By Chris Lewis | Vol. 32 No. 19 (July 24 2019)
With a federal election just months away and the possibility of a second provincial election in less than a year, politicians from both levels of government were on hand Friday to announce close to $200,000 in joint funding for the Town of Holyrood.
Avalon MP Ken McDonald announced $112,511 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) to fund upgrades to the community’s waterfront, while Liberal MHA Pam Parsons, who represents the neighbouring district of Harbour Grace – Port de Grave, pledged some $77,408 on behalf of the provincial Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry, and Innovation.
The money will cover improvements to the boardwalk and festival grounds.
The hope is that the changes will not only increase tourism in Holyrood, but also boost economic development in surrounding areas.
“One of the goals of the strategic plan that was developed here for the Town of Holyrood by council, is to provide recreational opportunities to residents and visitors,” explained Marjorie Gibbons, the Town’s economic development officer. “The main beach boardwalk is one of the iconic features in this town. Community members can be seen there at all times of the day, and it brings all the great features of our town together at a singular point – the rolling hills, and the beautiful harbour.”
Gibbons said council has been working to ensure that residents are provided with safe, and appropriate, infrastructure.
“(These discussions) has enabled council to identify and prioritize projects which will benefit the town, the residents, and visitors,” she added, noting solid partnerships with other levels of government are key to ensuring their fruition.
“Regardless of how hard we work, the town cannot achieve success on its own,” Gibbbons said.
McDonald said the federal government is putting a particular focus on tourism, when it comes to economic development in Atlantic Canada.
“We’re taking strategic, and decisive action to move the economy forward, and generate opportunities for more growth,” said the Liberal member.
“ACOA works closely with businesses and communities to create jobs and grow the economy. They try to work with the applicants to make it fit the program … they’ll do whatever they can to try and make it work, whether its a municipality, individual groups, or an organization, they’ll do what they can to make sure the application can fit somewhere, if at all… If they say no, it’s for a good reason.”
McDonald commended the council for looking out for the community’s future.
“The staff and council here in Holyrood, they have a way of finding dollars that most organizations and communities don’t even know exist,” he said.
McDonald said this project will improve the overall experience of Holyrood for tourists and residents alike, and help the region capitalize on economic opportunities.
Gibbons highlighted the province’s contributions as well.
“We’re grateful for their participation,” she said.
Parsons, a Liberal MHA, said the improvements could boost Holyrood’s tourism as a whole, and benefit the region.
“I know this comes at a special time for Holyrood, since this is Come Home Year, and Squidfest is right around the corner,” Parsons said. “I’ve been coming to Squidfest since I was a child, myself. These enhancements will increase access to usage that could provide for expanding programming, and an improved visitor experience… The upgrades of walkways, boardwalks, and waterfront entrances will promote growth, and healthy living, in the Town. Today’s combined announcement is an important one. I believe community economic development initiatives are important in supporting the development of regional economies throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.”