There’s got to be a bet­ter way

The Compass - - OPINION -

The econ­omy in Con­cep­tion Bay North has been on an up­ward trend for the past six to eight years, and it’s ev­i­dent in the num­ber of hous­ing starts in places like Bay Roberts. Al­ready this year, the town has ap­proved 64 hous­ing starts, which is an­other record.

There’s sim­i­lar growth in neigh­bour­ing towns, and there’s even talk of a 100-acre sub­di­vi­sion in Spa­niard’s Bay-Tilton.

It’s be­ing fu­elled by the re­gion’s close prox­im­ity to the cap­i­tal city, and megapro­jects in places such as Long Har­bour and Bull Arm.

This is heart­en­ing when you con­sider the hard­ship and un­cer­tainty that many re­gions of the prov­ince are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing.

The busi­ness sec­tor is tak­ing no­tice of this growth, and are show­ing greater in­ter­est in the re­gion. In re­sponse, a mas­sive 240-acre “power cen­tre” is in the early stages of devel­op­ment in Spa­niard’s Bay-Tilton.

And last week, the Town of Bay Roberts passed a mo­tion at its reg­u­lar meet­ing to spend big money on the pur­chase of Crown land to de­velop its own busi­ness park. We should note that the mo­tion passed with­out any de­bate at the pub­lic meet­ing, or any men­tion of the price tag. That’s be­cause all the de­bate took place at a priv­i­leged meet­ing. The pub­lic de­serves bet­ter than that.

But back to the larger is­sue. We now have two pro­posed busi­ness parks, lo­cated less than five kilo­me­tres away from each other, com­pet­ing to at­tract com­pa­nies to their sites. In a word — asi­nine. Any busi­ness-savvy per­son would scoff at such a sit­u­a­tion, and so do we.

The one in Spa­niard’s Bay-Tilton is be­ing lever­aged with pri­vate in­vest­ment, while the one in Bay Roberts is risk­ing tax­pay­ers’ dol­lars.

We be­lieve there’s got to be a bet­ter way. Some­one needs to re­al­ize how silly this sit­u­a­tion is be­com­ing and take ac­tion. Here’s a sug­ges­tion that will cer­tainly raise eye­brows. Per­haps it’s time that Bay Roberts and Spa­niard’s Bay-Tilton — they al­ready share an ar­ti­fi­cial bound­ary — con­sider amal­ga­ma­tion.

That’s right. We said it. Do away with this fool­ish­ness. Get to­gether and fo­cus all your at­ten­tion on de­vel­op­ing one busi­ness park that will ri­val any­thing found in St. John’s, in­stead of di­lut­ing the pot and cre­at­ing hard feel­ings.

We chal­lenge those at the helm in both com­mu­ni­ties to show some cre­ative and in­spir­ing lead­er­ship and help cre­ate some­thing the en­tire re­gion can sup­port.

— Terry Roberts, edi­tor

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