By Chris Lewis | June 10, 2021
The Town of Carbonear is aiming to sell off a piece of property that bears sad memories for many.
The 24th of April 2016 is one that many residents in the Town of Carbonear will likely never forget. Although it has been over five years, the memory of the property at 12 Hayden Heights burning in the dead of night is still hardly even a distant memory for some.
That night also marked the death of five-year-old Quinn Butt, whose father Trent Butt was charged with first-degree murder in 2019 following the tragic incident.
Now, in 2021, the property lays empty of anything other than grass and the remnants of a driveway. While the memory may never fade, the Town of Carbonear is hoping to rid itself of the property and potentially use the money for a good cause.
The future of the property was discussed at the most recent meeting of council, on Tuesday June 8.
Deputy Mayor Chris O’Grady raised it during his presentation of the finance committee’s report.
After councillor David Kennedy, who was a neighbour of Butt prior to the event, declared a conflict of interest on the matter, O’Grady made a motion to proceed with the tendering process for disposal of the land at the Hayden Heights address.
Councillor Danielle Doyle said she hopes the money from the land sale will be put aside to be used in some way to benefit the children and families in the community.
“That land came from a very traumatic event, not only for the people directly involved, but the neighbourhood, the community, first responders, etcetera,” Doyle said. “I feel that any money or proceeds from the sale of that land should go to the direct benefit of our community … It should go to support the children of our community.”
She asked that the monies be specifically earmarked for that purpose in the minutes, but Mayor Frank Butt said when the Town sells land, they do not usually specify where the money can or cannot go.
However, Doyle had done some research and found that when the Town sold some land on Leslie Street, the money received from that sale had been earmarked for recreation purposes.
“If we did that before, I don’t know why we’re resistant to earmarking that for something good,” she said. “I think something good should come from something bad. I just want to see the resources allocated there.”
Acquiring the land did not cost the Town any money.
O’Grady said the Town may very well do that, but right now he and the other committee members were more concerned about getting the land appraised and ironing out the details needed to finalize its listing.
“We just want to get it on a tender, and if it sells, it may even be the next council in September who will determine where the money will go at the time,” he said.
Still, Doyle did not understand why the earmarking could not happen now.
“When we sell it, we take out the lawyer’s fees, legal fees, surveys, all that, and whatever is leftover from that should go to benefit the children and families in our community,” she said. “Whether that be making an accessible playground, whether that be improving some stuff, our ball fields that are in constant need of work.”
Although nothing was set in stone regarding the money itself, the motion presented by O’Grady was carried with Doyle being the only member to vote against it.