Nameless road case takes unexpected turn
The Bradbury affair took an unexpected twist last week when it came up for discussion at the first regular public meeting of the recently elected Carbonear Town Council.
The item was listed under “correspondence received and action taken.”
As is normal procedure mayor Sam Slade told councillors they could peruse the correspondence and if anyone had any questions on any of the items, they could pursue them with staff.
Dep. mayor Ches Ash expressed interest in discussing the Bradbury item, which was number 20 on a lengthy list of 39 items.
Mayor Slade vacated the chair because of a conflict of interest, while dep. mayor Ash took the chair for that portion of the meeting.
“My suggestion,” said dep. mayor Ash, “is if there is a way to resolve it, we should take steps to resolve it.”
Coun. Ed Goff wanted to know if (provincial) engineers had been out to look at the road.
Coun. George Butt noted, “we had a meeting with the MHA (Jerome Kennedy) to see if they ( province) could relax” ( the requirements for the road reservation/upgrade), which in effect would allow the Bradburys to proceed with their plans to build a single dwelling on their land.
Coun. David Kennedy wanted to know what grade the road would have been brought up to according to the cost analysis. “Where would it stand? How would it be classified?
Coun. Kennedy was referring to an engineers’ report which estimated that to bring the road up to standard that would allow construction of the single dwelling would cost the town’s taxpayers $150,000.
Town Administrator Cynthia
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Davis explained there are road standards under the town’s Municipal Plan if the situation required installation of water and sewer services.
In this case the area where the Bradburys’ land is located happens to be zoned Residential Rural (RR), a zone which does not require municipal water and sewer services.
A single dwelling residence is considered a permitted use within the RR zone, subject to development standards including minimum frontage of 30 metres.
Davis pointed out the province would not cost share the cost of such development with the town, and “the full cost would have to be born by the developer.”
Coun. Kennedy asked if there is a minimum requirement for residential development on one side of a road, as is the case on the nameless service road where the Bradburys want to build.
“That depends on....” Davis replied.
Coun. Kennedy also asked the town administrator if the term reservation meant the width of a road from one piece of private land to another. “ Yes.” Davis replied.
Suggesting he was not sure pavement would be required, Coun. Butt said perhaps in this case Class A would suffice.
Coun. Kennedy had to take over the chair briefly from dep. mayor Ash, to allow the deputy mayor to comment further on the issue.
Pointing out a number of “parties” had advocated a solution for the Bradburys, Ash made it clear, “I certainly don’t advocate it at a cost to taxpayers.” However, he felt, “council should investigate
“Some have said there must be a solution. The time has come to stop saying there must be a solution and look for it.”
a resolution to this issue.”
While some have said, “there must be a solution,” Ash said, “the time has come to stop saying there must be a solution and look for it.”
Coun. Butt suggested the town’s works committee should have another look at it.
Surprised by the sudden turn of events, Coun. Gladys Mercer suggested the previous council did not reach its decision on the Bradbury application lightly. “In any kind of process like this, the Bradbury issue took a great deal of investigation,” Mercer said, going all the way to the Eastern Newfoundland Regional Appeals Board, which reviewed it before reaching its decision.
On Oct. 8 the board confirmed council’s June 8 decision to deny the Bradburys’ application for a permit to build a single dwelling on a nameless road, which connects Bunker and English Hills in an unserviced area of town.
Within its right
The board concluded that not only was council within its right to deny the permit, but that the town had no choice. Council is obliged to only permit development that meets the requirements clearly outlined in its own Municipal Plan and Development Regulations.
Last week Coun. Mercer denied council’s actions in not approving the Bradburys’ permit were in any way designed to discour- age new residents and stifle residential development. “We had 64 houses built here in four years — everyone wants new residents,” she said. But the town has rules and “we can’t just make exceptions.”
However she agreed that anything and everything can be reviewed.
Pointing out he didn’t mean to suggest the previous council did not act in the best interest of taxpayers in its earlier decision, Ash acknowledged, “the findings of the appeal board vindicated the actions of council, and I did not mean to suggest otherwise.”
Walter and Debra Bradbury had said they felt the town had discriminated against them. However the appeals board found “no evidence that Mr. and Mrs. Bradbury were dealt with in a discriminatory manner by the town...”
Are there parties, benefactors out there who are prepared to build a road for one resident, Mercer asked? “No!” Coun. Kennedy replied. Ash said he wasn’t suggesting that, “but there are parties who have said there must be a solution. And what I would like to see is council looking at that possible solution. There may be no solution at all at the end of the day,” he admitted.
Apparently the new council’s meeting with MHA Kennedy took place sometime after they were sworn into office and before last week’s council meeting.
Coun. Mercer was out of the province on vacation when the meeting took place. Not only would she have been unable to attend the meeting, but was not even aware such a meeting had taken place. “I was shocked by it,” she told
The Compass afterwards.
Wondering who the unnamed parties referred to at last week’s council meeting were, Coun. Mercer exclaimed, “that’s very interesting!”
While he was in the chair during the discussion, Ash had to remind resident Cyril Winsor, who regularly attends council meetings that, “you are here as observers only.”
The chairman was responding to an outburst in the chambers when Winsor shouted at one point, referring to Coun. Mercer, “she’s so darn critical. This is a crock!”
Coun. Mercer reminded the Bunker Hill resident that she is an elected councillor and as such, has a right to speak and express opinions without being interrupted by observers.
“We’ll entertain no discussion” (from observers), dep. mayor Ash told them.
Debate on the issue ended with Coun. George Butt making a motion, seconded by Coun. David Kennedy to have the development committee review the Bradbury case. Council gave the motion unanimous consent. In an Oct. 16 interview with
The Compass, Walter Bradbury said they were encouraged by the new blood on council. “We really believe that this new council is going to solve our problem in our favour.”