Councillor concerned about land application; vote deferred to new council
A vote put to the floor at the last regular council meeting on Sept. 17 was deferred to the soon-to-be incoming council.
Happy Valley-Goose Bay Councillor Brenda Way — who is not running for re-election on Sept. 24 — voted against a motion to approve a municipal referral for a crown land application submitted by Goose Bay Capital Corporation, on behalf of Atlantic Fibre Resources.
In an interview with The Labradorian on Sept. 18, Way explained her reasons for not approving the application.
“There is nothing wrong with the investment of a pellet plant,” she said.
“But if the pellet plant didn’t happen, then Goose Bay Capital Corporation would own this huge piece of property that they could sub-divide, or whatever they wanted to do with it.”
Atlantic Fibre Resources has the contract from Nalcor for tree removal for new transmission lines. Goose Bay Capital Corporation is currently developing the Goose bay Town Centre, located next to Tim Horton’s.
The application involved a 111 acre (45 hectare) piece of land located on North West River Road. The land would be used for a wood pellet plant and a laydown/sorting yard.
The application was subject to three conditions for approval — had it been approved —including: “The parcel location for Alantra Leasing, approved at the August Council meeting, be given priority and that area be excluded from this approval”; “The evaluation and commitment to construct (which may included financial guarantee) to the Town Staff’s satisfaction, of the provision of Town water system (or acceptable equivalent) for fire fighting capabilities”; and “The parcel area shall start 30 metres from North West River Road, where the industrial area begins.”
Way said it also bothered her that a third party — meaning Goose Bay Capital Corporation — would submit an application on behalf of someone else.
“This proposal was put to us too quickly,” she said, adding that the current council only had a week left before a new council was voted in.
“This is a big development that needs an environmental assessment and needs to go through the proper processes before an approval can go through.”
Way feels with all the work that would need to take place, the motion to defer was the right route to take, as a new council would have the time to put into researching the application and any issues that could arise.
“Land should not be given away before a proper process is done,” she said, adding she, nor Mayor Abbass, are running in the election, and would not be at the council chambers to see the process through.
It was noted in the council meeting that the applicants had previously applied to the province for the land, but was turned down. They had also inquired to the town about the old sawmill site, but were discouraged from the property due to site contamination.