Marine in­dus­trial park needs province

Har­bour Grace coun­cil­lors op­ti­mistic fol­low­ing meet­ing with min­is­ter

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON

The fu­ture of a mul­ti­mil­lion­dol­lar pro­posal to build a marine in­dus­trial park in Har­bour Grace rests with the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to Coun. Gord Stone, rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the At­lantic Canada Op­por­tu­ni­ties Agency have al­ready in­di­cated they’re will­ing to work with the town, but there’s been no firm com­mit­ment from the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment.

How­ever, the town is feel­ing more op­ti­mistic about where things will go with the province fol­low­ing a re­cent meet­ing with of­fi­cials from the Depart­ment of Busi­ness, Tourism, Cul­ture and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment. Min­is­ter Darin King also at­tended that meet­ing.

“We had a re­ally good meet­ing,” Stone said at last Tues­day’s coun­cil meet­ing. “We were suc­cess­ful in get­ting a re­view of that ap­pli­ca­tion for fund­ing, and we’ve had some in­for­mal con­ver­sa­tions with the min­is­ter since, and we’ve talked to some other gov­ern­ment mem­bers. Things are look­ing fairly pos­i­tive, but we have to al­low the sys­tem to work now.”

Stone said King in­formed them an an­swer would likely come sooner rather than later. The coun­cil­lor, who co-chairs the eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, tourism and her­itage com­mit­tee, hopes the town will know more about the province’s plans later this month.

Ac­cord­ing to the fea­si­bil­ity study SNC-Lavalin pre­pared for the town, the pro­ject’s es­ti­mated cost is $23.5 mil­lion. The town would lease prop­erty at the in­dus­trial park to one or more com­pa­nies and also gen­er­ate rev­enue through berthage charges, wharfage fees and taxes. The SNC-Lavalin re­port es­ti­mates that rev­enue for the town would be $7 mil­lion an­nu­ally.

Stone’s com­mit­tee co-chair Coun. Hayward Blake said meet­ings have been on­go­ing be­tween the town, ACOA and Har­bour Grace Ocean En­ter­prises. The lat­ter is serv­ing as a pri­vate-eq­uity part­ner with the town on the pro­posal. Blake said any fund­ing from ACOA would not be fi­nal­ized un­til af­ter the fed­eral elec­tion.

“Al­most ev­ery month a meet­ing hap­pens,” he said.

Mu­nic­i­pal plan amend­ments were nec­es­sary to ac­com­mo­date the marine in­dus­trial park pro­ject, which would ex­tend ap­prox­i­mately 400 me­tres east from the cur­rent shore along Beach Hill Road.

Some have crit­i­cized the pro­ject over how it will clash with the com­mu­nity’s reg­is­tered her­itage dis­trict, which runs ad­ja­cent to the area where the park would be de­vel­oped.

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.

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