Joanie Cranston feels the voice of rural Newfoundland is becoming more and more silent.
That’s why she is planning to become involved in a new organization set to be established next week which will try to address any concerns residents within the Gros Morne National Park area have.
Proposed to be called Friends of Bonne Bay, a founding meeting for the organization has been scheduled for Tuesday evening. Copies of the group’s proposed constitution and bylaws have been circulating for the last few weeks.
The documents state the vision of the association is of a natural and cultural environment that maintains its beauty and ecological integrity for present and future generations.
For Cranston, that also means keeping an eye on economic development issues within the national park and its enclaved communities. A physiotherapist in Norris Point, Cranston spent the last more than 30 years involved in various capacities in the name of rural economic development in the area.
She served as vice-president of the Bonne Bay Development Association, vice-chairperson of the Red Ochre Regional Economic Development Board and the provincial Rural Secretariat.
“Now we have nothing,” she said. “There is no group or organization that speaks to the interests of people and it’s really hard to get the message out. Policies are put in place that affect rural Newfoundland but there is no unified voice or anybody to inform people as to what’s going on.”
She said there is strength in numbers, especially if the group consists of people with various sorts of expertise to address a wide range of issues as they come up.
Greg Wood of Glenburnie, who has been vocal about issues in the Bonne Bay area, is one of the driving forces behind the group’s formation.
Wood most recently publicly opposed a proposal from 3Ts Ltd., a fishing company based out of Woody Point, to build a wharf and drydock facility on the shores of Glenburnie.
He said he wants this group’s members to be vocal as well.
He noted the causes to be taken up by Friends of Bonne Bay, if that is the name adopted by the group at Tuesday’s founding meeting, will be up to its membership. He suggested some other concerns in the area will be addressed, including the controversial transformation of the Western Brook Pond trail by Parks Canada and the national park’s overall management plan.
Tuesday’s meeting will be held by teleconference. Anyone wishing to participate is asked to contact Wood in advance to register via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.