Bonavista MHA Neil King, provincial Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation Minister Christopher Mitchelmore and Public Services and Procurement MP Judy Foote met with community members, business members and residents in Port Union today to announce major funding for tourism and business in the area.
The federal government will be investing more than $224,000 through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).
Discovery Aspiring Geopark Inc. is receiving a non-repayable contribution of $104,412 from ACOA’s Innovative Communities Fund. It will be combined with the provincial government’s contribution of $95,118, to further develop geotourism assets.
Discovery Aspiring Geopark Inc. hopes the funding will better position the organization to apply for UNESCO Global Geopark designation, which they say will draw both tourists and researchers to the region.
The project will focus on five existing geological sites: Fort Bight and Trinity Bight; Port Union and Murphy’s Cove Trail; Elliston-Maberly; The Dungeon; and Kings Cove-Brook Point.
Funding will be used towards site development, interpretative signage and training for local tourism operators.
Interestingly enough, the funding was announced in Port Union on the very strand of beach where an extremely rare, 560-million-year-old fossil was discovered in 2014.
Also announced was a $70,000 repayable investment from ACOA’s Business Development Program for DIVE Ventures Newfoundland Inc.
The company will use the funding to acquire a rigid hull inflatable boat and related equipment to modernize its tour boat operating business and enhance its product offering.
Additionally, ACOA’s Business Development Program will provide the Fishers’ Loft Inn in Port Rexton with a repayable investment of $50,000 to expand marketing activities.