Hous­ing starts up in Bay Roberts

Coun­cil charts a course for 2010

The Compass - - NEWS - BY DENISE PIKE dpike@cb­n­com­pass.ca

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.”

Ac­com­plish­ments

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.

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