Rural Redefined taking flight in Newfoundland

The Georgetown Conference: Rural Redefined is taking to the air so delegates from Newfoundland and Labrador can bring their good nature and innovative ideas to Prince Edward Island Oct. 3 to 5. “Air Georgetown” will allow 37 delegates from Newfoundland and Labrador to travel by a charter flight from St. John’s, Gander or Deer Lake to Charlottetown for $250 return.

Jennifer Whelan jumped at the chance to become the first Newfoundland and Labrador resident to book her seat on “Air Georgetown” and join the province’s leading provincial ‘doers and producers’ at The Georgetown Conference: Rural Redefined.

The Baie Verte Peninsula resident has worked closely with Burlington native Shaun Majumder (This Hour Has 22 Minutes and Majumder Manor) to promote tourism and economic development. The duo is preparing for the second season of “The Gathering” a festival focused on celebrating the unique culture and cuisine of Newfoundland held in Burlington in August.

“Georgetown will benefit Baie Verte Peninsula by allowing me to gain knowledge and understanding as well as ideas from similar communities across Atlantic Canada,” Whelan said.

“I will be sharing some of the experiences I have had in serving on several economic development boards and working with community business development. Having Newfoundland based companies and organizations financially support the conference and assist organizers in chartering a flight from here to Charlottetown will go a long way in helping more Newfoundlanders participate in this important discussion. I am looking forward to networking with other delegates who have the same desire to shape rural Atlantic Canada.”

These delegates will not only gather with others from across Atlantic Canada but with fellow Newfoundlanders Donna Butt, conference co-chair, and Zita Cobb who will be the opening keynote speaker in Georgetown. Butt, artistic and executive director of Rising Tide Theatre, is well known for her promotion of the theatrical and cultural life of Newfoundland. Cobb, after a successful career in the high technology industry, is now actively involved in projects to contribute to a resilient and vibrant future for Fogo Island and Change Islands.

This resiliency is something many Newfoundlanders have in common with Cobb. Those who are attending the Georgetown Conference will help kick-start the discussion on redefining rural by arriving together on “Air Georgetown” for the three day conference. Georgetown is about creating a frank and forward thinking discussion about the real issues impacting a rural way of life.

The conference will also focus on ideas and success, not failures of the past. The goal is to attract business leaders, community leaders, small business owners, employees, artists and ordinary citizens from all walks of life. These delegates will identify success stories and transfer that knowledge across Atlantic shores. They will challenge the status quo and engage stakeholders with the sole purpose of revitalizing rural communities.

“The Georgetown Conference is becoming more like a movement,” conference co-chair and president emeritus of the University of Prince Edward Island Wade MacLauchlan said. “The opportunity, and the need, to redefine rural is mobilizing communities throughout Atlantic Canada. With ‘Air Georgetown,’ the conference will feature the experience, imagination and good nature of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.”

Kevin Hiscock, General Manager Newfoundland and Labrador Community Newspapers TC Media and Newspapers Atlantic board member, said community newspapers are proud to be at the forefront of the dialogue on redefining rural.

“The Georgetown Conference is an investment in the knowledge and passion of the people who shape the communities of Atlantic Canada,” Hiscock said. “The support from the business community in Newfoundland and Labrador and Atlantic Canada has certainly given the delegates of Newfoundland and Labrador an opportunity to attend the conference and share ideas and success stories that has helped shape their communities.”

“Air Georgetown” is made possible through the assistance of conference sponsors Provincial Airlines, Nalcor Energy, Emera and The Georgetown Conference.

The Georgetown Conference is an initiative of Newspapers Atlantic (NA), an industry association representing 70 community papers with a combined circulation of 700,000. Members of Newspapers Atlantic live and work in communities impacted by so-called rural decline. They have a vested interest in seeing the region and communities succeed. Members are uniquely suited to help identify who should attend and what issues should be discussed. Post conference, papers will take what was learned at Georgetown and become local champions for change.

The conference is free of government interest and control. NA is proud to use its collective strength to raise the level of dialogue to help empower individuals and communities in rural Atlantic Canada to flourish. The Georgetown Conference would not be possible without the generous support of sponsors. These sponsors are Atlantic Canadian companies investing in our communities and we thank them for their support.

To learn more or to become a delegate to The Georgetown Conference, go to