Mak­ing a dol­lar in ru­ral New­found­land

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION -

It is al­ways en­cour­ag­ing to see a ge­o­graphic area, that has been hard hit by the down­turn in the fish­ery, find an­other way to help it through some tough eco­nomic times.

Like most parts of ru­ral New­found­land de­pen­dent on the fish­ery, Up­per Trin­ity South has seen its share of out­mi­gra­tion over the past two decades. Time was when vir­tu­ally all com­mu­ni­ties in the province had at least one Mom-and-Pop “groc and conf ” — some had sev­eral. Those gro­cery and con­fec­tionary stores were more than mere busi­ness es­tab­lish­ments — they were also meet­ing places for towns­folk to catch up on the lat­est news of the day.

But that was be­fore the col­lapse of the north­ern cod fish­ery. In 1992 the fed­eral gov­ern­ment de­clared a mora­to­rium on a fish­ery that had helped sus­tain an econ­omy and a cul­ture for 500 years.

It’s been close to two decades since that way of way of life came to a grind­ing halt. Small busi­nesses closed. Peo­ple lost their jobs. Dis­pos­able in­come dried up. Those who de­cided to re­main home had to eke out a liv­ing from hand to mouth. Oth­ers, in­clud­ing an in­or­di­nate num­ber of young peo­ple, were forced to up­root and move west, to places like Al­berta or else­where. Some of them will re­turn home some­day, while oth­ers may never see the old Rock again.

Many com­mu­ni­ties have made con­sci­en­tious and in­no­va­tive ef­forts to stave off the mis­ery caused by tough eco­nomic times. Some suc­ceeded, while oth­ers con­tinue to strug­gle with out-mi­gra­tion.

Up­per Trin­ity South is one area of ru­ral New­found­land which ap­pears to to be thriv­ing de­spite the down­turn in such a main­stay of our econ­omy. Now that the fish­ery is no longer the eco­nomic back­bone of the re­gion, tourism ap­pears to have come along just in time to fill in the gap and be­come a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor to the lo­cal econ­omy.

This eco­nomic up­turn is largely driven by a clus­ter of RV (recre­ational ve­hi­cle) parks and camp­sites within a 15-kilo­me­tre stretch ex­tend­ing from Green’s Har­bour to Caven­ish.

There’s an in­flux of peo­ple, many from ur­ban ar­eas, on a per­sonal quest to get back to na­ture in a set­ting known for its nat­u­ral scenery.

Sites such as Golden Arm Trailer Park, Back­side Pond RV Park, Stillwater camp­sites, Shag View RV Park and Bishop Field’s RV camp­ground cater to this clien­tal. Peo­ple pop­u­late the parks, cot­tages and dwellings on a sea­sonal ba­sis.

At the peak of sum­mer, the pop­u­la­tion in this area swells by some 2,000.

Vis­i­tors bring money to be spent at gas sta­tions, drug­stores, restau­rants, hard­ware stores, take­outs, the golf course or else­where, pro­vid­ing an eco­nomic stim­u­lus to the re­spec­tive com­mu­ni­ties.

It’s an eco­nomic recipe that has been work­ing well for Up­per Trin­ity South. How­ever, it is not a fail-proof eco­nomic rem­edy for all ar­eas. Set­ting up parks, cot­tages, camp­sites and such re­quires per­sonal ini­tia­tive. It may even call for eco­nomic in­no­va­tion and di­ver­sity. Not ev­ery­body is in a fi­nan­cial po­si­tion to make such an in­vest­ment. But for those who do, as we ob­serve in Up­per Trin­ity South to­day, their hard work tenac­ity ap­pear to be pay­ing off in spades. Those who take risks and work hard de­serve no less than to see the fruits of their labour. Long may you pros­per.

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