Lecture Series Project – Understanding & Growing a Regional Economy – Summary Report

In the fall of 2014 the Bonavista Area Chamber of Commerce (BACC) advertised for a part-time position for an Office Administrator. A series of interviews was conducted and it was determined that Renee Paul would be best suited for the position. She was offered the position, in which she accepted, starting employment with the BACC in November 2014.

Over the course of the next few months board members and staff person met on a regular basis to brain storm and plan for the 4-part Lecture Series Project. Securing dates proved to be challenging while trying to co-ordinate the schedules of multiple guest speakers.

On March 25, 2015 the first forum took place. This was the Fisheries Forum and it ran from 11:00 am to 2:30 pm. It took place at the Annex of the Garrick Theatre in Bonavista. The event was aimed to provide our communities with valuable information pertaining to one of the main industries that drives our local economy and for which many of us are dependent, the Fishery. Guest speakers represented three key areas (and each presentation was followed with a question and answer period):

  1. Victoria K. Neville, Ph.D ABD joined us from the Marine Institute, Memorial University of Newfoundland with a presentation on the snow crab history, population structure, management and governance.
  2. Ocean Choice International’s General Manager, Gregory C. Viscount, B. Comm., C.A., presented the company’s background, an industry and business overview, and a summary of the region’s facility.
  3. John Boland, Staff Representative of FFAW/UNIFOR (Fish, Food & Allied Workers Union), provided a presentation on the Union’s role in the management of and statistical data on the trolling of snow crab in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The second, our Small Business and Rural Economic Development Forum (SBRED Forum), took place on August 13, 2015, from 11 am to 3 pm at the Factory Building – Sir William Ford Coaker Heritage Foundation, Port Union. The event proved to be quite successful with more than 40 people in attendance. We were joined by key-note speaker, David J.A. Douglas, Professor Emeritus, Rural Planning and Development, University of Guelph. Professor Douglas is an internationally renowned researcher and author with his most recent project, a study of the relationship between development planning theory and practice, being undertaken in NL. Other guest speakers from the following departments/agencies included:

  • YMCA of Northeast Avalon, Employment & Enterprise Services.
  • NLOWE (Newfoundland & Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs).
  • BTCRD (Dept. of Business, Tourism, Culture & Rural Development).

Presentations were followed by a question and answer period. Attendees found the forum to be very informative with some planning to follow-up with the business advisors that were present.

As a side note, NLOWE later hosted a ‘Coffee and a Chat’, offering their services as business advisors to the public, through the BACC’s local office. Also, the YMCA partnered with the BACC, offering monthly satellite services to the public, holding one-on-one consultations and group seminars. These services started in February 2016. Both partnerships were a direct result of the SBRED Forum.

On October 20, 2015 the BACC hosted the Tourism Forum at Fisher’s Loft in Port Rexton. This event took place from 4 pm to 6:30 pm and was very encouraging. Presentations were custom made for our region and attendees were impressed by the wealth of ideas to grow this sector. The resulting consensus is that our region needs to work together and market ourselves collectively to maximize our potential for a successful Tourism Industry. This work later got underway through the BACC’s Tourism sub-committee.

Guest speakers included:

  • Bojan FÜrst, Manager, Knowledge Mobilization, The Harris Centre, Memorial University
  • Ayngelina Brogan, Travel Writer & Publisher, BaconisMagic.ca
  • Fred Bridger, member of the Twillingate Islands Tourism Association

Presentations were followed by a question and answer period.

The last event of our Lecture Series was held at the College of the North Atlantic’s Bonavista Campus on December 1, 2015 from 11 am to 2 pm. The Farming Forum was an excellent introduction into the current state of farming in NL and the many challenges of this economic sector. Presently, there is little to no commercial farming in our region. Nevertheless, opportunities do exist.

The event began with a presentation by our key-note speaker, Kay Young (Young’s Beef Farm). It also included a presentation by NLOWE to Visionary Award winner Katie Hayes, co-owner of the Bonavista Social Club. The afternoon ended with an expert panel question & answer discussion.

The expert panel was made up of Kay Young (Young’s Beef Farm), Krista Chatman (Three Mile Ridge Farm), Lucas Strong (K&L Farm), Norman Goodyear (MUN) and Jeff Green (BTCRD).

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