CHETICAMP, N.S. – Sept. 20, 2012 – Eleven co-operators representing seven co-op organizations from PEI’s Evangeline region are back from an exploration trip to Cheticamp, N.S., that was extremely brief but also extremely fruitful.
“All of the participants said they were very pleased and impressed with everything they saw and learned during this Cape Breton trip, from Sept. 14-16,” says Carmella Richard, activities coordinator from Le Bel Âge Seniors’ Housing Co-op (the co-op that organized the trip). “The only negative comment we received was that they wished they would have had more time to explore this beautiful corner of the world.”
Regrettably, the trip’s budget, provided by the Seniors’ Secretariat of PEI, only allowed for a three-day excursion – two days for travelling to and from the destination and one day of exploration. However, not a single minute of that day was wasted.
“The Island delegation visited seven co-ops and seven private businesses and tourist attractions in Cheticamp and surrounding communities, considerably surpassing our expectations for the day,” said Velma Robichaud, development officer with the Conseil de développement coopératif de l’Î.-P.-É., the council that collaborated in the organization of the trip.
The intention was essentially to explore co-ops or private businesses that work in fields similar to those of the participating co-ops. The main objective was to find out how those businesses operate, recruit members, display merchandise, manage their affairs, promote their services, etc.
The group began by visiting seven co-ops: The Cheticamp Co-op (groceries, hardware, building supplies), the Cheticamp Handcraft Co-op, the Restaurant Acadien, the Manoir St-Pierre and the Maison Acadienne (both seniors’ housings), Cheticamp Funeral Home and the Cheticamp Farmers’ Market.
The Island delegates, wishing to explore other handcraft locations, also visited Les Trois Pignons, a community museum of hooked rugs, and Flora’s Gift Shop, a private store. To discover the cultural and artistic world of the community, the group visited La Place des arts Père-Anselme-Chiasson, a beautiful cultural centre with a magnificent performance hall. The Islanders were pleased to have as their guide none other than Paul D. Gallant, formerly of Mont-Carmel, PEI, who is currently the centre’s artistic director. They then visited a privately operated manor called Le Foyer Père Fiset.
In addition to all of that, they received a presentation by Darlene Doucet, executive director of the Conseil coopératif acadien de la Nouvelle-Écosse (the local co-op development council).
Finally, the voyagers dropped by the St. Pierre Church and the Mother of Sorrows Pioneer Shrine in Mabou and explored a portion of the Highlands National Park.
“Our co-operators established lots of valuable contacts specifically in the field of interest of their own co-op,” noted Robichaud. “We hope that our delegation will be able to draw concrete results from these meetings. Already, the Chéticamp funeral co-op has shown a great interest in the caskets that are being manufactured by a private entrepreneur from PEI’s Evangeline region.”
Le Bel Âge Residential Co-op greatly appreciated Robichaud’s support in identifying locations that could be visited and by setting up meetings. Since she was born and raised in Chéticamp, she still knows the community and its people quite well.
In addition to Richard and Robichaud, the Island delegation was made up of Ernest Gallant representing both Evangeline Funeral Co-op and Le Bel Âge Seniors’ Housing Co-op, Adrien and Stella Arsenault representing the Evangeline Funeral Co-op, Noëlla Richard and Aldine Richard representing the Coopérative de développement culturel et patrimonial de Mont-Carmel, Zita Arsenault from the Wellington Co-op, Yvette Arsenault from the Abram’s Village Handcraft Co-op, Yvonne Arsenault from the Coopérative des communications communautaire and Andrea Kemp from Le Chez-Nous Co-op.
CUTLINE 1: Diane Poirier, executive director of the Chéticamp Handcraft Co-op and the Restaurant Acadien in Nova Scotia, hooks a rug while surrounded by a delegation of Island co-operators on an exploration mission. In the front row with Poirier is, from left, Carmella Richard, Adline Richard and Velma Robichaud. Standing, from left, are Adrien Arsenault, Yvette Arsenault, Andrea Kemp, Zita Arsenault, Stella Arsenault, Noëlla Richard, Yvonne Arsenault and Ernest Gallant.
CUTLINE2: Ernest Gallant, left, president of Evangeline Funeral Co-op, and manager Adrien Arsenault were among the PEI co-operators who visited various co-ops and businesses in Cheticamp, N.S. Among the locations they visited was the Cheticamp Funeral Co-op.
For more information:
Le Bel Âge Seniors’ Housing Co-op