Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Holdin' Ground: Community Linkages Defined

In the Bay Roberts Pavilion a plaque on the wall proclaims the room as “The Holdin’ Ground." The play by Ted Russel pays testament to the bond that we as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians feel with our home. In the room on Sunday April 19 the Community Linkages Group sits, a diverse group who have been brought together for a common purpose. To be a voice for rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

The CLCC counts as its supporters and members some of the best expertise in the areas of rural NL living, youth, the fisheries and agriculture, political science and business that this province has to offer. The CLCC is becoming a hub of activity among interest groups throughout rural Newfoundland and Labrador. Missing among many of these community and advocacy groups is the collective voice, the communication and linking of resources for the common good, the CLCC is poised to channel that collective voice.

The Community Linkages Concept Committee (CLCC) bound by a connection to this place is lead by the infectious passion of the chair Ray Johnson of Buddy Wasisname notarity. With Mr. Johnson are a some of the Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who have taken berth on this ship. The list of supporters have grown to include people from Fogo Island, the West Coast Coast, Central, the Burin peninsula, Labrador, and the Northwest Avalon. The plaque at The Pavilion describes the “strength of the bond that defines who we are as a people and draws us back to when we leave”. In those words describe the intangible that can never be adequately expressed by a single flag, song, or political movement. In the words of Ted Russel we are like a schooner “ridin’ at her moorin’” it looks to be adrift until you know “about our moorin’s and our Holdin’ Ground.” The CLCC draws upon that inspiration.

Considering a rural life that has in just a few decades seen the cod moratorium, the dismantling of the railway, unprecedented outmigration, resettlement and the loss of a lifestyle and culture. It seems the growth of a group like the CLCC was inevitable.

On Sunday the topic of conversation at the CLCC meeting was a common one. How do we foster an environment in rural Newfoundland and Labrador that nurtures an economic and socially viable rural NL? What conditions in Newfoundland and Labrador’s future generations would see our youth have a choice of making a living in Newfoundland and Labrador instead of the necessity to leave for work? What is the future of our fishery and resources? And how does a fledgling grassroots group like the CLCC that has no partisan influence, no commercial support and only the passion of its members build the momentum for a strong and sustainable life in the future of rural Newfoundland and Labrador?

This time around the CLCC has assembled better than a dozen people, some meetings are smaller, some larger. Ray prefaces the meeting by describing his first performances with Buddy Wasisname where looking through a hole in the curtains showed only a disappointing half dozen fans. Today the group tours to sold-out audiences across Canada, it is that same buildup of support he knows is slowly accumulating for Community Linkages. Two common questions that he faces on his journey’s are who are the CLCC? And secondly “How can I help?” This meeting is meant to answer those primary concerns.

Following Sunday’s meeting the CLCC has refined and renewed its focus on the issues of rural Newfoundland and Labrador with the intent of being the common voice, the linkage that makes the greater community, all of Newfoundland and Labrador strong.

No comments:

Post a Comment