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  The eKubator


Kittiwake Economic Development Corporation

The eKubator Project

September 21, 2001
{Author: eBerg Staff}

  And with a cut of the ribbon, Medi-Wear was launched, the result of a lot of sweat and no shortage of vision.

Mediwear Inc., an apparel manufacturing business located in Change Islands, produces medical scrubs, as well as garments for leisure wear (hospital scrubs are enormously popular among college students.) Other products include hats, uniforms and linens, which are slated to be marketed within the province with export opportunities to be explored in the future.

The garment was provided by renowned Newfoundland designer Karen Pottle. As a result, 16 new jobs will be created in the community.

Funding for the project was secured through ACOA, HRDC and the Department of Industry, Trade and Rural Development.

"The Town of Change Islands is very excited to be opening Mediwear Inc.," said Mayor Doreen Hart. "This marks a new era in our community's development, and we look forward to seeing the benefits that this business will have for our residents."

The last decade has undoubtedly been a time of change for Newfoundland and Labrador. No more has this been felt than in rural Newfoundland. No more has this been felt than on Change Islands.

Change Islands has been settled since the latter half of the 18th century when the Labrador fishery rose to prominence. By the beginning of the 20th century, it was a prosperous settlement with a population of over 1,000 people who fished in the northern waters or worked in the huge merchant premises that lined the shores. By 1998, the population hovered around 350. The community was hardhit by outmigration, fueled by the collapse of the groundfishery.

Change Islands is a resilient community. Its town council is renowned as one of the most financially sound and progressive in the province. The Town of Change Islands undertook a community development plan over the last number of years, hired a development officer and worked to build upon its strengths. The town's economic development committee draws from various stakeholder groups in the community, and the representation is critical to building community and moving ahead, Mrs. Hart emphasized.

"If you're looking to begin a community initiative, it is very important to involve the greater community," she said.

Mayor Hart is a long-time believer in shaping and seizing opportunity. A couple of years ago, she told a conference that "rural communities cannot wait on government for answers." Mayor Hart practices what she preaches. Change Islands is forging ahead - not just with the MediWear project, but with new initiatives to tap the boundless tourism potential of the island, including a new geological interpretation centre. It's also considering revisions to its community plan to explore future opportunities.

On the surface, Change Islands does not appear to have changed much at all - with its tidy gardens, fishing stages, unique geology and historic nuances, it's a very traditional community. Tourism experts point to it as a cultural and historic icon; a breathing, living piece of our past. Beneath the exterior however, change abounds, and change, as this community is proving, can be a very positive thing indeed.