..and when the sun rises again tomorrow, we'll see how far we've come ...

..and when the sun rises again tomorrow, we'll see how far we've come ...

... just to remind myself why I'm doing this ...

Depending on our personalities, the world can be a crowded place or a very lonely one. For those who seek comfort in numbers, there is no shortage of hangers on, but for those who avoid that circus, keeping thier own counsel can leave them feeling quite alone and disengaged from the mad place we call home. Life is a trade off and most of us choose how we live it.

For me, I'd rather work things out as best I can, using my own thoughts and feelings to sort things out. Following the crowd has never been a temptation to me, but that has its price, one that I'm totally comfortable with every day I get to stand up and be the person I aspire to be. When I sometimes lose track of who that is, I come here to remember, to reconnect and to resume my quest.

These posts are a reflection of some of what matters to me and it's a privilege to have the opportunity to collect these thoughts as they form in my head, as they prepare the way for my life, as it evolves from one day to the next. They re-inspire me when things seem to be floating about, with no particular aim or purpose, and it does happen from time to time.

So, today I had these thoughts that I think are worth writing down for the future me to look back on when I need to ...

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

a lack of vision eventually results in lower expectations... especially of ourselves!

In times of increased and increasing economic and social challenges, two choices prevail. Work harder and smarter, or accept the apparent inevitable. Governments slip between the two choices the rest of us face, they throw money at the challenge and end up distracting us from the more difficult choice.

We've just been shown a bit of upbeat news regarding the Northumberland Mall, which has languished in what I would describe as a state of suspended animation, particularly since the exodus of the large Zellers store. In a simmering economy, this could, at first impression, get folks excited but a second and deeper look reveals a bit if troubling apparent shift in focus locally.

Let's face one of today's basic truths - the economy has shifted from a local and regional emphasis to one of global scope. When we tend to now focus on and get excited about changes in the retail world, are we relegating industrial growth and development to a secondary stature or importance? Expansion in the retail sector actually translates to jobs that are considered among the lowest grade of employment. Secondly, it also tends to have an impact on the local (and to some extent regional) income levels, and at the same time increases the demand for even more disposable income, something that's pretty hard to count on at the moment. If we subscribe to the theory, as it goes at this time, that keeping spending local significantly benefits the local economy, why have we not experienced those benefits since the introduction of the multitude of national retailers locally? It stands to reason that the lion's share of profits from all those sales actually transfer out of the local economy and that may well explain why we've seen little in the way of benefits here. Bringing in yet more of the same could then only result in similar drainage. I think that the initial wave of such similar development some 13 years ago is the most significant factor in the decline of the central business district that we are experiencing at this time. This decline is of enough depth that the town undertook a plan to revitalize it with the help of Provincial funding. Of course, we're not unique or the only ones in this position but that's beside the point. So, in light of what has been announced regarding changes at Northumberland Mall, what do the "revitalization committees", proponents and supporters think about this development? It can't help but have an impact on what their plan is all about (and I still to this day don't have a clear picture or understanding of what that is).

Sure, we need to "grow" the local economy (as differentiated from the local community) on a number of fronts but we also need to be mindful that we don't put too many of our eggs in such a leaky basket; leaky in the sense that money spent in national and bigger chain retail stores in large part leaves the local economy with little benefit locally. We can't lose sight of the need to keep our major focus on better employment opportunities than retail jobs. Every community in the province is chasing whatever industrial development is coming on-line so our opportunities seem extremely challenging, if not limited there.
Remembering the shift to a global economy, Distribution facilities would be a great sector to develop, given the fact that most of their costs are lower outside the larger metropolitan centres and because of our excellent exposure to the variety of transportation infrastructure we already enjoy. We don't need to chase the big game to be successful. We need to pursue the second-string business opportunities, the less glamorous ones that others consider less attractive and too mundane. They are as important a part of the whole economic fabric as the "big fish" who know how to milk the demand for their favour. Retail, - meh, lets get aggressive in ways others can't. Then we can really get excited about our changes and development.

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