The Town of Harbour Grace wants to get the ball rolling on its planned marine industrial park.
The multi-million dollar proposed park was last seen in the hands of government. The previous Progressive Conservative government was taking time to review the project for possible funding.
Now, with a new government in place officials are hoping the project can be shifted from the review stage to the movement stage.
Councillors Hayward Blake and Gordon Stone both spoke on the issue — at different times – during the town’s regular council meeting on Jan. 6.
Blake rose first to bring up the project. He mentioned meetings with newly minted Harbour Grace-Port de Grave MHA Pam Parsons and her excitement to get things going.
“The review process is still ongoing and they’re hoping to have us something in the near future,” said Blake. “In the meantime, Ms. Parsons is briefing the minister on what this project means to this town and to the region.”
Members of council are looking at it as a project that would reap benefits for plenty of towns in the region. To them, it’s more than just a project that would be of economic benefit to Harbour Grace.
“This can benefit more than just this town,” said Coun. Gordon Stone. “It can help the region.”
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Previously the town had a feasibility report completed by SNC-Lavelin that projected the cost of the park at $23.5 million. The town would lease property at the industrial park to one or more companies and also generate revenue through berthage charges, wharfage fees and taxes.
The report also tabulated the projected economic return for Harbour Grace. SNC-Lavelin estimated that at over $7 million annually.
“This is so important to this town,” said Stone.
The project has not been without its detractors. They point to an inevitable clash with the community’s registered heritage district, which runs adjacent to the planned development area.
During the council meeting, the town expressed an interest in purchasing the Ridley Office building located at the bottom of Beach Hill Road. They’re more interested in the land and would not be tearing down the historic structure.
When contacted last week, the owner of Ridley Offices was unequivocally against selling her property.
“The council has approached me a number of times asking if I’d be willing to sell the property and I’ve been very clear that I am not selling,” said Rhonda Parsons.
The construction of the building dates back to the mid-1800s. Parsons bought the property in 2005 and has put a significant investment into the building.
“The building is well-cared for,” she said.
What’s in a name?
Motorists who regularly take the Veteran’s Memorial Highway have been sure to notice the stark progress made in the construction of the new stadium.
The framing is complete and much of the siding has been added to the facility. By the time of this reading, it is possible the entire structure will be fully enclosed.
All of this goes a long way in ensuring the project remains on schedule. Having all four walls set means workers can begin to work on the inside and away from the elements.
With that in mind, Deputy Mayor Sonia Williams suggested that council start thinking about what to call the new rink.
Plenty of playground equipment en route
Children in Harbour Grace will have plenty of outside options when this coming spring and summer rolls around.
It was mentioned during the meeting that the town purchased eight new playground pieces recently. Although no total price was mentioned, the pieces were purchased using money allocated in last year’s budget.
Offer on old building
The town has received a formal offer on the purchase of the old municipal building, however any action was deferred until a later meeting.