2010 Community Economic Development Award
Beaubear Credit Union, Miramichi,
The idea for a city-wide transit system was born in Spring, 2007 when a Beaubear
employee commented on the challenges faced when attempting to transport her
teenagers around town. Her simple comment kicked off a project that impacted the
lives of thousands of people in the Miramichi. Over the next two years, staff
worked diligently on researching a reliable, affordable and accessible transit
Beaubear Credit Union knew that the lack of an affordable public transit system
impeded economic growth and limited mobility for thousands of low-income
earners, job-seekers, seniors and others for whom the cost of car travel was
prohibitive. CEO George Greenwood worked with his staff and a member of the
local Department of Economic Development in researching and developing a
business model that worked for their community.
Soon, an advisory board was struck that involved stakeholders from across the
community: New Brunswick Community College, District 16 School Board, Regional
Hiospital Authority, Retirement Miramichi, the Miramichi Physically Disable,
FatKat Animation Studios, local Police, New Brunswick Tourismand the City of
Leveraging their leadership, Beaubear Credit Union attracted the Northumberland
Dairy Co-op to the initiative. This added strength and credibility prompted the
Provincial and Federal governments to invest $875,000 in the project. At the
same time, Beaubear and Northumberland committed to provide ten years of
financial support to the system in the form of advertising.
On August 4, 2009, Miramichi City Transit was officially launched. Since then,
over 25,000 people have used the system. Ridership numbers increase daily.
Reportedly, over 4000 people take the bus each month.
It was Beaubear’s hope that this project could serve as a shining example of
community economic development to other small, rural credit unions in Canada.
The credit union message travels the city streets each day, reminding the people
of Miramichi that “it’s banking, only better.”