FOGO ISLAND, N.L. – Funding was recently announced for two preservation-centered projects on Fogo Island.
The Fogo Island-based charity Shorefast is in the beginning stages of developing a Punt Premises in Joe Batt’s Arm, as well as turning the town’s former Loyal Orange Lodge into a centre for quilts, textiles and other crafts.
Creative and communications coordinator for Shorefast Amy Rowsell says these two projects are part of their continuing efforts to protect the heritage and traditions of the area.
“We need to hold onto that knowledge, and with the restoration of these buildings we can turn this knowledge into something useful for the present and future,” she said.
The announcement was made in Joe Batt’s Arm on Thursday July 12, attended by Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame MP Scott Simms and Fogo Island-Cape Freels MHA Derrick Bragg, who attended on behalf of Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation Chris Mitchelmore.
For the two projects, $968,721 in funding is being provided on behalf of Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and $390,225 of the funding is coming from the province.
At the event, Bragg also announced that funding is now in place for paving of the road from Stoneville to Farewell – the road leading to the Change Islands/Fogo Island ferry.
Rowsell says the Punt Premises will focus not only on the craft and history of punt boats, but also the inshore fishery in general.
“What we’re more interested in doing is allowing people to work and interact with the inshore fishery, to let people get up close and personal with that part of our ancestry,” she said.
The premises will be a set of heritage buildings, including a house, wharf and stage, open to the public that will display first-hand knowledge of fishing traditions.
As part of the creation of this premises, which is projected to open sometime next year, is the decision to discontinue the annual punt races held on Fogo Island. Rowsell says the race has been discontinued largely because it served its purpose, but other smaller races may still be held in the future.
“The whole purpose of the race was to reinvigorate the knowledge and excitement around punts and it really did that,” Rowsell said. “This will be something that is a little more permanent; we see the Punt Premises as the next phase in our work with punts.”
The Orange Lodge in Joe Batt’s Arm, located across from the Fogo Island Shop, was acquired by Shorefast several years ago. The funding put in place will be used to modernize the lodge with electrical, heating, and accessibility work.
Much like the shop, which focuses chiefly on creating woodwork and furniture projects, the lodge will take its new focus in domestic crafts like quilting.