Spaniard's stage a coup
Talk of a sprawling new business park inside the municipal boundaries of the Town of Spaniard's Bay has been ongoing for many months. But on Friday, it became more than talk when the town issued a news release, stating that the park would become a reality and that two familiar names — Kent Home Improvement and Tim Hortons — were among the first to commit to establishing locations.
Town officials, Mayor John Drover in particular, are obviously overjoyed that the development now seems likely to proceed. And why wouldn't they. It will mean millions in spending during the construction phase, lucrative new business tax revenue for the town's coffers, and, probably more importantly, hundreds of jobs. Not bad for a community of just over 2,500. To say this is a coup for Spaniard's Bay would be an understatement. For years, the towns of Bay Roberts and Carbonear have competed intensely for business investment in the region, with both sides having their share of successes. But in this case, quiet little Spaniard's Bay, sandwiched between the two, seems to have landed what may turn out to be the crown jewel. And if other examples of these "Big Box" business parks, also known as power centres, are any indication, it's likely that businesses already established in Bay Roberts and Carbonear will migrate to this new site just off Veteran's Memorial Highway, near the road to New Harbour.
Municipal leaders in Bay Roberts and Carbonear are likely uneasy about what this might mean for their business base. The true impact, however, remains to be seen.
The big question now is whether Wal-Mart, which has been an anchor tenant at the Trinity-Conception Square in Carbonear for many years, will be among those setting up shop in the new business park. You can bet the man behind the development, Brad Roberts, hopes so.
It's been said that Wal-Mart signed a new long-term lease with the mall several years ago, but we're talking about the world's largest retailer here, and buying out that lease would not be out of the question.
It wasn't too long ago that community leaders in Spaniard's Bay were bemoaning the arrival of the Veteran's Memorial Highway, saying the bypass road would mean trouble for the community. But it turns out the opposite may be the case, and Drover is now acknowledging this.
So what does all this mean? Possibly a reshaping of the business climate in Conception Bay North and Trinity South. That's all. So yeah, this is very big news. And leaders in Spaniard's Bay are more than happy that this time, it's their town that's in the spotlight.