The centre held its annual meeting at the Reidville Community Centre Friday night. According to its financial statements, it managed a revenue of $85,635, up from $85,332 in 2011.
The organization’s president, Glenda Garnier, welcomed the approximately 20 town representatives, who included Mayor Dean Ball of Deer Lake and Reidville Mayor Helen Reid, among others. Garnier said the most expensive item the Centre had to deal with was its own home, at approximately $83,000.
“Our building was in dire need of being repaired, and it’s been that way for a long time. It’s had water problems and other issues and it’s caused us a lot of stress and worry,” Garnier said. “But thanks to good management of funds, we were able to handle it.”
Throughout the last year, Garnier said the centre participated in several programs that led to success. Five member communities took part in a student employment program, and other students were able to start their own businesses through the Youth Venture Program.
The vision of an agricultural grounds, on which various community events like farm fairs could be held, is still in the discussion stages, Garnier said. But the centre needs to get permission from the province to use Crown land before the project can go further.
Also in the discussion phase is a yearly farmers market between Cormack and Deer Lake, which the centre hopes to bring to fruition later this year. The meeting’s keynote speaker, Humber Valley MHA Dwight Ball, told attendees that sustainability of the rural way of life is key for the future.
“Essentially we’re all rural in this province with, of course, the exception of St. John’s,” he said. “I believe it comes down to sustainability. We have to make a decision whether we want to protect (what we have).”
He said smaller areas like White Bay need help in maintaining residents’ way of life.
“Humber Valley is doing well, but if you look at places like White Bay, their unemployment rate is probably in the 20 (per cent range),” he said. “We have to make sure to invest in those areas.”
He suggested initiatives involving forestry and fishing, as well as tourism and agriculture, to help maintain the province’s rural areas.
“Rural areas are what defines us, what makes us unique,” he said.
Centre members elected a new executive as well. Now serving as president is Reidville councilor Roger Barrett. First vice president will be Deer Lake councillor Jean Young and second vice president is Deer Lake resident Vera Collett.