Blog Archives

Local Culture Depicted at Pebble Beach Studio

Marjorie Dempster is the artist behind the Pebble Beach Studio at Plum Point, NL on Great Northern Peninsula. We are lucky to have such talent that is one of our own, that truly depicts rural living. She should inspire us all to follow our interests.

Majorie was one of many families in rural Newfoundland & Labrador to experience re-settlement. Her move was in 1972 when her family left the Fishot island, which is just a few kilometers from the scenic Town of Conche to settle in Port au Choix. Marjorie grew up around the fishery and outport Newfoundland. After raising her family, she opted to change her focus from painting walls to painting on canvas.

Who would have thought that an acrylic Christmas present from her husband, would create an opportunity to depict our culture on canvas?

I purchased one of her tree liver designs (depicted below) in Red Bay, Labrador during the summer of 2012 from the Women’s Institute Gift Shop. I loved the way the lighthouse was shaped on the craggy coastline from the natural product. This has value! In 2002, in starting Flower’s Island Museum, I felt a much closer connection to lighthouses and the important role they played for our fishers. Those who earned their living from the sea.

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This past Monday, I again saw more of Marjorie’s brilliant work. This piece was donated in aid of Breast Cancer Research. The color and shape of the flowers in bloom, along with a unique sky background reminds me of impressionism.

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Both pictures have seal products next to her art. This is also a very important part of our living culture on the Great Northern Peninsula.

 I really enjoy  my new hobby, I  do hope to continue as long as…..God Guides My Hand. – Marjorie Dempster

I am impressed by Marjorie for finding her talent and pursuing it with entrepreneurial action. We all have talents to share. If you like her work, visit www.pebblebeachstudio.com.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

“Fill Ya Boots” – Barry Penton Art

Barry Penton, is a realist artist that grew up on Fogo Island in rural Newfoundland & Labrador. His artwork illustrates brilliant colors and impeccable attention to detail. His art certainly appeals to me as a lover of all things rural.

My first encounter with this artist was via Facebook. A friend had posted the image, “Fill Ya Boots” below as part of a contest. I decided to “like” and “share” this image with hope of winning the original artwork. It was shared nearly 2,000 times. To my surprise, I got a message from the artist, that I had indeed won the contest and could pick up the piece of original artwork in Mount Pearl. After the passage of time, the artist was so kind to mail me this piece which currently hangs in my bedroom near another Outport piece of punts from Fogo Island. I plan to later place this piece at my office.

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The image reminds me of my own childhood, as we grew up wearing rubber boots. They were an essential item given the time we spent on the shoreline of Green Island Cove in search of sea life and adventure. Some days were filled with picking mussels, catching sea lice, searching for jellyfish, skipping rocks, building sand castles or hopping from exposed rock to rock. Sometimes however, we went over our boots and would have to do this traditional dumping of water. #greatmemories

The art brings a smile to my face. My upbringing is one that is very rural, despite spending a year of my university days in some of the largest cities in the world, travelling dozens of different countries and being immersed in many cultures, my heart is always in rural Newfoundland & Labrador. I am one of the lucky ones, able to continue to work and live rural.

“When you live in a place so long, you learn about the place, history and it’s people. Once you have been gone for long, you gain a new appreciation for home and how you love to remember it”. – Barry Penton

I want to thank Barry Penton for sharing your talents. I hope others will enjoy your art of rural Newfoundland & Labrador. If anyone is interested in learning more about the artist or purchase some of his artwork, you can visit: http://www.barrypentonart.bigcartel.com/.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

Mummer’s Walk A Big Hit at Green Island Cove

Nearly forty mummers braved a -16 temperature with a wind chill that reached -31 to keep the tradition of mummering alive and well with the 4th Annual Mummer’s Walk at the Green Island Cove Lion’s Club.

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Mummers came from near and far from communities of Anchor Point, Savage Cove, Flower’s Cove, Green Island Cove, Green Island Brook, St. Lunaire-Griquet and many citizens from surrounding communities visiting the Lion’s Club, such as Sandy Cove, Deadman’s Cove and even from mainland Canada to see what the Mummer’s Walk so all about and enjoy the fun!

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The rig-up started shortly after 2 PM and just after 2:30 PM, Sabrina and I started the event noting the original idea of hosting a community event that would bring people together and would encourage more active mummering in rural Newfoundland & Labrador, especially since we remembered large groups of mummers from our childhood.

The first was held in Flowers Cove, followed by Anchor Point and last years was in Savage Cove.

This years event all started with the talented Way Brothers performed a couple of traditional tunes on the guitar and accordion, including the famous Simini tune, “The Mummer’s Song“.

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The group broke out into dance on the floor. It was great to see such a crowd turn-out and participate in the Mummer’s Walk and a number of youth watching the festivities. These are the future generations to learn the tradition and pass them on.

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Due to high wind we opted to get rides to the head of the Cove and walk back to the Lion’s Club. Some Mummer’s jumped in the pans of trucks and we were off…

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The residents, especially seniors were perched at their windows anxiously waiting for the long line of mummers to pass by their homes.

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They were people waiting in vehicles, residents waving from windows or door steps, excited to see the large group of mummers. A group this large, likely not seen for decades in the community of Green Island Cove.

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The walk was a lot of fun. We would all return to the Green Island Cove Lion’s Club and have hot chocolate, Purity Syrup and Chocolates for a treat. It was a great time to mingle and talk about going mummering tonight or another in Christmas.

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So if you hear knocks on your door, please let the friendly mummers into your home and enjoy the tradition that is forever in our hearts and souls, making rural Newfoundland and Labrador that perfect place to celebrate Christmas and the place we call home.

Below is a sampling of some other photos I managed at the event:

A big thank you to all who took the time to dress up and participate, the Green Island Cove Lion’s Club for providing the venue, all the visitors who came to the event and watch, Ryan and Monty for playing a couple of tunes, Loomis for coordinating music, logistics and bringing lots of spirit and to anyone else who helped in any way. I encourage you all to go Mummering this Christmas. I’ll be doing my part to continue to keep the tradition alive.

We’ll keep you all posted on the 5th Annual Mummer’s Walk in the New Year….

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Santa’s Gingerbread House – A New Tradition at the Mitchelmore’s

Traditions become steeped in our culture and are passed on from generation to generation. Sometimes they are long standing, but sometimes they begin and will continue to be passed on to the next generation. Unlike some families that have built homemade gingerbread houses or homes from kits for years, my mom and I started building the basic gingerbread house just a couple of years ago. Here is our house from last year:

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We enjoyed building the gingerbread home and spending time together – the teamwork it required to make the icing, holding the gingerbread together and strategically placing the candy. It was decided we would add this to our list of family traditions each time we are together for the holidays.

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Here is our finished product this year: Santa’s Gingerbread house, tree, barn and reindeer sleigh.

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Although my schedule is extremely busy, one has to make time for family and continue with our traditions. We got up early and this was our first task after breakfast.

Tonight, after a day of activities we will watch my favourite Christmas movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”.

I’d love to hear about your family traditions. Please post in the comments section if you make gingerbread houses, sing carols, or go mummering. Keep your family traditions alive and pass them on to your children and embrace adopting new ones.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

 

 

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA – Christmas Greeting 2013

Christmas Greeting

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA

The Straits-White Bay North

Christmas time has come again and what a pleasure it is to bring greetings of happiness and good cheer to you, your family, and your friends.

Take time this Christmas to spend with loved ones, rekindle traditions or possibly make new ones; it makes rural Newfoundland and Labrador that unique place we love to call home.

It is the season to give thanks to those around who have inspired you, brought a smile to your face or simply enriched your life with their presence. Together we will continue to enjoy Christmas and the joys it brings long into the New Year.

I extend to you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Cheers to a wonderful 2014!

Rural Roots, including Seal Hunt Proudly on Display at MHA Mitchelmore’s Office

 

 

 

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I’m a believer in all things rural, including the seal harvest. I wear my father’s seal skin boots that are more than 15 years old and last year purchased a seal skin coat. I could give it away a dozen times a day from all the people I meet that would also like to have one. More must be done to make these products more readily available to people of the province. The seal skin tie I have, which certainly has “heart” was purchased for $60 from GNP Craft Producers in my District. They have a website http://www.gnpcrafts.ca. They also make great belts for $40, bow ties, slippers, mittens and more. Let’s continue to show our support for the seal harvest, as it is humane, sustainable and environmentally friendly.

As the blog simply states, “Live Rural” and “Experience the Great Northern Peninsula” is all about learning, understanding and sharing my rural roots with the world.

For those who have dropped by our constituency office in St. Anthony, the public gallery has an array of local art from a French Shore Tapestry, photographed seal by Chris Patey, hooked rug, sweat lodge artwork, icebergs, Grenfell embroidery, painted purity products, dories, fish and many pieces that reflect our rural region. There is a collage of images from across the Great Northern Peninsula.

However, my office at the Confederation Building in St. John’s, NL is no different. It includes many handmade items and pieces of art that I have made myself or purchased from others. I am always searching for as much local stuff as possible.

There is a lovely Chris Patey piece of Iceberg Photography on the northern tip, with a magnifying glass and fish handle, La Mousses (The French Fisherman) that I’ve been told resembles me is from The Guardian Gift Shop at the French Shore Interpretation Centre in Conche, but was made by Loretta Decker of L’Anse aux Meadows. Outport NL by Candace Conchrane is next to a handmade glass plate made at the St. Anthony College of the North Atlantic. The fused glass polar bear comes from the Grenfell Heritage Shoppe in St. Anthony. There is a stuffed seal that was given to me as a Christmas present, as well as a fish and smaller seal.

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Here is an explanation of the Gallery below:

I purchased art from Bruce Pilgrim, originally from Main Brook, the former Englee Plant which was framed by his wife Maureen, owner of Island Images Gallery and Framing Shop. It is very pleasing after all the lobbying, letter writing, petitions, telephone calls and more that Government issued a clean-up order which resulted in $1.7M to remove and re-mediate this site.

The iceberg was painted by myself in three hours when I took a class with George Bussey, originally of St. Lunaire-Griquet. I enjoyed this immensely and encourage others to take it up as a hobby.

The hooked rug, I did as well under the instruction of Sabrina Gaulton of Anchor Point. It took about 50 hours to make this tiny rug. I would like to do another, when time permits. Thus far, time has not permitted.

The “Lonely Harbour” is a piece I purchased at the Bits’n Pieces Cafe in Conche from local Natalie Byrne.

The splitting table imagery reminds me of Noddy Bay or Raleigh. It was done by William Bartlett of St. Lunaire-Griquet.

The polar bears were bought at Shoreline Flower’s N’ Crafts in Sandy Cove and the ax on the chopping block a gift from Port Hope Simpson.

The “Return of the Sealers” is my most recent purchase from the Savage Cove Come Home Year. It is a Linda Coles piece, who is originally from Savage Cove.

Rural Newfoundland & Labrador surrounds my work space every day. I am proud of my rural roots and continue to…

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

 

Creative Christmas Floats at St. Anthony & St. Lunaire-Griquet Parades

This past weekend I participated in the annual Christmas parades at St. Anthony and St. Lunaire-Griquet. Last year our float was “The Mummers”. We had an old pot belly stove painted by the very talented Charmaine and Lavinia dressed as granny, accompanied by a merry band of mummers or jannies as we often call them. This image is on the back of my MHA Christmas card this season.

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Christmas is certainly a special time in rural Newfoundland & Labrador, especially in our small communities on the Great Northern Peninsula. The local residents show their talents and spirit by hosting a number of activities including Christmas tree lighting, carol sings, concerts, parades, turkey dinners and other events.

The St. Anthony  and St. Lunaire-Griquet Christmas Paraders are no different with floats bringing out Despicable Me’s Minions, Monsters Inc., Wreck it Ralph, Mike the Knight, Elf on a Shelf, Old-fashioned Snowmobile, Santa and many others. Not to mention mascots such as Subway, Minnie and Micky Mouse, Elmo, Mummers, Clowns and more.

A few snaps from the St. Anthony Parade:

A few snaps from St. Lunaire-Griquet Parade:

There were many good corporate citizens, with local businesses and their employees putting hours of time into preparing for the annual parades, as well as parents, grandparents and local citizens gearing up to show the life and support that exists in rural regions. Despite very chilly temperatures there were many by-standers, especially children catching handfuls of candy that was being tossed along roadside by those on floats. The parades all ended with a visit from Santa, a warm drop of hot chocolate and many smiles as Merry Christmas was in the air.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

Scenic Winter Beauty

The Great Northern Peninsula is incredibly scenic, especially after a blanket of snow. We have beautiful forests, mountains in the backdrop and the sea is all around us. The wonder of living rural!

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These photos were taken on Route 434 (Conche Road) on a visit to the Northern Peninsula East. A friend and I took a number of photos in Bide Arm, Roddickton and Conche during the winter of 2011. We captured snowmobiles, sheds, boats, mountains of snow, wharves, ice pans and of course shared many moments of laughter. It is nice to explore what is in your own backyard, one never knows where that turn in the road will take you.

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Today, I will be travelling to Main Brook and Conche, as part of my duties as the Member of the House of Assembly. It is only a matter of time and winter beauty will surround the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula.

Enjoy the great outdoors and experience the Great Northern Peninsula!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

 

Caribou and the Great Northern Peninsula

Sir Dr. Wilfred Grenfell, who founded the Grenfell Mission more than 100 years ago, was the first to introduce reindeer to the Great Northern Peninsula. After reading Rompkey’s “Grenfell of Labrador” it is clear Grenfell purchased some 300 reindeer from Scandinavian countries to help provide a food supply to locals of the North.

In North America, reindeer are commonly referred to as the caribou. On the Great Northern Peninsula we are seeing the caribou coming back in larger numbers.

The Great Northern Peninsula has a unique offering including the presence of abundant nature and wildlife. This past winter when I drove from St. Anthony to Green Island Cove I was greeted by a small heard of caribou in Eddies Cove East (Route 430 – Viking Trail) and pulled over to wait for them to cross the road. After driving through this tiny community in “The Straits” to the south I saw a total of nine caribou. It was unusual for them to be grazing for food on the opposite side of the road adjacent to the frozen Strait of Belle Isle with Labrador dominating in the background. It was one of those moments when you just stare in amazement.

In late May, when attending the graduation of students at James Cook Memorial, Cook’s Harbour I also saw a bunch of caribou off Route 435.

Enroute to Croque and St. Julien’s, I met these caribou trotting along Route 432 (Grenfell Drive) near the Town of Main Brook.

The Great Northern Peninsula is a place to visit at any time of year, especially if you want to view the majestic caribou (reindeer).  The Christmas season is quickly approaching, reminding us that Santa and his reindeer will be on his way in just a month from today.

Here is a link to another posting with some great shots of caribou on the Great Northern Peninsula: What a view today on the Great Northern Peninsula…

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

Underground Salmon Pool – A Natural Wonder

The Underground Salmon Pool is the only known place in the world where Atlantic Salmon swim through underground river caves to get to their spawning grounds. Hiking & walking interpretative trails. Guide service provided by Mayflower Adventures in Roddickton. (According to the Province’s Tourism website www.newfoundlandlabrador.com.)

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I encourage residents and visitors of Newfoundland & Labrador to enjoy this natural wonder. Interpretative panels explain the nature of the old growth forest, the rich lumbering history of the Canada Bay Area and the boardwalk offers incredible viewing vistas.

Here are some photos taken on a visit, where I captured anglers casting in designated area, birds, squirrels, views of salmon, natural erosion of limestone and the underground river. There are two entry points if you take Route 432 (Grenfell Drive) you will see the signage directing you to this destination.

Share your angling stories in the comments section. Have you visited the Underground Salmon Pool? If not, add it to your next “To Do” list. You simply could not be disappointed if you like the beauty of the great outdoors!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Skyping with a Viking

L’Anse aux Meadows on the Great Northern Peninsula, Newfoundland & Labrador was the first point of re-discovery by the Europeans to North America more than 1,000 years ago. At L’anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Heritage Site and/or Norstead Viking Village and Port of Trade we have an incredible opportunity to use technology to continue the unique cultural connection by offering new programming such as “Skyping with a Viking”.

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Skype is a free voice over Internet protocol and instant messaging service that also allows for video with a peer or in multiples.

These attractions mentioned above, have Viking reinactors that practice a Norse way of living a millennium ago. There are also Viking sites across countries in Europe. There is an ability to cross promote, share knowledge, culture and experiences with the world by using such an application. I think the concept of “Skyping with a Viking” could be popular.

However, rural Newfoundland & Labrador needs more advanced telecommunications, such as improved broadband and cellular coverage. These applications require a certain bandwidth to be effective. L’anse aux Meadows lacks the needed coverage. I’m advocating on a regular basis for these investments as they are key to developing our economy.

We are big on ideas! Rural Newfoundland & Labrador on the Great Northern Peninsula can be sustainable and grow, if we invest in advance telecommunication and transportation initiatives.

I for one, would love to have the opportunity to go Skyping with a Viking!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

It’s never to early to start planning your Winter vacation on the GNP

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1311172644-1The Great Northern Peninsula has one of the longest winter seasons on the Island portion of the province of Newfoundland & Labrador. We are the ideal location for an array of winter activities and enjoy the scenery as you experience the countryside, view the frozen Strait of Belle Isle with Labrador as the backdrop or snowmobile on our most Northerly section of the remaining Appalachian mountains.

There is a number of trail networks for cross-country ski-ing or snow-shoeing, as well as the opportunity for the adventurous type to visit alternative locations.

You can enjoy ice-fishing activities, pond skating or a good ol’ hockey game that really immerse you in all the fun and enjoyment winter brings to the people of the North. We embrace winter activities and have a love for spending time in the great outdoors, whether it be at the cabin with a crackling fire, game of cards and a cup of tea or at home with the family building a snowman and making those snow angels we all did when we were kids.

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It certainly is never too early to begin your plan to enjoy all the Great Northern Peninsula has to offer.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Enhanced 911 Should Be Higher Priority: Mitchelmore

For Immediate Release:

November 13, 2013

Enhanced 911 Should Be Higher Priority: Mitchelmore

Independent Member Christopher Mitchelmore (MHA, The Straits-White Bay North) says Government is failing Newfoundlanders and Labradorians as it drags its heels only to provide an outdated Basic 911 service to the entire province, when the focus should be implementing Enhanced 911 service.

According to the 2005 Auditor General’s report, Cabinet approved, in principle, the establishment of a Province-wide 911 emergency response service in 1995.

“Nearly 20 years later, this vital emergency service has failed to materialize for many parts of the province” states Mitchelmore. “The current plan is to have Basic 911 implemented province-wide by December 2014 does not go far enough when all other Atlantic Provinces are in receipt of Enhanced 911 services, which provides information such as number and location of emergency.”

At the Municipalities Newfoundland & Labrador Annual General Meeting, Mitchelmore questioned the need for mapping civic addresses and the challenges it would present for many Local Service Districts or unincorporated communities. The response from Minister Kent noted they were not required for Basic 911 service.

Therefore, with Basic 911, a caller will still be required to provide directions as to the location of the emergency and the person at the answering point is required to have knowledge of the area in order to relay correctly the directions to the applicable emergency service provider.

“The lack of movement to appropriately map civic addresses in rural Newfoundland and Labrador and the addition of another layer of communication will increase the risk that an emergency response may be unnecessarily delayed or sent to an incorrect location” says Mitchelmore. “Until street addresses are mapped, people in emergency situations will still have to describe colours of homes, names of people or other generalities.”

Government must move forward to work with communities to map civic addresses and develop a clear plan to roll-out Enhanced 911 services in Newfoundland & Labrador.

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
Tel: (709) 454-2633
Email: cmitchelmore@gov.nl.ca

 

 

Missing Grandma’s Raisin Pudding…

I always manage to have a big helping of my Grandmother Mitchelmore’s raisin pudding. It has that great vanilla flavour, bountiful amount of raisins and texture of sweetness, creating a perfect pudding – ones only grandmothers seem to know how to prepare. The raisin pudding during a Sunday dinner at Nan’s house is truly a treat. Maybe the art of food for traditional meals get enhanced by the younger generation over time.

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It has been quite awhile since I’ve had the pleasure of Nan’s homemade soups, puddings, bread and other treats. While on vacation this past August, I got news that my grandmother at the ripe age of 81 years had broken her leg.

My Nan is a very active senior, as she maintains large flower beds, vegetable gardens, does crafts, makes quilts and also does quite a bit of travelling. Although, the past few weeks have been the quiet road to recovery, no doubt in the coming weeks she’ll be back on her feet as busy as ever.

I’m certainly looking forward to sitting with her, chatting and enjoying her traditional meals in the near future. The time we spend with our family in rural Newfoundland & Labrador, will be treasured memories.

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Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

Universal High-speed Broadband Vital to Global Competitiveness: Mitchelmore

For Immediate Release

November 5, 2013

Universal High-speed Broadband Vital to Global Competitiveness: Mitchelmore

Independent Member Christopher Mitchelmore (MHA, The Straits-White Bay North) calls on Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development to place greater emphasis on universal high-speed broadband.

“Broadband builds stronger economies, supports commerce, educates students and is vital to advancing community development’ says Mitchelmore. “On November 1st the Minister stated the Government was well on target to reach 95 per cent coverage for the province by 2014.”

Newfoundland and Labrador are not leaders in high-speed broadband, even if 95 percent of households will have basic broadband access by end of 2014. Nearly 200 communities are still unable to access high-speed internet and only two-thirds of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have access to broadband at speeds greater than 10 Mbps. These statistics are bleak when we consider rural broadband speeds.

Despite the Province investing millions in a rural broadband initiative, the lack of a complete strategy has resulted in missed funding opportunities, failure to develop mapping of current broadband availability and speed, as well as, a plan to achieve universal access under a timeline to meet these critical goals.

The District of the Straits-White Bay North was an early adopter of Federal funding that added high-speed Internet to 36 communities of the Great Northern Peninsula in 2005. Nearly a decade later, communities of Bide Arm, St. Julien’s, Pine’s Cove, Eddies Cove East, St. Carol’s, St. Anthony Bight, Great Brehat, Goose Cove and North Boat Harbour remain without service.

“The province needs to build stronger partnerships between the public, private sector and community groups to advance universal broadband,” said Mitchelmore. “It’s time to develop and make public a mapping model that shares information, encourages collaboration among providers and ensures we get best value for our tax dollar invested to bring broadband access to the remaining communities without it.”

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
Tel: 1-888-729-6091
Email: cmitchelmore@gov.nl.ca

Icebergs are your doorstep

In June the icebergs scatter the coves, bays and shores along the Strait of Belle Isle and surround the entire Great Northern Peninsula.

These icebergs were taken from the doorstep in L’Anse au Clair, Labrador this past summer:

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The Peterman Ice Island left these icebergs in Goose Cove, Newfoundland on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula in July 2011.

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The Great Northern Peninsula hosts an annual iceberg festival, which is scheduled to run from June 6th to June 15th, 2014. Check for updates at www.theicebergfestival.ca.

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Icebergs are at your doorstep on the Great Northern Peninsula. You can see them on boat tours, at Festivals, with binoculars, on walking trails, up close or on the distance.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Mitchelmore recognizes Barbara Genge Induction into Canadian Tourism Hall of Fame

I made the following statement in today’s House of Assembly:

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Christopher Mitchelmore
MHA, The Straits-White Bay North
Private Member’s Statement
Barbara Genge – Tourism Hall of Fame 

Mr. Speaker, I rise to congratulate Barb Genge, a successful entrepreneur, engaged community leader and champion for sustainable development for being inducted into the Canadian Tourism Hall of Fame.

Barb is President of Tuckamore Lodge Ltd., an award-winning hunting, fishing and adventure tourism lodge located in Main Brook, which is considered one of the best outfitting lodges in all of Canada. She believes in full economic utilization, without abuse, of nature’s resources and operates her lodge by these principles.

Barb is an inspirational entrepreneur and true leader of the north, exhibited through a lifetime of advancing the profile of tourism on the Great Northern Peninsula. She was a founding member of Viking Trail Tourism Association and its predecessor which levered millions in funding for Viking Millennial Celebrations at L’Anse Aux Meadows. She served 15 years as an Economic Development Officer at White Bay Central Development Association establishing community partnerships and investing millions into environmental and tourism related-projects.

In addition, she is a recipient of the Sustainable Tourism Award, Entrepreneur of the Year, and PRIDE award for excellence in tourism.

I ask all hon. Members to join me in congratulating Barb Genge on her business and community success.

Thank you.

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

Mitchelmore to sit as an Independent MHA

October 29, 2013

I, Christopher Mitchelmore (MHA, The Straits-White Bay North) am announcing today that I notified the Speaker and will be sitting as an Independent when the House of Assembly resumes this coming Monday for the Fall sitting in the Legislature.

It is with much consideration and reflection that I have come to this decision. I cannot support the public handling of recent events that transpired to a clear question regarding the Newfoundland & Labrador New Democratic Party (NLNDP) Leadership. This matter will continue to have significant long-term consequences for advancing the Party. These events now create an undesirable work environment that would detract from being able to best serve my constituents.

I made a formal request with all members of the NDP Caucus, calling for a Leadership Convention in 2014. This followed a democratic process and I firmly stand by this position which is needed for future growth and renewal.  This should have been seen as an opportunity to test current Leadership, engage in the party building process, establish policy and develop messaging under a rigid timeline in preparation for Election 2015.

I believe all political Constitutions should have clear mechanisms for regular Leadership Review and Convention calls, as well as ensuring that changes to a Constitution follow the democratic process. The current Constitution does not have any mechanism for Leadership Review, despite the one being requested by NDP Leader.

In June 2011, I became a member of the NDP and worked diligently with fellow New Democrats to represent the core values of everyday people, serving in various critic portfolios, sitting on the Public Accounts Committee, engaging in dialogue across the province and serving almost one-year as Caucus Representative on the Party Executive.

Although, I am leaving the NDP Caucus, my approach to dealing with issues at the local, provincial or national level has not changed – I will continue to work tirelessly for a better District and a better Newfoundland & Labrador. I still believe we need a fairer society, one that is inclusive and brings the values of everyday people to the forefront in a multi-party system.  As the Member for The Straits-White Bay North my constituents continue to come first as I raise their concerns, present unique ideas and work with others to find co-operative solutions.

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA                                                                                                                                                                                   The Straits-White Bay North

Savage Cove Come Home Year a Shining Example of Community Spirit

Savage Cove has about 150 current residents, but that certainly didn’t hold them back for organizing a Come Home Year Celebration that would see hundreds return to their roots and enjoy a week-long celebration from August 12-18th. When a community has a belief and goal, they tend to set the bar high and in many cases exceed expectations.

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Despite a windy day at the start, no one’s spirit was dampened. This was a first for the community and the waves likely reflected the energy of having everyone home again. In the weeks leading up to the event, people volunteered many hours building a structure to add to the Harbour Authority Building to ensure they could handle capacity.

The committee dedicated many hours and was heavily supported by the community and those expats away to ensure monies would be available for materials, bands, bags and other events through their fundraising efforts.

I enjoyed marching with the crowds, as family banners were held high. There were so many, I may not have captured them all. Last Christmas we held the 3rd Annual Mummer’s Walk in Savage Cove, with about 40 mummers walking the same path as those registered for Come Home Year. It was incredible to see hundreds march proudly from St. Mark’s Church through the community to end up near the point.

The week of activities was impressive and added something for the whole family, such as a bon fire with fireworks, kids activities, play day at the playground and recreation cages in Flower’s Cove, seniors card game, bingo, Newlywed Game and nightly entertainment. There were craft producers, daily breakfasts and most importantly lots of new memories being made.

Savage Cove is another small community that shows, even small communities can do big things. Next year, Eddies Cove East will be holding its first Come Home Year Celebration. I want to thank everyone involved, from the committee, other volunteers, residents, those who came back and others from the region who supported this Celebration. I’m proud we can celebrate our communities in a big way, it builds a stronger rural Newfoundland & Labrador.

Thank you for doing your part.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Preparing the Seal Skin

The tradition of making sealskin boots has been around since seals inhabited the waters along the Strait of Belle Isle. For generations those who came before us participated in the hunt and the several week process of bark-tanning the skin to turn into a product.

Each summer, these laced in seal skins are commonplace at the Steven’s homestead. I am quite pleased to see this tradition continue. My father knew this process and the techniques used to soak, stretch and tan. I still have a pair of his sealskin boots, in which I wear in winter. I too would like to learn the seal skin boot making process.

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There is a book about seal skin boot making on the Great Northern Peninsula. It is entitled out of necessity. It is available at GNP Craft Producers in Shoal Cove East (www.gnpcrafts.ca).

Sabrina Lisa Fashion Design also believes in environmentally sustainable and all natural products. The sealskin wallet depicted below is one I use every day. It does not contain dyes, chemicals and was handmade.

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We should keep our traditions of the Great Northern Peninsula alive. More people should learn the process and also support entrepreneurs, craftspeople and the rural economy. We have a wealth of talented people and experiences.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Public Engagement critical – Rural NL needs more…

Politicians are representatives of the people in the regions in which we are elected. I strongly believe as a young individual and a community-oriented person that we must work from the grassroots – build from the ground-level up. I believe in public consultation and involving my constituents in the process through regular public meetings, community/Town hall meetings, door-to-door discussions, availability at public events and also the forum of the social media to communicate. There is an expectation in today’s modern society that politicians be available to their constituents more than ever.

IMG-20130918-02748        I had the privilege of meeting Alberta’s NDP Leader Brian Mason who believes that public engagement is critical to a more democratic society. The Alberta election is about three years away. However, the Opposition Wildrose Party (right-wing) and the New Democrats (left-wing) are working together to reach out to youth across Alberta to change the political landscape from the 40+ year reign of the governing Progressive Conservatives. They are participating in seven or eight debates across universities and colleges in major cities across the province.

On September 18th, 2013, I took public transportation (LRT) to University Station in Edmonton to the Lecture Hall at the University of Alberta. I was very surprised to see about 400 people, mainly youth gather at the event. It was refreshing as a youth and as a politician to see such interest as these two Leaders raised the bar and reached out though public debate of the issues and keeping it real. The Alberta New Democrats have been very vocal against the PC budget cuts of 7% to the education system. This campaign has garnered much support in their Edmonton base with currently four MLAs from the Capital and evident support from repeated cheers during much of the debate.

There were many issues brought to the forefront such as energy, pipelines, economy, post-secondary education, health care and public services. I enjoyed hearing the differing viewpoints of Leader Danielle Smith and Leader Brian Mason. The issues facing Alberta (a commodity economy) in many cases mirrors Newfoundland & Labrador on a smaller scale. We must conduct long-term planning and evaluate the impacts our aging demographics will have on program and service delivery.

On September 25, 26 and October 1st, I held a series of Public Meetings in St. Anthony, Sandy Cove and Roddickton. It was an excellent opportunity to hear concerns, issues and ideas of those living in the community. Meetings brought out about 150 people total and included those as young as 19 years of age. This is all very positive, as you can listen to the views of constituents and share information. It reduces barriers and builds trust. There is power in the voice of everyday people and commend you all for stepping up! Together we will build a stronger economy in the District of The Straits-White Bay North.

Public engagement is critical – rural NL certainly needs more of it!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North 
NDP Office of Public Engagement critic 

Republic of Doyle rolls out the red carpet

On Wednesday, October 2nd people from across the country tuned into CBC for episode 501 of Newfoundland & Labrador‘s own “Republic of Doyle” as the cliffhanger ending of Season 4 left us all wondering what would become of star Jake Doyle (Allan Hawco)?

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Last year’s shows were attracting 2.5 million viewers tuning in to the father and son, private investigators from St. John’s for a mix of comedy and drama. This is an exciting endeavor as we showcase the talents of our province and build a growing film and production industry that is made right here. We are creating opportunity, jobs and marketing Newfoundland & Labrador to the world. The Republic of Doyle is a great addition to the Newfoundland & Labrador brand and we should be doing more to encourage local film, production, theatrical and forms of entertainment to develop here at home.

Republic of Doyle rolls out the red carpet…

I had the pleasure of attending the premiere at the St. John’s Convention Centre with hundreds of others to watch it on the big screen. The red carpet was down, banners depicting the actors and a place for group photos. The cast was mingling with the crowd, as well as the crew and others who played a role in the shows success.

It was quite the celebration, a room full of exuberant energy. Before watching episode #501, we were given a viewing of a short film that captured the attention of the audience. After the show people continue to talk about the success of the cast, crew and opportunity for local production. It appears only bigger and better things are in store for the Republic of Doyle. Their success also helps build the business case for other shows, maybe about “The Vikings” or “Outport Life” that showcases the Great Northern Peninsula.

The Republic of Doyle airs Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. in Newfoundland and southern Labrador, 9 p.m. in the rest of Canada, on CBC Television.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

L&E Restaurant Serving For 25 Years

25 years for many of us is a lifetime committed to serving the public. For my entrepreneurial aunt, well she’s been self-employed in the food service business for nearly 40 years. That is a milestone for any business owner.

Long before the L&E Restaurant moved to its new location in 1988, owner Linda Rose was serving up chicken and chips from her former business, Rose’s Snack Bar. The move was contemplated as a new high school was being built on Route 430 to replace the aging one in Flower’s Cove. The new location, adjacent to Consumer’s Pharmachoice, Brook’s Boutique & NL Liquor Express has driven traffic to this business over the years.

She is a fully licensed restaurant, with a broad menu offering that goes well beyond the original chicken and chips, burgers and hotdogs to include a variety of seafood dishes, soups, sandwiches, salads, turkey, beef, breakfast and other dishes. She also has soft serves, ice creams, sundaes and a variety of coffees.

I’ve been eating treats at L&E for as long as I can ever remember. This past Wednesday, I dropped by for a feed of chicken & poutine. It was more-ish! After the meal, I gave my Aunt a certificate recognizing her 25 year business milestone and wished I could have been there on the anniversary. She told me, it was quite a busy day, with an in-flux of customers as she had a giant cake and offered 25% off all purchases for the day.

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She recognizes the importance of giving back to her customers and community, from customer appreciation day to donating to a local event. Before I left, I was reminded about the 50-50 draw to support the Straits Regional Volunteer Fire Department.

The restaurant has changed a little over the years, from softer color tones, the addition of a fish tank to a gallery of folk art painted by her talented son, Danny Rose. His art work is not only displayed at L&E but in many homes throughout the region, province, country and beyond. It is great to see the passion of entrepreneurship and love for rural Newfoundland & Labrador that exists within our family. However, some things will never change – like the red chairs, the nostalgic jukebox or the atmosphere created by local people loving the food and joining the conversations in one of our social spaces on the Great Northern Peninsula.

Congratulations on 25 years L&E Restaurant! Let’s hope to see many more, as this place has been a local fixture in the region.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Town Infrastructure Vital to Rural Economic Growth – Conche Roads Dire

Conche, NL just hosted a successful week of Come Home Year events, where hundreds of Die Hard Conchers’ came back to celebrate the place they call home.

As visitors turned off to Route 434 (Conche Road) they hit a very dusty gravel road that is wearing away to the bedrock. It has been a complete failure of current and past Governments to address the need to remove this gravel road from Provincial inventory. Despite rebuilding and realignment of this road in the mid-2000’s, the current Government has not committed to completing the job of paving the highway. This is coupled with the decision-making of cutting the calcium chloride program means more dust will leave the highway, creating unsafe driving conditions. Each passing day without paving Government is not getting best value for our tax dollars. This 17.6 KM of gravel needs pavement and we’ll continue to press Government to make this a priority.

The unpaved and dusty Route 434 to Conche:

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The pavement before Town that was not re-surfaced:

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Last year, Government re-surfaced 5 kilometers of road through Town which is of Provincial responsibility that was announced in July 2011 that did not get complete in that fiscal year. The Great Northern Peninsula continues to see late tender announcements and work happening very late in the year or carried over. Government voted against our caucus Private Member’s Motion regarding transportation strategy http://www.nlndpcaucus.ca/nr042413VoteAgainstStrategy.

This 5 KM of Provincial road should not have required repaving, at least not in less than 4 years since it was first paved. It was actually part of a pilot project announced in June 2007 cost shared between the Town and the Department of Municipal Affairs. At the time it was a 75-25 ratio meaning the Town chipped in nearly $125,000 to see this and it’s Town roads paved using this bituminous surface treatment (BST). It was supposed to be cost-effective and prolong the life of a highway. It failed and it left the Town in crisis because it had invested 25% and was left in just a couple of years with paved roads in worse condition than a gravel road, that the Town could not maintain. To make matters worse, shortly after this investment by the Town, the Government changed it’s municipal cost-sharing agreement to a 90-10. This small Town expended a large sum of money and is left with crumbling infrastructure.

I took a some photos of a few kilometers into Town, coupled with some scenic shots. The stops were quite frequent as the lower roads are deplorable condition and it would take more time to fully document condition of all Town roads.

Brush clearing and completion of line painting must occur and be completed earlier in the year, not still pending in mid-August.

Town infrastructure is vital to rural economic growth. The re-surfacing on Conche road was needed and Government at that time should have also re-surfaced the failed pilot project for Town roads.

The Town of Conche sees thousands of tourists annually and could easily be branded as a “tourism destination” with unique scenery, the French Shore, cruise ship visits, vernacular architecture and numerous attractions. It also has an active fish plant that sees product and workers commuting over this route. Development of Conche is being stagnated due to poor road infrastructure – it’s time for change.

I welcome any investment Government will make into our Municipal and Provincial road infrastructure in the District, as there are significant needs.

We need multi-year planning and create an economic master plan. I look forward to continuing these conversations with my constituents to redefine rural Newfoundland & Labrador.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
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