Innovation, Trade and Rural Development
December 28, 2006

Community Groups Pursue Innovative Projects to Grow Province�s Economy

Across Newfoundland and Labrador, community economic development organizations are seeking new ways to grow the economy of their regions.

�There are many creative people throughout Newfoundland and Labrador who are identifying innovative ways to diversify and strengthen their local economies,� said the Honourable Trevor Taylor, Minister of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development. �In the past several months, government has provided funding from our Regional/Sectoral Diversification Fund to support a number of those innovative projects.�

On the Avalon Peninsula, the St. Mary�s Bay Centre Development Association is assessing the feasibility of a shark sports fishery in St. Mary�s Bay. From August to September of 2004, under the supervision of the Marine Institute, the association conducted a test fishery with two boats and caught 36 sharks. This year the association received $12,108 from the department�s Regional Sectoral/Diversification Fund (RSDF) to complete the study, catching sharks in June and July. The local tourism industry sees shark fishing as a way of enhancing the local tourism product and extending the tourism season. Shark fishing attracts hundreds of anglers and thousands of tourists in Nova Scotia annually.

On the island�s south coast, the Fortune Bay East Development Association is preparing a profile of the fresh water resources of Gisborne Lake to attract private investment. The 10-kilometre long lake has a clean, granular bottom and has excellent water quality. The association hopes that by making available details of the lake and the surrounding infrastructure, local development officers will be able to use the study as a prospectus to attract businesses to the area to develop a local water bottling industry. The Department of Innovation Trade and Rural Development is contributing $1,875 towards the cost of the study from its RSDF program.

In central Newfoundland, the Gambo-Indian Bay Development Association has been investigating the use of birch sap for use in pharmaceutical applications and food production. The association has received $7,619 from RSDF to cover the cost of developing a sample batch of pasteurized birch sap to use as a health beverage.

In Stephenville, the Bay St. George Area Development Association has received $7,458 from RSDF to conduct a soil assessment of 500-600 acres of pasture land. At present, the land supports only animals, but the association would like to enrich the soil so that it produces more nutritious animal feed and allows the growing of crops such as corn and carrots. Revenues from the crops would pay for future upgrading of the pasture which could produce healthier animals in larger numbers. There is also local interest in producing range-fed beef to feed an increasingly health-conscious public.

The Regional Sectoral Diversification Fund is a $5 million fund of the Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development and a component of the province�s Comprehensive Regional Diversification Strategy. The fund provides non-repayable contributions to economic development agencies for initiatives that address regional and sectoral development and diversification.


Media contact:
Lynn Evans
Director of Communications
Innovation, Trade and Rural Development
709-729-4570, 690-6290

2006 12 28                                         9:40 a.m.

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