Harm­ing his­toric ap­peal

In­dus­trial park will hurt her­itage dis­trict: busi­ness owner

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON

A Har­bour Grace bed and break­fast owner doesn’t be­lieve a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar marine in­dus­trial park will be a good neigh­bour for the town’s reg­is­tered her­itage dis­trict.

Ge­orge But­ler, co-owner of Rothe­say House Inn, said the cur­rent plan to ex­pand the marine ser­vice area from Beach Hill Road east­ward along the shore­line would dra­mat­i­cally al­ter sight­lines to the har­bour from the Har­bour Grace Her­itage Dis­trict. Des­ig­nated in 1992 by the Her­itage Foun­da­tion of New­found­land and Labrador, the her­itage dis­trict ex­tends from Point of Beach to the Ro­man Catholic Cathe­dral along Wa­ter Street.

“The her­itage dis­trict area was given the des­ig­na­tion, and one of the stip­u­la­tions of that when it was orig­i­nally awarded the des­ig­na­tion in Har­bour Grace … was that sight­lines wouldn’t be (al­tered),” But­ler said dur­ing a public in­for­ma­tion ses­sion the town held last Wed­nes­day at the lo­cal fire hall.

“Sight­lines mean­ing good vi­sion of the ocean har­bourfront in the her­itage dis­trict, and this pro­ject would oblit­er­ate that.”

This pro­ject is linked to one of sev­eral amend­ments to the mu­nic­i­pal plan that will be up for dis­cus­sion at a July 23 public hear­ing. The pro­posed marine in­dus­trial park would ex­tend from the shore along Beach Hill Road to the Conception Bay Mu­seum, sit­ting ap­prox­i­mately 200 feet from the shore­line along Wa­ter Street. The Conception Bay Mu­seum is lo­cated ap­prox­i­mately 400 me­tres east of Beach Hill Road.

Rothe­say House, a reg­is­tered her­itage struc­ture orig­i­nally built in Bri­gus in 1855 be­fore it was moved to Har­bour Grace and re­con­structed in 1906, would have a di­rect view from its front yard of the pro­posed in­dus­trial park.

“Would you lose the her­itage des­ig­na­tion to that area? Be­cause now you’re chang­ing the seascape and land­scape in that her­itage dis­trict,” he said.

Town’s per­spec­tive

Con­sult­ing com­pany SNCLavalin pre­pared a park fea­si­bil­ity study for the Town of Har­bour Grace. Phase one con­struc­tion would re­port­edly cost ap­prox­i­mately $12 mil­lion. Coun. Gord Stone said last Wed­nes­day con­struc­tion would cre­ate as many as 200 jobs and, once com­pleted, bring new busi­ness to the com­mu­nity. The pro­ject would in­crease the town’s tax base and also cre­ate rev­enue through leas­ing ar­range­ments.

“It turned out the study was very pos­i­tive,” Stone said. “Rev­enue-ex­pen­sive pro­jec­tions were lu­cra­tive, to say the least, for a small town.”

If the pro­posal moves for­ward, Stone said it will need fund­ing from mul­ti­ple sources that could in­cluded the fed­eral and pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ments and the pri­vate sec­tor.

Ac­cord­ing to the draft of the mu­nic­i­pal plan amend­ments posted on the town’s web­site, the Her­itage Di­vi­sion of the Depart­ment of Busi­ness, Tourism, Cul- ture and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment would need to ap­prove the site lay­out and land uses for the area in or­der for this pro­ject to pro­ceed. So would the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Con­ser­va­tion, Trans­port Canada and Fish­eries and Oceans Canada.

The public hear­ing on pro­posed amend­ments to the town’s mu­nic­i­pal plan takes place Thurs­day, July 23, at 2 p.m. at the town hall.

PHOTO BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON/THE COM­PASS

This im­age in­cluded in a fea­si­bil­ity study shows what the pro­posed marine in­dus­trial park in Har­bour Grace could look like. This con­cept has re­port­edly been al­tered to move the park 200 feet from the shore ad­ja­cent to Wa­ter Street.

PHOTO BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON/THE COM­PASS

Rothe­say House Inn co-owner Ge­orge But­ler is wor­ried the pro­posed lo­ca­tion of a marine in­dus­trial park will ir­repara­bly harm Har­bour Grace’s Reg­is­tered Her­itage Dis­trict.

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