BAIE VERTE, N.L. — In the midst of concerns about the future of rural areas of this province, there is an initiative underway to counteract those thoughts and to breathe new life into communities.
On June 7, the second Baie Verte Peninsula Thriving Regions Workshop — an initiative organized by Memorial University’s Harris Centre in partnership with Grenfell Campus — took place in Baie Verte.
The workshop brought together a group of 35 local people to discuss and assess research projects focused on enhancing the future of the region.
Facilitator Amy Jones, knowledge mobilization coordinator with the Harris Centre, was pleased with the enthusiasm and diverse interests of the attendees.
“At both of our workshops on the Baie Verte Peninsula, I have found that the energy in the room has been really fantastic,” Jones said. “It was an excellent mix of interests, including municipalities, local mining, tourism and fisheries businesses, business organizations, health and educational institutions, non-government and community groups and the provincial government.”
Amanda Street, executive director of the Baie Verte & Area Chamber of Commerce, expressed confidence in the process, and is glad to be part of it.
“I’ve attended both stages of the Thriving Regions Workshop and it is refreshing to see innovating projects taking place in our area, as well as a large group of people who are excited about rural Newfoundland’s future,” Street said.
The initial workshop, held in March, was to identify regional priorities: tourism, natural resource development, community and regional development and food security. Those priorities were then used as a framework for selecting potential research projects to be funded in the region.
This second workshop allowed project leaders to present their research proposals, cultivate local partnerships, and gather feedback regarding the project feasibility before they receive their funding and move forward with their plans.
Jones says the process worked very well.
“The participants were very engaged in the discussion on each project,” Jones said. “Numerous people were asking pertinent questions and offering local knowledge and connections that will be very valuable to the researchers.”
She is looking forward to seeing how the projects proceed and how they might benefit the region.
“I am so excited about the research projects that were chosen to move forward, because they have real potential to add to the economy and society on the Baie Verte Peninsula.”
“We are fortunate to have such a diverse group of individuals who are working together to help make their vision of rural Newfoundland become a reality,” she said.
The next stage of the project will see researchers receive $15,000 funding to proceed with their projects with engagement with people on the Baie Verte Peninsula. After a year, the group will reconvene to discuss results and next steps.
The Thriving Regions Partnership Process has been funded by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation, and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. Memorial’s Grenfell Campus is a partner on the Baie Verte Peninsula.
Three research projects selected for development under the Thriving Regions Process
Assessing Potential for Land-Based Production of Green Sea Urchin Roe on the Baie Verte Peninsula:
Dr. Patrick Gagnon, associate professor in the Department of Ocean Sciences, presented on his research program examining state-of-the-art aquaculture feeds and land-based containment systems for the production of green sea urchin roe for human consumption.
Celebrating the Mining History of the Baie Verte Peninsula: A potential tourism mecca:
Wilton, professor in the Department of Earth Sciences, provided an overview of his research project documenting the Baie Verte Peninsula’s rich mining history and develop a viable mining tour for the region.
Development of a Business Model to Help Address Food and Nutrition Security on the Baie Verte Peninsula:
Carlos Bazan, assistant professor in Civil Engineering and Engineering chair in Entrepreneurship; Bennett Newhook, Greenspace Urban Farms and student in Engineering; and Hannah Gaultois, partner relations officer at Memorial University’s Centre for Social Enterprise, described their research project focusing on local food production through social enterprise on the Baie Verte Peninsula.
Source: Project descriptions provided by Amy Jones, knowledge mobilization coordinator at MUN’s Harris Centre