Harbour Grace makes pitch to take over Harvey Street
Coun. Stone argues with mayor over town’s priorities in light of meeting with MHA, MP
HARBOUR GRACE, NL — The Town of Harbour Grace recently presented a pitch to the provincial government to take ownership of Harvey Street.
According to minutes from a special meeting held June 12, the province would need to meet several conditions prior to a full transfer of ownership.
The town is asking government to resurface several portions of Harvey Street, plus Jamie’s Way and Cathedral Street, as well as water and sewer upgrades along the western end of Harvey Street. Harbour Grace would also ask the Department of Transportation and Works to supply the town with two pieces of snow clearing equipment. It wants all work completed before the end of 2018.
All council members approved the motion passed June 12 to contact Municipal Affairs and Transportation and Works, except for Coun. Kathy Tetford. Harvey Street is a provincially-owned road that’s part of Route 70. Use of the road has decreased since Veterans Memorial Highway opened 15 years ago.
Just as the minutes for the special meeting were about to be approved during the Wednesday, June 28 council meeting, Coun. Gordon Stone brought up his concerns about a meeting the mayor attended with two residents at the office of local MHA Pam Parsons to discuss issues with water service in Riverhead in late May. Avalon MP Ken McDonald was also at the meeting.
Stone expressed disappointment Barnes did not discuss with council his involvement in that meeting, feeling it could have better informed the discussion at the June 12 special meeting.
“That had nothing to do with Harvey Street,” the mayor said, later adding it was a resident who invited him to that meeting. “It was trying to get water and sewer up to the Thickett. It had nothing to do with Water Street.”
Stone however said he was told Barnes informed all parties present that the town’s priority item was a new water project to serve Riverhead.
“That information plays a big role in what we discussed with Harvey Street,” he said.
Barnes told Stone and other council members at the meeting that he simply identified the water project as a priority for the town.
Stone suggested the mayor’s action of presenting a priority in such a setting without the town’s knowledge was “not the right way to do business on behalf of the people of Harbour Grace.”
When asked after the June 28 council meeting by The Compass whether she felt the mayor was framing the water project for Riverhead as the priority project for the town, Parsons said no.
“No, there was a number of priorities discussed, but the mayor did indicate that it is a priority, but at the same time, he did not indicate that the other projects were not priorities either.”
Approximately 22 homes rely on water from Mercer’s Well in Riverhead, and there have been a lot of disruptions to service over the years. Several residents attended the April 26 meeting, where Lyda Byrne made a lengthy presentation to council about the issue, asking for a permanent solution from the town.
The Town of Harbour Grace wants to establish an agreement with the provincial government to transfer ownership of Harvey Street to the municipality.
There was some heated debate at the Wednesday, June 28 council meeting about the town’s priority projects. Pictured, left to right, are councillors Gordon Stone and Kathy Tetford.