Down­town area needs long-term plan

The Compass - - OPINION - BY BILL BOW­MAN

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.

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