Carbonear Is­land exhibit re­ceives fed­eral fund­ing

Town wants his­toric strong­hold to be­come an­chor tourism at­trac­tion for en­tire re­gion


Back in the 1960s vis­i­tors were en­cour­aged to “Drop an­chor in Carbonear — Hub of the Bay,” a line which be­came the town’s un­of­fi­cial slo­gan.

In the 21st cen­tury the town would like to see the small is­land at the mouth of its har­bour be­come an “an­chor at­trac­tion for the en­tire re­gion.”

That dream came an­other step closer to re­al­ity last week when the fed­eral gov­ern­ment dropped more than $100,000 to de­velop an exhibit that will help in­ter­pret the sig­nif­i­cance of Carbonear Is­land in the his­tory of New­found­land.

The exhibit will be housed in­side the town’s his­toric Rail­way Sta­tion next door to the Con­cep­tion Bay

Re­gional Com­mu­nity Cen­tre, where Se­na­tor Fabian Man­ning made the an­nounce­ment last Tues­day, Feb. 23.

Man­ning said the $ 100,444 for Carbonear is be­ing made avail­able through the Com­mu­nity Ad­just­ment Fund (CAF).

CAF is an eco­nomic stim­u­lus ini­tia­tive that is pro­vid­ing $ 1 bil­lion na­tion­ally over two years to help cre­ate jobs and sus­tain em­ploy­ment in com­mu­ni­ties im­pacted by the global eco­nomic down­turn, Man­ning said. He said, “ the Carbonear Is­land Exhibit... will ex­plore early and win­ter res­i­dence, mil­i­tary for­ti­fi­ca­tions, the light­house pe­riod, fish­ing use and ship­wrecks around the is­land.”

“When­ever you can in­fuse more than a quar­ter of a mil­lion dol­lars into the town’s econ­omy, that’s a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion.” — Ches Ash, chair, Carbonear Is­land

Re­source Com­mit­tee

It will high­light how area res­i­dents in the late 1600s and early 1700s came to­gether on Carbonear Is­land to suc­cess­fully re­pel Pierre Le Moyne D’Iberville and his forces, which were at­tack­ing New­found­land’s coastal set­tle­ments at the time. That’s the same D’Iberville af­ter whom the Coastal Her­itage Hik­ing Trail is named, one of the projects for which Man­ning an­nounced fed­eral de­vel­op­ment fund­ing last year.

“The exhibit will add an im­por­tant piece of New­found­land and Labrador his­tory to the in­ter­pre­ta­tion avail­able at the (Rail­way Sta­tion) mu­seum, which will also un­dergo ren­o­va­tions and land­scap­ing im­prove­ments to ac­com­mo­date the new exhibit,” Man­ning noted.

Wel­com­ing project

Wel­com­ing the fund­ing an­nounce­ment for the Carbonear Is­land Project, mayor Sam Slade said it would not have been pos­si­ble without the as­sis­tance of M-RON (Mariner Re­source Op­por­tu­ni­ties Net­work) and the Carbonear Is­land Re­source Com­mit­tee.

The com­mit­tee is made up rep­re­sen­ta­tives from M-RON, Carbonear Her­itage So­ci­ety, Har­bour Au­thor­ity, Bac­calieu Trail Her­itage Corp. and Tourism As­so­ci­a­tion, and the pro­vin­cial depart­ment of In­no­va­tion, Trade and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment. Most of those groups were rep­re­sented at last week’s an­nounce­ment.

Mayor Slade noted “the (pro­vin­cial) depart­ment of Tourism, Cul­ture and Recre­ation, Ser­vice Canada and ACOA have also showed great sup­port to the com­mit­tee over the years.

Key phase

He said the Carbonear Is­land Exhibit is one of the key ini­tia­tives in the over­all tourism des­ti­na­tion de­vel­op­ment strat­egy for the is­land, which was launched in 2004.

With fi­nan­cial help from ACOA, and the pro­vin­cial de­part- ments of In­no­va­tion, Trade and Ru­ral Re­newal and Hu­man Re­sources, Labour and Em­ploy­ment, the mayor said, “this par­tic­u­lar ini­tia­tive will now be­come a re­al­ity.”

The late mayor Claude Gar­land was the found­ing chair­man of the Carbonear Is­land Re­source Com­mit­tee. He was suc­ceeded in that role by for­mer coun­cil­lor Fred Earle. Ches Ash, the town’s cur­rent deputy mayor now chairs the com­mit­tee.

Ash told The Com­pass af­ter­wards on top of the lat­est fund­ing an­nounced last week, Ser­vice Canada has al­ready con­trib­uted $73,713; the pro­vin­cial depart­ment of In­no­va­tion, Trade and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment, $58,116 and the town of Carbonear $29,400, for a grand to­tal of $261,673. He ex­plained the mu­nic­i­pal com­mit­ment comes in the form of in-kind con­tri­bu­tions, such as use of town equip­ment, of­fice space and sup­plies.

He said they hope to get the project off the ground by the mid­dle of this month. The project will em­ploy 8 to 10 lo­cal peo­ple for 16 weeks.

It will be di­vided into two com­po­nents, one will see ex­ten­sive ren­o­va­tions and re­pairs to both the in­te­rior and ex­te­rior of the his­toric Rail­way Sta­tion build­ing and grounds to pre­pare them for the exhibit.

The other will be the exhibit it­self, which will be de­signed by a pro­fes­sional de­signer.

Ash said it is hoped the exhibit can be in place in time for this year’s tourism sea­son, or at least part of it.

The exhibit open­ing will mark the com­ple­tion of Phase 1 of what the com­mit­tee hopes will be a two or three phase project, in­clud­ing an ar­chae­o­log­i­cal dig on Carbonear Is­land it­self. The com­mit­tee al­ready has en­vi­ron­men­tal ap­proval for the pro­posed dig, which is pend­ing the ap­proval of fund­ing.

While the exhibit it­self is ex­pected to gen­er­ate in­ter­est in the project, Ash said, “there is al­ready a fair amount of lo­cal in­ter­est in the is­land with peo­ple com­ing for­ward all the time with new pieces of in­for­ma­tion on it.”

As for the eco­nomic im­pact on the town, the chair­man said, “when­ever you can in­fuse more than a quar­ter of a mil­lion dol­lars into the town’s econ­omy, that’s a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion.”

His­toric site

Carbonear Is­land was first des­ig­nated as a pro­vin­cial his­toric site in 1954, and a plaque was placed on the is­land. In 1981 an­other plaque was un­veiled in the Carbonear Memo­rial Park, des­ig­nat­ing the is­land as a place of na­tional his­toric sig­nif­i­cance.

Re­fer­ring to the project ap­proved last week, mayor Slade said, “we look for­ward to the com­ple­tion of this ini­tia­tive and to­ward fu­ture part­ner­ships on other ini­tia­tives out­lined in the Carbonear Is­land De­vel­op­ment Strat­egy.”

Bill Bow­man/The Com­pass AP­PROVAL - Se­na­tor Fabian Man­ning an­nounces more than $225,000 in fed­eral funds for recre­ation projects in Up­per Is­land Cove and Har­bour Grace, and a her­itage tourism project for Carbonear while Up­per Is­land Cove mayor Ge­orge Adams and Har­bour Grace mayor Don Coombs look on ap­prov­ingly.

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