Much hap­pen­ing in Har­bour Grace

Town coun­cil set­tling in by con­tin­u­ing projects, pro­mot­ing growth

The Compass - - OPINION - BYMELISSA JENK­INS Melissa.jenk­

Since res­i­dents in the Town of Har­bour Grace ousted all but one mem­ber of their for­mer coun­cil on Sept. 24, the new elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives have spent hours go­ing over fresh and in­no­va­tive ideas for the town.

Mayor Terry Barnes — the only re­turnee from the pre­vi­ous coun­cil, hav­ing de­feated in­cum­bent mayor Don Coombs for the top post — told The Com­pass dur­ing a sit-down meet­ing Nov. 21 that some coun­cil meet­ings have lasted up to four hours.

Barnes dis­cussed some of the changes and de­vel­op­ments cur­rently tak­ing place in the town of some 3,200.

For­ward re­turns, tem­po­rar­ily

Since the re­tir­ing of town man­ager Lester For­ward Nov. 1, town of­fi­cials de­cided his ex­per­tise were nec­es­sary to com­plete sev­eral ad­min­is­tra­tive tasks, in­clud­ing the 2014 op­er­art­ing bud­get, pric­ing cap­i­tal works and pre­par­ing the year-end fi­nan­cial


Har­bour Grace Mayor Terry Barnes

state­ments for the town’s ac­coun­tant.

Be­cause his re­tire­ment was al­ready of­fi­cial, town coun­cil and For­ward dis­cussed an al­ter­na­tive and unique pay­ment in­stead of plac­ing him back on the pay­roll.

“In lieu of his ser­vices, we have signed a con­tract with (Lester) from Nov. 1 to Jan. 15,” Barnes ex­plained. “When ev­ery­thing is com­pleted for mu­nic­i­pal af­fairs and ev­ery­thing is ap­proved, in­stead of pay­ing a salary, he has agreed to take the town Jeep as pay­ment.”

Barnes then said the worth of the ve­hi­cle would be on par with what the pay would have been — $19,000.

“We had plans to sell the ve­hi­cle af­ter Lester re­tired any­way,” he added.

The ve­hi­cle was orig­i­nally pur­chased for For­ward to use dur­ing his em­ploy­ment at the town of­fice. The new town man­ager — which is cur­rently be­ing re­cruited — will not have a ve­hi­cle in their con­tract.

Sean O’Brien, who works in the of­fice at town hall, has been tak­ing care of other town man­ager du­ties un­til a new one is hired.

Sta­dium ad­vanc­ing

On Wed­nes­day, Nov. 20, it was an­nounced a new sta­dium man­ager — Jen­nifer (Bourne) Janes — had been hired. But there is more stadi- um news as fi­nal­iza­tion of de­sign and bud­get creeps closer.

The cur­rent “pro­posed site” for the new fa­cil­ity is on the east side of Jamie’s Way, be­side Vet­er­ans Me­mo­rial High­way. The site has to con­tain cer­tain spec­i­fi­ca­tions be­fore be­gin­ning con­struc­tion.

One of those spec­i­fi­ca­tions is en­sur­ing the land cho­sen can with­stand the weight of such a large struc­ture. The site is ad­ja­cent to a marsh.

Barnes con­firmed test holes will be dug in the next few weeks. If the ground is un­sta­ble, the town will hav e t o g o t o site op­tion B — al­though the lo­ca­tion has not been pub­licly dis­closed.

Town of­fi­cials would like to see the Jamie’s Way lo­ca­tion suc­ceed be­cause the area has “po­ten­tial” for more de­vel­op­ment.

Barnes would like more busi­nesses at­tracted to the area, and be­lieves it would hap­pen if the fu­ture sta­dium is built at the pre­ferred site.

The ques­tion has been brought to the mayor’s at­ten­tion sev­eral times in re­cent months about if the fund­ing has been se­cured for the town’s 20 per cent split of the $21 mil­lion.

“The fund­ing has been ap­proved through CIBC,” Barnes said. “Af­ter look­ing at our books, they were pre­pared to put up the $3.8 mil­lion. I can’t see it get­ting de­railed.”

Growth and pro­mo­tion

Mean­while, a new eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment board is be­ing pro­posed so the town can pro­mote it­self for eco­nomic and tourism pur­poses.

Har­bour Grace Ocean En­ter­prises — for­merly Dawe’s Weld­ing — is an ex­am­ple of how things may be mov­ing. The com­pany is dis­cussing ex­pan­sion op­tions with the town.

Al­though de­tails have been scarce, The Com­pass has learned the com­pany is look­ing to ac­quire another piece of land to bring in more busi­ness.

The town is also dis­tribut­ing a new quar­terly news­let­ter to keep res­i­dents abreast of the af­fairs of coun­cil, with the next is­sue to be dis­trib­uted in Jan­uary.

Photo by Melissa Jenk­ins

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