Marine industrial park needs province
Harbour Grace councillors optimistic following meeting with minister
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.