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Harbour Main inks deal with Church to go green

By Mark Squibb/February 24, 2022

For less than the price of a cup of coffee annually, the town of Harbour Main-Chapels Cove-Lakeview has secured a large plot of land that Mayor Mike Doyle says is foundational to its farm steading project.

Doyle on behalf of the Recreation Committee and Rev. Michael Barker on behalf of the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of Grand Falls, signed a long-term lease on Tuesday that has to be renewed every five years.

The town will pay a dollar’s worth of rent once a year.

“This is a big day for us, we’ve been working on this for several years, and it’s part of a bigger community project,” said Doyle. “But really, to get this bigger community project off the ground, we needed a foundation. And that foundation, provided by Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, is really the foundation on which we’re going to build.”

The agreement includes a plot of land, including the old ballfield, just across from the cemetery. All told the land is roughly 80,690 square feet.

“We didn’t really want to move ahead with the project, because it’s a substantial project, without having an agreement in place with the Diocese to understand what the land will be used for and how we would work together as a tenant and landlord,” said Doyle.

Some of the new infrastructure for the project includes a commercial compost digestor.

“Waste management is currently one of the largest costs that a municipality has,” said Doyle. “We pay by the weight, so depending on how much our garbage weighs when it goes to Robin Hood, determines how much our taxpayers have to pay… When we broke down our waste, we realized the heaviest part is the organic waste, all those things that are wet and heavy, that weighs a lot when it gets to Robin Hood. The other thing you realize is that buying compost is expensive.”

That compost created by the town will be sold.

“The more organic waste we pull out, the more compost we create, and the more compost we create, the more compost we sell,” said Doyle.

Doyle said the composter will reduce costs, create a job, and raise revenues.

Aside from the composter, the site, which is already home to a community garden and a fruit tree orchard, will be home to a year-round, solar powered greenhouse.

Doyle hopes the town will eventually to have its own farmer’s market.

“We now can build a community that’s based on organic living and farmstead living,” he said.

Doyle would like to add a glass crusher, which can break down glass into sand, which can also be sold.

Angela Woodford wears both recreation and parish hats, having served on the Recreation committee for twenty years and currently acting as Parish Council Secretary.

She said that the farm steading area gives folks a reason to get together and enjoy the outdoors.

“When we put the first little community gardens boxes in, in no time they caught on,” said Woodford. “And you see the intergenerational use of these community boxes. You see grandparents, and children, and grandchildren there every single week. It’s a place for them to come together and walk along a trail or tend their garden or sit down and have a picnic. It’s a beautiful spot.”

As a former teacher, she said it’s especially heart-warming to watch young children learn how to grow their very own vegetables.

“You see those little kids plant the seeds in the garden, and they know that every single week they got to go down and water them, and they watch them grow,” said Woodford.  “Sometimes they take the carrots out and they don’t even wash them off, they just eat them as they as.”

The Town worked closely with Fundamental Inc. consultant agency on the project.

“They were excellent,” said Doyle. “They were really passionate about this work, and they provided us the insight that too often people look at environmental practices as a means to a good conscious, and as ‘the right thing to do.’ But what they’ve manage to educate to this council, and this community, is that it’s more than the right thing to do— there’s money in this, and there’s savings in this. You can save your taxpayers money, you can put money back into the residents of the community, you can create jobs with this stuff.”

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