Blog Archives

Community Kitchen Party Thrives on Tradition – Green Island Cove, NL

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Our rural communities will thrive with active participation of residents. We saw significant success on July 11, 2014 with the first ever promoted community kitchen party to be hosted at Green Island Cove wharf. The event ended up being held at the neighbouring fishers’ gear shed and drew throughout the evening upwards of 200 people from under eight to nearly eighty years of age. It was truly a gathering to celebrate community, tradition and enjoy each other’s company at one of the busiest times of year.

Music brings people together and we are blessed to have local people willing to share their talents. Guitars, accordions, ugly sticks, brooms, spoons and kajoons paired with a vocals of Clara and Loomis made for an incredible night where tradition thrived. I’ve always heard my grandparents talk about the old-fashioned time and this is likely the closest I’ll get to experiencing those community celebrations of food, song and dance. With fishing nets as the backdrop, songbooks distributed, the waltz, two-step and jigs began to play and the old wooden floor of the gear shed got some action.

There was a little magic in the room that evening as we all embraced our small fishing community way of living, as those who came before us would always take time throughout summer to have a time. Even the little kids were eager to learn the dance moves. A tumble or two would not deter them.

A group of men and women also treated us to a good old-fashioned square dance. This dance was once commonplace and now only a handful know all the moves. When these dancers took the floor, all eyes were on them. A couple of brave souls joined in with the group and learned the steps as they went. I believe everyone else wish they knew the moves, so they too could take to the floor.

It has become quite clear that the success of our rural communities is about how we interact with the space we have in our everyday lives. I think ensuring that a gear shed or a wharf can also be the gathering place as they were pre-moratorium of 1992 is vital to maintaining and sustaining our outport communities.

I must commend the leadership of Dr. Kathleen Blanchard, President and Founder of Intervale. This organization produces programs and services in the fields of conservation, heritage interpretation, and sustainable development. Her interest in sustainable fisheries and community economic development was the driving force to documenting and organizing with fishers Loomis and Brenda such a tremendous event, which can be shared with others.

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The success of the evening has already sparked talks to host another, possibly make this an annual event like the Conche and Goose Cove Garden Parties. The evening also stimulated discussion of hosting another Come Home Year in 2016 – one for Green Island Cove and Pine’s Cove. The dates have been set, so mark your calendars – August 15-21st, 2016 because home is where you will want to be. Please join us!

Live Rural NL -

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

Kitchen Party tonight at Green Island Cove Wharf

Tonight there will be a unique experience at my hometown community, which has a population of 187 residents. Let’s hope the wharf will be fill with spectators as our very own multi-talented Loomis Way and a band of musicians perform traditional music, hosting what is likely the first Kitchen Party at the Green Island Cove wharf.

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Join us tonight to celebrate the Spirit of Newfoundland & Labrador Inshore Fishery & Fishing Communities. Details are below:

KitchenParty

 

The inshore plays a vital role in our rural communities. It has been our reason for existence. There is no secret the return of the mighty cod is nearing. Now is the time for policymakers to  involve the inshore fishers in this process so we are ready to deal with cod quota increases, when they occur.

Rural Newfoundlanders & Labradorians believe in their community and sustainably harvest the resources that are available to them. We have exceptional cultural assets as well that stem from the activities in which we live in our daily lives. Tonight’s Kitchen Party will be a prime example as we celebrate our small fishing communities through song and dance in the surroundings of friends.

Come out tonight if you can, for a truly authentic rural experience on the Great Northern Peninsula.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Glacier Glass – An Incredible New Business

The Town of Englee located at the very end of Route 433 has faced challenging economic times since the closure of their fish plant and transfer of processing licensing in the early 2000′s. For the past decade, the Town has seen a decline in business, including their boat building operation and much out-migration from the community. The plant closure reflected the lost of more than a hundred direct jobs and impacted many more families. It is difficult for this historic fishing town which had one of first fresh fish processing plants in the province and industries focused on the fishery to transition and diversify their own economy.

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Englee is a beautiful Town and the fishery will always remain the most important thing. It is the reason for the existence of the community. Today fishing operations still continue, while the Town Council and Clerk work diligently to find new opportunities to enhance their region.

The fishery will be forever present, especially in their newly formed social enterprise an incredible brainchild of a true community developer depicted in Glacier Glass. Congratulations Doris!

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The image above is in the shape of a salted or dried cod-fish and has the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula created with a focus on the Northern Peninsula East, which comprises communities of Main Brook, Croque, Grandois-St. Julien’s, Conche, Roddickton-Bide Arm and Englee. Images of icebergs, whales, moose, lumber camps and nature are key features of the region.

Local people are making incredible products, that include whale tail necklaces, coasters with Newfoundland images, vases, candle holders, trays and so much more. This is all custom and handmade, created by local people.

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This is how we re-build our rural communities by creating unique products and new employment a few jobs at a time!

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The business has much promise from their unique birch forest depicted above or their unique iceberg designs below:

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Englee is known to attract the big berg or two. Here is one I took while walking one of their scenic trails.

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I would encourage you to visit their studio at the Englee Municipal Building or their Facebook Page by searching “Glacier Glass”. They can also make custom products for you to sell at your business. Supporting their business, supports local jobs in rural Newfoundland & Labrador and creates new opportunities for everyone!

There is so much potential from this project, it is worth celebrating – it has created a business. Englee has community-minded people who believe in the  future of their Town and these people are doing everything to turn the corner and ensure this Town of over 600 continues to be around for a very long time.

There are positive things happening on the Great Northern Peninsula and more great things will happen, because the people are passionate about this place. Experience the Great Northern Peninsula and add Glacier Glass to your places to visit and spend lots of money, because the product will be your memory of this great place for a lifetime.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

 

Lobster season is just around the corner

After taking a few seals in April, the first week of May had always represented a time of urgency for my father to get back on the water.  After a long winter of making new traps, sometimes building a new flat bottom boat and obtaining knitted lobster heads from my grandfather, May was the true start of a busy fishing season that would last into the Fall.  My father was a lobster fisher until his death in 1999.

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These are modern lobster traps taken in St. Paul’s at roadside on the Great Northern Peninsula. They are unlike the wooden ones I am use to, which had concrete poured into them to give the added weight to sink to the bottom of the ocean floor. It is evident that things are rapidly changing, even in the fishery. We are losing some of our very important traditional and institutional knowledge. My father was a boat builder, he could make a lobster trap and knit a net. These are all skills, in which I did not learn.

In modern times, it appears there is competition for new technology and the continuation of our traditional ways. There is value in both.

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I remember each year when lobster season opened. The now re-settled community of Barr’d Harbour would be one of the most populous places with fishers, partners, their children and helpers would be out in full force to get their lobster pots in the water as quickly as possible.

There was a real sense of urgency, creating a need for co-operation. All available hands would make for easier work, as we cut, baited and stacked dozens of traps into a truck to deliver to shoreline. Some traps were collected by steaming to islands and others were already loaded or near the shore. A real strategy was deployed by the license holder, ensuring they could work with the rising and falling tides.

I have always been impressed by the complexities of fishing and how our skilled and experienced fishers knew exactly where they dropped hundreds of traps, intermingled with other fishers scattered along the coastline over several miles.

The short time I had with my father on the water, will always be held as treasured memories. This was the place where he earned his living and provided for us, his family. He was very proud of what he did, fishing was in his blood extending many generations.

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The shoreline continues to be packed with ice despite lobster season being just around the corner. There is a real sense of urgency that this ice go as quickly as possible or an intervention as in the past for an ice compensation package for those impacted. It is essential that our fishers be able to earn a living and provide for their families.

I’m looking forward to getting a feed of fresh lobster from the Great Northern Peninsula. I believe local lobster tastes better.

Live Rural NL 

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


We all have stories to tell…

We all have stories to tell. We share them with our friends, family and even the world through the social media. There is a time and space for this type of art form. I use my blog as a forum to share knowledge of culture, people, landscapes, business, heritage and history of the Great Northern Peninsula.  Our way of life has been viewed by nearly 180 countries world-wide and edging closer to 200,000 views. I may not have the talents of my grandfather Mitchelmore for storytelling, but I do my best to convey what is truly authentic to rural Newfoundland & Labrador.

This past weekend, my sister and I had a unique opportunity to be in the audience at the St. John’s Arts & Culture Centre and were spectators to a performance scripted by a local playwright, Megan Coles.

Our Eliza is real – authentic. A true depiction of what life was like growing up in rural Newfoundland & Labrador not so long ago. It is masterfully crafted – capturing the audience from the first soundbite as it works its way through a powerful coming of age story. One exuding Newfoundland humour and wit, colourful language and actions that will keep you wanting more, long after the curtain closes. Our Eliza is the type of story that must be told beyond centre stage, it should be shared with Outport Newfoundland & Labrador – one of which we can all reflect upon as to who we truly are as a people – a society.                                                                                                 -Christopher C. Mitchelmore, MHA

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When I picked up my tickets at the box office, I was asked my address. I responded, “Green Island Cove”. The person asked where that was and I said, “The Great Northern Peninsula”. She said, I will be in for a real treat with tonight’s showing and that it has been getting great reviews from those in attendance. This certainly raised my expectations, especially since Friday and Saturday night’s performances had sold out.

The very first soundbite set the stage of framing for the audience the hardship the moratorium would have on our way of life in rural Newfoundland & Labrador. Actors Greg Malone (Author of “Don’t Tell The Newfoundlanders”), Joel Thomas Hynes and Renee Hackett turned the clock back more than twenty years and had us reminiscing only in the stories our parents and grandparents could had told us. Our Eliza, is the typical Newfoundland girl, who becomes a woman and the glue that kept many of us together especially when times got tough. The modest, yet powerful story that lasted about 1 hour and half was filled with humour, wit and antics in which I could easily relate. I do not want to give away the story-line  I want you to go experience it for yourself.

These talents have engaged in putting our culture, our life experiences into performance, which brings together many art forms. We can all learn something about our roots and the role in which space plays in it. I took a Newfoundland Society & Culture, in which I learned much about community order and our every day space. It was pleasing to hear writer and co-producer Megan Coles, and co-producer Shannon Hawes, founders of The Poverty Cove Theatre Company open the show highlighting the minimalism utilized in staging, as well as the desire to be able to tell this story in non-conventional spaces. On March 2 & 3, the performance has found a home in the Library of the St. John’s Arts & Culture Centre. You can purchase tickets at www.artsandculturecentre.com.

Thank you Megan Coles for sharing with us your creative talents and all those involved with the current production. You have made Our Eliza, a part of all of us. I only hope this story gets told throughout rural Newfoundland & Labrador where it can be at home, especially the Great Northern Peninsula.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

There’s Giant Cod Fish Out There…

We are moving into 21 years and a cod moratorium remains.  A decision that has forever altered the way of life in rural Newfoundland & Labrador, especially the smallest of communities.

The closure of the cod fishery in 1992 was to be temporary, yet remains today. It has led to mass out-migration. I was only 6 years old when the cod moratorium came into effect and can certainly recall many families leaving, businesses closing and loss of services. In 1991, the province’s population was 568,000, in 2011 the population dropped to 514,000 – a net loss of 54,000 people or more than 10% of current population, according to Statistics Canada.

The Great Northern Peninsula has been greatly impacted, as the fishery remains today the backbone of our local economy. The loss of population, especially youth and young families adversely impact the amount of tax base available and will push our smaller communities into greater decline. The lack of youth as part of our demographics means we must press our seniors to continue to be committed volunteers longer. These youth that would become community leaders, create new community programs and social offerings or start a business are lost to more urban centres and other provinces that offer high-paying jobs.

Since the first Mitchelmore came from England, they have been fishers. I am the first generation, like my cousins that did not have the option to continue a profession our family has engaged for centuries. Where will this lead rural Newfoundland & Labrador? There are cod in our waters, no question. I could see for myself this summer in communities such as Englee, St. Lunaire-Griquet and Sandy Cove as large cod-fish were landed via small commercial quota or caught in the recreational cod fishery.

CBC Reported: Cod comeback seen off Newfoundland – click for article

In September, I captured this photo at a fish market in Iceland.

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As you can see there are certainly giant cod out there.

We need to have a serious conversation about the future of the cod fishery and the role it will play in rural renewal…

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Mitchelmore calls for discussion and development in seal industry

NDP Fisheries critic Christopher Mitchelmore (MHA, The Straits – White Bay North) says he and his party fully support the commercial seal hunt and he is excited about the potential for the industry as a whole.

“The sealing industry has always been an important aspect of the rural economy and I believe there is still tremendous untapped opportunity,” said Mitchelmore. “Value added business opportunities exist for rural residents, and indeed we already have successful businesses in the industry.”

Mitchelmore stated that when he meets with residents of his district there are ideas for new products but government will need to work with industry stakeholders to help these ideas develop into reality.

“The people I talk to haven’t given up on the sealing industry, and I haven’t given up on the industry. If we work together innovation is possible and good years will lie ahead for sealers and everyone who wants to make a living in the industry,” he said.

Mitchelmore says that while we must continue to work with the federal government to develop new foreign markets, we must also look to developing local markets. “I would really like to see discussions on developing the local markets. Government assistance is needed to help the industry create a plan to build on our humane and sustainable hunt,” he said. “We have to consider all ideas; for example can we reduce regulations for seal buyers in this province which would allow small scale production for untapped niche markets, such as for canned seal meat and bone fertilizers? Can we make it easier for restaurants to feature seal meat?”

The sealing industry has declined in value from approximately $40 million in 2003 to $1.5 million in 2011, largely due to declining export markets. “If we have strong markets here at home, local businesses will be better situated to develop markets around the world. And the one thing we know is that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians support the seal hunt,” Mitchelmore said.

 

The Lonely Harbour…

The following photo was taken while on the campaign trail this past fall when visiting St. Anthony Bight, Great Brehat and St. Carols. It depicts the lonely harbour, moored boat and fishing rooms in need of Tender Loving Care…an image that is becoming more prominent on the Great Northern Peninsula.

As I read the Northern Pen newspaper this week, some alarming figures pop of the page pertaining to the fishery as the Red Ochre Regional Board representing the District of St. Barbe read their annual report outlining the significant decline in the value of the fishery. In 2008 the economic value declined from $50 million per year to $35 million per year in 2011. There are currently 8 fish plants, 467 fishing boats and one salmon hatchery employing 564 fish harvesters and 499 fish plant workers.

The report said that in 1992 there were some 1450 harvesters and 1560 plant workers while the number of boats had almost halved from their 1992 figure of 1,061. – Juris Graney, Northern Pen.

(Source: Regional Board Maintains Focus on Broadband, Northern Pen Newspaper, Page A3, Monday, November 21, 2011).

Approximately 2,000 positions have been eliminated from harvesters and plant workers in just this one electoral District in the past 20 years. The concerns are great.

There have been significant losses in employment in the fishery in the Straits-White Bay North, evident by the closure of fish plants in communities such as Green Island Brook, Green Island Cove, Sandy Cove, Savage Cove. Flowers Cove, Bear Cove, Englee and other communities. There are crushing impacts for the small boat fisher. Our Rural Communities known colloq. as “outports” are losing the fabric that held them together for centuries.

The evidence is all around us, as we see fishing rooms, sheds and other infrastructure needing maintenance; no longer do we hear the constant buzzing of motors make frequent trips to community wharves, as well, personal wharves are being reduced around the coastlines and not being replaced. The abandoned Englee fish plant is falling into the harbour, and too much raw material is being shipped off the Peninsula leading to a significant loss of employment, creating undue hardships for many of the smaller communities.

There has been a loss of key employers in these communities, without a strategy to create long-term meaningful employment to transition generations that maintains a reliance on the fishery. There are limited employment opportunities for many of these people who are unable to make viable incomes from the fishery. This has forced generations of youth to leave the rural outports to find alternate means to support themselves and their families. In continues to separate families and challenge the make-up of the rural community. The harsh realities faced by our rural communities is one that is creating a lonely harbour as those that remain, soon too may have to leave to support themselves.

Let us not go down this road where the lonely harbour for our rural economies become the eminent reality. The people’s resources must be put to better use to benefit the people of the local economy.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Outraged with the price NL Lobster Fisherman will receive this season

There was a sense of positivity of some recovery in the fishery of Rural Newfoundland & Labrador in 2011 as the announcement of crab prices were to start at $2.35 with no dispute among parties, when last season the processors were disputing the $1.35 per pound price set by the pricing panel.  A Federal memo of a cut of 40 percent in the inshore shrimp fishery is unacceptable. Provincial Fisheries Minister Clyde Jackman has stated the cuts to the quota should be much less (~10-15%). Some good news in this story is that the prices are up significantly for shrimp and fishers are out on the water working hard to earn a living.

The Price Setting Panel announced the lobster price would be $4.26 per pound for the week of April 17 and $4.23 per pound for the week of April 23,2011. This created a dispute among processors, claiming they could not afford to purchase at this rate.

The buyers in this situation have the upper hand, as the lobster season is quite short. The buyers continued to stall purchasing. The Fisheries Union placed pressure on Government to allow outside buyers. Fishermen should get the highest possible price for the commodity of lobster. We certainly do not have a free market as it stands today and our lobster fishers continue to pay the price. Minister Jackman noted that opening up the province to free market could not happen overnight, that plant workers may be impacted and what that could mean for other fish species – if such a precendent is set. I am unsure how much employment is created in this province due to processing of lobster, but would like to find out. It appears primarily there is the middleman or lobster buyer that gets a cut to sell from the wharf or ship to market.

It is in the interest of the buyers to ensure they reap maximum profits for themselves and their shareholders. It has been the practise of for-profit enterprises since the beginning of time. However, they have an unfair advantage over small fishing enterprises.

The Price Setting Panel set a fair price at $4.26. However, without Government intervening to allow outside buyers the bargaining power of the fishermen and their Union was weak. The fishermen went to the waters on opening day without having any buyer. This shows their dedication to their profession. However, lobster can only last so long crated on the water and fisherman can only absorb operating costs and no income for only so long. I can only imagine that this would be the case for many people, that they could only live and provide for their families for a short-term without getting further in debt. The parties agreed upon a price of $3.65 per pound with a review each week that could see increases based on market conditions.

I am outraged that fishermen are only receiving $3.65 per pound for this gourmet product. Economic conditions are much more encouraging than in 2008 when the price bottomed at $3.00-$3.25 per pound. Operating costs are increasing and fishers are unable to earn a living wage when they are being royally ripped off for their product by a whopping $0.60 per pound from the start. CBC.ca reported that 6 million pounds of lobster is caught in our beautiful province, which means $3.6 million dollars (6 million pounds *$0.60/pound)  is being removed from the fishers, which would be of great benefit to the families of fishers and help sustain rural economies.

On December 1, 2010 CBC reported the following for Nova Scotia Lobster Fishery -

Naugle said Wednesday he was selling the first lobsters of the season at a price of $5.99 per pound, for lobsters between one and 1.4 pounds. Lobsters between 1.45 and 3.25 pounds were being sold for $6.49 per pound. (Full story here)

Prices paid to the lobster harvester in Newfoundland & Labrador are being kept artificially too low, in my opinion. The FFAW has a chart listing price for Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI from January-April, which show a price between $4-5.00 per pound (Full Details Click Here).

Action must be taken to ensure an environment is created to give the fishermen more bargaining power to obtain the fair price for their product. This may require greater attention from the Fisheries Union to focus on the small boat fisher, the Provincial Government to review its own Fisheries Act, dialogue with the Federal Department of Fisheries and a change in business operations or concessions for lobster buyers in the province. Change is needed in how we operate our Provincial fishery.

Why is our system set up that in the end the buyer sets the price, despite parties agreeing to a Price Setting Panel? The fishermen have the product and they should determine the price - if the buyers are unwilling then they should be able to look elsewhere. This is simple business. I would be happy to buy lobster from the fishers for $4.26 or more per pound.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Fishery woes continue to escalate on the Great Northern Peninsula

The fishery continues to make headlines, unfortunately not the type I have an appetite for reading.

VOCM reported the following protest at Black Duck Cove, NL http://www.vocm.com/newsarticle.asp?mn=2&id=14203&latest=1

The Black Duck Cove Fish Plant has a ready, willing and able workforce. There is raw material on the Great Northern Peninsula being caught by local fishers. However, this material is being trucked away, along with it all the economic value it should add to the local economy. Sadly, it appears we are losing control of our natural resources, something that Rural Newfoundland & Labrador has in abundance.

If we do not act strongly on this matter we will continue to say good-bye to our jobs, not only of the plant workers but many others will be indirectly and adversely affected. There is a significant domino effect as small businesses and communities will be rationalized.

Continue your voice, co-operate and show unity my friends. Let this and other issues be heard by the Government. Get your MHA speaking up on this matter, representing his constituents and do meet with Fisheries Minister Clyde Jackman.

It is time for a better solution than what we have currently. I believe if we work together as a collective group, we can achieve as we have in the past.

Live Rural NL writing from Las Vegas -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Community Control of Resources Leads to Greater Success in Rural Newfoundland

Mr. Sam Elliott, Executive Director of St. Anthony Basin Resources Inc. (SABRI) spoke to an audience of more than 100 at the National Conference Rural Revitalization From Our Forests, sharing their local community engagement success story. It was evident that when communities collaborate and come together, they can achieve greater success.

Mr. Elliott informed the audience that in 1997, when the Federal Government released its new management plan, there was an allocation of 3,000 tonnes for the 16 communities (17 at the time) on the northern part of the Great Northern Peninsula. They included the communities from Big Brook (now re-settled) to Goose Cove that had lobbied for a share of the increased quotas. Having this resource in the hands of the communities, enabled SABRI to make local decisions that would provide the greatest benefit to residents of the area.

The management Board is made up of 15 volunteers with 5 fisherpersons, 4 fish plant employees, 4 Community representatives and 2 representatives from local development committees. The Broad representation from various regions and interests may present for some tough decisions. However, the group realizes that they have to make good decisions that will have local impacts.

They put our a combination of short and long-term proposals, one of which was a plant facility for shrimp and other species in St. Anthony. According to their website, the Board chose 4 companies who proposed to offload their shrimp in St. Anthony and to hire local fishermen to fish the shrimp for 1997. In return SABRI would receive a royalty on a per tonne basis. This provided revenue until a production facility and agreement could be reached.

The Board reached a decision to establish a partnership to create St. Anthony Seafoods Limited and access the former FPI plant. It is evident that many negotiations had to take place with the owners and other interest groups to put up some investment. SABRI was able to retain 25% ownership, with 25% owned by two Icelandic Companies and 50% for Clearwater. The addition of these other shareholders, had reduced the risks of SABRI.

Mr. Elliott, noted in the beginning $10,000 was given to each community to assist with projects and enhancements. However, one of the larger problems in some of these rural communities was lack of organization (Town Council or Local Development Committees). This meant some communities were spending their $10,000 to do a project without trying to use that to leverage other funds. Sometimes the project would only be partially completed before funds would run out. Mr. Elliott pointed out that this $160,000 could potentially be $1.6 Million in infrastructure investments to the region. However, achieving this goal with many more interest groups and satisfying their needs would undoubtably be a challenge. SABRI had consultations with the communities and found that common to all groups, they were interested in having a trail system. This would be the direction SABRI would take to enhance what was currently in place.

Mr. Elliott should a series of photographs of before and after their organization had taken a lead. This included changing from wooded board walks to natural rock trails, to the completion of many gazebos. His images showed the trails were well-marked with good signage, some having storyboards.

SABRI has focused on Community Economic Development, which same highlighted a series of recent projects:

  • Removal and replacement of existing cruise docking facilities at L’Anse aux Meadows, as well as a tour bus turnaround at the site;
  • Development of a walking access to the French Oven site at Quirpon;
  • Development of integrated signage;
  • Trail guide for the SABRI region
  • Construction of three portable kiosks, which can be transported to festivals and activities in the region throughout the season.
  • Construction of three stationary kiosks. These kiosks are located on the Grenfell Properties; at L’Anse aux Meadows; and at Parkers Brook for the Save Our Char Committee.

SABRI has re-invested in local projects, creating local employment. They currently manage a mussel farm,  provide scholarships and donate to local not-profit groups, such as the Grenfell Foundation.

Mr. Elliott had provided a final slide of Did You Know? and I wish I was able to scribe all the positive figures of the many millions invested in infrastructure, the hundreds of jobs created directly and many more indirectly in the region. SABRI is truly a local success story on the Great Northern Peninsula that was given a small allocation of 3,000 tonnes and manage it effectively to provide the greatest benefits to the people of their region. They should be commended for the work they do and the significant impact they have made.

When communities come together and collaborate for the common good of everyone, there is greater success. There is no reason, why communities could not have greater decision-making over other resources, such as the forest. However, much of this success hinges on Government to enable the local economy to develop. We are beginning to see local groups with common interests, working closer together to share finite resources. We only have to look to co-operatives and how they have thrived in rural Newfoundland & Labrador. We need more local co-ops (agriculture, forestry, fishery, crafts, tourism), as well as collaboration from communities, businesses and government.

Live Rural NL 0

Christopher Mitchelmore

Save Our Rural Economies: Traditional Social Values vs. Generation Me

This past week or so I have been participated in Heritage Festival Events & Activities, worked and taken some time to spend with my family. It was a nice change of pace and am now more focused than ever to continue with my frequent blog updates.

While away I picked up a book called “Generation Me” by Jean M. Twenge, Ph. D, which studies what in means to be a young individual in today’s society.  The book cover states, “youth today are confident, assertive, entitled – and more miserable than ever before.” My interest peaked to read about her findings, as I too fall under her category of growing up in the 1970′s, 1980′s and 1990′s.

Youth today certainly have a different mindset and way of thinking. There is now an expectation that we will go to university or college. However, for many rural Newfoundlanders & Labradorians, youth born during these decades will be the first or second generation of their family to attain this level of education. Previously, it was expected one would simply follow in their family footsteps;  a male would enter the fishery during summer and cut logs for Bowaters (to become Abitibi-Bowater, currently in receivership) in winter, as well as many other duties in between. A woman’s role would be mother, housekeeper, educator, family nurse, cook, seamstress, gardener and more. Although, many people of the past did not receive official degrees or apprenticeships from post-secondary institutions, the amount of knowledge, skill and practical common sense they did acquire certainly is to be recognized.

Today, most youth in rural Newfoundland are not choosing to follow in the footsteps of their parents, grandparents and fellow members of the community. Many youth would love to have the ability to remain and Live Rural Newfoundland & Labrador if employment opportunities and adequate level of services existed. The current provincial government is making strides and investing in youth, especially through the Youth Retention & Attraction Strategy, although it is not enough.

There are great challenges in our primary rural industries (fishery & forestry), that even today sustain  rural Newfoundland & Labrador, which are constantly in crisis. The Provincial Government must intervene, working with all stakeholders (this includes the general public). Measures can be taken to stabilize the fishery and forestry, with appropriate planning and action. In relation to the fishery, restrictions are too rigid on time regulations imposed on fisherpeople and improper resource management gluts the marketplace providing poor prices and increases the cost of doing business for both processors and harvesters. It is time to remove the hold of the merchant system that has plagued the fishery and stagnated growth of Newfoundland & Labrador for hundreds of years. Government recently announced millions for studying fisheries science. This is good, but I ask government, where are your millions of dollars to invest in a near billion dollar industry that sustains our rural economies? Change is needed now, work with stakeholders and the public to address our issues.

After reading the Northern Pen newspaper today, it is disheartening that a shrimp processing plant is struggling to provide 130 employees acceptable employment. The domino effect means their families, businesses and communities in the region are also affected as shrimp landed off the coast is being trucked off the peninsula. It is difficult for young people to choose Rural Newfoundland & Labrador in the current climate as a place to live and work. Generation Me suggests that youth want to achieve and be rewarded, reap benefits early in life and maybe even hope to be famous. We were nurtured to believe we can accomplish anything, right? Well even in a challenged rural economy on the Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland, I along with others have hope and optimism. As citizens we can and will achieve, no matter what age the birth certificate states!

As a young person living in Rural Newfoundland,  I ask that we stand up and fight for social justice as I see my neighbours and community members see their incomes eroded, some bankrupt and others forced to re-settle. Generation Me is trying to influence society and we can, but let us not forget about traditional social values that are the fabric of rural Newfoundland and Labrador. Together we must share our experiences, challenges, ideas and work together to bring forth a strong unified voice to The Powers To Be (TPTB) to ensure we can continue to Live Rural Newfoundland  & Labrador.

Let’s Save Our Rural Economy -

CCM

Today, a younger co-worker and I discussed Sociology in Newfoundland & Labrador.

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