Webinar talk centres around rural planning

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A professor at the University of Guelph says using a ‘rural lens’ in making decisions at the provincial level is critical to the health and development of rural Ontario.

Wayne Caldwell is a professor of Rural Planning and Development and was the guest speaker at a recent webinar hosted by the Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health.

The focus was healthy rural communities.

“If we look at the population in the 1890’s it was significantly higher than it is today, but it’s driven by things that are largely out of our collective control, things like relatively low birth rates, we have much smaller families now. Our population is aging and we tend not to attract immigrants,” said Caldwell.

Caldwell says when a rural lens is applied, there’s a much better chance of achieving the outcomes that people living in rural communities need.

“The rural lens is essentially, what does that mean from a rural perspective and that same notion of a rural lens can be applied to immigration, it can be applied to social services, it can be applied to government policy and direction, it can be applied to water systems, all kinds of things,” added Caldwell.