A bigger reach for Holyrood

By Craig Westcott | The Shoreline

Holyrood’s volunteer fire department is expanding its range of coverage to take in the old Witless Bay Line as far as the town limits of Bay Bulls and Witless Bay.

Holyrood councillor Jim Joy said when the original service agreement was put forward by the Eastern Regional Service Board for fire protection in the area from the TransCanada Highway to Butterpot Park and Holyrood, the plan was for the Holyrood department to handle the Witless Bay Line as well.

“But the town (Holyrood) withdrew its request due to the Town of Witless Bay’s indication to provide such service,” Joy said. “Over the past few years, the Town of Witless Bay has not provided the fire service. At the request of 911, the Holyrood fire department has been providing this service.”

In the new agreement, the Town of Holyrood will be paid to provide firefighting and vehicle extraction services on the old Witless Bay Line, Joy said.

“I think it’s great that the Town of Holyrood is able to offer service to the Witless Bay Line area,” said councillor Kevin Costello. “I think it speaks highly of the calibre of the volunteer firefighters we have on staff.”

Deputy Mayor Curtis Buckle echoed that view. “As councillor Joy indicated, we’ve been doing the Salmonier Line and Middle Gull Pond areas for a while and it’s been working very well,” said Buckle, who chaired Tuesday’s council meeting in the absence of Mayor Gary Goobie who was working. “It’s just as well to have it (the Witless Bay Line) as part of it. If something happens in that area, Bay Bulls won’t respond so we’re getting the call anyway and it’s just as well for us to get the compensation for services in that area.”

Joy said the willingness of Holyrood’s volunteer firefighters to take on the additional work shows their true commitment to their role. “They obviously deserve a lot of credit and respect,” Joy said.

Chief Administrator Officer Gary Corbett said Holyrood will receive some $4,600 a year to provide the additional service. The Eastern Regional Service Board charges cabin owners on the Witless Bay Line $50 a year for fire protection.

Posted on November 26, 2018 .

Paradise's tide of growth tied to water availability

By Craig Westcott | The Shoreline

In what appears to be a case of you really have to build it in order for more people to come, the Town of Paradise has placed a $9 million water tower at the head of a list of capital works projects it is submitting to the provincial and federal governments for funding.

All told the list of capital works projects weighs in at some $48 million.

“Over the years I’ve been referring to this as our Christmas wish list,” said councillor Deborah Quilty, who chairs the town’s infrastructure and public works committee.

The other projects on the list, Quilty said, include $4.6 million worth of water and sewer installations on Stephens Road, Neary Road, Windmill Road, Bayview Heights and Moonlight Drive; a $2.7 million upgrade of Paradise Road from Archibald Drive to St. Thomas Line; $4.5 million for an indoor turf facility; nearly $3.2 million for the widening of St. Thomas Line from Ridgewood Drive to a new roundabout; $42.8 million in lift station upgrades; $13.6 million for upgrades to Evergreen Village; and $7.4 million for the upgrading of Topsail Road from Paradise Road to the overpass.

“There are some big, hefty numbers there,” Quilty allowed, after she cited the projects at Tuesday’s council meeting.

“Those are in a priority list as you read them out,” Mayor Dan Bobbett pointed out.

Referring to the list later in the meeting, councillor Stirling Willis emphasized how important the proposed water tower for Neil’s Pond Ridge is to the town’s plans for growth.

Willis said the water reservoir is the number one priority.

“The town is growing so big as we all know, the water supply that we have now on Camrose Drive is not sufficient for the developments that are going ahead for the future development of the town,” Willis said.

Willis explained the need for more water will become more important as the town sees more development of land above the 160-metre contour of elevation, which will entail pumping more water uphill to supply users. “With this new reservoir, we would be able to address water issues at the higher levels,” he said.

Mayor Bobbett noted the maximum height at which development can occur in Paradise now is 160 metres above sea level. “With the new water tower, we can get up to 195 (metres),” he added.

Willis said the town needs such a tower not only for residential water supply, but also to maintain fire protection services. He urged council not to be remiss in making it the number one priority for capital works funding applictions. “Sometimes we do have places in town (now) that do witness low water pressure,” Willis said. “This (proposed) reservoir will eliminate all those issues that we have now.”

At that, Mayor Bobbett was quick to clarify there is no issue currently with the water pressure in the community. “We’re meeting the acceptable limits for fire protection at this moment,” he said.

But future growth - whether industrial, commercial or residential - is another matter, the mayor conceded. “We’ve got some 380 infill lots that will not go ahead if we don’t approve this going forward,” he said. “We’re looking at the entire town as a whole when we look at this… We have landmass for growth throughout the town... But we’ve still got to look at those (contour) levels. This piece of infrastructure will give us the ability to develop up to the 195 contour.”

After the meeting, Bobbett said the amount of the $9 million project that the town will have to fund, if the provincial and federal governments approve the application, will depend on whatever funding arrangement is in place at the time.

Neils Pond Ridge is the same vicinity where the town’s first junior high school is proposed for construction, he added. “Right now, to install the school up there, they’ll probably have to put in booster pumps, like Elizabeth Park Elementary did to get the proper pressure,” Bobbett said.

The last development the Town approved at the 160-contour, Bobbett added, was the seven-building retail plaza being constructed near the Town Hall.

“For future growth of the town this (water tower) is needed,” Bobbett said. “It’s deemed by all of council that this is the number one priority that we will request money for and we’re looking at approximately $9 million right now, and that’s an estimate for the water tower only.”

Bobbett conceded the price is steep. “But again, you’re talking about future growth for the entire Town of Paradise for the next 25 years or more,” he said.

The town’s chief administrative officer, Lisa Niblock, is currently talking with officials with the St. John’s Regional Water Authority to see who will take on the responsibility of maintaining the tower once it is built.

Posted on November 26, 2018 .

Holyrood councillor tired of waiting for province to act on plastic bag ban

Tired of waiting for the provincial government to take action, Holyrood councillor Kim Ghaney called on her colleagues Tuesday as well as residents, businesses and other municipalities to get moving on a ban of single use plastic shopping bags.

Ghaney made the recommendation during her recreation and community events committee report.

Ghaney noted the subject of Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador's resolution calling on the province to ban the bags was recently discussed at the committee.

"To date we've had no updates from government, though we have sent communication to them," the councillor said. "Despite the fact that all municipalities in Newfoundland and Labrador support a ban on single use plastic bags we've not received any correspondence from them."

Ghaney said the leader of the Official Opposition, PC Leader Ches Crosbie, has come out in support of a ban and some towns in the province have already implemented a ban or are considering it. A number of businesses have also taken the initiative to stop using the bags, she added.

"We have in the past discussed options around plastics management in our town, such as supporting MNL and e-mailing the provincial government, but we haven't had any movement to date," said Ghaney. "I feel it is time that we as a council engage with our community business partners to start a conversation around single use plastic bag management. I believe we need to make this a priority in the coming weeks to arrange some discussions to get the ball rolling. We clearly, in my opinion, cannot wait on the actions of the province, because to date there haven't been any. I think it is an important thing for our environment that we take some action on that."

Posted on November 26, 2018 .