Old Per­li­can res­i­dents want more info

Traf­fic con­cerns raised about po­ten­tial de­vel­op­ment

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

Old Per­li­can res­i­dents have some con­cerns about po­ten­tial de­vel­op­ment in the small Trin­ity Bay com­mu­nity that would re­port­edly have a mil­lion-dol­lar view.

A public hear­ing last Thurs­day at­tracted about a dozen at­ten­dees, not in­clud­ing a few town coun­cil mem­bers also in at­ten­dance. The meet­ing was held to get public feed­back on the town’s pro­posal to re­zone a piece of land on Long’s Hill from ru­ral to residential.

The piece of Crown land in ques­tion is ap­prox­i­mately 200 me­tres by 150 me­tres. Mayor Bruce But­ton told The Com­pass Fri­day some in­ter­est has been ex­pressed in de­vel­op­ing that land, but he ex­pects the town is still years away from see­ing de­vel­op­ment hap­pen there. In a com­mu­nity like Old Per­li­can, it can be hard to find land to pur­chase for de­vel­op­ment.

“We’ve got peo­ple that have come back here that lived in St. John’s, young fam­i­lies,” said But­ton. “Now that’s fine if you’ve got a fam­ily mem­ber that has a piece of land that you can use, but if you haven’t, where do you get it here? You drive around the com­mu­nity and there’s a lot of land when you look around, but it’s all pri­vately owned. No­body will sell it. They’re hold­ing on to it for this guy or that guy in the fam­ily.

“We just can’t stay still. We need to grow here. This is a pretty pros­per­ous com­mu­nity, and we need to make land avail­able for some­body who wants to come here and build a home.”

“We’ve got peo­ple that have come back here that lived in St. John’s, young fam­i­lies.”

Mayor Bruce But­ton

Many who spoke at Thurs­day’s meet­ing live on Long’s Hill, which is a slim road. When two cars are trav­el­ling in op­po­site di­rec­tions, some­one needs to pull over.

“I’ve got no prob­lem with that with the few peo­ple that’s up there,” said Long’s Hill res­i­dent Aaron But­ton (no re­la­tion to the mayor). “Like all small com­mu­ni­ties, we work to­gether. We know ev­ery­body. But do we want 20 strangers up there mak­ing us pull off (the side of the road) ev­ery time we go off to work in the morn­ing?”

Aware of road’s short­com­ings

Mayor But­ton noted coun­cil is fully aware of the fact the road on Long’s Hill is not in good shape. The town in­cluded repaving the road in its cap­i­tal works pro­posal to gov­ern­ment this year. If ap­proved, gov­ern­ment spec­i­fi­ca­tions would re­quire the town to widen it.

“Those spec­i­fi­ca­tions would call for the road to be widened com­pared to what it is to­day,” he said. Whether that would for cer­tain in­volve res­i­dents los­ing their land, the mayor can­not say for sure.

“It may or may not. We haven’t sent an engi­neer up there to ac­tu­ally map out ex­actly where the road is gong to go. It’s all spec­u­la­tion … We’re not to that stage.”

The pos­si­bil­ity of widen­ing the road was also a hot topic at the meet­ing, which was held in coun­cil cham­bers at the town hall. Oth­ers at the meet­ing men­tioned hear­ing ru­mours about los­ing land in or­der to ac­com­mo­date the de­vel­op­ment. Ch­eryl Rodgers said she’s con­cerned the de­vel­op­ment will limit the amount of pri­vacy peo­ple on Long’s Hill cur­rently en­joy.

“If you turn this into a residential area … what are you go­ing to put in place to sup­port this?” asked Wayne Crocker.

The mayor told The Com­pass the town al­ready knows wa­ter pres­sure is not great on Long’s Hill. The town has also ap­plied to the province for funds to up­grade its booster pump.

“We rec­og­nize the fact that we have to up­grade that to ac­com­mo­date any fur­ther de­vel­op­ment,” he said, not­ing the town did ap­prove a new build­ing per­mit last week for that hill within the ex­ist­ing residential zone.

Other op­tions

Aaron But­ton, who owns a home­build­ing sup­plies busi­ness in Old Per­li­can, also sug­gested fur­ther de­vel­op­ment on Long’s Hill would prove to be costly for both the town and taxpayers. He said de­vel­op­ing land along the old road lead­ing to Bay de Verde would be much more cost ef­fec­tive. How­ever, the mayor said de­vel­op­ing there would also prove to be costly, as that area is not set up with wa­ter and sewer ser­vice. He also noted the first few chunks of Crown land along that road are al­ready spo­ken for.

Only two peo­ple present at Thurs­day’s meet­ing also at­tended a public con­sul­ta­tion ear­lier this sum­mers. Oth­ers said they were un­aware of it un­til af­ter the fact and sug­gested the town should have done more to pro­mote it.

“We need more com­mu­ni­ca­tion,” said Paula Ge­orge.

Tom Strickland, who chaired Thurs­day’s meet­ing, will pro­duce a re­port for the town and the Depart­ment of Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs. The depart­ment will then weigh in on whether the land can be re­zoned.

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