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Managers of New Bonaventure ‘Random Passage’ site seeking GoFundMe donations

The Random Passage site.
The Random Passage site. - The Packet

The church at the Random passage site.  Connie Tobin, Operations manager, says that the church badly needs a new roof.
The church at the Random Passage site. Connie Tobin, operations manager, says that the church badly needs a new roof.

NEW BONAVENTURE, NL— A decline in the number of annual visitors and years of structural wear-and-tear has managers of the “Random Passage” site in New Bonaventure seeking online donations.

“This is a desperate act,” said Connie Tobin, site operations manager.

“Our buildings, some of them are falling down.”

The former movie set for the 2002 television mini-series “Random Passage,” based on the novel of the same name by Newfoundland author Bernice Morgan, hosts a total of 12 buildings, all of which are outdoors and exposed to the elements.

Tobin says the number of visitors to the former movie set decreased by roughly 1,350 people this season, dropping from around 5,000 people to 3,800.

The income from site visits just covers payroll for the 13 staff members, with nothing left over for repairs.

The GoFundMe page is seeking to raise $5,000, but Tobin says even that amount won’t fully cover the cost of materials, let alone labor.

She says it has been years since several of the buildings were worked on, and one is currently closed to the public due to safety concerns.

The provincial government has been active in funding the site over the years, providing $261,580 in grant funding since 2005 under the Cultural Economic Development Program and the Regional Sectoral Diversification Fund.

In recent years staff workers – who Tobin says are passionate about keeping the site open and maintained – have volunteered their time to host special events at the site, including Jigg’s dinners and mummers’ parades.

But it’s just not enough.

Site management, feeling they have nowhere left to turn, have finally turned to the public.

“We don’t want to lose our site,” says Tobin.

The GoFundMe campaign, created Jan. 24 by “Thomas Hutchings” in reference to a central character from the novel and mini-series, can be visited at https://www.gofundme.com/random-passage-site-enhancements.

Mark.squibb@thepacket.ca

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