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The marina in the town of Baie Verte.
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By Rebecca Cohoe
Mining is a way of life in the town of Baie Verte, and with several mining projects ready to leap into action in the next few years, it should continue to be a big economic driver in the town and region. There is a challenge though: with the nearest industrial port located more than two hours away, transporting the material taken from the mines is expensive and time-consuming.
"Good shipping ports are at a premium around here," said Glenda Tulk, executive director of the Emerald Zone Corporation.
According to Ms. Tulk, the positive benefits of a local port would extend beyond the mining industry.
"A port in Baie Verte could help expand tourism in this region," she said. "That could mean a positive impact on five to eight different communities. It would also make things easier for the various manufacturing companies nearby."
Interestingly, the community had a working port in the '60s, but when the local asbestos mine closed, it wasn't maintained. Combined with the closure of the mine, it created an economic double whammy for the small community. Ms. Tulk believes that a new port could be as good for the region as the previous loss was difficult.
"A new port would help open up major opportunities for current and would-be entrepreneurs, and provide a boost to the local economy."
The first step towards a port for Baie Verte is a feasibility study. The Town of Baie Verte has already made a financial commitment to the project, and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development are both involved. Ms. Tulk is looking for Memorial expertise from a wide range of disciplines to complete various phases of the project.
"We're probably going to have to pull in more than one type of professional," said Ms. Tulk, "Engineering, geology, experts from the Marine Institute – they should all be involved." Much of the work would need to be done on the ground in Baie Verte, although there would also be a certain amount of report writing that could be carried out from a distance. That said, she also wants to emphasize the scenery and outdoor opportunities in the region.
"It's rural Newfoundland at its best," said Ms. Tulk. "There are Ski-Doo trails, hiking trails and swimming. It's a great community for a Memorial researcher who also loves the outdoors."
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