Housing starts up in Bay Roberts
Council charts a course for 2010
2009 was a record year for new housing starts in the town of Bay Roberts.
“Last year (2008) set a record at 60 and as of today we sit at 61 approvals for 2009,” said Mayor Glenn Littlejohn during a presentation of the town’s 2010 financial plan at a Dec. 8 regular council meeting.
“Growth in our residential sector continues at a phenomenal rate,” the mayor said.
Littlejohn noted the town is seeing skyrocketing land values, limited infill housing availability and increased demand for land and land use.
“ There were many positive developments in 2009 such as the relocation and investment by RONA in the Beaver Plaza, expansion and annex to the Veterinarian clinic and a new personal care home,” he said.
According to the mayor his town boasts some of the lowest commercial taxation rates in the region.
“I feel this gives us an advantage over our competitors,” he said. “Our economic development team continues to focus its efforts on retention and expansion of our business sector. The opportunities that will result from construction of the Hydro Met facility in Long Harbour both from a commercial and residential point of view are already evident in our town.”
During the budget speech Littlejohn also praised the commitment of his fellow councillors.
“2009 has seen this council re-elected. Never before in the history of this town has a council been re-elected en masse like members of our council were this past fall. This speaks well to the level of commitment you’ve shown for the town and its residents,” the mayor told them.
The long-term plan Mapping the Future II, which outlines the goals and objectives of the town from 2009 to 2013, will be one of the first things on the agenda for council in the new year.
“ This along with the recent hiring of our new chief administrative officer begins a new chapter in the history and development of the Town of Bay Roberts,” said Littlejohn.
The mayor also pointed out the need for the five communities within the boundary of Bay Roberts (Shearstown, Butlerville Coley’s Point, Bay Roberts and Country Road) to continue to work together as one.
“ To move ahead economically we must become one in approach,” he said. “Being 45 minutes from the province’s capital city and in the epicentre of over half our population we compete on a daily basis with our urban friends for people and new business. If we fail to become one then we’ll lose people and business to the metro region. As leaders in our community we must face the issues presented to us in education, infrastructure, land use and soft services. During our previous term we implemented a new policy around development, enforcement and planning, but there is still much to be done.”
Mayor Littlejohn also listed a number of accomplishments including the completion of a new soccer pitch and walking area at the Wilbur Sparkes Recreation Complex, continued enhancement to the Shearstown estuary and new sidewalks along Barracks Lane.
“ We’re also the proud winners of the Tidy Towns and the Torngat awards which we share with Spaniard’s Bay through our involvement with the Joint Management Committee of the estuary,” he added.
Littlejohn also highlighted some of the events organized and held in the town each year such the annual Klondyke Days and Festival of Lights.
“ These events continue to grow and attract people from across the province and the country,” he said. “ Although we no longer have a major concert, we have, with the work of the Cultural Foundation and the Holdin Ground Festival, found a new way to attract visitors to our community through the stories and tales from Pigeon Inlet. This along with our museum, cultural events like a Soldier’s Heart and the beauty of our natural landscape particularly in and around Mad Rock have more than filled the void of the Klondyke Concert.”
Littlejohn noted “the town’s Festival of Lights continues to highlight the Holiday season and the illumination parade and Illumination Park with its 25,000 plus lights is the first of its kind in the province.”
“ We continue to be leaders in community events in our province and have many communities trying to model what we do and how we do it,” he added. “Events like these could not have been accomplished over the years, without the support of our community volunteers, service organizations and corporate sponsors.
Valleyview, new school
While much has been accomplished, there’s still lots to do. One of the first issues the council wants to tackle in the coming year concerns the Valleyview subdivision.
“ Valleyview is outside our limiting of services (LOS) agreement, which means we have had to request permission from government to include it,” said Littlejohn. “ We expect approval shortly and once we have it, work will commence. It will be carried out next summer and without delay. Residents in Valleyview shouldn’t have to live in fear of flooding or damage to their property every time there’s a severe rain storm.”
According to Littlejohn 2010 will be an important year for the town on many fronts.
“ We’ll have a new municipal plan in place which aims to protect that delicate balance between commercial versus residential, industry versus heritage, and conservation versus development,” he said. “ We also have a solid multi-purpose Recreation Feasibility study in place and plans to improve our recreation and leisure activities.”
Council also plans to lobby government for a new school for the town.
“Now that we have achieved the expansion to Amalgamated Academy, we must focus on the need for a new primary school to replace Coley’s Point Primary and lobby government and the school board to commit to that need,” said Littlejohn. “Having a Kindergarten to Grade 12 system is an amenity that attracts young families to a community.”
BAY ROBERTS - Growth in the residential sector in Bay Roberts is increasing each year. In 2009 the town saw skyrocketing land values, limited infill housing availability and increased demand for land and land use.