Harbour Grace looking to acquire land around Danny Cleary Centre
By Craig Westcott/March 24, 2023
The Town of Harbour Grace will try again to buy a large parcel of Crown Land near the Danny Cleary Community Centre in the hopes of using it to attract businesses to the area.
Mayor Don Coombs asked for a motion to get the application started at last week’s public council meeting.
Councillor Lee Rogers, who chairs the business and economic development committee, noted that a couple of council terms ago Harbour Grace had applied for a swath of land near the stadium, but the process was never finished.
“They wanted a traffic study done that was taken on by the Town and completed, but it seems that the file has died and there is nothing there for us at Crown Lands,” he said. “So, I think it would be a great thing for us to look at, to redo our application and send it in with the hopes that we can get business to come to that area.”
Coombs agreed and said the Town should give it priority. “Because we know that a developer has asked before about that development and… we should look again at getting that done in the proper manner and get it done asap.”
Rogers then moved to write the Province and ask for the Crown Land.
Councillor Brendan Chafe asked whether the motion should be more specific about the location, or whether just saying “the surrounding area” around the centre would be enough.
“‘Surrounding area’ would suffice for now because we’ve made the application previously,” said the mayor. “So, it’s to resubmit the application.”
Councillor Gordon Stone said “the hard work” that was done in terms of the traffic study was completed and submitted.
“Somewhere in the process it seems like the traffic study information never got to the bureaucrats where a decision got made regarding it,” Stone said. “I think we’ll probably end up having to resubmit a copy of our traffic study, which we have of course. And if we stay on top of this and follow it through, we should be able to get some sort of decision in a fairly reasonable time. This is a good thing to take on now to make sure the hard work done in the past gets caught up and a decision gets done. That’s what we’re looking for.”
Coombs said it’s a great opportunity for the Town to create some business opportunities and spin-offs.
The motion passed unanimously.
In other council news:
Harbour Grace has landed a $25,000 grant to install accessible washrooms at the Otterbury School House heritage building.
Councillor Rogers said the money is coming from the federal government’s New Horizons for Seniors program.
“The project will help revitalize the schoolhouse as a seniors-focused multipurpose space,” he added.
Mayor Coombs thanked Avalon MP Ken McDonald for his support for the Town’s application.
The Town has responded to the Province’s questions regarding a cattle barn on Gullies Road.
Councillor Chafe said the Province asked if the Town has jurisdiction over the land and if so, does it have any issue regarding the cattle barn?
Chafe said the barn is within the Town’s boundaries, and does not have any issue with the cattle farm except for the fact the access to the property is located within another town’s jurisdiction, namely Spaniard’s Bay.
“That’s the nitty gritty of it,” said Chafe. “We don’t have an issue with it, but the access to that property is not within our jurisdiction.”
The second question concerned fire protection.
“We cannot provide fire protection because of the condition of the access or road to the property,” Chafe said. “The road is not within the Town’s boundaries therefore our fire department is not able to safely provide fire protection. Basically, we can’t be sending in our equipment and our firefighters to an emergency and create another emergency. That’s basically what it entails… It’s within our boundary, we’re glad to have a cattle farm within the Town of Harbour Grace, but we cannot provide fire protection because of the state and condition of the road to get there. That’s basically it.”
Harbour Grace’s Civic Events Committee has just picked up five new members.
Councillor Randy Wrice noted the five were the only ones who responded to a call for applications.
The new members include Christina Cox, Ashley Janes, Sheryl McCarthy, former councillor Sonia Williams and Deborah Wrice.
They will join sitting members Patsy Barnes, Lisa Vaters, and Wendell Snow.
Harbour Grace has a member on the Conception Bay North Joint Council again.
Newly elected councillor Terry Barnes accepted the appointment, replacing councillor Gordon Stone, who resigned as the Town’s liaison with the joint council several months ago.
Barnes noted he used to attend the joint council meetings as the Town’s representative when he was on council some years ago.
Barnes will be joining Harbour Grace Town Manager Amy Dwyer, who serves as the recording secretary for the Joint Council.
Mayor Coombs thanked Barnes for taking on the position.
And finally, CBN hockey hero Dawson Mercer might have felt his ears burning council night during a rare evening off for his team the New Jersey Devils who were resting between NHL games against the Carolina Hurricanes and the Tampa Bay Lighting. The Bay Roberts native was the toast of the Town Hall after councillor Barnes gave an account of a recent visit he made to New Jersey to see Mercer play.
“I know he’s an NHLer, but he’s so down to earth it’s unbelievable,” said Barnes. “We got to New Jersey on March 5 and on the 6th he called us up and we met and he carted us to his condominium where we spent three or four hours with him. And then on the 7th he had a hockey game and after he came to our hotel and signed about 60 odd things that myself and a couple of other fellows had to bring back home. It’s amazing. When we went to Montreal, after the game he came and met with me and six more guys here from Harbour Grace and stood with us to get a picture taken. He loves to see Newfoundlanders, loves it.”
Mayor Coombs said Mercer is a great ambassador for the province and Conception Bay North.