Lack of jobs and housing among reasons cited by Chaleur region mayors for population decline

The mayor of Belledune says a lack of jobs for young people is the main reason his village has seen a population decline as suggested in the latest Census report released earlier this week.

Joe Noel predicts a bleak future if more jobs for youth aren't attracted to the area.

Bathurst saw a population decrease of  3.1 per cent while Beresford shrunk by 1.4 per cent.   

Pointe-Verte experienced the harshest population decline in the region at 9.2 per cent.

Mayor Normand Doiron blames the numbers on a lack of rental apartments for seniors looking to downsize.

He says many seniors opt for "all-included" rental apartments in other local municipalities, something he says is lacking in his village.

Another possibility for the decline, Doiron says, is elderly residents pulling up stakes to move close to their children who have left the region for job opportunities.

But not all Chaleur region municipalities lost citizens.

Nigadoo actually saw an increase of 1.2 per cent, and mayor Charles Doucet says many young people look to move to the village because of stable property taxes and a variety of things for young families to do.

Doucet says Nigadoo has been tailoring village infrastructure to attract younger families, noting the construction of a coastal belvedere and plans for a children's splash park.

New Brunswick, as a whole, saw its population fall by 0.5 per cent between 2011 and 2016 and was the only province to experience a population decline during that time period.

We've reached out to the mayors of Bathurst and Beresford for comment.

(with files from the Northern Light)