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Bay Roberts contractor ordered to operate within his zone

By Craig Westcott/April 28, 2022

It took some debate, but Bay Roberts council has agreed to ratify an order to a business on L.T. Stick Drive that straddles the boundary between residential and commercial activity to move heavy equipment from the residential side of its property over to the confines of the commercial side.

Chief administrative officer Nigel Black explained the issue to council at the April 12 public meeting.

“We’ve had some discussion about this in the past,” Black said, after noting the order had already been issued by staff but needed ratification by council for it to take effect. “It’s basically (about the) carrying on of the normal business or the heavy equipment operating business beyond the zoning line that allows him to do so.”

Black said the Town’s director of protective services has visited the business and advised the owner of where exactly the boundary lies.

“Following that, he continued to use heavy equipment and business equipment across the line, so we issued an order of violation,” Black said. 

Mayor Walter Yetman then read the motion aloud. It not only contained ratification of the order, but also a direction to the business operator that if any further infractions occur, they will be documented for prosecution, and if a voluntary payment of the penalty is not submitted by the deadline of April 18, council will approve further legal action.

Councillor Perry Bowering indicated he was not pleased to be only learning of the issue now, after it has been in the hands of town staff and the executive committee since this past fall.

“If there is something that is going to involve council, we should all be notified from the beginning,” Bowering argued.  

Black acknowledged the issue is a “carry over item” from the previous council and that all members of that council were aware of it. He added the issue comes up every spring.

Another councillor pointed out the operator usually keeps his equipment at a site on Country Road and there are no complaints about it there, but at certain points in the year, he doesn’t want to leave the equipment there.

Mayor Yetman said it’s a matter of trying to balance the commercial interests of the operator and the interests of residents on L.T. Stick Drive who are concerned about the heavy equipment in the area.

“Generally, it’s a problem earlier in the morning”, Black acknowledged. “It doesn’t usually stretch into the evenings, that I’m aware of.”

But the particular issue here, Black pointed out, is that the owner is operating his heavy equipment outside of the zone where that is permitted, and this order is simply following through on a decision made by the previous council.

Deputy Mayor Geoff Seymour suggested that going forward it might be a good idea to brief all new councillors on “hot button” issues left over from the previous term.

Black agreed that makes sense, but explained at the time of the council transition last fall, this particular item wasn’t a hot button issue.

Mayor Yetman added the issue until now has been kept to the privileged agenda because of possible legal implications.

“So maybe a simple scanning of those items would bring everybody up to speed on it,” he suggested.

Councillor Ross Petten asked for clarification on how much of the operator’s business has bled over the boundary into the residential zone. 

Black estimated that three quarter’s or more of the operator’s property is located within the commercial zone.

“So, did we literally have to paint a line in the sand here?” asked councillor Silas Badcock.

“We kind of did, yes,” Black said.

“It’s a sensitive area, it’s sort of a mixed zone with homeowners and commercial,” Seymour allowed. “Rules are set in place to protect everyone.”

Mayor Yetman agreed. “Residents have rights to a certain quality of life and so we’re following through, taking care of business as best we can,” he said.

With that, he called the vote on the motion, which passed unanimously.

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