Community economic development should be at the heart of any small Town. The Great Northern Peninsula has numerous development associations (White Bay South, White Bay Central, St. Barbe, Straits Development and Rising Sun), as well as St. Anthony Basin Resources Incorporated (SABRI). These entities have partnered with communities and local groups to create and maintain infrastructure, provide employment, training and the delivery of a number of programs. We need these entities to build stronger economies and communities in our region.
The Main Brook Research & Development Corporation is another shining example of community building at its finest. The non-profit corporation has local Directors and develop the Town’s assets, such as the property leased by Northern Lights Seafoods. The attraction of a processor to the Town has created dozens of direct local jobs and supported many fishers on the Great Northern Peninsula since 2009. This has lead to millions of dollars in economic value re-circulating in the community and greater region. Northern Lights Seafoods is also pursuing new product development for scallops, which can lead to longer-term employment and more secondary-processing. This creates greater sustainability for the company, workforce and community.
Another major milestone for the Main Brook Research & Development Corp. was the divestiture of the Federal Public wharf. Transport Minister Lisa Raitt, Mayor Leander Pilgrim (Director of MBRDC) and I took part in the official transfer ceremony at Long Pond, CBS.
The corporation and community now has control over an asset, which they can use to generate revenues and create new opportunities for off-loading of fish product, shipping and receiving goods and services at this deep-water port and also be a destination for recreation, pleasure and commercial craft.
A public meeting was hosted on Thursday, where the corporation updated residents on matters of the wharf and other potential ventures it would look to pursue or find partners to create more economic development for the Town. The meeting clarified the $675,000 Federal transfer and noted the uses of these funds are for the long-term maintenance or the removal of the structure in this was necessary. However, the corporation has a business plan to generate revenues and wisely use invested dollars to create new opportunities, make enhancements and create employment at this location. It is great to see an engaged group of residents, as dozens came out to participate and become more informed, including myself.
The actions taken by Main Brook Research & Development Corporation has really position the community for further growth and sustainability as they continue with their diversification plan. I commend these community-minded individuals for taking ownership, working together and never tiring to advance the place you call home. It is making a tremendous difference.
The Town of Main Brook has a population of 265 people according to the last census, it has survived the devastation of being a one industry town and losing that big employer. Employment in the 1930’s was almost exclusively in the forest industry, when the community first started to become inhabited. In the late 1940s, Bowater’s moved in and constructed a company town which consisted of apartment buildings, offices, machine and carpenter shops, two warehouses, a retail store, a garage, and a complete water system to capitalize on the rich timber resources.
Main Brook holds the distinction of being once of only 11 Towns that were incorporated before Confederation. Population was growing, but all was halted in 1968 when Bowater’s closed their Main Brook operations, citing weak markets and advancing technology. The community never gave up, smaller scale forestry operations continue and still today Coates’ Lumber produces quality products that are found in many homes, garages and buildings around the region. Many pursued the fishery and tourism also played a significant role. Main Brook is home to the award-winning internationally recognized Tuckamore Lodged, owned and operated by Barb Genge (http://www.tuckamorelodge.com/).
Today the Town and Recreation Committee continues to put the finishing touches on a beautiful 35’*50′ Community Centre that can host functions large and small. This social space will create new activities and opportunities for the Town, with hundreds of thousands invested since 2012. The Town has approved an number of new building lots, which will help boost the population and purchased a brand new piece of snowclearing equipment, as well upgrades are occuring to the chlorination system to improve Town drinking water. The community has a K-12 school, family resource centre, four churches, fire department and the White Bay Central Development Association.
There is a vibrant small business community in Town too, given the amount of people coming to Town to engage particularly in fishing and hunting activities. Isabella’s Country Meats, J&B Outfitting, Tuckamore Lodge, Main Brook Convenience & Gas Station, Hare Bay Stores & Liquor Express and more.
The community is part of the French Shore, has a neighbouring ecological reserve, incredible trails, bi-lingual stop signs, a recreational park and some of the best waterfront views around. Not to mention St. Anthony airport is just a 30 KM drive away. Main Brook is growing due to the determination and ingenuity of those who live there and also those who support the local businesses and organizations, you are all are building a stronger community and making a better Great Northern Peninsula.
I encourage you to find ways in your own community to incorporate new ideas and create the opportunity! Let’s keep making big things happen in our small communities on the Great Northern Peninsula. Congratulations Main Brook on all your success!
Live Rural NL –Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North @MitchelmoreMHA