Digging for commerce
Work starts at site of Bay Roberts business park site
The movement of trees and soil along L.T. Stick Drive last week signified the long-awaited start to development of the Bay Roberts business park.
Pieces of heavy equipment are working at the site clearing the land, doing some grubbing and making a roadway through the 60-acres of town land situated off L.T. Stick Drive, near Veterans Memorial Highway.
“We’re very excited as a council and we’re very optimistic (about the project),” Mayor Philip Wood told The Compass.
The work is being completed by the St. John’s-based Pennecon Limited, who have been at the site since an official agreement was signed last month.
“(Pennecon) wanted to get a jump on the construction season next spring,” said Wood. “They want to get going as soon as possible, and that’s what they’ve done.”
As reported in July 2014, Pennecon has a conceptual design for the park drawn up. The plan features 15 building lots of various sizes with entrance from L.T. Stick Drive, which would run parallel to the park.
Deemed a “great location” by Wood, the location of the park offers plenty of access to the Trinity-Conception region. Consumers from all corners of the region could easily avail of any services offered by the park, which would be a short drive along the Veterans Memorial Highway.
“Getting the work done would put them in a better marketing position,” said the mayor.
A long time coming
It’s been a long haul for Bay Roberts to get to this point. The idea of a business park goes back more than a decade and through a trio of mayors — Wood, Glenn Littlejohn and Wilbur Sparkes.
In 2012, the town signed a letter of intent with Loblaw Properties Ltd., which operates the Dominion store on Conception Bay Highway. The idea at the time was that the land would serve as a base for a new grocery store, which could attract other tenants.
However, that deal fell through in July 2013.
“This is an agreement, not a tentative one,” said Wood. “There’s been a lot of hard work to get to this point. It has to feel good for previous councillors and councils to see this.”
While a fully operational business park would signal an economic boon for Bay Roberts, Wood saw another positive behind the move. He sees it as a stable commercial tax base and something that could help relieve the strain of rising municipal assessments.
“It’ll help with tax dollars of residents as well,” said Wood. “In light of assessments that appear to be rising every three years, it provides us with the relief that we need.”
There has to be a sense of relief floating around the town’s offices these days. After the deal with Loblaws went away, the town went back to the drawing board.
Months passed before the current group came along.
“To see progress moving ahead, there is a sense of relief,” said Wood. “We are pleased to see it moving forward.”
Preliminary work started last week at the planned site of the Bay Roberts business park.