Ic­ing on the cake

Ma­jor devel­op­ment com­ing to Spa­niard’s Bay

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY BILL BOW­MAN

Af­ter two years of ne­go­ti­a­tions, Spa­niard’s Bay has inked a deal with a lo­cal de­vel­oper to pro­ceed with a ma­jor com­mer­cial devel­op­ment off Vet­er­ans Me­mo­rial High­way.

The town has agreed to pro­vide wa­ter and sewer ser­vices to the site, lo­cated just east of the high­way, north of the New Har­bour Road.

Brad Roberts Devel­op­ment Inc. of Spa­niard’s Bay will de­velop the site to be known as Vet­er­ans Park.

Kent Build­ing Sup­plies and Tim Hor­tons are the first ma­jor chains to make com­mit­ments to set up shop in the 40-plus acre site.

While the com­mer­cial park will be lo­cated within the town bound­aries of Spa­niard’s Bay, which will ben­e­fit di­rectly from the new source of com­mer­cial tax rev­enue, spin-off from the devel­op­ment is ex­pected to ben­e­fit the en­tire re­gion.

De­scrib­ing it as a “ma­jor, ma­jor devel­op­ment,” Mayor John Drover said, “we are very ex­cited to wit­ness the eco­nomic pros­per­ity and op­por­tu­nity this project will of­fer the en­tire Con­cep­tion Bay North and Trin­ity South area.”

Point­ing out the devel­op­ment will cre­ate “ hun­dreds of jobs,” the mayor noted, “ mil­lions of dol­lars will be pumped into our re­gional econ­omy.”

Coun­cil does not own the land where the devel­op­ment is tak­ing place, but be­cause it lies within its mu­nic­i­pal bound­aries, the town does have to ap­prove the devel­op­ment, which it has al­ready done.

Drover said the pro­vin­cial cabi­net has ap­proved the sale of the crown land to the de­vel­oper, and last year coun­cil re­zoned the area from ru­ral to com­mer­cial to pave the way for the project to pro­ceed.

Asked how ac­cess would be pro­vided to the site from Vet­er­ans Me­mo­rial, Drover said an un­der­pass will be con­structed in the area con­nect­ing the high­way with a road, which will take traf­fic to and from the site. He said the un­der­pass has also been ap­proved by govern­ment and de­sign and en­gi­neer­ing work is al­ready un­der­way.

The first step will be the clear­ing of land in the area, and Drover ex­pects a ground­break­ing cer­e­mony to take place some­time this fall.

“ The devel­op­ment has al­ready se­cured letters of in­tent from ma­jor chain stores,” Drover said, adding, “ with over 200 acres avail­able, we have room for ev­ery­one.” He was re­fer­ring to the fact that be­sides the com­mer­cial park, the site is large enough to ac­com­mo­date in­dus­trial and res­i­den­tial devel­op­ment, which he fully ex­pects will be at­tracted to the site.

Com­par­ing it to de­vel­op­ments like Kelsey Drive off Ken­mount Road in St. John’s, the mayor said, “ ne­go­ti­a­tions are cur­rently un­der­way with ma­jor box store ten­ants, gro­cery store chains and spe­cialty out­lets.

When the Vet­er­ans Me­mo­rial High­way was un­der con­struc­tion in the 1990s, Spa­niard’s Bay was among the Con­cep­tion Bay North towns that had con­cerns the high­way would by­pass their town, tak­ing traf­fic and busi­ness with it. But the high­way has ac­tu­ally had the re­verse ef­fect and in the first decade of the 21st cen­tury, the town has been en­joy­ing pros­per­ity.

This lat­est devel­op­ment is just ic­ing on the cake.

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