Look­ing at op­por­tu­ni­ties for growth

Four key op­por­tu­ni­ties on North­ern Penin­sula iden­ti­fied in CBDC NORTIP’s re­port

Northern Pen - - EDITORIAL - BY STEPHEN ROBERTS

PLUM POINT, NL – The Great North­ern Penin­sula an­nual stake­hold­ers meet­ing was held in Plum Point on Oct. 18.

This event pro­vides a chance for mem­bers of the pub­lic and lo­cal busi­nesses to dis­cuss eco­nomic is­sues on the North­ern Penin­sula, from Nor­ris Point to the very tip.

Eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties are high­lighted in a re­ported com­mis­sioned by the CBDC NORTIP De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion, which was dis­cussed dur­ing the ses­sion.

The group hired Barry Shep­pard Man­age­ment Con­sult­ing to con­duct the re­port. CBDC NORTIP ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Richard May says the Shep­pard group started its re­search in the sum­mer of 2016, mak­ing sev­eral trips to the re­gion and do­ing one-on-one in­ter­views with com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment groups and busi­nesses.

May says the re­port does not nec­es­sar­ily re­flect the opin­ions of the CBDC NORTIP board, staff or the con­sul­tant, but those of the in­di­vid­u­als who supplied in­for­ma­tion and opin­ions col­lected in de­vel­op­ing the re­port.

The re­port iden­ti­fied four main op­por­tu­ni­ties as key for the re­gion, in­clud­ing agri­cul­ture, north­ern and Arc­tic op­por­tu­ni­ties, ex­pe­ri­en­tial tourism, and home ser­vices for se­niors.

Agri­cul­ture

The re­port en­cour­ages more agri­cul­ture de­vel­op­ment on the North­ern Penin­sula, specif­i­cally for res­i­dents to pro­duce their own food so they’re not as de­pen­dent on pro­cessed food from stores.

Grow­ing your own food on the North­ern Penin­sula would not only mean bet­ter qual­ity food for peo­ple in the area, but im­proved nu­tri­tion and re­duced pro­duce costs, says May.

More specif­i­cally, the re­gion would rely less on trans­porta­tion to bring food in from out­side the province, which drives up costs of the pro­duce.

May ex­plains that ide­ally, about half a dozen peo­ple in the re­gion would set up farms, work­ing co­op­er­a­tively to pro­vide pro­duce to the lo­cal gro­cery store and sell­ing it to oth­ers.

He says farms could be lo­cated near some of the big­ger towns on the North­ern Penin­sula, where more peo­ple shop, in­clud­ing St. An­thony, Rod­dick­ton, Port au Choix/Port Saun­ders and Rocky Har­bour.

Hy­dro­pon­ics is also a way to pro­duce a va­ri­ety of veg­eta­bles and herbs. Dur­ing the ses­sion, En­ac­tus Me­mo­rial, a group of young en­trepreneurs based out of Me­mo­rial Univer­sity in St. John’s, gave a pre­sen­ta­tion on hy­dro­pon­ics. They re­cently won sec­ond place in a global com­pe­ti­tion for their SucSeed Hy­dro­ponic Project.

Us­ing a hy­dro­ponic con­tainer, they demon­strated how to grow veg­eta­bles and herbs that don’t have a big root base, in­clud­ing cab­bage, let­tuce, bell pep­per and green onion.

As it can in­clude foods that don’t nec­es­sar­ily grow in the earth, hy­dro­pon­ics could di­ver­sify the re­gion’s pro­duce. And since it’s used in­side, the sys­tem can be used year-round.

North­ern and Arc­tic op­por­tu­ni­ties

Build­ing the in­fra­struc­ture of St. An­thony’s in­ter­na­tional port could lead to the area pro­vid­ing more sig­nif­i­cant ship­ping to the north.

“The stronger it is and the greater ca­pa­bil­ity it has, the more op­por­tu­ni­ties there are for busi­nesses on the penin­sula to pro­duce items to be shipped out,” said May. “Right now, they can eas­ily be shipped to Europe but, soon, there’s go­ing to be reg­u­lar ship­ment routes north.”

Wood from the province could hy­po­thet­i­cally be used to heat homes in the bar­ren Arc­tic, pro­vid­ing a cheaper source of heat than elec­tri­cal heat and fuel.

Fur­ther­more, veg­eta­bles and herbs could be shipped north if they build up farm­ing on the North­ern Penin­sula, “to put some fresh food on their ta­ble that won’t cost a for­tune,” said May. Ex­pe­ri­en­tial tourism

The re­port iden­ti­fied op­por­tu­ni­ties to im­prove ex­pe­ri­ences for tourism on the North­ern Penin­sula.

For in­stance, May said when tourists visit the re­gion, they’re not nec­es­sar­ily aware of the many things they can do dur­ing their time there.

“There’s tourists that com­plain, I guess, about there not be­ing enough things to do,” he said. “And, for the most part, there are lots of things they can do, it’s just that they’re not nec­es­sar­ily aware of them.”

Aware­ness of ac­tiv­i­ties on the North­ern Penin­sula can be im­proved with bet­ter pro­mo­tion and mar­ket­ing.

May adds it’s nec­es­sary to cre­ate ex­pe­ri­ences that play on the pas­sions and emo­tions of the visi­tors; oth­er­wise they won’t be mem­o­rable or en­joy­able.

Home ser­vices for se­niors Lastly, the re­port iden­ti­fies a need to in­crease and im­prove ser­vices to pro­vide se­niors the op­tion to live in their own homes.

“Some of it might be per­sonal care, house­clean­ing, pre­scrip­tion pick-ups, gro­cery pick-ups, foot care,” said May.

These ser­vices can be pro­vided in se­niors’ homes so they may live a more com­fort­able life­style with­out ex­ert­ing great en­ergy or in­ter­fer­ing with any med­i­cal is­sues.

More­over, the longer se­niors can live at home, less pres­sure is put on other long-term care ser­vices.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Mag­gie Cham­bers presents an award to Trixie Cham­bers for 25 years of em­ploy­ment with CBDC NORTIP.

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