Old Perlican residents want more info
Traffic concerns raised about potential development
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.
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.