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Gateway Labrador seeing renewed enthusiasm

The past year has been a great one for Gateway Labrador Inc.  Many people see the beautiful log structure on the Highway in Labrador City and think if it as a tourism information centre, and a small museum. But Gateway Labrador is so much more, with plans to enhance tourism and culture in the Labrador West area.
Tracy West, has been President for six years. “We have a board of directors consisting of twelve members, 1 paid employee and a casual employee 1 day per week” she told the Aurora. 
Gateway opened in 2007 and has been strong in promoting Labrador’s tourism and heritage. 
West explained that one of their biggest challenges is funding. They receive a grant from the provincial government, and are supported by ACOA, the towns, with donations from businesses, services in kind, and great support from IOC. They also get revenue from renting space at the building.
“We do projects like tours by bus, we hire students in the summer to staff the tourism aspect. For that we access a provincial heritage grant, we are constantly looking for ways to fund our projects and to find funding that can help us reach our goals”, West explained.
The annual budget is about 60 thousand dollars, but last year funding for the Canada 150 project gave them a big boost in funding which allowed them to do much more.
West told the Aurora, “Some of the projects we were able to do last year included, the farmers market, ice and snow sculpture instruction, events at Smokey Mountain and Menihek Nordic Ski Club, snowshoe making, aboriginal day, and more.
“Right now we are looking at development of a three to four year plan “, west explained.
“Tourism development is crucial to the area, right now a lot of tourism events are run mostly by volunteers, events like Cain’s Quest, or the Labrador Loppet. 
Recently gateway held a tourism discovery session, in an effort to get more businesses to come on stream with tourism product. 
“We have to not only attract people to the area, but find ways to keep them here”. 
“Some tourists have suggested they would like to be able to rent a snowmobile, or pre arrange a sled dog ride”, we need to be able to provide those kind of things, and there are certainly good business opportunities “explained west.
“Small things like having more traditional food on local menus can make a difference”.
Some of the plans for the future include trail development in a hope that walking trails in Wabush and Labrador City will eventually connected, here are plans for a women’s leadership event, in cooperation with the Labrador West status of women, and more work on the youth leadership program. That program works with young people, who will be future leaders in the community and gets them involved in volunteering and community events. “, These young people helped with the farmers market, will help with Cain’s Quest, they did a Christmas in Labrador event and many other things “. 
West is positive about the future of the Gateway, and the plans they have. She says she sees a big difference in the past number of years. 
“We have great community support , a great group of volunteers , good support from governments at all levels  from businesses, and our involvement with both towns when we do events together like the farmers market , is just wonderful, being Community involved is important to us”, West explained . Anyone who wants more information about any of the Gateways projects and activities can drop by the building during business hours.

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