Blog Archives

Lots of Lumberjacks in Hawke’s Bay for Come Home Year!

The Town of Hawke’s Bay is known for it’s logging history and also local legends like fiddler Rufus Guinchard. 2015 brought many people home to the community with the planned “Come Home Year” celebration. Their theme was “We’re from the Bay and we like it that way!”

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It takes many long hours to organize and plan a week of activities and for that the committee is to be commended. There was much spirit around town with businesses and homes sporting banners, flags and decorations welcoming people back to the community. The old festival site of the Rufus Guinchard Music Festival was revitalized and put back to good use. I enjoyed the famous chicken and chips at C&P Take-out, which was a busy location, Maynard’s Torrent River Inn & Pizza Delight was filled like back in the 1980’s and new businesses like The Great Canadian Dollar Store would benefit from increased traffic. Top Ten Motors gas station pumps seemed always full and I enjoyed a conversation over coffee with a former classmate I had not seen in years. The impact of Come Home Year is far reaching for business, for residents and for the community!

I attended the Lumberjack Competition, which had Lumberjack’s of all ages. It also showcased the early years of logging and had some various saws on display. I had a great conversation with Mr. House, Con & Nova and Marlene Maynard as we talked about the town, the forest industry, the festivities and of course a little politics. It was nice to see youth tossing logs, sawing and also racing.

It was a fun filled afternoon in this lumbering town. Lots of spectators, a barbecue in support of the local fire department and so many children playing at the adjacent playground. The evening brought a gospel concert that would showcase many local and vocal talents from those away.

After a couple of hours of music, the perfect way to end an evening is watching the sunset across the Bay! IMG_20150730_205231 Hawke’s Bay Come Home Year was a big success, it showcased leaders and volunteers that continue to make big things happen in our small communities. I was even more encouraged when local councillors talked about the possibility of bringing back a weekend like the Rufus Guinchard Music Festival. There is so much potential to continue to add vibrancy, social and economic opportunity with the right people and the will to make it happen. I thoroughly enjoyed my time Hawke’s Bay and look forward to visiting again soon.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)

Forest Industry on Great Northern Peninsula Forgotten by Government: Mitchelmore

For Immediate Release:

November 7, 2013

Forest Industry on Great Northern Peninsula Forgotten by Government: Mitchelmore

Independent Member Christopher Mitchelmore (MHA, The Straits-White Bay North) says Government inaction has led to the loss of forestry jobs and economic opportunity on the Great Northern Peninsula.

For years the forest industry has been on life support with the downturn in demand for newsprint, shedding hundreds of jobs on the Peninsula. The current shutdown of Holson Forest Products has made matters worse, as local workers, business and Town of Roddickton-Bide Arm and surrounding communities suffer from economic instability.

“Millions of public dollars was invested under the Forestry Diversification Program to re-build the sawmill, establish a kiln and a 60,000 MT pellet plant in Roddickton’, says Mitchelmore. ‘It is evident from months of unproductivity; there are barriers that must be overcome to provide a product that is in demand to market. It’s time for Government to ensure that public money is protected and work with the company to become fully-operational.”

“This business model is ideal to maintain rural jobs and build sustainable rural economies. Government should not forget the value of the forest industry on the Great Northern Peninsula. It is time to get serious about developing this important industry.”

During a meeting of the Public Accounts in October, Department of Forestry and Agrifood officials stated they were committed on having a fully-functioning pellet plant in Roddickton-Bide Arm. The Minister should re-affirm the words of his officials with an action plan to have pellet production begin at Holson Forest Products within six months.

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

Traditional Firewood to Heat our Homes

 
Wheelbarrow and a Fine Tier of Wood
 
Newfoundlander’s & Labradorian‘s have always depended on forests. The trees were used to build temporary residences for the first seasonal planters, which would eventually led to permanent settlement. Domestic firewood remains in high demand, and is the primary heat source for many of our homes or cabins in rural Newfoundland & Labrador.
 
 
 To combat high energy costs, several weeks of the winter season would be dedicated to cutting domestic firewood to provide a source of heat for next winter.
 
I remember helping my father in the forest. We would pack up the sleigh full of cut wood and bring to the hillside near our home. During the summer, it would be my job to pack up the firewood into long rows (tier) with sufficient space to permit air to flow. This created a proper seasoned wood.
 
The process of cutting firewood is very time-consuming and can be costly considering you must pay a government permit, have a ski-doo with sleigh, a chain saw, gas and many human hours of packing and re-packing. A piece of firewood may move 6 or 7 times from when it is first cut to when it reaches the wood stove for burning. 

The Old Wood Pile

 
Electricity only came to my neighbouring communities in the 1960’s, so this was a necessary heat source. Especially since winters were much colder in the past than they are today. Many residents, especially seasonal employees ensured they had enough wood to last through those long winter nights.  I only wish that I possess the skill set that my father did for woodcutting. Today we purchase our firewood locally to support a continued growth of the rural economy. However,  I still enjoy the exercise that comes with packing and re-packing the firewood. When it is part of the routine, it does not seem such a daunting chore. 
 
The comfort one gains from the warmth of firewood and kindling coming through the floor is to much satisfaction. Firewood is a renewable resource and a good source of heat. It came in handy yesterday when the power was out. My home was nice and toasty, even with the temperatures still in the negative degrees.
 
There is more opportunity to be realized from our local forests. I will be attending a Forestry Conference – Rural Revitalization From Our Forests (April 13-15, 2010) and will keep you posted. If you would like to attend visit www.mfnl.com.
 
Live Rural NL 0
Christopher Mitchelmore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s Save Our Rural Economy –

CCM

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

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