Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Dinoland Or Die: Will Nova Scotia Go Extinct?

First published in The Oxford Journal on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 by Sara Jewell Mattinson.

There has been an awful lot written in the past few months about what Nova Scotia needs in order to reverse the province’s economic decline, to help Maritimers work and live in the Maritimes, to make us not just surviving but thriving.
“It’s now or never,” the consultants sing. “We need action now on all fronts.”
Well, I’m neither an expert nor economist, professor or politician but I’d like to contribute a few ideas of my own. 
Let’s start with my favourite: Build “Dinoland” in Parrsboro. This is not selling out our prehistoric heritage; this is celebrating it and making the most of it. Some of the oldest dinosaur bones in North America have been found right here in Cumberland County so why are we not making a big deal about that? Huge tourist potential. Dinosaurs are cool and while the Fundy Dinosaur Museum is delightful, we need to go big with the potential in dem bones. 
I want to see a giant T-Rex on the front lawn of the county building in Upper Nappan.  
Now for something completely radical: Build the new stadium in Amherst. Yeah, that stadium, the one they’re yapping about needing in Halifax. Every government goes on and on about boosting and supporting rural Nova Scotia but moving jobs from Amherst to Cape Breton didn’t really cut it; it doesn’t get much more rural than Cumberland County, if anyone east of the Pass would care to remember. We all know how important location is so build the stadium in Amherst because it’s in a great location, smack-dab in the middle of the three Maritime provinces. What a no-brainer: Amherst is within easy reach of Saint John, Fredericton, Moncton, Charlottetown AND Halifax. Build the stadium in Amherst because it will provide jobs and boost the local economy for fifty kilometres. 
And while we’re at it, let’s bring IKEA to Amherst. Stop doing things the way we’ve always done them, which means putting the big box stores in the big box cities, particularly a city that is the farthest point from everything else on this end of the continent. Again, Amherst is ideally located to tap into the population of three Maritime provinces including the all-important student market. 
My third idea is even more radical and more imaginative and I know the first reaction will be the usual reaction: “We can’t.”
Build a bridge from Cumberland County to the Valley. 
Whether or not that’s geographically possible is not the point; the point is we need to get more people off the TransCanada Highway and onto our county roads.
Right now, we are a drive-through county; we need to become a destination. Why should all roads lead out of Cumberland County? We are part of this province but more than that, we are one of the gateways to this province and it’s time we grew up and acted like it. 
For a new economy to emerge, we need to revisit all those ideas that people said “Can’t be done” and implement the most exciting ones. It’s long past time to stop asking “Why?” and start asking “Why not?”
Change should be exciting and invigorating so most importantly, we need to stop resisting change. When you hear someone say, “This is the way we’ve always done it,” you’re hearing the beginning of the end. Whether its institutions or organizations or government, that phrase is a killer. Because it means nothing will change. Because it means no matter how many great ideas are presented, no one has the courage or the stamina to act on them. We can’t afford to stay in our comfort zone anymore. We need Dinoland and we need it now. 
If you build it, they will come. 
And if you want them to come in the winter time, build  Dinoland: Ice Age as well. Why not?
Cumberland County needs job opportunities and recreational opportunities; our county needs inspiration and action; and most of all, this county need to be more than a pit stop between Moncton and Halifax. It’s time to take control of our own destiny, use our imaginations and make the most of the potential that already exists in this county.
Of course, if all else fails, we could try marketing our resistance to change. That truly is a unique Nova Scotia quality. 

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate ur creativity. All good ideas. However, your arse is out a foot. You identify 'needs' & 'wants'. What is necessary is 'provides' & 'finances'. Dream on, Honey. But it is good to dream. Ttfn. Sandman. :-)