New home for Harbour Grace town hall

Melissa Jenkins
Published on January 14, 2015
The former Scotiabank building on Water Street in Harbour Grace will tranform into the new council office in the coming months.
Photo by Melissa Jenkins/The Compass

The town hall building on Water Street in Harbour Grace is going on the market, and staff and councillors will relocate to a different site down the road.

At the town's regular council meeting Wednesday, Jan. 7, Coun. Tony McCarthy confirmed the roof is being replaced on the former Scotiabank building. The single-storey, 3,000 square foot building is about 100 feet from the current town hall, and will replace it once renovations are complete.

A tender closed Dec. 29, with the successful bidder being Bear's Cove Contracting. Its bid was $18,000 plus taxes. The town will supply the materials for the project.

Work was supposed to begin on the project Monday, Jan. 5. But after an unexpected delay, it may not start until Jan. 12.

Other renos needed

During the meeting, each councillor and staff member in attendance had access to several sets of layout plans. Those plans were for the new town hall.

Copies of the drawings were not made available publicly during the meeting, but The Compass did get to see a copy of one of the plans.

Several councillors confirmed after the meeting there were several reasons they decided to move to a new location.

"This building is just not accessible for everyone," McCarthy explained.

The current town hall is a two-storey structure with a steep staircase to the upstairs council chamber.

"Many older residents can't attend meetings because they can't go up those stairs," Coun. Kathy Tetford added.

The Scotiabank building has been closed for over a decade, but was given to the town. The only stipulation for owning the structure is that an automated teller machine (ATM) remain in the foyer.

"That's not going to change," Tetford said.

A date for moving into the building has not been determined yet, since there is still a lot of work to do. But some councillors indicated the current town hall will go up for sale once the move happens.

There has been talk of incorporating town offices into the new stadium once it is built. Although it is unlikely to happen right away, McCarthy and Tetford confirmed that is still an option for future consideration.

In other town news

Meanwhile, the town now has in writing what it's looking for in the search for its next staff member - an economic development co-ordinator.

A call has been made for applications to be submitted for someone with an impressive resume.

Over the past year, Harbour Grace has witnessed the closure of one of Conception Bay North's most prominent businesses, Terra Nova Shoes, but also benefitted from growth at Harbour Grace Ocean Enterprises. The new co-ordinator is expected to maintain the growth of business, tourism and partnerships in the town to "direct our economic growth for the foreseeable future."

Details on the position can be found in section B of The Compass. Applications must be submitted to the town's chief administrative officer, Lisa Carroll, by Jan. 19 at 3 p.m.