Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Booms don't always resonate with the young

Much has been made of late that if Prince Rupert can only hang on a few more years, then the boom times of port development will help to reverse that drain of youth out of our community.

As it is now and has been for a number of years now, once our youth have their Grade twelve diplomas in hand, for the most part they are off down the highway seeking out higher education or better employment opportunities in places afar, destined to return only for those occasional Homecoming and Grad reunions to come.

The prospect of development of the port and any additional jobs that may stream from it has been held up as the talisman to our drain of population, but if a study from Alberta is any indication, that promise of the youth remaining to capture the lure of high paying port jobs may be an illusionary one at best.

Chris O'Connor, a University of Calgary PhD candidate spent a fair amount of time in booming Fort McMurray, expecting to find that the youth of that community would be anxious to be done with their studies and quick to take to the oil patch.

However, the results of his studies have shown that even with high paying and plentiful jobs on their doorstep, the lure of leaving is still strong.

Despite the doubling of the Fort McMurray population base over the last number of years, the sons and daughters of those that have arrived over the years, have instead decided that there is life outside of the boom town.

It makes for an interesting glimpse as to where the future of Prince Rupert may travel, if these heady boom times long promised ever arrive.

While the youth move out, others it seems will move in, anxious to pick up the jobs that will be left unfilled.

In that may prove to be the next wave of growth for the Northwest, helping to replace the exodus of the last ten years or so.

The full examination of the boom town challenges was found in the National Post, you can check out the story from their website.

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