Con­tro­versy over cof­fee and tea

New Har­bour Grace busi­ness on its way to get­ting ap­proval from town


Busi­ness was boom­ing at the Ad­mi­ral’s Café and Gift Store on the south­side of Har­bour Grace on open­ing day, May 28. There were line-ups for cof­fee and tea, and muffins were go­ing like the prover­bial hot­cakes, de­spite lit­tle ad­ver­tis­ing.

Not bad for an op­er­a­tion that, ac­cord­ing to the Town of Har­bour Grace, had opened its doors with­out a proper busi­ness per­mit from coun­cil.

Af­ter learn­ing the café had opened with­out its ap­proval, coun­cil voted unan­i­mously at its May 30 reg­u­lar meet­ing to write Pauline Yet­man, the café op­er­a­tor, or­der­ing her to cease op­er­a­tions.

The café and gift shop is op­er­at­ing in­side a ship-shaped struc­ture on the grounds of the Ad­mi­ral’s Ma­rina, which is op­er­ated by the Har­bour Au­thor­ity of Har­bour Grace.

First ap­pli­ca­tion de­nied

When Yet­man first ap­plied for a com- mer­cial oc­cu­pancy per­mit to op­er­ate the busi­ness in March, coun­cil de­nied the ap­pli­ca­tion on the grounds that the area where the ma­rina is lo­cated is zoned “open space/ re­cre­ation.” Com­mer­cial op­er­a­tions are not con­sid­ered a per­mit­ted use in that zone.

Town clerk/ad­min­is­tra­tor Lester For­ward ex­plained at the time if the har­bour au­thor­ity wished to op­er­ate a food out­let such as a café to sup­ple­ment its op­er­a­tion, that would be con­sid­ered an “ac­ces­sory use (to a fa­cil­ity that al­ready ex­ists).” How­ever, re­fer­ring to Yet­man’s ap­pli­ca­tion, the town ad­min­is­tra­tor ex­plained, “this is a sep­a­rate busi­ness; a pri­vate en­ter­prise.”

Last week, For­ward fur­ther ex­plained: “Pauline Yet­man couldn’t get a per­mit be­cause it could not be con­sid­ered as an ac­ces­sory use to a fa­cil­ity she doesn’t own, but a stand­alone com­mer­cial op­er­a­tion in an area zoned open space/re­cre­ation.”

Mayor Don Coombs said a pri­vate en­ter­prise doesn’t qual­ify un­der the town’s zon­ing reg­u­la­tions out­lined in the new town plan.

No au­thor­ity

The har­bour au­thor­ity has ju­ris­dic­tion over the ma­rina, but coun­cil con­tends it does not have the au­thor­ity to is­sue a per­mit to op­er­ate a pri­vate busi­ness on its prop­erty — a right which rests solely with coun­cil un­der the Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties Act.

While the op­er­a­tor does have a lease agree­ment with the har­bour au­thor­ity, as far as the town is con­cerned, that does not con­sti­tute a per­mit to op­er­ate a pri­vate busi­ness. “ She’s sub­leased prop­erty from the har­bour au­thor­ity, but that ar­range­ment doesn’t concern us — it is not a per­mit to op­er­ate,” Mayor Coombs said last week.

When The Com­pass vis­ited the café on the morn­ing of June 1, Yet­man had not re­ceived any letter from the town and said she was un­aware the is­sue had come up at the coun­cil meet­ing.

By sell­ing lo­cally pro­duced crafts and sou­venirs of Har­bour Grace, Yet­man said

Photo by Bur­ton K. Janes/The Com­pass

Wal­ter and Eleanor Smith of South River have a par­tial an­swer to the ques­tion of who placed a head­stone at the gravesite of Wal­ter’s de­ceased par­ents. But part of the mys­tery may never be solved.

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