By Chris Lewis | Nov. 19, 2020
The Town of Harbour Grace is open to welcoming new businesses, but cautious about disturbing the peace.
That was the message coming from the Monday night regular meeting of council as Deputy Mayor Sonia Williams reported the Town has been holding meetings with several business looking to set up shop in Harbour Grace.
Among them is Golden Crust Bakery, Williams said. She made a motion to approve the 24-hour business. But the prospect of employees and commercial trucks accessing the building at all hours had one councilor worried.
Williams’ motion included approval for commercial propane installation, a commercial exhaust system and off-site garbage disposal taken care of on a bi-weekly basis.
The bakery aims to operate in the former Powell’s Supermarket, which closed in May of 2018 and has remained vacant since then. Although the plan is for the bakery to eventually become a 24-hour operation, it was made clear the business will not start out that way.
While most council members appeared in favour of approving the application, councillor Kathy Tetford raised worries about noise pollution.
“I don’t have any concerns with Golden Crust Bakery as such coming to Habrour Grace and occupying that building, but I do have some concerns for 24-hours a day reefers, and fans, and those things like that,” Tetford said. “As a councillor, I can’t agree with putting noise in an area where there’s residences, and I certainly wouldn’t want it by my own residence.”
Mayor Don Coombs, who was clearly in favour of welcoming new enterprises to town, said the bakery will likely not start off as a 24-hour business. “If they can’t get a guarantee from council, then all of that is off the plate,” Coombs said. “That’s the bottom line of it.”
Coombs said the Harbour Grace Shrimp Company is a 24-hour operation, but also a big employer for the Town and hasn’t caused any public complaints.
“I don’t think we’ve ever gotten a complaint from anybody,” he said. “This is a business moving back into Harbour Grace, which will create some employment. Their goal is to be able to expand, and they want assurance that council will not be giving them grief down the road. We did say that we’d get back to them today, so they need to know so they can move ahead with their plans. I’m sure that they’ll look into other options if it’s not in Harbour Grace.”
With a relatively low number of active businesses and employment opportunities in Harbour Grace right now, Coombs indicated he sees the bakery as a positive addition to the community.
Tetford, however, doubled down on her concerns, noting that while a 24-hour operation sounds like a great idea, it may not sound so great to those living within the vicinity of the building.
“We’ve got nuisance regulations,” she said. “I know there is a provision in those regulations to allow for businesses activity after (those hours.) But, it was based on being sporadic, not based on being 24/7, 365-days a year. That’s my concern.”
Williams pointed out the area is zoned both residential and commercial, with the fish plant, Harbour Grace Ocean Enterprises, and even the former Terra Nova Shoes all within the same general area. Those entities, Williams added, have all had 24-hour operations with reefer trucks going in and out throughout the day and night.
“I don’t think that we can afford to let an opportunity like this pass us by,” said Williams. “We’re looking for some extra tax base in the town, and this is a business that’s going to create more jobs. I don’t think we can let that go.”
Councillor Paul Fitzgerald suggested the Town’s Municipal Enforcement Officer make some rounds in the area to gauge the nearby residents’ thoughts on the operation. However, Coombs reiterated that Golden Crust Bakery was awaiting a yay or a nay that night.
Councillor Lyda Byrne also clarified that the reefer trucks will not be in the area at all times, and will only be around when unloading or picking up.
“I agree we need the business. We need growth,” Byrne said.
Put toa vote, the motion to support the company’s plans was approved with Tetford asking that the Town inform the business owner there are concerns about potential noise pollution.
“Ensure that they make every effort to make sure these things are not happening 24/7, and there are not reefers going all hours of the night, or trucks coming in all night long,” Tetford said. “I have no concern with the business, and it’s understandable that there was a business there before, but the fan that they had going for the bakery (inside Powell’s Supermarket) is only 10 per cent of the noise that’s going to come out of this full-time bakery and the reefers. That’s the issue here. Everyone has to try and live together.”