CommunityCouncilTop Story

Holyrood hopes upgrade to access road boosts business

By Mark Squibb/September 2, 2021

Blue Ocean Partners, the private real estate development company developing the Blue Ocean Industrial Park, have partnered with the Town of Holyrood to bring the road leading to the park up to shape.

The proposed improvements to Horizon Drive Road include 600 meters of road upgrades to the entrance of the industrial park, as well as improvements to the intersection at Liam Hickey Drive. The upgrades will fix a sight line deficiency at Liam Hickey.

The cost of the project is just over $343,000 and will be shared through a legal agreement between the Town and Blue Ocean Partners.

The town is forking over $85,000 from Industrial Park land sales that it already has in the bank, along with $113,135 it’s expecting within 24 months of completion from future land sales. Blue Ocean Partners is contributing $145,000. Additionally, Blue Ocean has taken on one hundred percent of the cost of the engineering design, geotechnical work, traffic study, power poles removal, entrance redesign, and other work, estimated at about $120,000, on the Town owned road.

Councillor Roger Myette said the upgrades came at the behest of the provincial government.

“In order for us to expand the Blue Ocean Industrial Park, the Department of Transportation said that we cannot use Horizon Drive the way it is now,” explained Myette. “It’s very steep, it’s on a very sharp corner. It’s always been very dangerous. Now they’re telling us we need a better road, with better sightlines. So, what we’re doing is, the incinerator road beside Horizon Drive, that is less steep, so we’re going to go ahead and use that road and go up and meet Horizon Drive up towards the top.”

He applauded Blue Ocean partners for pitching in.

“So, basically it’s a town road, and we were taking the responsibility of having it upgraded and everything, to the fact that the Department of Transportation requested it, and the Blue Ocean Partners came and said, ‘Listen, we want to throw some money your way,’ said Myette. “Which I think is a great gesture.”

Besides those heading specifically to the industrial park, Myette said, the upgrades will benefit all motorists who use Liam Hickey Drive. Furthermore, roads developed within the park will be the responsibility of the developer, and not the town.

Councilor Kim Ghaney said the motion addressed safety concerns along Liam Hickey Drive and bodes well for future business development

“In reviewing this motion and the work being done around it, I think it’s important that we recognize that it’s going to address safety in that area,” said Ghaney. “This is a town owned road, and it really is our responsibility to do any upgrades if it’s going to be in use. So, I support the motion, and I think it’s going to demonstrate to any potential investors that we are committed to our town and making sure that we have the proper infrastructure in place. And, as Roger indicated, the new roads in the area to be developed will be the full responsibility of the developer.”

Councilor Sadie King also applauded the motion, as well as the park’s impact on the town.

“This is a very important motion for the future of our town, because our town relies heavily on this industrial park and right now we have a lot of interest from a lot of major businesses who are looking to go to the park, and if we don’t provide a road for them to get there, you know where they’re going— somewhere else,” said King.

She also noted, as previously reported in The Shoreline, that the town has seen a decrease in residential property assessments of $160,000, and that revenue from the park could make up that difference.

“This has to be made up somewhere along the line,” said King. “Now, we can make it up be increasing taxes, and to me that’s not even an option. We can raise the mil rate, but that’s not an option. We can cut services, not an option. But, if we make our town a friendly place to do business, then we’re going to get this money back through business tax.”

King said that many projects around town have already been completed with money from the sales of the land.

“Last but not least, this is a safety issue, and we all know from driving Liam Hickey Drive how many trucks are using that intersection,” she concluded. “And one of these days, if there’s an accident, there’s nothing can replace a life or the injuries that a person receives there.”

Deputy Mayor Curtis Buckle also added his comments to the mix.

“This industrial park, for the residents of Holyrood, is an economic driver for our town,” said Buckle. “There’s some great work happening up there. We’re going to draw some new businesses into our industrial park. As councilor King said, we want to keep our town very stabilized, we don’t want tax increases, and by generating and getting new businesses into our town, that’s going to be an economic driver, plus creating jobs, we hope that there will be jobs created with this industrial park.”

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