LEWISPORTE — Lewisporte has a historic link to the ocean and the way it has shaped the lives of area residents. In the future marine activity will continue to play an integral role locally.
Today marine transportation (fuel and freight), recreational boating and the offshore oil and gas industry are important factors to the local economy with the continued importance of the fishery.
It is the tradition of marine importance continuing into the future that has resulted in the announcement of a combined investment from the Governments of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador of over $470,000. Of this $307,812 is federal through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Innovative Communities Fund (ACOA). The other $169,721 from the Provincial Government is provided through the Regional/Sectoral Diversification Fund, administered by the Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development.
The funds will be utilized for the establishment of the Marine Institute’s first regional fisheries and marine centre in Lewisporte.
Located temporarily at the Dietrac Technical Training Institute, the centre will promote capacity development in education, training and applied research, In the short term, three positions will be required with more anticipated in the future.
Marine Institute executive director Glenn Blackwood said the post-secondary facility has historically attracted a large number of students (150 to 200 each year) from the central region to St. John’s. Mr. Blackwood noted that the Marine Institute is full to capacity and it is sometimes difficult to accommodate the needs of all the students.
“With the support of the Town (of Lewisporte) we looked at what could we do in Lewisporte,” he said. “We are putting some equipment, money and people into this.”
This includes (among other things) the installation of electronic navigation facilities and putting a consultant in place to look at the recreational boating sector and what role the Marine Institute can play in assisting that sector in growing.
The Marine Institute will use the experience of the centre in Lewisporte as a means of determining the overall effectiveness of establishing additional centres in other parts of the province.