In the late fall of 2018, two workshops were hosted by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador to discuss the unique history and culture that has made the town of Harbour Grace so amazing and incredible.
No other community outside St. John’s can lay claim to so much history and such a diverse past as Harbour Grace can. Yet, to date, it remains untapped.
On Feb. 11, council agreed and acted on the advice of the Heritage Foundation and various funding agents who were present at the workshops. The decision was made through a motion of council to establish a steering committee to take up the challenge of making that unique past alive again by creatively highlighting that bountiful history.
The primary mandate of this new entity — the Harbour Grace Board of Culture, Innovation and Business Inc.— has become to collect an inventory of all the historically significant assets of the community. These would include physical structures, oral histories, famous people, unusual and rare events as well as breathtaking landscapes and seascapes. From that database, we are to strategize on a five-year plan for the town’s development into a tourist experience that will make Harbour Grace a must-visit destination.
Through the process of publicly advertised notices on Facebook and in town flyers, letters of interest to take part in this committee were requested from all interested persons to help oversee this new challenge. As a result of this process, five board members were appointed.
“The Town of Harbour Grace is looking forward to working in partnership with the newly formed board,” Mayor Don Coombs said in a news release. “The town has so many historical assets that are truly gems that have, until now, been untapped. As a town, we see this as an opportunity to bring these treasures to fruition. These developments are long overdue and are well deserved by our citizens, and will remain for our future generations and guests to enjoy.”
Jack Rose, the chairman of the board, says, “Having the support of Mayor Coombs and council is a key element to moving forward with the board’s mandate.”
The town’s CAO Mike Saccary and economic development officer Matthew McCarthy will also work with the board in various capacities. That commitment is also a significant contribution that the board appreciates.
“The most important ingredients for success will be co-operation, support and input from the community,” Rose said. “When we are a little further along, we will be reaching out to all sectors of the local community. We want to obtain the best input we can from anyone who is interested in contributing ideas to what is a very challenging undertaking. But I’m impressed with the excitement of the board membership and predict good things for Harbour Grace just around the corner.”
More communication and updates will be found, over time, on the town’s Facebook page, the board’s Facebook page and through other forms of communication.
The board is comprised of Rose, Pat Collins, Danita Power (secretary-treasurer), Casey Butt and Jane Lynch. Council liaisons are Deputy Mayor Sonia Williams and Coun. Kathy Tetford, as well as McCarthy, who will act as a resource person for the group.
— Contributed by Harbour Grace Board of Culture, Innovation and Business Inc.