Downtown development study fully funded
Carbonear welcomed Rural Development Minister Christopher Mitchelmore to announce details about a new downtown development study the province is funding alongside the town and the federal government. It’s hoped the study will aid economic opportunities for the area in the years ahead.
As a boy growing up in Heart’s Delight-Islington, Steve Crocker remembers travelling to downtown Carbonear with his family to purchase various items to bring back home.
“I can remember my first paddle bike came from Ayre’s just up right here,” he said last Friday on the top floor of The Stone Jug on Water Street. “I can remember Udell’s and I can remember Upstein’s when it was on Water Street.
“And the slogan for Carbonear today is ‘You’re Welcome.’ I can remember when the slogan was. ‘The Hub of the Bay,’ and I truly believe that Carbonear is still the hub of the bay — Trinity and Conception Bay.”
With that in mind, the town hopes work undertaken by Tract Consulting Inc. and its partners to create a Carbonear Downtown Development Plan will identify a long-term vision for the area and further revitalize it.
Multiple people who spoke at the launch event for the project acknowledged they were standing inside a property that will hopefully serve as a cornerstone for downtown Carbonear’s bright future. The Stone Jug opened late last year and has attracted plenty of people to the downtown area with its food, beverages and endless renovations.
“As any visitor to this town can attest, the history and heritage of this community are uniquely evident as you drive by attractions like the Railway Station Museum, the old post office building, and of course the Rorke premises,” said Avalon MP Ken McDonald. “And this building (The Stone Jug), it’s the first time I was in here is today, and the job of restoring this historical building is absolutely fantastic. Bar none, it is probably the best I’ve seen, and I’ve been in a lot of buildings.”
The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Department of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development each contributed $45,000 to the project, with the Town of Carbonear kicking in $10,000 for the $100,000 initiative.
“Partnerships are really key to making big things happen and growing our region and growing the opportunities,” said provincial Rural Development Minister Christopher Mitchelmore.
Kim Blanchard, a senior planner with Tract Consulting, said Carbonear has a lovely ambiance already, and a project such there’s will build on community and heritage assets to further the town’s economic potential.
“We’re so excited to engage on this project,” she said.
Mayor George Butt Jr. expects the development plan will help attract private investors down the road. He also anticipates it will bring the community together.
“I know some of ye don’t know the businesses on Water Street, but if you take a look around the room, a lot of them are young people, and that’s another reason why this is going to work,” he said.
Natalie Austin, centre, owns DozenOdd Galleries on Water Street in Carbonear and recently attended a G7 event in Japan. She chatted with special guests at last Wednesday’s official announcement for a new Carbonear Downtown Development Plan. Pictured are, from the left, MHA Steve Crocker, Mayor George Butt Jr., Rural Development Minister Christopher Mitchelmore, and Avalon MP Ken McDonald.