CommunityCouncilTop Story

Carbonear moves to restrict downtown buildings to business use as much as possible

By Mark Squibb/April 7, 2022

Carbonear council has passed a new policy that will limit the type of permit requests that council will consider for the town’s downtown core.

The new policy, approved during the last public council meeting, states that only commercial uses will be considered for street level spaces in buildings located within the downtown heritage area.

That area consists of a large chunk of Water Street, beginning near the Carbonear Railway Museum and stretching as far as the wharf near Church Street, including portions of Chipman’s Lane, Bond Street, P.F. Finn Street, Musgrave Street, Bannerman Street, and O’Driscoll’s Lane.

The motion reads that “whereas it is the objective of the Carbonear Municipal Plan to preserve and enhance the vitality and viability of the downtown heritage area as the economic, historic, social, and cultural centre of Carbonear, and maximize it’s economic potential as a tourism resource, and whereas the Downtown Heritage Area Policy is for council to ensure a good mix of commercial uses, be it resolved that only commercial uses will be considered for the street level space in the buildings in the downtown heritage area.”

Mayor Frank Butt declared a conflict of interest, as he typically does on any matter relating to Carbonear’s downtown, and Deputy Mayor Sam Slade and councillor Malcom Seymour were not present at the meeting, leaving four councillors – Danielle Doyle, Chris O’Grady, Ray Noel, and Peter Snow – to vote on the matter. Those four voted unanimously in favour of the policy.

The motion passed with little discussion, although Doyle clarified the policy will not affect any pre-existing residences and existed on a ‘going forward’ basis.

The policy does allow for residential spaces on second storey or basement levels.

The new policy, apparently, is not all that different from the town’s previous policy.

Town CAO Cynthia Davis confirmed to The Shoreline that a previous council indicated that it would consider residential uses on the ground floor provided a minimum of 25 per cent was maintained as commercial.

There are a number of ground level residences along Water Street and other roads within the heritage boundary. Davis said those would have been approved prior to council’s decision of years ago.

Many trace the revitalization of Carbonear’s downtown core to the grand opening of the Stone Jug Restaurant in 2015. Official work on the $5 million, three-phase revitalization project started in 2018, when the provincial and federal governments announced over $700,000 in funding for the first phase of the project. That work began in 2019.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *