Residents in the tiny southern New Brunswick village of McAdam are starting to chronicle the exodus of its citizens to western Canada.
Like many other communities in New Brunswick, McAdam is losing many of its residents to other provinces, such as Alberta, as they search for jobs.
The village’s population dropped to 1,284 in 2011, a 8.5 per cent drop in five years, according to the most recent census.
Eugene Nason said he was in a conversation two months ago when the topic turned to how many people were leaving the village for work.
That conversation prompted a local group to start keeping a record of the people who left the community to find work.
"Just make a list up so that you get a pretty good idea of how many citizens you've lost. You hate to use that old expression but I've heard people say, 'We're going to hell in a hand basket,' as far as a little village," he said.
The McAdam list has 83 names of people who have packed up and left for jobs in western Canada. So far, the list only includes people who have relocated to Fort McMurray, Alta.
But Nason said there are others who left McAdam for jobs in other places in Alberta or Saskatchewan.
'That's where the work is'
Doug Laking became deputy mayor of McAdam in 2009 after the former deputy mayor left to find work out west.
He said the list isn't designed to create any hard feelings among the people who are still in McAdam.
"As unfortunate as it is that they leave, you know, we all understand why. That's where the work is," Laking said.
"That's where the money is. But it definitely has an effect on our village when they leave."
The list, however, will not be a permanent one.
Nason said the idea is when people move back to McAdam, they will cross their names off the list.
"When we initially made it up, it was a big group. And maybe one or two more goes, you put them on the list. And if one or two came back, you take them off," Nason said.
"Just to keep track of how many people we've lost."