Blog Archives

Trails, Tales & Tunes Festival happening May 2014 – Mark your calendars

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The 8th annual Trails, Tales and Tunes Festival takes place from May 16-25, 2014 in Norris Point, Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland and Labrador. I’ve been attending the festival, since the 5th Annual and it always has me coming back for more. I recommend you visit their website and use the schedule to plan a week, weekend or enjoy the entire festival in the heart of Gros Morne National Park www.trailstalestunes.ca.

In 2012, I pitched my tent and enjoyed the amenities of Norris Point’s own KOA campground. While last year, I made it a personal weekend away and spent it at the magnificent Neddie’s Harbour Inn (www.theinn.ca), which is the perfect get-a-way as it is a waterfront property nestled between the Long Range mountains and the tablelands. There are many options from tenting, RV parks, hostels, cabins, cottages, bed and breakfasts, lodges, inns and motels in and around beautiful Norris Point to fit any budget.

The festival hosts an ideal opportunity to visit Gros Morne early, hear the many wonderful storytellers and musicians at various venues, as well as enjoy the vast walking trails. There is also a long list of food options and various activities and entertainment throughout the week. It is likely one of the best weekend’s you’ll experience in the park.

I encourage you to participate and then work your way up the northern tip of the Great Northern Peninsula.

Live Rural NL -
 
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Happy Thanksgiving…

I’ve spent some time today looking at old photographs of times spent with family and friends over the years. This also included travels to Europe, USA, Caribbean, Africa and many parts of Canada, especially my home on the Great Northern Peninsula. It certainly made me realize how blessed I am to have such wonderful people in my life.

Today is the Canadian Thanksgiving. It is a holiday to celebrate the harvest and the blessings of the past year. 

Here is a snapshot of some events in which I am thankful since last Thanksgiving:

October 2012 was a celebration of one year in office as the Member for the Straits-White Bay North. It is also the month of my birthday and of course the celebration of Halloween.

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November 2012 is a time of reflection, especially on Remembrance Day for those who fought for the freedoms we have today. I placed a wreath at the St. Anthony Legion’s War Memorial on behalf of the people in the District.

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December 2012 is filled with activity from Christmas Parades, hanging lights, decorating trees and celebrating the spirit of season. Last December, I spent many hours in the Newfoundland & Labrador legislature, as a filibuster on the Muskrat Falls enabling legislation had us going around the clock until the early hours of December 22nd. My comments of the Monopoly Bill was one of the last before the vote:

I would like to reflect, Mr. Speaker, upon an episode of The Simpsons, when monopolist C. Montgomery Burns planned to block out the sun, to have the ratepayers of Springfield pay for his monopoly power. Having to consume more, pay more and not conserve, Smithers, the longest-serving employee, jumped from his party faithful and the people of Springfield suffered and so did he. In the end it did not go well for the monopoly company, but the people did prevail.

I only hope the people of the Province are not impacted to the degree this legislation offers, that Muskrat Falls does bring the employment and long-term benefits as touted, and that it also allows and permits new opportunities for wind, small-scale hydro, and other energy options. (Hansard, December 20 http://www.assembly.nl.ca/business/hansard/ga47session1/12-12-20.htm). 

Christmas was spent with my wonderful family. Good food, good drinks and good company. I thoroughly enjoyed mummering. A tradition we are keeping alive.

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January 2013 - The Great Northern Peninsula is filled with incredible beauty and an abundance of wildlife. The fjords fill the backdrop around Gros Morne National Park. I had the pleasure of seeing these caribou, as they were grazing.

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February 2013 was filled with culture, from seeing the Great Northern Peninsula’s own Megan Coles’ play “Our Eliza”, as well several hockey tournaments, Air Cadet performances, the Hospitality Newfoundland & Labrador convention and trade show, coffee-house and the big announcement of Cook’s Harbour-Wild Bight-North Boat Harbour’s Let them be kids playground for summer 2013.

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March 2013 I was able to celebrate the success of community groups and the important roles they play in Community, like the Green Island Cove Lions. Also, Winterfest, carnivals, town halls and lots of community engagement happens in March. Not to mention the presence of seals.

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April 2013 brought me back to Labrador. There is a pristine and natural beauty. Everyone should take time to experience all regions of our province.

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May 2013 many graduations were held. It had me reflect that it has been 10 years since I graduated from high school with 19 other classmates. A number of people are now married, have children, new homes and wonderful careers. It is always nice to see former classmates and remember our time shared together. This September when I went to Edmonton I was able to re-connect with a few, as well I get to see others at weddings and special occasions on the Great Northern Peninsula, while some have chosen like me to live rural.

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June 2013 we celebrate the Iceberg with an annual iceberg festival. It was also a time when I saw communities come together and build an incredible playground in Cook’s Harbour. To also learn about people and their talents, such as boat building and hear about the flurry of fishing activity happening along our coast. Summer is always a busy time. We have much to be thankful, from the land and the sea.

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July 2013 After a Memorial Day wreath laying ceremony, I decided to host my family for a Canada Day shed celebration. A big bbq spread was for all to enjoy neighbours, friends and family members. We even broke out the accordion. These are the moments you’ll remember all year. It is so important to take time to celebrate with your loved ones. July continued with Come Home Year celebrations in Conche and were followed in August by Roddickton and Savage Cove.

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August 2013 I was reunited with my friends from Europe. We all first met in Prague on an exchange in 2007. I was thrilled that all five of us were able to make the sailing trip in Sardinia, Italy. We have been many places together, including Czech Republic, Italy, Ireland, Switzerland, Denmark, Cuba, Edmonton, British Columbia, Toronto, St. John’s and the Great Northern Peninsula. I look forward to our next expedition :)

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September 2013 Labour Day was spent with family enjoying food, games and each others company. I am so thankful we got to spend a weekend where we were all together. I also was happy to travel to Edmonton to see a very good friend of mine marry the love of her life. It was such a great weekend helping and hanging out. I don’t think I laughed so much all year. So good to see former co-workers, family and friends in a city I lived and worked.

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I’ve had some very incredible experiences throughout 2012-13 engaging people. There are high points and there are low points, I’ve made new friends and have had to say good-bye to some old ones. There are demands during special occasions and evenings that may take you away sometimes from your family and loved ones but when you can spend time together make it count. Family is the cornerstone of our lives and society.

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On Thanksgiving 2013, I’ll be spending it with my sister and extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins. May next year’s harvest, blessings and experiences be ones of which you can reflect back upon and be thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving and as always, live rural…

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North 

 

Gateway to Market Great Northern Peninsula at Deer Lake Airport

Deer Lake Regional Airport is the gateway for visitors travelling the Great Northern Peninsula. This summer was record-breaking registering more than 40,000 passengers in both July and August. Last year more than 300,000 passengers passed through Deer Lake Airport earning it the record of the 4th busiest airport in Atlantic Canada.

While waiting for my bags at the carousel, I peered up at the wall and was pleased to see Parks Canada advertising L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site. It got me thinking about how airports are gateways to promote local business and the tourism industry. We need to move past static signage and use more dynamic means of promotion – interactive screens.

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In the 21st century we have the ability to utilize technology and what better place than when waiting for baggage to come, sometimes 15-30 minutes of a captured market. Deer Lake Airport could have five large screens promoting distinctly the five economic regions: Tip of Great Northern Peninsula, Gros Morne National Park area, Corner Brook/HV, Stephenville & Port au Port, and the Southwest Coast. This was a message I relayed to Jamie Schwartz, CEO of Deer Lake Airport.

This is an opportunity to promote business, local attractions, events and images of landscapes and natural areas via short clips or imagery. This is what visitors really want. A partnership should be struck with Department of Tourism, Culture & Recreation; Department of Innovation, Business & Rural Development; Airport Authority; Western DMO and local industry stakeholders to add technology and pilot a project.

The screens and other static displays should have bar codes to provide further information by using tablet or mobile devices. This is being pursued by many countries in Europe. If we want to grow the tourism industry, we as well need to get with the technological times.

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We have so much potential to use our best assets to drive tourism, extend the stay of visitors and wanting them to come back for another stay before they even leave the airport on their current visit. These are simple matters that does not have a huge cost attached and the reward – significant.

Let’s reach Vision 2020 by 2018! It can be done if we put our creative ideas into actions.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
NDP Tourism, Culture & Recreation critic
 

Tourism Season Extended with Gros Morne Fall Fest & Craft Fair

Gros Morne National Park is a crown jewel of the province, attracting nearly 200,000 visitors annually. This region of the Peninsula has been expanding its products and experiences for the tourism market by extending the season. I had the pleasure to join the beginning with the Trails, Tales and Tunes Festival this past May. It was my second time attending the festival and hear the local talents of Jeff Quilty, Amelia Curran, Sherman Downey, Daniel Payne and many others who came from away, especially the Blue Grass music of the Spinney Brothers. Next year’s schedule will be posted in February at http://www.trailstalestunes.ca/schedule.html. It certainly is the place to be to get an early start on summer fun in Newfoundland & Labrador.

And the season extends into October…

Cow Head is a vibrant community, home to the Gros Morne Theatre Festival and the Dr. Henry Payne Museum. This tiny town has a group of dedicated volunteers that work tirelessly to ensure their Town is a place to visit on the Great Northern Peninsula. The creation of a four-day “Gros Morne Fall Fest and Craft Fair“, stems from the success of a one day craft fair. The festival focuses on traditional skills, craft, music and local culture does exactly that. It attracts people to the region, well beyond the peak of July and August tourism season. It is also an opportunity for locals to get involved, as the busy fishing season winds down.

I attended the official opening on Thursday night with a room of 100 people or more as we celebrated the efforts of all those who made this possible, especially organizer Ms. Glenda Reid-Bavis. This followed a Kitchen Party hosted by local talents, Stephanie Payne and Rob Thorne at the Shallow Bay Motel. The accordions, fiddles and song had everyone enjoying their evening.

On Friday, I also got to talk with the instructors and participants of the Moose Tufting and Basket Weaving Workshops. Maybe next year, I’ll get to participate.

Festivals and community events can be built around local instructors sharing their knowledge and teaching others, as we have such incredible talents and those who want to learn. I encourage other communities to reach out and create unique Fall experiences.

The printed schedule is available at the Shallow Bay Motel and there is still time to take in Traditional NL music, kit making, fiddle workshop, fine dining, silent auction, musical soiree, karaoke, craft fair and gospel concert over today and tomorrow. 

This festival is professionally put together by community partners. It is impressive to see what happens when the business, non-profit, non-government agencies, government and volunteers work together to make big things possible in small towns.

The Gros Morne Fall Fest and Craft Fair is just the beginning of many more. So mark your calendars, find out the dates next year when Cow Head will be host again to a flurry of Fall activity.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

A Few Snaps of “the Beauty Spot of the North”

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Conche is tagged as “The Beauty Spot of the North”. It is nestled at the edge of the Great Northern Peninsula East and is home to 181 residents, but there are hundreds more ‘Die hard Conchers’ out there and many are home to celebrate Come Home Year of 2013. It truly is a magical place.

This fishing community has a beacon of activity from an extremely active fish plant, that employs people throughout the region. The fish must be trucked in and trucked out of a dusty gravel road. There is constant commuting and significant economic benefits that Conche has contributed to the economy over the years. There must be serious consideration given to Government to pave the remaining 17.4 KM of gravel road.

Conche has also transitioned to be a sought after tourism destination. It is at the heart of the French Shore, with an interpretation centre, 222-ft tapestry depicting the history of the French Shore, textile exhibits, WWII memorial, archaeology digs, cafe, writer’s retreat, B&B, playground, walking trails, icebergs, bird and whale watching, as well as much more activity from talented artists, writers, singers, dancers, crafters and more.

The community understands it must add new economic opportunities by working to establish a fully functional RV site,  beach volleyball and other recreational services. It has carefully placed yellow chairs around viewing areas of the Town. This is similar to an initiative that Gros Morne National Park has done for its 35th Anniversary. These are important and relatively low-cost initiatives that make a community more inviting and tourist friendly. There are storyboards and panels and certainly more room for murals.

I am encouraged  by the economic drive of such a small community. There is much room for growth. It is persevering, despite continuous neglect and inaction from Government that treats residents and road users of Route 434  as second-class citizens. It is unacceptable in 2013 to be driving over a gravel road with no calcium chloride program. Government has invested $6M a few years ago to re-build and re-align this road. Each year there is no pavement,  this investment is being eroded to the bedrock and will cost more to complete. We need better, multi-year planning to protect our investments. Conche road should have been paved years ago.

Please contact Hon. Paul Davis, Minister of Transportation & Works at padavis@gov.nl.ca asking him to take the necessary action to pave Route 434.

It’s Time!

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

It’s All About Regional Marketing…

In 2010, my mom and I traveled to Ireland. We rented a car and went from Cork-Kinsale-Killarney-Galway-Sligo-Belfast-Giant’s Causeway-Dublin-Kilkenny-Waterford-Wexford-London. Cork is Ireland’s second largest city (about the size of St. John’s, NL), however, just a short distance away is Kinsale, a small town that is known for its food culture. With 2,257 people it is about the size of St. Anthony on the Great Northern Peninsula. The regional marketing had us take the drive to the neighbouring community. It was an experience!

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The Provincial Government has cut its marketing budget by 25%. Despite winning 183 awards and being internationally recognized, the market for the International, out-of-province and local market is highly competitive and stakeholders will have to do more to market their business to maintain their bottom lines. I believe it’s all about regional marketing, let’s pool our resources and develop vacation guides, business directory, updates, mini-sites and more in a modern Viking Trail Tourism website.

Check out how Kinsale market’s itself: http://kinsale.ie/.

The Great Northern Peninsula has many reasons for which one must visit. Here is a short-list:

  • Gros Morne National Park, WORLD UNESCO Site – home to the Table Lands and 155,000 visitors annually.
  • L’Anse aux Meadows, WORLD UNESCO Site – more than 1,000 years ago, the Vikings were the first Europeans to re-discover North America. The only authenticated North American viking site. Nearby, Norstead Viking Village & Port of Trade is home to the replica viking ship, the Snorri. Wonderful cuisine en route: The Daily Catch, Northern Delight, Snow’s Take-out and The Norseman Restaurant.
  • Community of 50 Centuries, Bird Cove – for more than 5,000 the Maritime Archaic Indians, Paleo-Eskimo, Gros-Water Eskimo and recent Indians. As well, a Basque presence and Captain James Cook cairn. Port au Choix National Historic Site has unique interpretation of archaeology and history.
  • The French Shore (Petit Nord) – Conche’s Interpretation Centre is home to a 222 ft tapestry depicting the French history, the Granchain Exhibit is found in St. Lunaire-Griquet
  • Grenfell Historic Properties – highlights the legendary Sir Doctor Wilfred Grenfell, his International Association, residence and his economic development through the co-operative process. Grenfell Historical Foundation and Handicrafts remain an integral part of the continuing story. Grenfell Memorial Co-op is the Newfoundland & Labrador’s oldest consumer co-op. Nearby are the Jordi Bonet Murals, Northland Discovery Boat Tours, Polar Bear Exhibit & Fishing Point Park.
  • Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve – home to more than 300 plants, 30 of which are rare and one Burnt Cape cinquefoil, which the Great Northern Peninsula is the only place in the world where this species grows. Raleigh is also home to a fishing village and carving shop.
  • Leifsbudir – The Great Viking Feast is the only sod restaurant in North America, built into the rock of Fishing Point, St. Anthony
  • GNP Craft Producers – a unique gift shop that makes seal skin products and shares the history of seal skin boot making. In nearby Flower’s Cove one will find “Seal Skin” boot church. The community is also home to thrombolites (existing on just a few places on earth).
  • Deep Cove Winter Housing Site – a National Historic Site is an open air museum which highlights the way of life residents experienced in both summer and winter living. It is south of Anchor Point which is home to the peninsula’s oldest consecrated cemetery.
  • Torrent River Salmon Interpretation Centre - the Interpretation centre in Hawke’s Bay is a must for the salmon enthusiast. Beyond the mighty Torrent, many salmon rivers exist in Main Brook. Roddickton-Bide Arm is a great place to also participate in recreational hunting and fishing, it is home to the natural Underground Salmon Pool.

An array of walking trails, nature, wildlife, icebergs, whales, recreational hunting and fishing, picturesque outport communities, attractions, shops, restaurants,  crafts, festivals, events,  local culture and heritage and people who will make any visit a treasured experience on the Great Northern Peninsula. We make need to take a page out of Kinsale’s book, and work as a region to pool our marketing resources and create a more dynamic on-line presence that takes in our region’s unique offerings!

Experience the Great Northern Peninsula & start planning your vacation today!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

“Here’s to Great Ideas, Great Experiences and a Great Friendship” – 2013

Welcome 2013 – A new year to share with you all, more experiences of the Great Northern Peninsula and rural Newfoundland & Labrador in general.

Before I look forward, I must look back on the year that was. In fact, on the last day of the year I pulled out a book from the shelve my father made me some years ago. It was a Christmas present my cousin gave me in 2011 that I had yet had the opportunity to read. It was, Steve Jobs’ Biography written by Walter Isaacson. I think the sheer size and weight made it a little intimidating, since I’ve yet to complete War & Peace after several attempts. My new role as a politician has not helped my reading for pleasure, as I generally focus on reading reports, news and current affairs. However, since I’ve picked it up, I’ve been reluctant to put it down – even pulling it from my nightstand at 4 AM to continue on. I am fascinated by the creativity, determination, flaws and charisma Jobs had – his influence revolutionized the way we think of the computers, electronics, brand loyalty and consumer behaviour. I’m about halfway through Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs and look forward to the next opportunity to pick it up. It’s certainly a worthy read.

I dog-eared page 217, which had the quote:

“Here’s to great ideas, great experiences and a great friendship! John.”

This line resonated with me, because life is truly about this – great ideas, great experiences and a great friendship. I only hope we act on this line more in life.

I reflect on my blog, as a means to share ideas, experiences and a great friendship with the world as well. In 2012, http://www.liveruranlnl.com received more than 100,000 hits across 166 countries around the globe. To me that is exponential growth, since sharing stories, culture, ideas, heritage, landscapes and other experiences would be quite difficult to reach through traditional means, since I live in a community of 167 people, represent a District of less than 9,000 people and live in a Province of just over 500,000 people. I was able to add just 87 posts for a grand total of 339 posts.

I’ll share with you some of this past year’s highlights:

January 2012 (48 posts)

I rang in the New Year in the Capital city of St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador with a Swiss and German friend, whom I met while studying in Prague in 2007.

On January 2nd we visited beautiful Bell Island, had some Dicks’s Fish & Chips and explored. The chilling air would not deter us from experiencing the well-carved coastline.

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My friends and I had ice-fished, mummered, visit Gros Morne National Park, fjords, L’Anse aux Meadows, Norstead, Tea House Hill & Grenfell Historic Properties, Jordi Bonet Murals, Snowmobiling, Screech-ins, Night at the Cabin, North Atlantic Aviation Museum, Joey’s Lookout, Deep Cove Winter Housing site and more. Needless to say January 2012 was quite eventful.

As MHA, I continued to hold Town Hall Meetings, in Conche and Main Brook, as well visited the communities of Wild Bight, North Boat Harbour, Croque and St. Julien’s/Grandois. I called into question the future of the Marystown Fish Plant Facility and repeated calls for the removal and remediation of the Englee fish plant. I also toured GNP Craft Producers, as I continue to advocate for the local marketplace and development of the sealing industry with future value-added products. Also attended pre-budget consultations hosted by Minister Marshall in St. Anthony.

February 2012: (16 posts)

Returned to Cuba.

Served as an opportunity to travel the province with NDP Housing Critic, Gerry Rogers (St. John’s Centre) attending the Housing Roadshow, which started in St. Anthony. This continued to Norris Point, Corner Brook, Stephenville, Grand-Falls Windsor, Clarenville, St. John’s, Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Marystown.

As NDP Fisheries Critic, I joined with three NDP MHA’s to support the picketers at Bay Roberts to oppose scab labour on an offshore vessel.

Gerry & I toured the French Shore Interpretation Centre – getting a view of the 220 foot tapestry designed by the local women of Conche on Jacobian linen. While there I got to purchase an amigurumi seal. It would be during summer that I would meet the creator during the Conche Garden Party Celebration.

We experienced traditional food at Lumberjack’s Landing and also toured Holson Forest Product, getting a demonstration on pellet heating.

Attended a Fisheries Forum

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I returned to Labrador – visiting Happy Valley-Goose Bay with NDP Leader Lorraine Michael. The highlight of my visit was to experience a traditional ride on a pure bred Labrador Husky Dog Team with Northern Lights. A remarkable experience.

March 2012: (0 posts)

The House of Assembly opened on March 5th, 2012. The first time since I was elected on October 11, 2011. I raised issues of air ambulance, Englee Fish Plant removal, alternative fisheries models, fishery research funding, roadwork, cutting small business tax, co-ops, improved broadband, enhanced cellular coverage, 911 service, search & rescue and safe drinking water.

I also attended the Federal NDP Leadership Convention, supporting Thomas Mulcair for Leader. With thousands of New Democrats present in Toronto and 9 candidates, Tom Mulcair was voted Leader of NDP and Leader of the Official Opposition.

April 2012: (4 posts)

I had visited Trinity Bay North, as they had been dealt two economic blows – the closure of the OCI fish plant and sealing plant in 2012. I spoke with locals, visited Seaport Inn, and Coaker Foundation. Port Union is the only “union-built town” in North America.

Easter had me visiting Hockey stadiums – in St. Barbe, Placentia and St. John’s as I cheered on District teams.

Attended the Seal of Approval Dinner to support Seal Industry. NL’s top chefs prepared delicacies.

May 2012: (1 post)

Launched Orange Tent Tour in Corner Brook & attended the Trails, Tales & Tunes Festival

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I also spend many weekends attending graduations in the District.

June 2012: (0 posts)

The House of Assembly continued to sit through the month of June and a number of rural issues continued to pressed including, alternative energy (wind), energy efficiency program for non-profits, agriculture development, fleet separation, lobster co-op, wood cutting permit discounts for seniors, aquaculture, forestry certification, Regional Economic Development Boards, Englee & Sandy Cove fish plants, condition of primary & secondary roads, crown land & land use planning, a host of petitions and a number of other issues.

My first experience with a filibuster – Bill 29: Access to Information, which led to 70 hours of debate. Government passed a bill that increases secrecy and reduces transparency and accountability.

I participated in the annual Iceberg Festival and got to meet the Ennis sisters, Karen & Maureen for the first time. Also, continued to attend graduations in District.

July 2012: (1 post)

  • Participated in Memorial Day events at St. Anthony Legion War Memorial
  • NDP MP Ryan Cleary’s Empty Nets event: 20 Years after the Cod Moratorium
  • Community Meetings: Roddickton-Bide Arm, St. Anthony, St. Lunaire-Griquet & Flower’s Cove, visted residents of Eddies Cove East
  • Added Salmon Fest with Aerosmith in Grand Falls-Windsor
  • Experienced the South Coast – visiting Bay D’Espoir, Belleoram, St. Alban’s and Harbour Breton.
  • Camped on Brimstone Head on Fogo Island, met Philanthropist & visionary Zita Cobb, visited Seldom, Little Seldom, Fogo, Fogo Central, Joe Batt’s Arm (get Growler’s Ice-cream & eat at Nicole’s Cafe), Tilting and attended Stag Harbour Days

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  • Grand Opening of St. Anthony Come Home Year
  • NDP MHA Dale Kirby (MHA, St. John’s North) visits Public Library, College of North Atlantic Campus, meets with residents in St. Lunaire-Griquet
  • Re-opening of L’Anse aux Meadows UNESCO Site with Senator Norm Doyle
  • Visited Green Island Cove & Englee residents
  • Grand Opening of St. Lunaire-Griquet & Gunner’s Cove Come Home Year

August 2012 (0 posts):

  • Announcement by Government that Englee Plant would be removed and site re-mediated
Disintegrating Englee Fish Plant

Disintegrating Englee Fish Plant

  • Grand Opening of Main Brook Come Home Year
  • Visit from NDP Leader Lorraine Michael (Sandy Cove, St. Anthony, Main Brook)
  • Tour of Southern Labrador -Port Hope Simpson, Mary’s Harbour, West St. Modeste, Pinware, Forteau, L’Anse au Loup, L’Anse au Clair
  • Grand Opening of Anchor Point & Deadman’s Cove Come Home Year
  • Attended Canadian Public Accounts Committee Conferece in Iqaluit, Nunavut (Aug 19-21)
  • Joan Simmonds, French Shore Historic Society Presented with Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal at MHA Tea Party
  • 1st Public Accounts Committee Meeting after 6 years of dormancy

September 2012: (0 Posts)

  • Labour Day with Federation of Labour and St. John’s District Labour Council at Swiler’s Rugby Club
  • 102 NDP MP’s congregate in St. John’s/Hosts Kitchen Party at O’Reilly’s Pub on iconic George Street
  • NDP Municipal Affairs Critic George Murphy (MHA St. John’s East) visited Town of Englee, toured Roddickton-Bide Arm, held St. Anthony Public meeting and discussed regionalization in The Straits
  • Guest Speaker at St. Anthony & Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Visited Czech Republic
  • Toured Iceland Fish Plants, Buyer’s Markets, Geothermal Facilities, Gullfoss Waterfalls, Glaciers and many other natural wondersOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • Spent a weekend in Copenhagen with friends from Switzerland and Sweden. Riding the World’s Oldest Rollercoaster and experiencing the culture
  • Visiting Liverpool and taxi touring the old stomping groups of larger than life Beatles. Spent three days soaking up the culture and enjoyed visiting the Cavern.

October 2012: (6 posts)

  • Participant at the International Fisheries Symposium held in Norris Point by CURRA
  • Reflected on my first year in offices. There were accomplishments and so much more to achieve
  • Suggested opportunities for expanding tourism opportunities
  • Participated in Public Account Committee hearings
  • NDP Convention
  • Re-newed call to support sealing industry. Purchased sealskin coat to show support industry (see pictured below with co-owner, Kerry Shears of Natural Boutique).

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  • Met with protesters from Fortune on the steps of Confederation Building
  • Turned 27
  • Enjoyed Halloween as Professor Plum from Clue, made costumes from a Salvation Army visit. Those who know me well, know I collect Board Games.

November 2012: (10 Posts)

  • Marketing Rural Newfoundland & Labrador dominated the postings
  • Visit to residents of Englee, Great Brehat, Green Island Brook, Pine’s Cove and Shoal Cove East 
  • Attended Remembrance Day Ceremonies & annual hockey tournament in St. Anthony.
  • House of Assembly re-opened November 19th

December 2012: (4 posts)

  • Third ecounter meeting Ennis Sisters. They perform in St. Anthony
  • Participate in the St. Anthony & St. Lunaire-Griquet Christmas Parades with Granny & Mummer’s
  • Attend Straits Regional Fire Department Appreciation Dance
  • Englee Christmas Tree Lighting & Diamond Jubilee Awards to Mayor Rudy Porter and Councillor Robert Keefe.
  • SABRI Christmas Party
  • Filibuster #2 – 86 hours that would run until December 22nd
  • Fisheries Minister sells out Rural Newfoundland & Labrador Friday, December 21st at 7 PM  (http://www.nlndpcaucus.ca/nr122112QuotaSellout)
  • Returned home in time for Christmas Eve, wonderful holidays with my family
  • Record-breaking mummer’s parade with 40 mummer’s participating in 3rd year

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I’ve shared with you a sampling of some of my experiences during 2012. I’ve had the opportunity to visit many rural places on the Great Northern Peninsula, Newfoundland & Labrador and beyond. Many more than I’ve actually been able to write about; however, I look forward to sharing with you great ideas, great experiences and continue that great friendship in future posts of 2013.

Happy New Year to All -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Even with Grey Skies Gros Morne National Park is a Gem of the Great Northern Pen

Even when skies are grey, Gros Morne National Park is a gem to drive on the Great Northern Peninsula.

It never ceases to amaze me – the natural beauty of this Provincial wonder, that attracts 180,000+ people annually to visit  this place. The reflection of the rock onto the glazed body of water is to be embraced with a warm smile.

I always spend some time at the National Park – there are many walking/hiking trails and an array of outdoor activities that include a Boat Tour of Western Arm Brook or kayaking in the heart of scenic Bonne Bay. Even the beginner can enjoy a cheap canoe rental at the KOA campground in Norris Point. I rented one for an hour for just $10.00.

No matter what age or interest, Gros Morne National Park is to be explored and experienced. After you have had your visit, be sure to head North for several days and it would also be a treat to add Labrador to your journey.

The Great Northern Peninsula awaits, whatever the season you choose to dig in and enjoy our nature, culture and lifestyle!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

A Swiss, German and Rural Newfoundlander Re-united for the Holidays.

On December 25th, 2011 I was re-united with my Swiss and German friend, who I had met in the Czech Republicin 2007. Unfortunately two others were unable to make the trip across the pond during the holidays due to work commitments as we all try to visit each other once a year.

We had embarked on a journey that brought us 4,551 kms to places that include St. Anthony, L’Anse Aux Meadows, The Straits, Gros Morne National Park, Gambo, Bell Island, Cape Spear, St. Johns and of course, Paradise.

Again, I had the opportunity to explore this beautiful Province of Newfoundland & Labrador and be a tourist at home. We had truly experienced our unique landscapes, culture, cuisine and shared much laughter.

Over the next few posts, I’ll share with you a taste of what it means to explore Rural NL during the holiday season. Please join us for the journey.

I remember returning in 2010 from Ireland, quite eager for “When the Plane Touches Down in Deer Lake” (Derrick Pilgrim Song).  This time, I would be arriving at the Deer Lake Regional Airport some 335 kms away from my home to pick up friends arriving on the 1:22 AM and 3:25 AM flights.

In the morning we would drive up the Great Northern Peninsula. Gros Morne National Park is just 67 kms away. The beauty of this landscape attracts some 180,000 visitors during the summer season. It could also become a winter destination, as we had no choice but to stop and take a few images, breathing in the visual appeal of the mountains, water and nature as far as the eye could see.

 A view from Jenniex House Lookout, overlooking Norris Point

The Wharf at the Bonne Bay Marine Station, Norris Point

Gazing from the pier in Norris Point

Another view of Norris Point

As we moved further up the coast the experience continued to impress. I look forward to talking local hockey, ice-fishing, mummering and more as we begin to experience a rural Newfoundland & Labrador Christmas.

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Live Rural NL Celebrates 1st Anniversary!

One year ago today, I introduced myself to the wonderful world of blogging under the name Live Rural NL. Over the past year I have scribed nearly 200 posts and have shared with you my rural life from heritage, cuisine, politics to vacations. I extend a big thank you for all my loyal readers for continuing to show interest in the potluck of articles I post daily as time permits.

The journey over the past 365 days was a learning experience as I became much more aware of the significant aspects of rural culture that surrounded my daily life. For instance:

  1. the tradition of soup Saturday with my grandmother, my love for fisherman’s brewis, figgy duff and Sunday’s Dinner.
  2. the significance of my grandfather’s folklore, his incredible riddles, quotes and jokes – sadly only the memories remain with his passing on June 6, 2010.
  3. I continued to realize how much I value the water and the importance of the fishery to our rural economy.
  4. I took a strong stance against Ellen DeGeneres’ views on the Canadian seal hunt, lobbied Governments for Broadband Internet access and asked for decision-making at a more localized level.
  5. I realized the nuisance a Moose can be on our roadways, but how delicious they are in a pot of stew.
  6.  I learned how to traditionally hook rugs, paint using acrylics and also improve my photography skills.
  7. I spent time with family, playing games, telling stories, enjoying laughter.
  8. Locally, I visited most places on the Great Northern Peninsula, being a tourist at home. |This past weekend, I’ve re-visited again Conche, Englee, Roddickton- Bide-Arm, Main Brook, St. Anthony, L’Anse aux Meadows and Quirpon to tour with a friend. I’ve returned to St. Pierre-Miquelon-Langlade, Grand Bank, Marystown, Burin, Brigus, Cupids, the Irish Loop, St, Johns, Port Home Simpson, Mary’s Harbour, Lodge Bay, Battle Harbour and the Labrador Straits. Evident from the nearly 50,000 kms I have placed on my car in the past year.
  9. Nationally, I visited Toronto, Montreal, Halifax and Winnipeg
  10. Internationally, Mom and I visited France, England, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland last November to experience the Newfoundland-Ireland connection. I also travelled to Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Cuba.
  11. I joined Couch Surfing
  12. I met up with old friends and made new friendships
  13. I realized the importance of community and how everyone has a role to play and that we should do our best to contribute.
  14. I plan to visit Raleigh, Cook’s Harbour and Cape Onion this summer season. As well as return to many other places. As well, I would love to spend a weekend in Fogo, Ramea and St. Brendan’s. There must be something about island culture.
  15. Culture evolves and does not remain stagnant
  16. We have some of the best cultural assets in the world!
  17. There is immense opportunities on the Great Northern Peninsula, for those young and old alike.
  18. Include the community in the decision-making process. Local people have valuable ideas and contributions.
  19. The Great Northern Peninsula is an experience
  20. Live Rural NL!

To reiterate lines of my first post, “I have changed many times as a person as I progress through my twenties, but I realize that with the right attitude and efforts we can accomplish the unthinkable. Today my friends, I just want to share with you what it means for me to continue to Live Rural Newfoundland.”

Cheers,

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

 

Moose on Great Northern Peninsula Abides Traffic Laws

On a recent drive up the Great Northern Peninsula, past Gros Morne National Park en route to my hometown  as a passenger I was able to snap a moose abiding by the traffic laws.

In the first image the moose does not realize he should turn and is thinking of making a dash across the highway.

Something clicks and he catches the sign and realizes he most likely should turn.

He opts to return to the forest.

The Great Northern Peninsula has an abundance of moose, most likely there are more moose than people. During the prelude to the  beginning of the tourism season, I have seen more moose on or near the road than vehicles when driving the highway.

If you are interested in seeing wildlife, such as moose or caribou, the Great Northern Peninsula is a gem. Especially, Roddickton  (Moose Capital of the World) or drive from Eddies Cove East to St. Anthony. However, be cautious as not all moose use the same judgement as this one; they have been known to reek havoc on our highways. Each year signs are posted noting the number of reported moose vehicle collisions on Route 430. This number was nearing double-digits the last time I passed the sign.

The Viking Trail, Route 430 on the Great Northern Peninsula is your premier destination if you want a serene scenic drive with a high likelihood of catching a glimpse of a moose, caribou or even an iceberg!

Experience the Road to the Vikings this summer on the Great Northern Pen!

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Related Article:

Got to Get Me Moose by’

Cuban Vacation…Part VIII

On Friday, we headed to Casa Blanca, the village on the other side of the harbour in Havana. It is known for the massive marble statue of Christ and the Che Museum. We went by taxi via an underground tunnel as we planned to see the largest fort in Latin America. We were dropped off at the Che Museum.

The Che museum is quaint with limited information about this National hero. It has reproduction furniture from the era in the bedroom, office and medical equipment that was used during that time. The roof terrace presented dynamic views. One could see El Capitolio, the National Building in Havana, as it dominated the skyline.

As we leisurely strolled to the Fort in the raging sun, we passed  some children playing football (soccer). At the fort there were some excellent photo opportunities and an interesting museum with lots of artifacts and a variety of canons in all shapes and sizes. It was a ghastly hot day, but I found a gold mine when I entered the cave. It have great decorum, themed as a pirate ship with a bar that sold TuKola for $0.60 C.U.C. It was quite refreshing. Not to mention the natural air-conditioning was quite the hit as it brought my body temperature down significantly, making outside bearable one more.

In the afternoon we opted to visit Plaza that  hosted a book market with bistros surrounding and the Governor’s House, which is not a museum as the center of attention. We stopped at a restaurant to quench our thirsts and had a couple of Cristal beers.

I love these small markets. I would be interested in working with those on the Great Northern Peninsula to establish a marketplace for small entrepreneurs, hobbyists and craft producers. There are higher volumes of traffic during the summer months, with Gros Morne National Park attracting 174,000 visitors and the St. Barbe Ferry traffic nearly 80,000 people from May-October. There is an abundance of things that could be sold, or maybe it would be product specific to gain the attention.

If you are interested, drop me a line at liveruralnl@gmail.com or post a comment.

Experience the Great Northern Peninsula -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Gros Morne Theatre Festival Opens May 26, 2011

The Gros Morne Theatre Festival will commence on Thursday, May 26, 2011 and continue daily throughout the summer with its final show on Saturday, September 17, 2011.

Positive word of mouth from friends and colleagues that had seen a show was more than encouraging. I decided to make extra effort in 2010 to ensure I made this a priority. I attended the dinner theatre, “Sinking of the S. S. Ethie” with a friend from Montreal, QC at a rate of $45.00. It was certainly worth it. Two plus hours of entertainment by talented and professional actors/actresses working for Theatre Newfoundland & Labrador, as well as, pan-fried cod and all the fixing served by those on stage during their intermission. We enjoyed the show enough to buy tickets for the double feature, “A Double Axe Murder”. This play is based on a murder mystery of the area in the 1800s. Very intriguing.

Being a local, I heard pieces of the story and previously visited the site of shipwreck as a young boy with my father. It is funny the things you sometimes remember, but beyond the rusty remains of the Ethie there was an abundance of very smooth and colourful round rocks. I picked one of my favourites and brought it back to the cabin at Sally’s Cove

If you would like some wonderful entertainment, check out the shows at Gros Morne Theatre Festival, Cow Head.

This year the shows are:

  • Ed & Ed’s B&B – Comedy
  • Neddy Norris Night – Cabaret
  • Winter – Drama
  • Stones in His Pockets – Comedy
  • Tempting Providence – Drama
  • Sinking of the S.S. Ethie – Dinner Theatre
  • The Oracle of Gros Morne – Drama/Comedy

There will also be workshops and special events throughout the season.  I am looking forward to getting to see Tempting Providence and others throughout the summer season.

For more information or reservations visit www.theatrenewfoundland.com or call toll-free 1-877-243-2899.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Million Dollar View w/Product & Service to Match

 
Neddie’s Harbour Inn & Fine Dining Restaurant

On May 11, 2011, I had the opportunity to drop by Neddie’s Harbour Inn & Restaurant. I had heard so many wonderful things about the food at the restaurant. Listed on the door were three stickers, Where to Eat Canada 2008, 2009, 2010. This seal of approval from the food critique validates the quality and experience one may attain when dining at the restaurant with the million dollar view. Last year, I tried to get a reservation but could not wait the several hours for a table. I will try again this year, but be sure to book in advance (table #3 if possible).

The business was opening for the Fifth Annual Trails, Tales & Tunes Festival (www.trailstalestunes.ca); however, the front desk employee greeted us with a smile and was more than happy to give myself and a colleague a full tour of the property. We were taken into multiple rooms, which are breathtaking. The linens were rich bright whites, with the proprietor’s own special piece of art attached. The color palette is used throughout the inn. The views from each room is a little different, the blinds offer the ability of privacy and still maintain a view. There are comfortable chairs, lots of space and splendid decor that creates a happy space. The vessel sinks in the bathroom is also a nice touch.

Guest Room at Neddie’s Harbour Inn

The 15 rooms have bright solid wooden doors with nice trim. Each room is named for different communities or places in and around the local area, engraved in a wooden plate. Each room has wired and wireless internet and comes with a unique breakfast offering. Amenities include a fitness centre, infrared sauna  & whirlpool (booked by room for additional privacy). There is a common sun room with a bar, musical instruments, reading material, games and licensed patio – all overlooking the water and mountains.

The accommodation also has 4 houses in Norris Point that is available for rent.

Million Dollar Views at Neddie's Harbour Inn

 A walk around the outside of the property gives you a view of the rock garden, the water, mountains, tablelands and rural living. If you need to take a break, they have an incredible rock picnic table. I can only imagine the beautiful sunsets at this location.

Thank you to J. for providing the incredible tour. It is evident the Joy you take in your jobs. As well, to the owners and other employees that make this business offering available to your patrons. It truly is a wonderful gem, nestled at the heart of Gros Morne National Park.

If you would like more information, please feel free to visit their website at www.theinn.ca

Live Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

5th Annual Trails, Tales and Tunes Festival Officially Opens Today

 

To be in Norris Point today, would be one filled with a fury of activities, marking the start of the 5th Annual Trails, Tales and Tunes Festival which will run until Sunday, May 29, 2011.

For those with a sense of adventure this morning, they had the opportunity to take a hike to the top of the Tablelands (World UNESCO Heritage Site at Gros Morne National Park) under the care of trained staff of Gros Morne Adventures. This started at 9:00 AM and will last until about 5:00 PM for a fee of $50.00. However, there is something for everyone on their schedule from Yoga, Boat Tours, Music, Parades, Theatre, Food and Nightly Entertainment.

Sitting at a stone table, Neddie's Harbour Inn with Tablelands in the background

Check out the schedule for yourself by clicking here or visiting www.trailstalestunes.ca

This is a remarkable success story. A collective group from the Town, non-profits, organizations, business, artists, volunteers and others are involved to provide a unique offering of outdoor walks and hikes, talented local musicians, artists and storytellers, workshops and other activities. This truly is the kick-off to the summer tourism season and a means to extend the service offering on the shoulder season.

As a frequent traveller, I tend to try to visit places outside of peak tourist season as the crowds are generally less, prices are lower and you get an opportunity to meet more locals. Gros Morne National Park gets around 180,000 visitors each year, with scheduled events and entertainment throughout the peak tourism season. When you have a strong product, it is important to try to broaden the season. Trails, Tales and Tunes is able to bring out the locals and those travellers on the fringe. They may come early and they may even come back throughout summer or at the end of the season. It is wise to have this festival at the beginning of the season, as there are a number of other festivals, activities and events that make for a competitive market within regions and across the province of Newfoundland & Labrador.

On Wednesday, May 11, 2011, I had the opportunity to speak with a number of operators and most were preparing for the season – ensuring they would be open for the festival this weekend. There was much enthusiasm in the air and I only hope that funnels throughout the regions to have a strong tourism season for Rural Newfoundland & Labrador.

So if you can, take in a day, two or more of this festival. I’ll be in the area on Wednesday, May 18th to check out some of the activity and maybe again on May 20th. I would like to extend a warm thank you to all those involved, as you continue to do truly amazing work.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

An Opportunity for More Rural Social Space – The Coffee Shop?

Treats at the Coffee Shop, Northern Ireland

Where are the local coffee shops in Rural Newfoundland & Labrador? I am not talking about the Tim Horton‘s that are springing up practically everywhere, including rural areas. There is even a Tim Horton’s in St. Anthony, NL on the peninsula’s tip that has a town of under 3,000 people. Some residents from the Strait of Belle Isle region, where I reside have even driven more than 100 kms to get a “cup of Joe” combined with a high calorie sweet to match. This is the power of branding and the importance of changing to fit with market demands.

It was not too many years ago, that there was a local bakery in Flower’s Cove, NL. It operated for a number of years under the Dot’s Pantry “franchise”, to later be operated as Sweets & Eats. As a youth, I did not appreciate the business as a venue to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee; however, they never really promoted themselves as a coffee shop in the traditional sense.
 
For me, it was really more of the bakery, a place to get a cake for a birthday or other special occasion. One could also get freshly baked bread, pies, squares and other desserts, as well as a limited variety of lunch choices, which included jigs dinner, soups, sandwiches and chili. However, the coffee was limited to just basic brewed. Additionally, there were only two small tables with a couple of chairs.

Espresso and Latte in Paris, France

 
A coffee shop in rural parts of Europe have a variety of good java. One can get a selection of freshly brewed coffee with flavours to choose. There is also mocha, cappuccino, latte and espresso. I certainly love a good espresso! As well, there is an array of teas, herbal, chai teas, decaffeinated teas, coffees and of course hot chocolate. Tim Horton’s has even adapted a number of these products to their menu, but offers them at a low-cost price. This is reflective of quality, as Tim Horton’s  is less generous with whip creams and syrups.  European coffee shops exhibit a nice relaxing and inviting atmosphere, versus the cafeteria or institutional/fast food stylings of Tim Horton’s.
 
There is an opportunity for more  social space in Rural Newfoundland and Labrador, with the decline of the local lounges. The social commons is changing from the local wharves and the kitchen tables, as we have become more integrated into larger regional communities. We need a fitting space for those to mingle and discuss events of the day. We require a space that is senior, seasonal employee, family, youth, tourist, handicap and professional friendly to survive and thrive in a sparsely populated rural setting.
 
Gros Morne National Park has a gem of a coffee shop in Java Jacks! I highly recommend it. Only time will tell if there is room for a coffee shop in the Strait of Belle Isle region and if it can fill the need of creating a social space that is acceptable by those living and passing through our rural region.
 
Live Rural NL -
Christopher 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

Newfoundland Firewood Ltd.

Newfoundland Firewood

Any traveller driving the Viking Trail (Route 430) on the Great Northern Peninsula will see many piles of wood at roadside.

 
This wood will eventually end up in stores, garages, basements or other containment areas to be used as a heat source at a local home or cabin. This wood has been cut by the end-user or purchased for a nominal price.
 
When I worked for the Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development on a work term with the Getting the Message Out program we promoted local entrepreneurship. One  company, Newfoundland Firewood Ltd., located in Port Blandford, NL comes to mind when I think of our forest products.
 
The company produces bags of birch in small bags that are big enough for the fireplace or to roast marshmallows by a campsite fire. Consumer’s are willing to pay a premium for convenience. I remember last summer, when I tented at Gros Morne National Park. I purchased firewood at the campground, paying $8.00 for a very small bundle of wood. However, I only have a small car and when fully packed with camping gear, there isn’t much room left to carry firewood. Plus, wood can provide for a messy clean-up in the trunk.
 
This convenience factor would especially appeal to urbanites that live in areas allowing backyard fires or travelling to rural regions for incredible outdoor experiences. His products are available at parks and gas stations, which is a good complement to get product in the end consumer‘s hand.
 
However, I have yet to see much firewood on the Great Northern Peninsula sold this way? Is there a market, since there appears to be an abundance of wood in view along the highway? I know many people have backyard fires and there is a growing number of travellers using the highway. Will Newfoundland Firewood Ltd. enter the marketplace or will some other entrepreneur explore the business case of the Great Northern Peninsula and parts of Labrador?
 
Live Rural NL o
Christopher Mitchelmore

Moose Hunting at Gros Morne & Terra Nova National Park

                                                                                                                          

Moose Antlers in Gros Morne

The Rick Mercer Report  brought National attention to the moose population by tacking a helicopter to track and tag moose at Gros Morne National Park. He coined Gros Morne, as home to the more moose per square kilometer than almost anywhere on Earth.  Newfoundland & Labrador has a growing moose population, which CBC.ca has reported there are more than 150,000 moose in the province, with about 5,000 in Gros Morne National Park alone. This is a large number considering the human population of the island portion of the province is about 480,000 people.

 
 
I support the issue of approximately 500 moose licences in these National Parks. This is a good start, considering the damage and impact they are having on other species, habitats and on human life. Just two weeks ago, when driving through Gros Morne National Park the sign states, so far this year “7 Vehicle Collisions involving Moose”. I have seen this sign reach the mid-thirties as the summer continues. CBC reported in a link below, that one woman had hit three moose in May.
 
The management of the moose population is becoming a growing problem in Newfoundland & Labrador. The Provincial Government is taking some action, as they are grooming greater parts of the highway and issuing 5,000 additional licences, after continued pressure from SOPAC (Save Our People Action Committee) and a class-action lawsuit against the Crown from victims of moose-vehicle collisions. The Federal Government has finally taken action regarding the growing problems at Gros Morne National Park.
 
The Federal Government should work with local outfitters that have the planes and resources to provide them with additional licences. The economic impact on the local economy can be great.
 
Live Rural NL 0
Christopher Mitchelmore
 
 
 

Scenic Gros Morne National Park

A view of Norris Point, Gros Morne National Park

There is always a scenic photo to be taken when you visit Gros Morne National Park. These are some from my March 21, 2011 visit. The view of the bay is breathtaking. The little wharves represent the  imporance of fishing to the local economy. Although, the tourism industry has grown immensely attracting more than 180,000 visitors annually, the fishing industry is a mainstay for many families. 

A wharf in Norris Point, Gros Morne National Park

There must be a way to blend both industries where tourists can experience a rural fishing lifestyle and these fishers can also realize financial gain that will make their enterprises more viable. If the resource can be properly managed and regulated, why not allow tourists to experience traditional cod jiggin’?  They could also take their catch to a local restaurant and have it prepared to enjoy as a meal.

Boat in the Bay

We need to develop our industries. However, we must  properly manage the resources and tools that we have available to us in rural regions. One inhibiting factor are the regulations  in place by the Federal Government. It is time for government to work with fishers, businesses and community organizations to implement the change that is needed for rural success.

Fishing Boat

 
There is opportunity for Learning Vacations, Fish Markets and Culinary Experieces that pertain to the inshore fishing industry. Rural regions in Northern Newfoundland can have further growth and success! We just need to be included, our voices matter. We have ideas that can improve the quality of life and experiences of living rural. 
 
Live Rural NL 0
Christopher Mitchelmore
 

Sandy Beaches at Norris Point, Gros Morne National Park

 
Tropical Paradise on March 21, 2011 at Gros Morne?
I always enjoy treks to Gros Morne National Park, which is one of our Rural Crown Jewels
Footprints

On March 21, 2011, I was pleasantly surprised to walk the shores and find a beautiful sandy beach. The Town was quiet as I met very few people during my stroll on the beach this afternoon. I screamed of being a tourist with my Nikon DSLR camera and the fact that Norris Point is small enough that everyone knows everyone in the community during the off-season.

An amazing view...

The Town of Norris Point may be small in population (pop. 850 in 1996), but during summer, like Prince Edward Island the tourists will out-number residents by a grossly disproportioned amount. Tourists at Gros Morne National Park exceed 180,000 people in season.

Looking onwards, towards the Mountains

There are many reasons to visit Norris Point. One I recommend is to take time to tour the shoreline. You will be surprised by the furry of activity from the  fishers, sea life, birds and sounds of the water gently rolling over the sandy beaches.

Live Rural NL 0

Christopher Mitchelmore

Giant’s Causeway…Part Two

The three amigos by the basalt pillars

 The Giant’s Causeway is a natural wonder formed millions of years ago. The image to the left illustrates the sheer height of some of the pillars.

David, myself and Tobias look quite miniscule in comparison. We pretended to blend in and be part of the causeway.

An up close view of the basalt pillars at the Giant’s Causeway.

 We have been to the edge….and back! The formations combined with the powerful waves presented a very unique feeling of experiencing a natural wonder.

 The crashing waves.

The image to the left shows Tobias “The Navigator”  jumping ahead while I use the opportunity to take some more photos.

I probably took 300+ pictures at the Giant’s Causeway. Certainly enough to make our fourth friend, Marcel jealous for missing it. Sorry Marcel.

I am quite familiar with WORLD UNESCO HERITAGE SITES as I live in between two on the Great Northern Peninsula, that is L’Anse Aux Meadows World UNESCO Heritage Site (the site of the Norse, who re-discovered North American more than 1,000 years ago) and The Tablelands at Gros Morne National Park. This comment reminds me of one Sarah Palin made during her 2008 ticket for vice-present when McCain claimed she was an expert in foreign policy. She backed this statement by noting Canada was next to Alaska and that she practically could see Russia from her window.

On a serious note, the Tableland experience near the Discovery Center, between Woody Point and Trout River, NL provided a similar feeling of awe.  I participated in a guided tour and walked the trail during the summer with my friend Benoit (who I also met while studying at the University of Economics, Prague, Czech Republic). Parks Canada has done a fabulous job!

Newfoundland and Ireland have many connections. World UNESCO Heritage Sites are another link.

I’ll post some additional photos of the Causeway.  The farther I walked the more I loved taking it all in, just like Gros Morne National Park.

Live Rural NL 0

Christopher Mitchelmore

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