Neglect of Rural Communities Shows Need for Department of Rural Affairs and Community Development

FREDERICTON – As tourists head to New Brunswick’s famous islands to experience a little bit of paradise this summer, all is not well for islanders. New Brunswick’s six island communities continue to be troubled by loss of services and inadequate infrastructure.

“The neglect of the needs of our rural communities by successive governments is all the more evident in New Brunswick’s six island communities, due to their relative isolation from the mainland,” said Green Party leader David Coon. “The Department of Rural Affairs and Community Development that I have proposed would be on top of the problems unique to island communities.”

Deer Island is likely to lose its one remaining post office before the summer is out. Grand Manan is losing its only bank and has lost its dentist and funeral director. Whitehead is in danger of losing its elementary school. Campobello still has no year-round ferry to the mainland, while Miscou and Lameque are dependent on a bridge to the mainland that is in desperate need of replacement.

“You can bet the Minister responsible for such a department would be on the phone to Dominic LeBlanc to save Deer Island’s post office,” said Coon. “Instead, they have to hope the Premier will champion their cause with Ottawa, but his dismissal of the need for a Campobello ferry and a new bridge to Ile de Lameque does not bode well for Deer Islanders’ efforts to save their post office.”