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NL hospitality – Atlantic organizer participates in S.P.A. meeting, visits Long Harbour

I had the pleasure of attending, in person, a meeting with fellow members of the Sandy Pond Alliance

Sandy Pond Alliance meeting, January 2012

(S.P.A.) last week in St. John’s NL. Although the agenda was long, our efficient chairperson (Ken Kavanagh) guided us through the meeting. We covered off many important updates on the case including the cross examination of our expert witness, biologist Dr. John Gibson, by Vale (who is an intervenor in our case against the Government of Canada), which had concluded the day prior (see the latest updates on this here: http://canadians.org/blog/?p=13098). Organizationally, there was a lot achieved over the past year, including the creation of a new website (www.sandypondalliance.org) and a successful benefit concert. Work continues as a new board was elected at the meeting, and with money to be raised for the court case as well as the expectation that the case will wrap up around June.

After the S.P.A. meeting concluded and we chatted with folks for a little bit, we were off to a meeting of the St. John’s chapter of the Council of Canadians. We were running a little late unfortunately, but were so pleased to have 15 people attend the first meeting held in some time (since the departure of chapter contact and stalwart Mike Manning, who moved to Ontario – we miss you Mike!!). There was lots of lively discussion about the campaigns that we are currently working on at a national and regional level, with input about issues that are important to folks in Newfoundland and Labrador and what the chapter might choose to do some work on. There was a lot of interest in issues like CETA and Old Harry, as well as maintaining an active presence in the Sandy Pond Alliance. Another meeting date is now scheduled and support for the Canadian Boat for Gaza tour is going ahead as well (St. John’s tour stop date is Feb 20).

Then of course, the traditional beer and a chat followed! As one friend tweeted to me, “Best thing about St. John’s? No matter what business dealings you’re up to, you can always look forward to the NL hospitality afterward”…

The next day was a busy one as well. Breakfast with Board member Andrea [[{“type”:”media”,”view_mode”:”media_large”,”fid”:”1506″,”attributes”:{“class”:”media-image alignright size-medium wp-image-13397″,”typeof”:”foaf:Image”,”style”:””,”title”:”st-johns-january-2012-15″,”alt”:”Ken Kavanagh and Angela Giles visit with Occupier Terry in St. John\\\u0026#039;s, January 2012″}}]]Furlong was followed by a visit to Occupy St. John’s (the only Occupy camp still functioning in Canada, as I understand it), where one camper gave Ken and I a tour and an update – they have incorporated themselves (Occupy NL Inc) and were opening a bank account, as well as organizing a protest the following day outside the provincial legislature, calling them to reopen.

[[{“type”:”media”,”view_mode”:”media_large”,”fid”:”1505″,”attributes”:{“class”:”media-image alignleft size-medium wp-image-13396″,”typeof”:”foaf:Image”,”style”:””,”title”:”2012-january-spa-agm-long-hbr-6″,”alt”:”Long Harbour Vale project, January 2012″}}]]After this, Ken and I drove out to Long Harbour to check in on the “progress” of the project. Much has changed in the community of Long Harbour, and although the site closer to Sandy Pond isn’t really visable from the road, there is a lot of activity happening across the harbour. This boomtown has survived one industry having come and go, and the remnants of this are apparent. I only hope they come out of this one in good shape for the long term.

Huge thanks to Ken and Billy for their hospitality and commitment to this work – makes my job great!