A town needs jobs
Harbour Grace has witnessed a lot of change over the years. On one side of the coin you have the work happening on a large patch of land for the new stadium. It’s a substantial project and the biggest investment the town has received in quite some time.
You’ve also got the Adult Addictions Treatment Centre scheduled to open later this year. That’s another venture bringing jobs to the community.
But drive along Water Street and Harvey Street and you’ll also notice plenty of empty buildings. Canadian Tire moved to Carbonear years ago, as did the local Newfoundland Liquor Corporation outlet. The Terra Nova Shoes plant shut down for good last year, resulting in a loss of dozens of jobs.
The town’s most recent proposal to encourage the private sector to take an interest in Harbour Grace is quite something. It’s looking to build a marine industrial park that would expand the current marine service area by Beach Hill several hundred metres and cover an area that’s currently just water.
The process to see this idea through to the end will be lengthy, and a part of that process comes this week in a meeting Thursday night to address changes to the municipal plan. There, residents can offer their two cents.
There was already some talk about the potential impact on the adjacent registered heritage district. It’s interesting to have that issue come up considering there’s a new town committee in place examining how to build further economic development opportunities through initiatives linked to the town’s considerable heritage assets.
No doubt this project will transform the view of the harbour if it goes ahead. People walking through the heritage district will not see the clear ocean. Instead, they’ll see industry at work.
If this project doesn’t move forward, chances are it will be due to something other than altered sightlines. The town has communities on both sides of it making a push to attract new businesses and promote economic development. It’s understandable that Harbour Grace doesn’t want to remain complacent.
The jobs this industrial park would create are needed in the community. A trickledown effect would undoubtedly help other businesses too.
There’s an obvious environmental impact that needs to be looked at, and who knows what that could dredge up. But the heritage district is probably safe. The provincial government heritage division does have a say in this, and if it sees an issue, it will hopefully look out for the best interest of those with a stake in the town’s heritage-based economy.
If this project doesn’t move forward, chances are it will be due to something other than altered sightlines.