PECKFORD – In the news

Contributor Larry Peckford has had a varied career in Newfoundland as a public servant and community volunteer. He keeps a seasonal residence in the Codroy Valley. Larry can be reached at:

Well kudos to the Wreckhouse Weekly (Senior Reporter Rosalyn Roy) for the coverage last week on developments related to Hurricane Fiona. I was thinking of doing some background to this as well, but the folks at the Weekly are closer to the scene. They did a great job of reporting the latest in updates on all facets of the situation.

If your head did not spin what with all the departments and agencies involved, then you are better than I. As they say, “the devil is in the details” and I give full marks to those that are able to sort out the pathways that lead to a satisfactory outcome for all concerned. It was the matter of co-ordination and communication among all parties that worried me the most.

If there is duplication, turf protection and poor communication at play, then you know who is the loser. Good on everyone if they are managing a complex situation well! We’ll sure hear about if it is not!

Another piece that caught my eye was René Roy’s column on the worker shortage in the region. I was manager of the old Canada Manpower Centre (later Canada Employment Centre) in Port aux Basques during the early 1980s. At that time, the region was pretty buoyant economically. Rail, ferry and coastal boat operations, together with the fishery along the coast, kept most anyone who wanted to work busy. Of course, at that time, the baby boom generation was producing lots of offspring, although not at the pace of their parents’ generation.

Today families barely replace themselves with a birth rate of two children per family unit. That does not get any kind of population growth and the result is skewing the demographics towards a much older population. There is even talk these days about having enough workers in the population to support the benefits we get as seniors, financial and otherwise. So do you wonder why the country looks to immigration to fill all the jobs and provide the services that the country needs?

Newfoundland is embracing the arrival of Ukrainians, who the Government is courting heavily. These people appear willing to take on new jobs and add diversity, and are a welcome addition to the labour force. The province needs many more, so good luck with that! A growth strategy to increase our population can only mean good things. Any parochialism that stands in the way will be unfortunate.

And to round out this commentary, I was heartened to read the story about the entrepreneur who reopened the E.J. Gale (Hockey Gale’s) general store at Millville in the Codroy Valley. What a history that business had.

To think someone saw the need and took it upon herself to reopen the business! Putting that together with a business plan, securing financing and re-establishing a supply chain is no small task. I know people in the grocery business, and the hours and commitment are never ending. It seems local people are supporting the operation and that’s good to hear. I wish the owner well.

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