Why Rural Settlement May Make a Comeback

By Bruce Firestone | Uncategorized

Mar 15

In many jurisdictions today, politicians and planners believe that everyone wants to live in a tiny condominium above a pub, downtown on main street. Maybe, but then again, maybe not.

Here are a few reasons why they may be wrong and why they seem, at least to me, to be predicting the future by driving into it using only their rear-view mirrors to steer. A tsunami of change is coming, brought about by these products/trends:

Electric cars like Tesla
Net zero homes
Grow local
In-home flats
Micro retail
Home offices
Tiny houses/garden suites/granny flats
Multi-generational living
3-d printing/manufacturing
Etsy/personal businesses for life
Airbnb.com/farm and home stay networks
Replacement of golf courses by farms and housing
Growth of sharing economy, including tool, vehicle and equipment sharing as well as labor
Distance learning
Online shopping


More about animating communities, https://profbruce.tumblr.com/post/114222259189/how-to-animate-a-community

@ profbruce @ quantum_entity

Open Letter   

April 1, 2015

Dear township of McNab Braeside Mayor andCouncillors:

Re Clay BankPark land lease

As you consider what the right course of action isfor Clay Bank Park and McNab Braeside, I wanted to put before you a few

Firstly, it was a great opportunity for me and Ms
Susan Anglin to tour the township two years ago, and prepare an economic development
report for Council. In our view, McNab Braeside has a wonderful future
ahead—its incredible geography, amazing waterways, fantastic history, multiple
parks and recreation facilities, proximity to Ottawa, energetic citizenry, and strong
local culture—position the township well for sustainable economic growth.

Secondly, technology and trends are working in favor
of McNab Braeside—net zero homes, electric vehicles, grow local, telecommuting,
3-d printing/manufacturing, micro retail, online shopping, home-based
businesses, distance learning, telemedicine, and other factors are making rural
settlement, small towns and villages more competitive with larger urban areas
than ever before.

Thirdly, it has been a longstanding goal of the
township (for nearly 20 years) to see a camping and RV park developed at Clay
Bank Park. This is an opportunity to do so at no cost to the community. I
should also note that many of the township’s existing parks (every one of which
we visited) are vastly underused even on the most beautiful summer weekends.
Why is that? They lack active components—such as a store, w/c, picnic tables
and other investments that would animate them.

Fourthly, when local residents have all the facts
about this development, they are overwhelmingly in favor. They know that
providing jobs, especially for young people—running a local outfitting store,
teaching canoeing, kayaking, sailing, windsurfing, kite-boarding and fishing,
running a boat rental shop, helping campers and RVers get settled, plus a 1001
other things—is key to keeping McNab Braeside’s most valuable resource in the
community or getting them to return once their education and traveling days are

Fifthly, it
takes courage for any council to take decisions they know are going to help
their communities even when a few residents are doubtful or perhaps opposed. In
my experience, even the most profound opponents of a new project can come
around. This was certainly the case with the Palladium in Ottawa (now Canadian
Tire Centre) where the Senators play. One of the most vociferous critics of
that development said on the 10th anniversary of that building’s
opening, “I was never really opposed to it. I just wanted to make sure they did
not cut any corners, and went through the planning process like every other
project of its type. In fact, the arena has been a good neighbor—traffic past
my farm gate marketing business has increased and sales have never been

Lastly, I believe this project deserves the support
of this council and the community, and its approval will send a signal that
McNab Braeside is a good place for sustainable economic activity, that it’s a
great place to raise a family because here’s a township where children can find
a future.

With respect,


Bruce M Firestone, PhD, Century 21 Explorer Realty
Inc broker and Ottawa Senators founder, @profbruce bruce.firestone@century21.ca

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About the Author

Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.