Chatting, from the left, are Avalon MP Ken McDonald, Brigus Mayor Byron Rodway and Deputy Mayor Ralph Trickett.
©Andrew Robinson/The Compass
BRIGUS, NL — Efforts to enhance Brigus' long-acknowledged tourist appeal got a shot in the arm Friday with news of substantial government funding for the town and a local non-profit.
The Town of Brigus and Brigus Heritage — formerly known as the Brigus Historical and Conservation Society Inc. — are receiving a combined total of over $360,000 to support tourism opportunities and strengthen visitor experiences.
"What's better than one funding announcement? Two funding announcements," Brigus Mayor Byron Rodway joked Friday morning, standing on the wharf as preparations for the weekend's Brigus Blueberry Festival went on elsewhere.
Just over $250,000 — $211,550 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the remainder of that sum from the provincial government — will help the Town of Brigus implement a plan to improve tourism assets and attract more visitors. It's called Destination Brigus. It will look at utilizing technology, maps, signage, trail and parking upgrades and the creation of a permanent stage and storage space for the Blueberry Festival and other community events.
"It's so easy to put this stuff on paper, but at budget preparation time for the Town of Brigus, there's only a certain amount of tax dollars to advance our tourism aims," Rodway said. "So the announcement today, it will expedite the process and put us years and years ahead of where we would have been trying to do it on our own."
Brigus Heritage is receiving $111,600 from the two levels of government to help develop and operate Pinkston's Forge, which opened in its new location earlier this summer with a trained blacksmith. The money will also help with upgrades to the Old Stone Barn Museum and new hiking and walking tours.
"We have a very capable group of volunteers who work behind the scenes and operate five properties here in the town of Brigus, and we're very fortunate to have them working here with us," said Brigus Heritage past-president David Collins, who went on to credit all levels of government for the financial support that allows the non-profit to do this.
In addition to the two previously mentioned sites, Brigus Heritage also looks after Wilcox Gardens, Payne Family Park and Vindicator Park.
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Avalon MP Ken McDonald was on hand for Friday's announcement, along with Tourism Minister Christopher Mitchelmore and local MHA Betty Parsley.