Economic transition may extend the lifespan of municipalities that depend on a non-renewable resource. In a recent article, we created a ‘Transition Template,’ comprised of five components (stage, approach, mechanism, trajectory and base), to guide studies of economic transition in formerly resource-dependent territories. We applied the template in Atikokan, Ontario, to demonstrate how a particular transition mechanism (mine site repurposing), which reflects a particular development base (place), unfolded in this Canadian municipality. In this article, we apply the template in a second, potentially higher risk, locality (Elliot Lake), to demonstrate how a uranium tailings management area has been repurposed into a nature sanctuary and passive recreational setting (the Sherriff Creek Wildlife Sanctuary). Similar to the Atikokan study, we uncover at what stage repurposing emerged in Elliot Lake’s lifecycle, the approach that drove and enabled its implementation, and its impact on the municipality’s various economic trajectories. We contrast our findings with those documented in Atikokan, and other international settings, and conclude by questioning what impact (creative destruction or enhancement) the anticipated return of a former space-based trajectory (i.e. mining) might have on its current place-based development paths (i.e. tourism and retirement living).
Mitchell, C. J. A. & O'Neill, K. (2017). The Sherriff Creek Wildlife Sanctuary: Further evidence of mine-site repurposing and economic transition in northern Ontario. The Extractive Industries and Society, 4, pp. 24–35. doi: 10.1016/j.exis.2016.11.007