A longtime rural resident, I use my 60 plus years of life learning to opinionate here and elsewhere on the “interweb” on everything from politics to environmental issues. A believer in reasonable discourse rather than unhelpful attacks I try to give positive input to the blogesphere, so feel free to comment upon rural issues or anything else posted here. But don’t be surprised if you comments get zapped if you are not polite in your replys.

Monday, January 3, 2011

On the soapbox again!

Its been a while since I dragged out my rural soapbox but the following article struck a chord with me. I was particularly struck by the reference to the difficulties that less affluent rural residents face regarding transportation to larger centers where we are directed for various services. This was highlighted when watching the local news on new years day and hearing the father of the New Years Baby in London, Ont say that they had driven from Goderich. Whilst there may have been a pressing reason for them not getting delivered in their own community I doubt it, there is an ever increasing centralization of services of all sorts and I am aware of a number of mothers being told to drive to London or Kitchener because there “are no obstetricians” at the local hospital wherever that may be. Childbirth should be the most basic of services in most cases and families should not have to drive to a hospital one to two hours away with birth imminent, this is but one example of how rural residents are increasingly becoming second class citizens. The squeaky wheel get the grease and there is a lot more noise coming from the more populated areas!

Read on for another perspective......

Imagine a community with no soup kitchens, no Out of the Cold programs and no homeless shelters. No support groups, community counseling, legal aid clinics or social assistance satellites.
Only a food bank and the Ontario Provincial Police.
Welcome to Wasaga Beach. Home to the world's longest freshwater beach with 14 kilometres of white sand beach. Located on Southern Georgian Bay, it's one of Ontario's favourite four season tourist and vacation destinations.
"Our quality of life and our safe and friendly community has attracted a steady stream of new residents and season dwellers to our town over the years," said Cal Patterson, Mayor of Wasaga Beach, in the 2010 Wasaga Beach Visitor's Guide.
Like other small communities across Ontario, Wasaga Beach also has its share of homeless and poor people trying to survive without the resources that are available in large urban centres.
"In a rural community, fighting poverty is so much harder because it thrives in silence and lacks the resources necessary to get people back on their feet," said Amy MacPherson, founder and executive director of Wasaga Cares, a recent not-for-profit startup trying to help people living in poverty gain access to a broad range of social services. MacPherson said the Salvation Army will provide shelter in a motel room for up to three days "but even that is in a remote location with no transportation and you'd have to find your way to Barrie, ON (50 minute drive) for emergency accommodations after that."
For a family, the nearest shelter is located in Newmarket which is 1.5 hours' drive away.  "So if you have no vehicle you can either hitch a ride along the 400 Hwy with the kids underarm... or... beg I suppose," she said.................
Read more of this article at http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/johnbon/2011/01/fighting-rural-poverty-poses-unique-challenges

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