Sunday, August 27, 2006

Canadaville U.S.A.

'It's not Utopia,' cautions Frank Stronach's point man in Louisiana, but the bold social experiment is paying off for some who live under the maple leaf.

If you drive almost three hours northwest of New Orleans, you will come upon the trailer-home development dubbed 'Canadaville'. It is Canadian autoparts magnate and racehorse owner Frank Stronach's $10 million (US) social experiment, and his latest gamble.

It was a gamble fraught with risk. One violent crime or serious incident in nearby Simmersport could have badly tarnished Stronach's substantial reputation.

But this radical plan for housing inner-city New Orleans residents displaced by Katrina seems to be working.

Canadaville residents live rent-free in three-bedroom units. In return, they must find jobs, be actively seeking work, or performing community service.

Stronach's Magna Corp. also provided televisions, computers, clothing, two police cars and more than 18,000 books, donated by Ontario volunteers to various community groups in Louisina's Avoyelles Parish.

Residents will learn to provide for themselves under Stronach's five-year plan, farming organic vegetables, stocking catfish ponds and planting pecan orchards.

A recreation centre, partly finaced by the Canadian Red Cross and RBC, is being built to double as an evacuation centre that can house 300 and feed 2,500, taking pressure off the nearby town of Simmesport. A satellite police station is also established on the site.

Residents must abide by a regimented work schedule and code of conduct, and when drug problems surface, people have to go into rehab or leave. About 40 people have left because of this.

Canadaville compares favourably with other areas of the Katrina diaspora. Houston is one such area, where 150,000 Louisianans remain, with six in 10 of them jobless and in subsidized housing. Seventy-four of the 381 murders in Houston since last Sept. 1 involve these displaced Louisianans as perpetrators, victims or both and increasingly more locals want them to leave.

Read: "Surivors: Canadaville, U.S.A.", by Tim Harper in The Toronto Star, Sunday August 27.

Tags for this entry: , , .

1 comment(s):

It's a waste of money for people who didn't take advantage to put their life together for a new start and change. It's a shame. Victimize by Katrina is just an excuse, in fact these are mostly lazy dependency people wait for people feed them into mouths. Money could have worth more if spend in research in illness.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:10 PM  

Post a comment

<< Home

Bloggers of Ontario Unite!

[ Prev 5 | Prev | Next | Next 5 | Random | List | Join ]