Temitope Moses Ojo is a PhD candidate (Forest sciences), under the supervision of Professor Michel Beaulieu at Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario. Temitope completed his bachelor’s and master’s degree in Forestry at the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, Nigeria. He is an interdisciplinary researcher. His research areas includes transnational approaches to resource development, forest management, forest history, forced migration, economic valuation, resource utilization, heritage planning, and community development. He is a councilmember of the Canadian Institute of Forestry (Northwestern Ontario section). He is also currently the President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees 3905 (CUPE 3905) at Lakehead University.
“Looking Back, Looking Forward: Resource-Based Communities and Development“
Over the past decades, Atikokan, Ontario and Oloibiri, a town in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, lost their anchor business and main employer industry. Today, these towns are facing substantial economic and social challenges. Historically, both towns have been subject to boom-and-bust cycles; however, unprecedented fluctuations have stimulated economic disruption and other permanent changes. These changes have sparked a variety of significant impacts and disturbing trends such as layoffs, closures, out-migration (youth), and a myriad of social problems. Besides, the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating more economic tension and uncertainty. Residents are concerned about how their towns can be resilient and maintain cohesion moving forward. My PhD project “Looking Back, looking forward: RBCs and Development” will examine, highlight, and document the patterns of development, shutdowns, and transition of these two remote, small single-industry towns since the middle of the twentieth century, and assess whether they are transiting to become potentially stable, economically diverse, or still vulnerable. My doctoral research fills the need for more comprehensive work to understand better how residents of Resource-Based Communities have responded in the past and what lessons can be learned (especially by communities experiencing resource boom for the first time) to assist in their response to the new economic and demographic changes amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. I will work with the towns in identifying a wide variety of processes for transition and sustainability. This research will allow the policymakers and stakeholders to learn, strengthen and build on the resilience of these towns and establish a better development planning procedure for other small, remote communities facing economic and resource growth or decline. It will also provide a basis for learning how to cope with sudden economic disruption in peripheral towns.