Unfortunately, while homes were developing, and economy was booming, 3 mining disasters occurred in 1891, 1956 and 1958 within Springhill, changing Springhill forever. After the third disaster, the population began to drop drastically by 20 percent from 1956 to 1961 and continued as they struggled to stabilize an industry (“Canada Year Book”, 1966).
Springhill was once a town which lead economic growth through its primary industry of the coal mines. However, due to the economic challenges, they were unexpected to find benefits in the abandoned coal mines being realized in the form of geothermal energy. Beginning in the 1980s, the heat source was being exploited by companies in Springhill’s industrial park and helped to reduce energy bills substantially (“A geothermal future for Springhill – CBS Archives”).
However, there was still a future of unprecedented financial pressures such as rising costs for services, salaries and pension obligations. Eventually, they had no choice but to amalgamate with Cumberland County in 2014. With Springhill maintaining its own municipality, the council believes this decision will bring better roads, lower property taxes and industry development.
1. Evolutionary Context
The Lucas-Bradbury lifecycle model did unfold in this municipality because of its evolving social structure of its new resources. The single industry is vulnerable to changes and can limit the population increase and employment probabilities.
During the construction and recruitment stages, there was rapid population growth and turnover as workers involved in building the community moved through the construction project. Eventually mining began on a larger scale by the early 1880s with five operating mine slopes in Springhill. Shipping connections were being worked by the Cumberland Coal ; Railway Company Ltd. and the Springhill ; Parrsboro Coal ; Railway Company Ltd, which merged together in 1884 to form the Cumberland Railway ; Coal Company Ltd (“Tour a Mine”). The economic boom saw Springhill’s population increase from 900 in 1881 to 4,813 in 1891 (Murry, 2007). Because of employment in the coal industry, Springhill’s population expanded dramatically, bringing company housing for miners, grocery, retail business, a church, hotel and seven sawmills (Murry, 2007).
In 1891, the town’s first mining disasters occurred, an explosion that killed 125 miners (Murry, 2007). After this event, United Mine Workers took over the miner’s union to initiate a strike in 1909 to protest wage discrepancies (Murry, 2007). Surprisingly, population increased by 25 percent from 1901 to 1911 as the industry carried on (Statistics Canada, —). By the 1950s, as the demand for coal continued to increase, there was a concern about the over-reliance on few of the mines. In 1956 and 1958, two mining disasters occurred killing 39 and 75 miners (“Nova Scotia Archives”, 2005). This impact is what caused the population to drastically decline by 20 percent in 1956 to 1961 (“Canada Year Book”, 1966). With the hope to increase employment rates, plans for a new federal prison and a wood products plant opened in the 1960 (“Nova Scotia Archives”, 2005).
Usually in the transition and maturity stages, the population and workforce stabilize as routines and patterns become entrenched, however the single-industry was dependent on economic nature of the mining resource that had catastrophic consequences on both individual households and the community. There was no transition occurring. Overtime population has continued to decline by 16 percent from 1961 to 1981. Job losses and lack of alternative local employment led to massive out-migration as households needed to search for new work. Similarly, to Britannia Beach copper industry, production went down to 0 because of numerous natural disasters (Rollwagen, 2007).
Springhill emerged from its mining past to embrace a geothermal future in the late 1980s. After several decades of research and testing of the area, the groundwater from flooded coal mines discovered to be a source of geothermal energy. In Britannia Beach, town hit an interrupted maturity stage after disasters damaged mining industry. It became the largest copper producer in British commonwealth and largest point source metal contamination site. They redeveloped their industry with over 50 nationalities of in-migrations and over 1200 workers. In Springhill, the community transformed into some other economic activity and hopes that its population will grow again. On September 1992, Springhill was designated a geothermal resource area. There are currently 11 businesses and industries using geothermal energy in Springhill (“1958 Springhill Mine Disaster,” 2015).
Restructuring is accompanied by capital substitution and the in-migration of multi-skilled workers that can prolong the lifespan of renewable resource industry and dependent community. In hopes to become a multi sector industry, Springhill utilizes their past by tourism activities such as museums, memorials and monuments in the town hall for historical and cultural remembrance. As shown in Appendix A, population of Springhill has declined from 4,373 in 1991 to 3,868 in 2011 (Statistics Canada, 2016). Britannia Beach had similar ideas after mine closed due to pollution levels. They created a mine heritage museum to bring in businesses nearby and rebuild up to 4,000 homes in town site owned by the mining company (Dengler, 2018). In comparison to Springhill, Britannia Beach has increased in population size by 47 percent from 2011 to 2016 (Statistics Canada, 2016).
When it comes to the winding down stage, there was difficulty for the municipality to obtain employment as there requires a range of skills and training for new industry. After the mining industry, Springhill was abandoned until the introduction of geothermal resources. Cumberland county has decreased in population by 8 percent from 2011 until 2016, which impacts Springhill whose population is decreasing at 12.4 percent (Statistics Canada, 2016). As the employment income continues to decline from $26,812 (1991) to $24,981 in 2015, they hope with this change that employment will increase slowly during its dynamic change as a community by skilled labour recruitments and company benefits (Canadian Census Analyzer, 2016). Due to the need for economic restructuring, the town must now work from bottom to top for migration and employment to increase and develop.
Springhill has followed a path dependent trajectory during the time of its single sector industry, based on its place, space-based and welfare assets. Before the 1980s, it developed into a coal mining industry as mining was accessible and decent to mine for miners in the area, many in-migrants coming over the years as the population grew and created a miner’s community. The town was at a comparative advantage behind why they chose to mine there and not somewhere else. Spin-off companies may have appeared through the “layering” mechanism due to the mining community. But as community began to be faced with threats of industrial decline due to its 3rd mining disaster, efforts to improve the economy were in place. In the 1960s, Springhill diversified its economy, successfully establishing a community college and a federal penitentiary (Murry, 2007). Government had hopes that such endeavours would generate the employment required to replace the coal industry in the town, however it did not.
After the mining industry declined and closed, Springhill has slowly developed into a branching innovating trajectory with a combination of place and space-based for contemporary activity. It became a dominant layering industry by creating both tourism and retailing landscapes. Due to economic trajectories coevolving in the town, the focus is now on tourism, rather than production-oriented pathways (Mitchell & Shannon, 2018). From the early 1970s, the mines were opened as tourist attractions, provided small museum operations to reinforce the industrial heritage of the town called Springhill Miners’ Museum (Murry, 2007). In addition, municipal government and community organizations have made use of artifacts from coal mining as part of the public spectacle of heritage and for the community to recognize the reimagined mining industry with the towns first Miners Memorial Day ceremony in 2003 (Murry, 2007).
With the mining industry removed, town entered a period of economic readjustment and had to strive to develop new industries. The geothermal industry branched from the original industry of mining through a recombination mechanism giving rise to new advancements and innovation. Springhill is using their unique characteristics as marketing their community and its history in the way that makes it a commodity to users. In 1994, there were eight companies using the geothermal resources in Springhill including Ropak Can-Am Ltd, a plastic manufacturing company. Some companies advise that they can save up to 60 percent of their annual heating costs (“The Municipality of the County of Cumberland”, 2018). There are also non-financial benefits including reduction release of carbon dioxide making energy environmentally-friendly, and better working conditions because of the cooling provided by the geothermal system.
In comparison to a small island in newfoundland, social entrepreneur Zita Cobb created “Shorefast Foundation” as a way for Fogo Island to be restructured into a branching innovating path-based place for culture and nature. With heavy reliance on cod, there was a loss of inshore fishery on the island. Investments, viable enterprises and businesses were developed on the island to contribute the resilience and economic well-being of the community (‘About Fogo Island’). Springhill must reinvent its community by creative enhancement of a new landscape, which co-exist with older landscape.
2. Development Approach
Evidence suggests that a combined approach was used of both an exogenous and endogenous development to blend its key industry with tourism. Since it has been implemented locally within the community who are leading and wanting to make a change but enabled by the help of external agencies such as the federal and provincial government (Steel ; Mitchell, 2017).