Originally Posted by SignalHillHiker
I believe it's about 600 million or so, the increases? Not sure.
I'd design the cuts to encourage urbanization in communities of at least (or very near) 5,000 or more people. Certainly, everything cut from communities such as Corner Brook, Grand Falls-Windsor, and even Bonavista at the expense of keeping comparable services in villages of a few hundred people would be reversed. Ferries would have to recover at least 65% of their operating costs from fares, as opposed to the 1-4% that is recovered today. Communities could resettle with a vote of 50%+1. I'd keep the deficit reduction levy but design it to be more progressive. Certainly no one making $25K/year would be paying 1/3 the levy of someone making hundreds of thousands. I'd close every hospital and school in rural Newfoundland that's less than an hour from the next, and every single school with more staff than students - no matter the distance to the next. They can do distance education if need be. I'd close the Deer Lake airport. I'd cancel the widening of the Trans Labrador Highway. On and on.
We agree on a lot of things, but some of these are probably not it. Rural NL will die on its own within the next 100 years, with the larger communities like you've mentioned sticking around. Minus the larger ones such as Corner Brook, Grand Falls, and Gander (and maybe even Clarenville), they probably won't get any more urban than they already are, it's much nicer to move to St. John's then Deer Lake. Of course, that's best case scenario when it comes to finances.
The hospital idea you have has been, for the most part, already taken place. Some government really needs to give the money to Corner Brook to get their new hospital done, we've played around with that for too long. It's sorely needed in that region. However, why should just rural NL take this burden? I don't see the reason why St. Claire's Hospital in St. John's exists. With Health Science Centre growing every day (like someone is putting lego blocks together), all services could be expanded under one roof. Same with schools: as they are now in rural NL some of them are an unfortunate drain on the government. The hand full of students and one teacher schools have got to go. However, why should a school which has say 150 students that services a region of 1000 people close because there's another school an hour away? If there were 2 of these schools 10 minutes away then yeah, sure, close and combine, but that is rarely the case. Though some of these schools do exist within St. John's.
Whenever I hear that most of rural NL should pack up and move, I always ask myself "what's so wrong with where I grew up?". It's the largest town in a collection of towns, total population of the area around 1200. There's no duplication of service in the area, we work together as a region. The fire department does get a slight government subsidy but most of their funding comes from fundraising. The doctors office is a private business, as is the pharmacy. People pay their tax, just like people in the city do. We don't require an insanely unsustainable ferry to reach us, and we live about 30 minutes away from what would be considered a "major" population centre in the region, no different than Bay Bulls to St. John's. I don't think we're what's ruining the provinces finances, so why should we be so quick to pack up and leave? Worry about communities of 20 people who are isolated and require a ferry and school and doctor first, father time will take care of the other places.
Out of curiosity, why'd you pick to close Deer Lake airport over Stephenville?