A look back
Anglican Church diocese closes four churches in Bonavista Peninsula
The Central Anglican Church diocese of Newfoundland and Labrador made official four closures of churches in the Bonavista Peninsula region this past year — including King’s Cove, Petley, Keels and Princeton.
Some of the churches were sold and repurposed, with King’s Cove’s becoming a private residence, Petley’s church used for storage and the Keels church becoming occupied by a Baptist Ministry based out of Clarenville.
In Princeton, however, some residents were dismayed to discover the church was sold to be torn down — dismantled by a bidder who reached an agreement with the diocese.
While locals protested and initiated social media campaigns, ultimately, the church was torn down.
“It definitely stings… buildings like that have been preserved all over the island. There’s a whole lot of potential in these structures,” Princeton resident Mark Clench told The Packet after the church was dismantled.
In response to a request for comment, Bishop John Watton of the Central Anglican Diocese directed The Packet to an online statement he issued.
In the release he says the “most honourable and respectful thing we could do to uphold the integrity of the spirit of our forebears was to respectfully and prayerfully dismantle the building.”
Icewater Seafoods in Arnold’s Cove gets funding, beginning period of expansion
Icewater Seafoods in Arnold’s Cove had an eventful 2018, with two lots of government funding helping the fish plant begin to realize a three-year, $15 million expansion.
In July, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) of the federal government gave the plant $2.625 million in a provisionally repayable investment. The money was used to purchase new deheading, filleting and skinning machines.
In December, a cost-shared project between Icewater and the Atlantic Fisheries Fund was announced, totaling $4,454,000 for a new ice-management system. In this agreement, Icewater contributes 25 per cent and the remaining 75 is a conditionally repayable loan.
In a news release, Icewater president and CEO Alberto Wareham said how important these upgrades are to the area.
“(Investors) know what it means to Arnold’s Cove, to Newfoundland and Labrador and to Canada,” he said. “Without them, without their support, we wouldn’t be delivering quality seafood from Newfoundland and Labrador to premium world markets.”
Despite the ups and downs in cod stocks, Wareham is also optimistic about the future of the fishery and “is committed to the people of Icewater Seafoods continuing to be an integral part of that future.”
Bonavista named ‘most-road trippable’ by Chevrolet
While many tourists know about Bonavista as a highly-regarded destination, Chevrolet Canada made the distinction official this past summer, awarding the top prize of a contest to Bonavista, naming the community “most road-trippable” in Canada.
Twelve families across Canada were chosen to participate in the contest, which required them to submit a video of their family’s July 6-8 road trip.
Videos were then voted on between July 16-29; the three videos with the most votes went to a panel of judges to choose the ultimate winner.
The Yildiz family of St. John’s submitted the winning entry for the Bonavista Peninsula.
Other towns visited included Tobermony, Ont.; Miramichi, N.B.; Loydminster, Sask; Canmore, Alta.; Yarmouth, N.S. and North Cape, P.E.I.
At a special celebration in September, Bonavista was officially recognized by Chevrolet with a trophy.
Yavuz Yildiz told The Packet they were glad to have helped bring the recognition for the community. Their video contest submission was viewed over 130,000 times.
“It’s not just amazing scenery or amazing food, but it’s also the people. The people are very kind and lovely. They want to interact with you and talk with you. You just feel like you’re part of the town.”
Cannabis legalized in Canada; local communities react
One of the most talked about news stories of 2018, nationwide, was the official legalization of recreational cannabis in October.
The effect was felt by many people and many communities from coast-to-coast, including places like Trinity Bay North and Clarenville.
While Clarenville is the site of two different retail locations for cannabis—the old Ocean Choice International fish plant in Port Union, which was vacant for years was handed over to an entrepreneur who is looking to turn the building into a cannabis production grow operation.
The company, called Cheeba Bros., began work this past year after taking ownership of the facility and look to eventually turn the building into a grow-op which would provide employment for many people in the area.
In a public meeting last spring, Daniel Porter presented his plan to residents, who seemed excited at the prospect of a new industry coming to the town.
Before a single seed can be planted, however, Porter’s company will need to get approval from Health Canada and become a licensed grower.
Despite not yet having that confirmation, Porter told The Packet this past year he is still confident Cheeba Bros. will eventually be up-and-running.
“Just watch what I can do for the people … I’m going to help change that area, I promise you,” said Porter.
Nov. 14 Businesses bankrupt in region
Many have felt the trying times in the local economy recently, perhaps none more so than business owners — many of which have struggled to remain profitable over 2018.
In fact, some major businesses in the Clarenville area have been forced to declare bankruptcy in 2018.
Most notably, Burry’s Shipyard Inc. officially declared bankruptcy in October.
Clarenville Mayor Frazer Russell told The Packet at the time, the news of the bankruptcy is a blow to the area.
“It is disappointing,” said Russell. “I guess the only thing we can hope now is that there would be new owners in that location because I think the need is still there.”
Russell noted Burry’s had up to 150 employees at one time, and anywhere from 75 to 100 on a regular basis.
He says there’s the immediate impact on those workers, who are now out of job, as well as a direct financial impact on the town itself.
“There is quite a bit of property involved there and we were deriving taxation from the business and the property tax as well — so that certainly has an implication for the town as well when a business comes off the tax roll.”
In addition, the Terra Nova Golf Resort and Hotel went into receivership in November.
Port Blandford Mayor Chad Holloway told The Packet in November that this news is disappointing for the community. He said the first thing he thought was about the approximately 60 workers directly employed by the resort.
“On top of that, the community is a tourism hub, being a gateway to the Bonavista Peninsula and Terra Nova National Park,” said Holloway. “So, there is over a hundred jobs in the community directly linked to tourism. It’s going to have a significant impact on not only the people at the resort but the community as a whole.
However, with that being said, Holloway said they are trying to remain optimistic. He says this isn’t the first time the ownership of Terra Nova Resort has changed — adding that the 80-room hotel and two premier golf courses are a real asset for a potential buyer.
Burry’s Shipyard’s slipway in June 2018 — the last days before the business’ closure and eventual bankruptcy.
An artist’s rendering of the proposed cannabis production facility in Port Union.