Happy Valley-Goose Bay mayor Leo Abbass and developer Lyman Langille turned the sod to officially mark the beginning of the construction of a Goose By Town Centre on Sept. 19.
“The Goose Bay Town Centre Project will represent the most innovative, multi-dimensional development project to develop in Labrador,” Langille said.
At the same time, the Nunatsiavut group of companies’ board member Jim Igloliorte announced its purchase of 51 percent of shares in the Goose Bay Capital Corporation.
“The Goose Bay Town Centre Project is another symbol that Goose Bay and Nunatsiavut are ready to do business,” Igloliorte said.
President of the Nunatsiavut Group of Companies, James Thorbourne explained that having majority ownership would not change the face of the Goose Bay Town Centre project although it would give priority for work and contracts to Nunatsiavut beneficiaries and companies.
“We share the views as to what the needs are for Happy Valley-Goose Bay,” he said.
The blueprint for the project has already been laid out and agreed upon between the town and developers.
The town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay does not have any ownership in the Town Centre Project but they have had to approve the development project and work with the developers to decide how the town centre would look. They signed a final agreement on the blueprint this year.
Mayor Abbass said what will come in the next couple years is a tribute to the community and Langille’s planning.
“This is an idea that’s become a reality that hasn’t just happened,” Mayor Abbass said.
Talk of a town centre began in 2010 when Langille first came to the town with the proposal. A year later, Nunatsiavut began talks to acquire shares in the development and their agreement was finalized in July of this year.
Langille said the development will be multi-year but in it’s residential capacity it will be able to meet the needs of an increasing population. The plans for the initial stage of building development, set to commence next year, include a combined residential and commercial premises that Langille said could compare too similar developments on St, John’s Water Street. He emphasized that this comparison and the drawings on the Town Centre Website are only concepts and the final infrastructure may not look exactly that way.
“We know residential has to come,” he said.
Langille said that getting his own workers on the ground for the project has emphasized the need for housing in the area and they are currently working on renovating three spaces throughout town to house 20 workers.
Thus the decision was made to get some of the residential aspects of the town centre completed before bringing the larger commercial entities or ‘box stores’ so as to have the ability to have housing for the workers who will both work on the project and work in the new establishments. He said a box store should be in place in 2014.
Langille said they are also looking at housing space for seniors and are currently carrying out a study in partnership with Labrador Grenfell Health to find out what that need is.
The town centre development is set to include apartments as well as low density or single-family dwellings further back on the property.
At the moment the developers are getting ready to install water and sewer on the land they currently own, adjacent to Tim Horton’s on Hamilton River Road, in the areas that were recently cleared. The lot to the immediate left of the restaurant is set out for a fast food establishment. The next lot to the left of that lot will be the combined commercial residential building. Langille said construction of these buildings would take place next year.
Anyone can check out the project’s website http://goosebaycapitalcorporation.com/
for a map of the project and more details.