MUN studying economic options for Clarenville-Bonavista region

A Memorial University study is looking at how to make the Clarenville and Bonavista region a booming economic spot.

'Make sure that people can stay in the region to make a living' important, says researcher

A Memorial University study is looking to researching the Clarenville-Bonavista region to determine its economic future. (Mark Gray)

Researchers from Memorial University are studying how to make the Clarenville-Bonavista region a booming economic hub — and keep it that way.

The community-based project will look at demographics and conduct interviews in an effort to create business ideas and come up with a plan that ensures jobs and money for the area.

Finding ways to make sure that people can stay in the region to make a living are very important.- Brennan Lowery

"This project is basically the culmination of two years of community-based research to identify the critical factors," said Brennan Lowery, a PhD student currently working on the report.

"Obviously finding ways to make sure that people can stay in the region to make a living are very important in that."

Regional report card

The Clarenville-Bonavista region includes many coastal communities that were once dependent on the cod fishery. (CBC)

The study is being done in partnership with the Clarenville-Bonavista regional council, which has been working with Lowery and his advisors through the process.

With a population of around 28,000, the region includes more than 100 communities with similar economic, environmental and social changes in other parts of rural Newfoundland.

Lowery said the study is in the third phase creating a "regional sustainability report card" through public consultation to get the information out.

"Community members came out saying some really interesting things about how people are interested in seeing more agriculture in the region, new farms and new agricultural businesses starting up," Lowery told CBC's Central Morning Show.

"There's the ongoing interest in reviving fisheries-based employment and managing the fisheries sustainably."

In general, he said there's a lot of public interest in working with government, businesses and non-profit groups to organize all resources on the table.

Lowery said he hopes to start discussions about strategic planning once this research is complete.

The region's report card should be released by April.

There's a lot of new development in Clarenville, but communities in the region face economic, environmental and social changes. (CBC)

With files from the Central Morning Show