Res­i­dents ex­press con­cerns re­gard­ing pos­si­ble ho­tel in Crocker’s Cove

Say build­ing would pose too many prob­lems

The Compass - - Sports - BY CHRIS LEWIS chris.lewis@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Res­i­dents of Car­bon­ear re­cently got the chance to ex­press their con­cerns about the pos­si­ble con­struc­tion of a new ho­tel in the com­mu­nity.

Dur­ing a pub­lic hear­ing held at the town hall in Car­bon­ear on Thurs­day night, Oct. 5, res­i­dents of the town, as well as Crocker’s Cove, were present to learn more about the amend­ment changes, and to take ad­van­tage of the op­por­tu­nity to share their thought, and ask ques­tions.

Be­sides res­i­dents, the meet­ing also saw all mem­bers of the newly elected Car­bon­ear coun­cil, as well as ap­pointed com­mis­sioner Elaine Mitchell, and plan­ner Mary Bishop, who made a short pre­sen­ta­tion de­tail­ing the meet­ing, as well as the planned changes in the town’s amend­ment re­gard­ing the area in ques­tion. Pro­po­nents for the project, James Bailie, and Janet Whit­tle-Bailie, were not present at the meet­ing.

The ho­tel, cur­rently billed as Hotelle @ Crocker’s Cove, is look­ing to be built just off of Burnt Head Road in Crocker’s Cove. The 50,000 square-foot build­ing plans to hold up to 50 rooms, all with a view of the ocean. Along­side this, plans for the build­ing in­clude a lobby bar, espresso bar, and an art gallery.

The amend­ment in ques­tion pro­poses to re­zone a two-hectare area from con­ser­va­tion to medium-den­sity res­i­den­tial, and to make ho­tels a per­mit­ted use of the land.

As Thurs­day night’s meet­ing got un­der­way, Mitchell noted that her role as com­mis­sioner was to hear any ob­jec­tions res­i­dents might have for the amend­ment. From there, she was to pre­pare a re­port with a rec­om­men­da­tion for or against the pro­posed amend­ment. Coun­cil will re­view, and can ei­ther ac­cept or deny the rec­om­men­da­tion.

Con­cerns

Chris Baird was the first res­i­dent to speak at the meet­ing, hav­ing sent a writ­ten state­ment to coun­cil pre­vi­ously. Baird ex­plained that he lives along Burnt Head Road, and would be the clos­est home to the ho­tel, were it con­structed. Baird brought sev­eral con­cerns to the ta­ble, not­ing mul­ti­ple ob­jec­tions to the build­ing’s con­struc­tion.

“For­mer coun­cil has gone against its own reg­u­la­tions re­gard­ing con­ser­va­tion,” Baird said as he sat across from Mitchell. “Un­der sec­tion 2.2.10, it states that coun­cil in­tends to pro­tect and pre­serve th­ese ar­eas from devel­op­ment in the in­ter­est of pub­lic en­joy­ment and safety. I think they’re go­ing right against their own reg­u­la­tions on that by even con­sid­er­ing putting a ho­tel in this area.”

Baird went on to ex­press sev­eral con­cerns re­gard­ing the ho­tel’s con­struc­tion, namely the build­ing’s size, which he felt was still up in the air due to a lack of site plans, floor plans, or scaled draw­ings. He felt there was not enough in­for­ma­tion for coun­cil to go by.

“Un­til they get that kind of in­for­ma­tion, they have no idea what they’re deal­ing with,” said Baird. “It’s a mas­sive struc­ture to put on that point. A park­ing area for a build­ing that size would re­quire a min­i­mum of 100 ve­hi­cles, and you’re look­ing at roughly 30,000 square-feet for an as­phalt park­ing area. I’m ba­si­cally go­ing to have a park­ing lot in my back­yard.”

The park­ing lot alone raised a num­ber of con­cerns for Baird, who listed things such as light and noise pol­lu­tion, and a con­stant day­light ef­fect from lights in the lot, which he felt would be vis­i­ble to every­one on Burnt Head Road.

An­other ma­jor con­cern brought for­ward by Baird was in re­la­tion to an ac­cess road lead­ing to the ho­tel. Right now, no proper road has been con­structed that con­nects Burnt Head Road to the pro­posed area of con­struc­tion. Dur­ing devel­op­ment of the land, such an ac­cess road would be built, which Baird says poses a num­ber of safety is­sues in the area. Along­side this, an ac­cess road would re­quire a 15-me­tre rightof-way into the area, which could re­sult in Baird pos­si­bly los­ing up to 40-feet of his own prop­erty.

“(The ac­cess road) is go­ing to be com­ing off of the u-turn. You’re look­ing at a roughly 170-de­gree turn that you’re go­ing to come down to get back out to Burnt Head Road. I don’t think there’s any way pos­si­ble that you can, by any mu­nic­i­pal stan­dards, put in an ac­cess road on that turn,” said Baird, who went on to ex­plain that, as of right now, the turn along Burnt Head Road poses vi­sion prob­lems to driv­ers go­ing up the hill. Baird said that with an ac­cess road added to the equa­tion, driv­ers are go­ing to need to take even more pre­cau­tions when driv­ing through the area, not­ing that driv­ing the posted speed limit will no longer be pos­si­ble with­out run­ning the risk of an ac­ci­dent with other ve­hi­cles, or with pedes­tri­ans who fre­quent the area.

“If this build­ing goes up, there will be ab­so­lutely no peace and en­joy­ment down in that area any­more,” said Baird. “If we wanted to live on a park­ing lot, we would have built a home down on TC Square.”

Baird was not the only one who had writ­ten to the town, de­tail­ing their con­cerns. Priscilla Pike, who was un­able to at­tend the meet­ing, also sent in a let­ter.

Mitchell read the let­ter aloud, hop­ing that Bishop would be able to ad­dress some of Pike’s con­cerns.

Pike’s let­ter de­tailed one ma­jor con­cern of hers – the preservation of habi­tats for but­ter­flies and other wildlife species that can be found in the area. Ac­cord­ing to the let­ter, the De­part­ment of Forestry and Land Re­sources rec­om­mends 20-me­tres around the point be re­tained and left in a nat­u­ral state to en­sure con­tin­u­a­tion of the habi­tat.

“When we re­ceived this sub­mis­sion from the ini­tial pub­lic no­tice, we con­tacted the pro­vin­cial de­part­ment re­spon­si­ble for wildlife. We asked for some guid­ance on whether this species and its sig­nif­i­cance – was it on any en­dan­gered species lists, or how this devel­op­ment would oth­er­wise im­pact them,” said Bishop, in re­sponse to Pike’s con­cerns. “We re­ceived some ad­vice from them that the species isn’t en­dan­gered – it’s fairly com­mon along the coast­line.”

Though some con­cerns were brought forth from res­i­dents on Thurs­day night, the ho­tel has seen rel­a­tively pos­i­tive feed­back on so­cial me­dia, with many seem­ingly in favour of the idea, not­ing the po­ten­tial eco­nomic ben­e­fits such a build­ing would bring to the com­mu­nity.

Bailie and Whit­tle-Bailie pre­vi­ously told The Com­pass they hope to have all ap­provals in place within the next few months, and although they do not in­tend to be­gin any con­struc­tion on the prop­erty un­til then, the de­vel­op­ers en­vi­sion hav­ing the ho­tel up and run­ning in 2020.

CHRIS LEWIS/THE COM­PASS

Res­i­dents of the com­mu­nity got the chance to share con­cerns about a pro­posed ho­tel in Crocker’s Cove dur­ing a pub­lic hear­ing on Thurs­day, Oct. 5.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

A con­cept draw­ing for the ho­tel, along with the po­ten­tial lo­ca­tion, which may move fur­ther in­land.

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