STEP Vinland Needs you Ideas!

STEP Vinland Needs your Ideas!

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The Vinland Region of the Great Northern Peninsula has a special opportunity right now to develop a Community Tourism Plan which is profitable, sustainable over time and benefits our communities from Cook’s Harbour to Goose Cove East, as well as the greater regional economy.

 

The Strategic Tourism Expansion Program (STEP) has only been offered once before in NL; investment is in place to undertake STEP and boost tourism visitation and revenues in Vinland.

 

  • Tourism in 2012 was worth $1 Billion annually to NL. Is Vinland working to earn its share? 
  • Gros Morne National Park attracts 150,000+ visitors annually, with L’Anse aux Meadows UNESCO site attracting close to 30,000 annual visitors. What more needs to be done to attract greater visitation throughout Vinland?
  • Visitors to Vinland tend to be older, affluent and well-educated. Are our communities organized to maximize the visitor experience? 

It takes regional commitment by every business and resident to build a Tourism Plan that works.

 

The STEPs program for Vinland is seeking your input.

Think about these questions:

1) What are the goals/ priorities of a fresh Tourism Plan for Vinland?

2) What is unique & appealing about this area for visitors?

3) What can we do to build a winning destination?

 

Email your thoughts and ideas to:
stepvinland@gmail.com by October 31.

 

For more information please contact:

Thresa Burden

Phone: 454-3454

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It was wonderful to see a well-represented group of regional stakeholders interested in advancing the tourism-sector in the Vinland region this past week at the Grenfell Interpretation Centre. I look forward to the outcome of this process. I encourage you to share your ideas at the email listed above.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA

The Straits-White Bay North

@MitchelmoreMHA

Main Brook Research & Development Corporation Building A Diversified Economy

Community economic development should be at the heart of any small Town. The Great Northern Peninsula has numerous development associations (White Bay South, White Bay Central, St. Barbe, Straits Development and Rising Sun), as well as St. Anthony Basin Resources Incorporated (SABRI). These entities have partnered with communities and local groups to create and maintain infrastructure, provide employment, training and the delivery of a number of programs. We need these entities to build stronger economies and communities in our region.

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The Main Brook Research & Development Corporation is another shining example of community building at its finest. The non-profit corporation has local Directors and develop the Town’s assets, such as the property leased by Northern Lights Seafoods. The attraction of a processor to the Town has created dozens of direct local jobs and supported many fishers on the Great Northern Peninsula since 2009. This has lead to millions of dollars in economic value re-circulating in the community and greater region. Northern Lights Seafoods is also pursuing new product development for scallops, which can lead to longer-term employment and more secondary-processing. This creates greater sustainability for the company, workforce and community.

Another major milestone for the Main Brook Research & Development Corp. was the divestiture of the Federal Public wharf. Transport Minister Lisa Raitt, Mayor Leander Pilgrim (Director of MBRDC) and I took part in the official transfer ceremony at Long Pond, CBS.

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The corporation and community now has control over an asset, which they can use to generate revenues and create new opportunities for off-loading of fish product, shipping and receiving goods and services at this deep-water port and also be a destination for recreation, pleasure and commercial craft.

A public meeting was hosted on Thursday, where the corporation updated residents on matters of the wharf and other potential ventures it would look to pursue or find partners to create more economic development for the Town. The meeting clarified the $675,000 Federal transfer and noted the uses of these funds are for the long-term maintenance or the removal of the structure in this was necessary. However, the corporation has a business plan to generate revenues and wisely use invested dollars to create new opportunities, make enhancements and create employment at this location. It is great to see an engaged group of residents, as dozens came out to participate and become more informed, including myself.

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The actions taken by Main Brook Research & Development Corporation has really position the community for further growth and sustainability as they continue with their diversification plan. I commend these community-minded individuals for taking ownership, working together and never tiring to advance the place you call home. It is making a tremendous difference.

The Town of Main Brook has a population of 265 people according to the last census, it has survived the devastation of being a one industry town and losing that big employer. Employment in the 1930’s was almost exclusively in the forest industry, when the community first started to become inhabited. In the late 1940s, Bowater’s moved in and constructed a company town which consisted of apartment buildings, offices, machine and carpenter shops, two warehouses, a retail store, a garage, and a complete water system to capitalize on the rich timber resources.

Main Brook holds the distinction of being once of only 11 Towns that were incorporated before Confederation. Population was growing, but all was halted in 1968 when Bowater’s closed their Main Brook operations, citing weak markets and advancing technology. The community never gave up, smaller scale forestry operations continue and still today Coates’ Lumber produces quality products that are found in many homes, garages and buildings around the region. Many pursued the fishery and tourism also played a significant role. Main Brook is home to the award-winning internationally recognized Tuckamore Lodged, owned and operated by Barb Genge (http://www.tuckamorelodge.com/).

Today the Town and Recreation Committee continues to put the finishing touches on a beautiful 35’*50′ Community Centre that can host functions large and small. This social space will create new activities and opportunities for the Town, with hundreds of thousands invested since 2012. The Town has approved an number of new building lots, which will help boost the population and purchased a brand new piece of snowclearing equipment, as well upgrades are occuring to the chlorination system to improve Town drinking water. The community has a K-12 school, family resource centre, four churches, fire department and the White Bay Central Development Association.

There is a vibrant small business community in Town too, given the amount of people coming to Town to engage particularly in fishing and hunting activities. Isabella’s Country Meats, J&B Outfitting, Tuckamore Lodge, Main Brook Convenience & Gas Station, Hare Bay Stores & Liquor Express and more.

The community is part of the French Shore, has a neighbouring ecological reserve, incredible trails, bi-lingual stop signs, a recreational park and some of the best waterfront views around. Not to mention St. Anthony airport is just a 30 KM drive away. Main Brook is growing due to the determination and ingenuity of those who live there and also those who support the local businesses and organizations, you are all are building a stronger community and making a better Great Northern Peninsula.

I encourage you to find ways in your own community to incorporate new ideas and create the opportunity! Let’s keep making big things happen in our small communities on the Great Northern Peninsula. Congratulations Main Brook on all your success!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
@MitchelmoreMHA

L’Anse aux Meadows makes for a Unique Port of Call

IMG_20140902_154221Cruise the Edge of the North America and experience where the world came full circle for the very first time at L’Anse Aux Meadows, Great Northern Peninsula Newfoundland & Labrador – an event more than 100,000 years in the making where those who went East meet those who went West. The secret is out because 9 cruise ships had scheduled this port in the 2014 season, where they experience the land of the Vikings!

As one comes off the port they are first greeted by Leif Erikson (depicted above)who was the first European to land in North America. This statue is one of just 5 in the world, making Lief’s journey and placed by the Lief Erikson Foundation in Seattle.

More than 1,000 years ago the Vikings were the first Europeans to re-discover North America as they went further west than any of their ancestors. The Maritime Archaic, Paleo-Eskimo, Groswater Eskimo and Recent Indians were all here on the Great Northern Peninsula from archaeological digs authenticating those who went East to be in Newfoundland around 5,000 years ago but unable to cross the barrier of the Atlantic Ocean. There is a complete history of cultural encounters, great explorers such as Captain Cook, breath-taking landscapes, whales, icebergs and authentic rural people willing to share with you a unique experience.

L’Anse aux Meadows is poised for cultural learning and adventure with a World UNESCO Heritage Site at L’Anse Aux Meadows discussing the only authenticated Norse Site in North America. There is also Norstead Viking Village and Port of Trade, which is an open-air museum that enables you to live in the day of a Viking at their site by listening and engaging the rein-actors on site (learn about the Snorri, interactive and learn about weaving, axe throwing, nail making at the forge and more). There are wonderful walking trails, fine dining restaurant and local entertainment provided. Just a short distance up the road one can experience a singing coffee shop that hosts its own radio station of Newfoundland and Country music in Coffee in the Cove. There is a French Oven in Quirpon and a Granchain Exhibit depicting the French culture and influence on the Great Northern Peninsula at the only wildberry economuseum of Dark Tickle Company. Not to mention one can become an honorary Newfoundlander at participating in a Royal Screech-in at Skipper Hot’s Lounge and listen to their band play to dance the evening away! Up the road at more restaurants, live and fresh seafoods and more incredible experiences and this doesn’t even get into what St. Anthony and the Grenfell story has to offer. There is something for everyone to experience when they visit the Great Northern Peninsula by Cruise. I look forward to expanding on this post soon.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
@MitchelmoreMHA

Feasting on This Fish! Main Brook is shellin’ scallops for greater returns…

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The waters off the Great Northern Peninsula are filled with delicacies from the sea. There is nothing better than accessing local seafood close to home. On the plate above is halibut, cod, scallop, shrimp complimented with roasted potatoe and sliced carrots.

My father was a scallop fisher. This is a labour intensive process for the small 35 foot boat, dragging along the scallop beds and picking them from the buckets. Most of the time is spent shelling the scallop and taking only the white meat to sell to market. I am excited to see Northern Lights Seafood Ltd. of Main Brook engage in a new process that sells the scallop in a half shell form with all meat and additional product, which adds value. This is the type of secondary processing we need to see from our fishery that creates additional wealth down the value chain from end customer to harvester. It should be encouraged and supported. This concept will allow more sales of product from the fisher resulting in higher net income, plant workers receive additional hours for more labour intensive work, processor sells into higher value markets and consumers receive high-quality and demanded products from the pristine waters off the Strait of Belle Isle.

The smaller processors have opportunities to look at secondary-processing in ways that creates niche products serving niche markets for higher yields. These types of technologies and adaptation must be encouraged if we are to remain competitive on a global level and satisfy changing trends of consumer demands. People want access to high-quality fish products and we have those products, we just have to gain access and package these products to cater to these consumer demands. We have to become more innovative when it comes to our fish products and encourage active infrastructure investments.

Initiatives like “This Fish” (http://thisfish.info/) should be happening on the Great Northern Peninsula, where the fisher who caught the fish is part of the story. It works at the grocery store, restaurant, fish market at the local or global level.

Learn all about the seafood you eat, and connect to the fish Harvester who caught it, by tracing its journey from the ocean to your plate. – This Fish

In May of this year, as the Official Opposition MHA responsible for Business, I joined Sam Slade our MHA responsible for Fisheries and Aquaculture to visit FFAW-UNIFOR’s launch of This Fish seafood traceability for halibut and lobster. There were several businesses and restaurants engaging in this process, showcasing their menus that enables traceability back to a local harvester. People want experiences, they want to know where their food comes from.

This is an opportunity for our local fishers, local restaurateurs, retail and processing community to engage FFAW-UNIFOR to pursue This Fish initiatives on the Great Northern Peninsula. We have incredible fish products and fishers that need to be part of the story as exported fish from our waters ends up halfway around the world or on our neighbour’s dining table or at a downtown St. John’s restaurant.

Let’s keep finding innovative ways to grow our fishery in Newfoundland & Labrador.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
@MitchelmoreMHA

Ocean Comes to Life at Bonne Bay Marine Station

IMG_20140831_135441The Bonne Bay Marine Station, a research arm of Memorial University is nestled in the quiet community of Norris Point aims to expand knowledge of marine ecology. I have been to the centre on a number of occasions, including an International Fisheries Symposium hosted by Community University Research and Recovery Alliance (CURRA). It is a great place for people of all ages to have fun and learn about ocean life! I took the visit from a water taxi departing Woody Point and returning later in the evening. A 20 minute water taxi saved an hour of driving and provided a great view of dolphins! Totally worth $14 return.

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One can get a guided tour, explaining sea anemones, lobsters, crabs, starfish, wolf fish, sand dollars, sea urchins and a variety of other creatures. One can truly experience the squishy-ness of the starfish and take up scallops and other items in the touch tank.

I was thoroughly impressed by our guide, as she expressed enthusiasm and also great knowledge as she opened shell of the female crab or engaged a colleague digging for worms. We spent some time in the upper level as well where there are digital learning areas, interpretative panels and displays. Additionally, there is a library, classrooms and laboratories that are part of the educational program.

The Encyclopedia of Local Knowledge the brainchild of Pam Hall, adorns the walls. It highlights local knowledge from the Great Northern Peninsula, many of it focused on the fishery and living rural.

After a visit to Bonne Bay Marine Station, one can take a Bon Tour on the Emm-Cat of the bay or drop by for a pint and some wonderful seafood chowder at the Cat Stop Pub.

Norris Point is home to the iconic “Trails, Tails and Tunes” festival, Voice of Bonne Bay Community Radio Station, Gros Morne Adventures and a number of local businesses that cater to tourists taking in beautiful Gros Morne National Park. There is much opportunity to promote and partner fisheries-tourism synergies and to also partner education with commerce as a means to enhance community and economic development.

Ocean comes to life at Bonne Bay Marine Station. Drop by and let me know what you think.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
@MitchelmoreMHA

Let’s Connect: Seniors’ Forum in St. Lunaire-Griquet, St. Anthony, Flower’s Cove & Roddickton-Bide Arm

SeniorsForum

The Straits-White Bay North District Newsletter#9

Click the photo for full size attachment:

Printable version at following link:

Newsletter9Fall2014final

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
@MitchelmoreMHA

Jordi Bonet Murals a Gift for All People of the North

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Jordi Bonet was born in Spain and became one of Quebec’s major artists through murals, painting, sculptures and ceramics. The panel notes how he lost his right arm at the age of 9 and had to learn these talents with his left. He has brilliant public works at the Montreal Metro, JFK Airport in New York and various churches throughout Quebec and Ontario in addition to his piece on the Great Northern Peninsula. Bonet passed away on Christmas Day in 1979 at the age of 47 succumbing to leukemia.

The Jordi Bonet Murals are a true gift to the people of the North, exhibited for all to see at the rotunda of the Charles Curtis Memorial Hospital, St. Anthony.

Honouring all those who have dedicated their lives to the Grenfell Mission

There is a special recognition to Dr. Charles S. Curtis, an unselfish servant to the people of the coast in Northern Newfoundland and Labrador contributing 48 years of his life to improving health, childcare, education, agriculture and other initiatives as part of the Grenfell Mission.

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Additionally, the Grenfell Mission thanks all past and future generations who have and will take on the challenge of improving the quality of life for the people of the North. No visit to the Great Northern Peninsula is complete without seeing such a public work of art that is on display at a hospital, where the Grenfell Legacy flourished for more than a century.

Thank you to those who been a part of the Grenfell Mission as the International Grenfell Association celebrates its centennial year. We must keep building and reaching out.  The Great Northern Peninsula has connections with the Rockefellers, the Colgate fortune, with volunteers such as Josephine Colgate volunteering with the Grenfell Mission, American Presidents, British Royalty, and even Wilbur & Orville Wright. There are many stories to tell, outreach and an ability to re-connect. As we reflect upon the past, we must also look toward the future where the Great Northern Peninsula is one that thrives on success and continuous improvement.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
@MitchelmoreMHA

The Dark Tickle Company is Homegrown Success!

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The Dark Tickle Company, St. Lunaire-Griquet on the Great Northern Peninsula, NL offers homegrown wild berry products in the forms of jams, jellies, vinaigrette, syrups, sauces, tea, coffee and chocolate. These berries are picked by hand from a network of approximately one hundred local residents of the Great Northern Peninsula, Southern Labrador and Northern Quebec. One of two Economuseum’s in Newfoundland & Labrador, Dark Tickle is the place where wild berries are processed without any additives. This is the traditional way of our preserving our berries, ensuring only the highest quality and most delicious of tastes. Those visiting Dark Tickle can watch workers prepare the products before their very eyes, as they have a windowed production area. There are panels at their business, as well as information along their boardwalk walking tour. One can gain the full authentic wild berry experience at Dark Tickle.

“The Mission of the ÉCONOMUSÉE Network is to conserve, develop and present traditional trades in a distinctive manner, and to set-up a country-wide network in order to provide the public with a high quality cultural tourism product.” – Artisansatwork.ca

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The company also have a tasting station creatively called, “The Berry Patch”. It is a nice place to sample the products or have a cup of their bakeapple or patridgeberry drink or a hot cup of their coffees or teas. I love their crowberry and lingonberry teas, but on occasion enjoy the berry infused bakeapple coffee. Their products are found in so many specialty shoppes and locations throughout the province. I’ve bought their products in various places locally and I’m so proud when I visit other communities and see this product, as I can boast that it is produced when I live. One can purchase products directly at www.darktickle.com

After seeing a downturn in the cod fishery and a moratorium, for a merchant in the fish business it was either close up shop, try to hang in or diversify. The Knudsen’s founded Dark Tickle, which was an early innovator of utilizing our natural wild berry resources to create unique quality products. It has been a homegrown success that has provided local jobs, maintained a year-round operation and promotes St. Lunaire-Griquet and the Great Northern Peninsula all over the world. This is an anchor attraction for promoting tradition, culture, heritage and our rural way of life.

I encourage visitors to drop by and visit this family-run enterprise. They have a wonderful gift shop that has incredible Newfoundland and Labrador artwork and gift ware. They are also home to the Granchain Exhibit, which is part of unique part of world history, highlighting the adventures of the French migratory fishery in St. Lunaire Bay and along the French Shore dating back to the early 1500’s.

Certainly the Great Northern Peninsula could be an opportunity for more Economuseums given the vast talents of artisans, craftspeople and those who continue our rich and vibrant tradition of producing from the land and sea. We have tangible and intangible cultural assets that must be mapped, a network built and proper marketing. The Great Northern Peninsula has many strong businesses and homegrown success stories, let’s continue to support our local businesses and create new ones!

I enjoyed a cup of their crowberry tea, while I scribed this article and recognize big things are happening in our small communities.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
@MitchelmoreMHA

PASSING TIME IN TROUT RIVER, NL

Trout River is a small fishing town on the Great Northern Peninsula that continues with the tradition of rural living, evident from the many fishing boats, lobster traps, wharves, stages and even cardboard signs selling salt cod. It is a quaint place that is snuggled in a gentle cove surrounded by hills that extend to the Tablelands, which is a World UNESCO Heritage Site. If you would like to know more about Trout River, please visit their website at http://townoftroutriver.com/.

Those who continue to earning a living there, do so from the land and sea. Fishing communities are vibrant places, they are steeped in tradition and rich in folklore. It is wonderful to see the establishment of regular gatherings in this town, called “Passing Time in Trout River”, where local talents and musicians gather and share music, jokes, and stories. Every communities has a remarkable story to tell. In fact, my hometown of Green Island Cove utilized its gear shed to host a community kitchen party. It was quite a night of coming together and celebrating our song and dance. It was an incredible experience that could be replicated. Community is stronger when it embraces the talents of the people that live there. We must continue to share our knowledge and teach others our traditional ways, so that our rural living remains a very vibrant part of the future in a very fast past, technological modern-day world.

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Trout River also has the fortunes of the Tablelands, World UNESCO site at its doorstep. It is quite the place to visit, you certainly feel like on Mars, or maybe Arizona? Certainly not the Great North of Newfoundland & Labrador. If you haven’t been, add it to your bucket list.

Further north is L’Anse aux Meadows, another World UNESCO site, an event 100,000 years in the making where the world came full circle 1,000 years ago. Also across the Strait of Belle Isle, a short distance away is a third World UNESCO site, in the Basque Whaling Station of Red Bay, Labrador.

We have incredible assets on the Great Northern Peninsula and Southern Labrador that illustrate how meaningful these places are in the world in terms of geography, history to people. We have an incredible connection to the land and sea, and always will. When you come to Newfoundland & Labrador, be sure to pass some time in Trout River and make your way to the gems at the very tip of the Great Northern Peninsula.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
@MitchelmoreMHA
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