Harming historic appeal
Industrial park will hurt heritage district: business owner
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.
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.
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.
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.