A lot to cel­e­brate in 2010

The Compass - - TRINITY SOUTH - BY BILL BOW­MAN

When the Con­cep­tion Bay North by­pass road was be­ing pushed through back in the 1990s, some C.B.N. towns feared it could spell the be­gin­ning of the end for their fu­ture growth and devel­op­ment.

Spa­niard’s Bay was one of the towns which had some real con­cerns the Vet­er­ans Me­mo­rial High­way would ‘ by­pass’ their town and leave them out in the cold.

John Drover, who has served as the town’s mayor through­out that pe­riod, is pleased to ad­mit they were wrong.

In fact since the road opened the re­verse has hap­pened, “the town has ac­tu­ally grown and seen many im­prove­ments,” Drover said in a re­cent in­ter­view.

In­cor­po­rated June 8, 1965, Spa­niard’s Bay/ Tilton is this year mark­ing its 45th an­niver­sary of in­cor­po­ra­tion.

The town has seen lots of changes over the past four and a half decades.

Per­haps one of the biggest changes oc­curred back in 1991 when Tilton was an­nexed to Spa­niard’s Bay. Look­ing back on that move, Drover feels, “it has re­ally worked out well for both towns.” The town’s size, tax base and pop­u­la­tion all in­creased with the merger.

The town’s 2,601 peo­ple live in ap­prox­i­mately 1,000 homes in Spa­niard’s Bay/Tilton.

Av­er­ag­ing 25 per year, hous­ing starts are healthy. Some 36 hous­ing starts were recorded in 2008; 20 last year (2009) and 15 so far this year (2010).

“ When young fam­i­lies and new fam­i­lies are mov­ing in, that’s got to be good for the com­mu­nity. For a com­mu­nity this size, we are do­ing ex­cep­tion­ally well,” Drover as­serts.

But times weren’t al­ways as bright as they are now.

Back in 1997 when he first be­came mayor, Drover re­called the town was suf­fer­ing from tight times fi­nan­cially. “Forty-one cents of ev­ery dol­lar was go­ing to­wards debt charges. That has now been re­duced to 25 cents per dol­lar. “ We’ve made progress in that area and are still mak­ing progress,” the mayor says, adding, the town is in a much bet­ter fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion now than it was 13 years ago.

While 97 per cent of Spa­niard’s Bay/Tilton is ser­viced with wa­ter and sewer, the mayor says coun­cil is not sat­is­fied with that. “ We will con­tinue work­ing on get­ting ser­vices for those re­main­ing three per cent.”

Re­fer­ring to Kelly’s Pond, also known as Spi­der Pond, the mayor noted, “ we’re gifted with a ma­jor wa­ter sup­ply.” The pond pro­vides wa­ter not only to Spa­niard’s Bay and Tilton, but also to neigh­bour­ing Up­per Is­land Cove. But pro­vid­ing the in­fra­struc­ture to get that wa­ter to ev­ery home that needs it is an ex­pen­sive propo­si­tion, one the town con­tin­ues to work on with the prov­ince.

“Peo­ple want to move where they can get ser­viced build­ing lots,” Drover says.

“ The sta­tus quo is just not good enough - you ei­ther move ahead and im­prove or leave ev­ery­thing as it is and stay be­hind. That’s the at­ti­tude you have to take,” the mayor be­lieves.

Ser­vices at­tract

“ The more ser­vices you can of­fer, the more it en­cour­ages peo­ple to come to town.”

And Spa­niard’s Bay/Tilton has a lot more go­ing for it be­sides ba­sic ser­vices like wa­ter and sewer.

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