La Malbaie wants to curb the exodus of young people

Amélie Bergeron left Quebec for La Malbaie and Joannie Belisle, for her part, left Sherbrooke in favor of the municipality of Charlevoix for business opportunities. A choice that they do not regret, quite the contrary. But these are the exceptions which confirm the rule, young people are still leaving the regions for urban life.

Indeed, the proportion of young people in the working-age population has continued to decrease since 1986 in Quebec, according to a study conducted by Place aux Jeunes en Région.

This situation is all the more felt outside the large centers which struggle to retain or attract them. The demographic weight of young people of working age in the MRC of Charlevoix-Est fell by 22% during the period covered by the study. For example, the declines in Quebec and Montreal were 12.1% and 8.5% respectively.

This concerns me greatlymentions the mayor of La Malbaie, Michel Couturier in an interview.

That’s what this study is about. There are still significant reductions. It indicates that Charlevoix-Est work hard in order to reverse this trend. He wants to make his municipality more attractive to everyone.

I think there are more and more young people, but it is at the expense of which region?he asks himself. What I fear is that the regions will become in competition with each other again. Are we going to fight over the young people, the young people of Montreal?

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The mayor of La Malbaie, Michel Couturier.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Marc-Antoine Lavoie

Welcoming, but with little accommodation

I think that immigration is still important, but it also has its share of challenges too, immigration, we see it there, housing, how do we welcome people?argues the mayor.

According to the study carried out by Place aux Jeunes in the region, it is the lack of available housing which is considerably slowing down the reversal of this trend.

Despite a certain enthusiasm for life outside urban centers in recent years, several regions are losing young people due to a lack of available housing, according to Frédéric Raymond, general director of Place aux Jeunes en region.

We have before us a major obstacle which is the housing crisishe said. If the person cannot find accommodation, they will not be able to settle there.

In 2023, 700 young people supported by the organization were unable to settle in the region they had chosen due to a lack of housing. They had to turn elsewhere, sometimes to big cities.

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Route 362 in Charlevoix

Photo: Radio-Canada / Olivia Laperrière-Roy

We really need to work together, measures and programs need to be adapted to the local and regional level if we want it to work. adds Mr. Raymond.

Around forty new homes will also be built in the heart of La Malbaie to partially remedy this problem.

The prefect of the MRC Charlevoix-Est, Odile Comeau, remains positive for the future of her region, because projects are increasing to attract young people. The region can also count on a brand new school and the hospital will be expanded soon, significant elements believes Ms. Comeau.

Even if the examples are rare, Amélie Bergeron and Joannie Belisle demonstrate that opportunities are possible.

I think it’s worth venturing thereargues Joannie Belisle.

According to a report by Louis-Philippe Arsenault

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