Town approves stop-work order
Hr. Grace council members not happy with developer
The Town of Harbour Grace hopes a stop-work order will send a message to the person behind a proposed housing development near the eastern entrance to the town.
Site work has been taking place for the last three years along a section of Cathedral Street between the entranceway to Bristol’s Hope and Veterans’ Memorial Highway. The plan in place is to build residential properties on both sides of the road.
Several council members who spoke during last Wednesday’s council meeting expressed frustration over the amount of work that’s been done over the last three years. An application from 10910 Newfoundland Inc. and developer Ted Penney for a permit to continue with work at the site was tabled during the meeting.
Coun. Gordon Stone was among the most vocal councillors on the topic at the meeting.
“I know the citizens that have talked to me are very discouraged with the look of the entrance to the town, and I’m not changing my position on it until that original agreement that we did as a council with the developer to enable that development to go ahead in good faith gets done.”
Deputy Mayor Sonia Williams also noted the area’s importance to the town’s image.
“It’s alright if it’s in the woods and not seen, but that’s an en- trance to the town,” she said.
The first two-year permit was issued April 16, 2012, according to the town. At a meeting this April, council agreed that in order for a new development permit to be granted, the town would require a surety that would involve an unspecified sum of money. That figure would serve as a debt obligation in the event the developer defaults on an agreement.
“We had a meeting with the person concerned,” said Stone. “We agreed upon a direction. We wanted a letter saying to what we agreed upon — for all of it. We haven’t got the letter … and until we get that letter, none of it is legal. The letter is what council wanted to protect the interests of the town.”
Reached by The Compass Friday, Penney said he received all the required zone changes and permits for his residential development from the previous council and wants to move on with his project.
“My job is to develop my property, and I’ll develop my property,” he said.
As of Friday, he had not received any notice of a stop-work order. He was however contacted by town manager Lisa Pike last Friday about meeting with a town committee Monday, July 20. Penney said the town is costing him money and if necessary, he’d be ready to go to court with the municipality.
“If they want to hate me, they have to take a number,” he said, noting that his development is a work-in-progress and requires time. Penney has instructed lawyers to draft a letter on his behalf to the town. He told The Compass as of last Friday he had not been issued a stop-work order.
Not all council members were on board with the motion to issue a stop-work order. Coun. Pat Haire and Coun. Kathy Tetford voted against it. Both have spoken individually with Penney.
“If we stop him from doing what he’s doing now, how do we fight him to clean it up,” asked Tetford.
“I agree that he has us between a rock and a hard place,” added Haire. “In order to clean it up, he’s got to mess it up. That’s my issue with it … I know he hasn’t got a good track record — and I agree with all that stuff — but it takes a mess in order to create something. I’m half leaning towards him getting that piece of land cleaned up.”
The Town of Harbour Grace voted in favour of a motion to issue a stop-work order to a developer planning to build homes on pieces of land adjacent to Cathedral Street.