Town approves sustainability plan
The Town of Spaniard’s Bay gave its final approval to the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP), prepared by Mount Pearl consulting firm Plan-Tech Environment, at its March 21 council meeting.
The 27-page document, not including appendices, took input from councillors, town staff, and residents on how they viewed the town and where they would like to see it go.
A table on pages 9-11 of the document outlines the sustainability concerns of those who attended a public meeting involved in the formulation of the ICSP. Amongst those involved with the town, there appeared a consensus on the need to focus on development of the planned commercial park to attract businesses, improve infrastructure, and upgrade and pave gravel roads.
Residents who offered their opinions on sustainability matters backed up the town’s views on infrastructure, while also pointing out the need for improved transportation ( particularly for seniors), a multi-use facility, a senior’s complex, and a continued effort to improve Lassy Days, the community’s annual summer festival. The author of the plan also wrote, “respondents felt recreation facilities were not meeting the needs of the community.”
Green spaces and trails were given a thumbs-up by respondents, as was the preservation of culture and heritage in the community. The ICSP noted that residents, councillors and staff all expressed the need for a town centre to accommodate a variety of users in Spaniard’s Bay.
The ICSP maps out further goals for the town on the environment, social development, roads and transportation, recreation and tourism, and municipal services.
The completion of the plan is a requirement of the federal government in order for the municipality to receive gas tax funds. According to the plan, the town has earmarked $112,825 of gas tax funds to be used for both water and sewer and road upgrades in the community. Need for new town hall Deputy Mayor Tony Menchions, chair of the finance committee, said he would like the town to look at potential capital funding opportunities to use towards the construction of a new town hall.
The deputy mayor brought up concerns about air quality, dampness issues in the basement, and the lack of wheelchair accessibility at the building, amongst other deficiencies, in backing up his call for a new town hall.
Town manager Tony Ryan said any move to fund a new town hall would require making an adjustment to its five-year plan, which maps out commitments for future capital spending.
Coun. Wayne Smith added that the town already has major priorities in place. Some of those likely stem from the increase in residential development, as well the potential needs to be addressed in servicing the planned business park alongside Veteran’s Memorial Highway.
Mayor John Drover, speaking after the meeting, said the issue has been discussed many times over the last number of years.
For now, the town will follow up on the deputy mayor’s recommendation to look at avenues for obtaining funds to go towards a new town hall. New staff position created The town is advertising to hire a planning and development technician, a new position on its staff. The job will serve a purpose similar to that of an economic development officer, said Deputy Mayor Menchions.
Reporting to the town manager, the technician will oversee the town’s planning and development department and maintain relationships with various organizations and different levels of government. Amongst the job holder’s responsibilities will be writing reports and grant applications. The motion to advertise for the position was unanimously approved by council.