I remember the day my father decided to make Holyrood, Newfoundland his home. One drive out to the log style home for sale on the waterfront and that was it – he decided to live there the rest of his life. He always had that knack for seeing opportunity where others saw none, long before his time, and Holyrood, Newfoundland was just another example of that.
Every day in the warmer months he sat in his favourite chair on the deck, looking out over the sparkling water. He called it the Holyrood Riviera and he felt he was the luckiest man alive to have such a fortunate view. Sailboats coming and going, the best sunsets in the world, the air fresh and pristine, friendly people, a calm and centred life for his family. No madness, no drama and no clutter – this was home.
And because it was his home, it became my home. A place for family Sunday dinners, fishing in the river, photo shoots, beautiful hikes, boating, sailing and striking mountain views. Holyrood offered a lifestyle that you just can’t get in the metropolis and it grounds you.
My father and I spent hours talking about the opportunities that Holyrood held. A port of call that could easily be a world leading oceanographic research hub that informed scientists, students, decision-makers, and the public about the underwater workings of the cold Atlantic Ocean.
Today, visionaries see Holyrood as a centre of excellence in cold ocean research and technology and an ideal location to support the oil and gas industry. A portal to the North, Holyrood is strategically positioned as the perfect spot for offshore activity and arctic fare attracting international oil and gas companies like Schlumberger to the region.
Holyrood is clearly positioned to be a world leader in cold ocean research and technology as the Holyrood Harbour is the portal of deep, cold arctic water exploration and home to Memorial University – Marine Institute’s Centre for Applied Oceans Technology. The Oceans Holyrood Initiative (OHI) is a focus designed to enable academic, industrial and research growth within the ocean sector. Guided by a multi-disciplinary Advisory Board of ocean technology, academic and economic development experts, OHI is creating a self-sustaining community in oceans-related research, education, training and business development. As well Holyrood has negotiated a Memorandum of Understand with the Marine Institute to support ocean-related developments and has partnered with world class Ocean’s Conferences such as the Oceans 2014 MTS/IEEE conference.
At the helm of Holyrood’s new economic development plans is Gary Corbett, Chief Administrative Officer for the Town. A former teacher and advocate for education and growth, Gary feels at home in Holyrood with his new found position. He says, “I am intrigued with the inquiry of how the Town of Holyrood could grow and I am lucky enough to be given the lead in creating that direction. Holyrood Mayor Gary Goobie and Council recognize the potential the ocean sector has for the town and want to ensure we maximize this potential for the residents of Holyrood, the region, and of the Province. With their support and confidence in me, I believe we are at the edge of something great. There are lots of opportunities, so much so that it’s a matter of organizing and prioritizing rather than finding them.”
Holyrood has attracted major players to the region. Gary says, “We have spent a lot of time talking about the “place” of Holyrood as an ocean entity and as a service centre to surrounding areas. In the end it is clear, Holyrood is a great place to, live, learn, work play and invest. We have already attracted companies like the Marine Institute of Memorial University, Schlumberger, Valero, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro (Nalcor) and – and we’ve only just begun.”
Plans for Holyrood’s future are vast and extensive. Catapulting off the Oceans Holyrood initiative, the town is now developing plans for an Ocean Business Park- a Cold Oceans Research and Innovation Hub. Gary showcases the project, “We have over 40 acres of land that the Town is securing to develop our new Ocean Business Hub. Approximately another 10 acres are dedicated to commercial development near the entrance area of the Hub. The Town also has identified another 40+ acres to be used for an industrial park development.
The intention of the Ocean Business Hub is to bring together the company and institutional researchers in collaborative projects in a common space and supportive environment. The park will facilitate shared work, direct interaction and be a hub for exchanging ideas and transferring technology in new and leading edge ways. Ultimately the Ocean Business Park will increase ocean research to new levels and attract top minds in the world who are committed to sustainable ocean practices.
To assist companies in moving into the region, the Town of Holyrood has created workspaces which entrepreneurs can avail of at the Beach Head Innovation Suites. These workspaces are designed to support and accelerate the growth of companies into the region. Gary Corbett says, “We have devised a creative environment by providing office spaces, boardrooms, innovation theatre and other amenities for startup companies. While we are working in arctic cold waters, we are making the experience of being here, very warm and inviting”.
With all of this infrastructure, the town has also considered the lifestyle for residents. Building a new daycare, dedicating land for future school consideration, establishing new office locations, and expanding real estate markets – the town is equipped to support personal and professional growth. Now would be a good time to invest, work and play in Holyrood!
My father passed away last year and I feel him watching over us. If he were here now he might say, “Holyrood is the next big thing”.
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