While many of us are overjoyed with the drastic drop in fuel prices, there is a very negative consequence that is beginning to affect our city, our businesses and our citizens. The Canadian oil fields are an important part of the Canadian economy. With the drastic decline in oil prices, I believe the Canadian economy is entering a recession. The current exchange rate is the lowest it has been in 10 years. It is no longer economical for Canadian shoppers to visit our communities to shop. Many local businesses are experiencing substantial declines in sales and guest counts. This results in less tax revenue for our city, reduced income for our retail and restaurant employees, and less money for many of our citizens to spend at local businesses. The Canadian recession is going to very quickly become a Bellingham recession as well. Many of our vocal citizens have been adamant against shipping ports, rail traffic, and any heavy industry at all in our area. If a potential industrial site becomes available, the vocal minority clamors for it to become a park instead. Bellingham is now faced with the exact scenario that I have feared for years — we are a community based far too heavily on retail and restaurants, reliant on Canadian shoppers, with not enough diversity to protect us from economic changes. We have put all our eggs in one basket, and we are going to now pay the price.
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