Downtown area needs long-term plan
Councillor Fred Earle would like to see the Town of Carbonear make some “long term plan to revitalize the downtown (Water Street) area of town and attract new business to the downtown area.”
Coun. Earle raised the issue at the first regular council meeting for this month held last Monday, April 6. The issue was raised under New Business: Water Street beautification and future development plans.
Pointing to the number of vacant buildings along the street, Coun. Earle talked about the need for some kind of “strategic plan for the sustainability” of the area.
For example, as part of the Carbonear Island Strategy, which he chairs for council, Coun. Earl mentioned one of the recommendations of that plan was a boardwalk along the waterfront from the historic Rorke Stores at the west end of Water Street east to the public wharf.
Coun. Gladys Mercer noted for the past three years Council has been writing businesses in the downtown core encouraging them to refurbish their properties. While Council does not always get a good response to such requests, Coun. Mercer said sometimes they do, and that is always encouraging to see.
As for the town, Coun. Mercer felt, “we’ve done our part” in helping restore Water Street. For example she mentioned the old Post Office, which has been restored and has been designat- ed a provincial historic site, and there is lots of other work ongoing.
“Maybe a committee should be formed in conjunction with the Carbonear Island committee,” Coun. Mercer suggested.“Maybe we (council) should start thinking about that.”
Coun. Fred Earle, meanwhile, pointed out, “there are a lot of government programs out there, which, to use a cleache, are shovel ready.”
And to use another well-worn expression, Coun. Earle suggested, “we should strike while the iron is hot.”
While the town would have to fund some of the work to be done in the downtown area, Coun. Earle noted funds for such projects are also available from other levels of government - it’s just a matter of going after them.
BOARDWALK - A short length of boardwalk extends along the Carbonear waterfront behind the historic Rorke Stores. It was installed earlier this year as part of the cribbing work at the rear of the building. Councillor Fred Earle would like to see a similar boardwalk extended eastward all the way to the public wharf, as was originally proposed in the Carbonear Island Strategy. That’s just one of the attractions he would like to see as part of a long-term strategic plan to help make the downtown core more attractive for tourists and investors.