The Grand Lake Centre of Economic Development has more than 40 years of history to celebrate, says its new president, but its future could be just as bright.
Glenda Garnier was named president of the Humber Valley area group during its annual general meeting at the Pasadena Ski and Nature Park this past weekend. She was also at the helm of the board of directors in 2012.
“We really need to look at where we came from and where we are going,” Garnier said.
While many economic development associations throughout the province have closed its doors due to lack of government funding in more recent years, the Grand Lake board has continued to sustain itself largely through volunteer support, said Garnier.
Its beginnings date back before the establishment of the regional economic development boards and exists along with between 20 and 30 economic development boards still active in the province. Of those, Garnier said about eight or nine are from the west coast or Northern Peninsula areas.
Along with the effort of its volunteers — of whom she singled out longtime treasurer Wynona White — is the organization’s building located off the Trans-Canada Highway in Deer Lake. She said that facility has been able to generate income for the group to be able to offset much of their costs.
With such past accomplishments as the Humber Valley Agricultural Fair or “Fall Fair,” the Strawberry Festival, the Humber Valley Golf and Country Club and the Insectarium — all of which the organization was responsible for or helped establish in its early stages, according to Garnier — they have been able to survive.
However, it is not an organization relying on its past to hang on to that existence. The new president said there are lots of ideas about what the group can do to further social and economic development in the Humber Valley.
There are discussions pertaining to establishing an exhibition grounds in Reidville for such events as the agricultural fair, antique car and home shows.
The organization has capacity-building workshops scheduled for May 24 in Cormack. There they will be looking at the various sectors of development in the region and how the organization can help fill any gaps.
“In recent years there hasn’t been corresponding development in the areas around the (Humber) Valley,” she said. “There is quite a lot of interest in it now.
“We have some ideas of our own, but we want to talk to other organizations and municipalities that might be involved in those initiatives.”