Coun­cil di­vided again on se­niors’ devel­op­ment

Har­bour Grace of­fers tax in­cen­tive in ex­change for wa­ter and sewer sys­tem

The Compass - - NEWS - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON edi­tor@CB­N­com­pass.ca

Har­bour Grace town coun­cil mem­bers are once again at odds with each other over a se­niors’ devel­op­ment in the com­mu­nity.

At last Wed­nes­day’s coun­cil meet­ing, a mo­tion was ap­proved to pro­vide a tax in­cen­tive to Reynolds Man­age­ment, the com­pany re­spon­si­ble for a se­niors’ com­plex on Doyle’s Lane in River­head.

In ex­change, the de­vel­oper will pay for the in­stal­la­tion of a wa­ter and sewer sys­tem that will bring ser­vice to that road up to town stan­dards. Once that work is fin­ished, the town will take own­er­ship of that in­fra­struc­ture.

The tax in­cen­tive’s max­i­mum value is $125,000. Coun. Hay­ward Blake, co-chair of the eco­nomic devel­op­ment com­mit­tee, told fel­low coun­cil mem­bers that the ar­range­ment is cost-ef­fec­tive, call­ing it an in­vest­ment for the town.

“We want to grow our town,” he said last Wed­nes­day. “We want to bring new peo­ple into our town. We want to im­prove our in­fra­struc­ture in terms of wa­ter and sewer and roads. This devel­op­ment will bring new cit­i­zens to our town.

“It will bring peo­ple who will shop here, eat at our restau­rants, and this road will also en­able fur­ther devel­op­ment on the parcels of land be­yond Doyle’s (Lane), which could bring back to the town sub­stan­tial amounts of money based on the num­ber of parcels of land that are actu- ally sold there.”

The coun­cil pre­vi­ously in­tro­duced and adopted a reg­u­la­tion change to re­move min­i­mum land re­quire­ments for se­niors’ de­vel­op­ments to ac­com­mo­date the Doyle’s Lane pro­posal.

Coun­cil­lors Tony McCarthy and Kathy Tet­ford, who both op­posed that reg­u­la­tion change, also spoke out against the tax in­cen­tive. McCarthy said the move goes against past prac­tices and could set a prece­dent that’s not in the town’s best in­ter­est.

Fi­nance com­mit­tee chair Tet­ford agreed.

“I do have a fear that we’re open­ing a can of worms, be­cause any devel­op­ment is a devel­op­ment (and) any de­vel­oper is a de­vel­oper — a garage, one unit, 10 units — it’s a devel­op­ment,” she said.

“And whether you spend $1.5 mil­lion on one unit or $1.5 mil- lion on 10 units, they should all be treated the same. I’m just hop­ing that by mak­ing this mo­tion … the town is pre­pared to ac­cept all re­quests that come in for tax in­cen­tives or tax write­offs for devel­op­ment.”

The mo­tion was ap­proved by a vote of five-to-two, with McCarthy and Tet­ford the lone dis­sent­ing par­ties. Tet­ford later gave no­tice that she in­tends to in­tro­duce a mo­tion at the next meet­ing call­ing on coun­cil to in­cor­po­rate a sim­i­lar in­cen­tive pack­age in the town’s tax struc­ture for all forms of devel­op­ment.

“The rea­son for that mo­tion is in fair­ness to all res­i­dents,” she said.

The next coun­cil meet­ing is sched­uled for May 20 at 7:30 p.m.

PHOTO BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON/THE COMPASS

Har­bour Grace town coun­cil­lors Tony McCarthy and Kathy Tet­ford voted against a mo­tion to of­fer a tax in­cen­tive to the de­vel­oper of a se­niors’ com­plex on Doyle’s Lane in River­head.

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