in defining the scope, capacity and license of projects.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

This photo of approximately 10 years ago shows Laureen Fabian, on the left, and daughter Caterina Andrews. Fabian went missing last October and her daughter is looking for answers. (Contributed photo)
Laureen Fabian’s disappearance remains a mystery

It’s been a year since she went missing

Adam Schmidt is currently at the BC Children’s Hospital. (GoFundMe/Laurel Miller)
Community comes together for a 15 year old Burns Laker admitted at BC Children’s hospital

A fundraising campaign to support the family is being run now

Last year’s Halloween saw a sunny day and in-person costume contests. (Blair McBride photo)
What’s Burns Lakes’ spooktacular plan for this Halloween?

Trick or treating, online contests and more for this season

WKE students pose with carpentry tools in front of the ADST trailer that will allow the school to have a fully operational mobile wood shop. (Karen Ware photo/Lakes District News)
William Konkin Elementary school undertakes project to teach intentional kindness

Students to learn to build crates, grow produce and share it with community

Daylight savings time ends at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1 2020. (File Photo)
Clocks ‘fall back’ one hour Saturday night

Remember to set your clock back one hour on Saturday night, as… Continue reading

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

The duffel bags were found to contain 84 pounds of cocaine, valued at approximately $1.2 million and 198 pounds of methamphetamine, valued at approximately $960,000. Photo courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
2 men accused of fleeing border agents near U.S.-B.C. border with $2M in drugs

Cocaine and methamphetamine seized by U.S. law enforcement in remote Idaho area near Canadian border

Pixabay photo
‘Horrific’ abuse of volunteers, staff by parents must stop: Chilliwack soccer club

Parents have become abusive after being told COVID-19 rules, email says

FILE – The Queen of Alberni ferry leaves the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal in Delta bound for Vancouver Island, Sunday, July 29, 2007. (CP PHOTO/Richard Lam) CANADA
Mechanical failure leaves nearly 200 passengers stranded on BC Ferries ship for hours

A tug arrived after dark to safely nudge the vessel into a berth so travellers could finally disembark

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The Burns Lake Canadian Wholesale club presented $3,000 to Lakes Animal Friendship Society as part of their Give a Little campaign. (Submitted/Lakes District News)
Lakes Animal Friendship Society receives a $3,000 donation

The Burns Lake Canadian Wholesale club presented $3,000 to Lakes Animal Friendship… Continue reading

Ridge Meadows RCMP (Black Press)
Maple Ridge X-ray tech convicted of sexual assault dating back 30 years

Allen James Brooks is expected to be sentenced in January 2021

BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson leaves the stage after announcing he is stepping down as party leader, during a news conference in Burnaby, B.C., on Monday, October 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Too rural, not enough diversity, soul searching needed, say BC Liberals

Elections BC says there are about 600,000 mail-in and absentee ballots across the province still to count

Most Read