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Port aux Basques council recap

Back row, from left: Coun. Chester Coffin, Jerome Battiste, Jim Lane, Melvin Keeping. Front row: Deputy Mayor Todd Strickland, Mayor John Spencer, Coun. Justin Blackler.

PORT AUX BASQUES – Councillor Melvin Keeping was the only member of council absent from the latest meeting of Town Council on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

Cost recovery

Mayor John Spencer has drafted another presentation related to cost recovery which he hopes to host locally before sending it to Newfoundland Members of Parliament and provincial leaders. In the meantime he has sent it to all members of council for review.

Economic development

Town clerk Julia Ingram delivered the latest report as Economic Development Strategist Shauna Strickland was unavailable.

The town’s bid to provide a cold storage facility for vegetables and other produce was turned down. The site of the facility will be in Robinson’s, closer to the producers and harvesters. Town Manager Leon MacIsaac believes the new facility may be located along the TransCanada Highway where the old Midway Motel used to be.

A grant was secured to hire four workers for a total of 14 weeks to complete repair work on the Grand Bay West Trail. A new section is also expected to be put in place leading from the end of Hopedale Avenue down to the existing trail.

Come Home Year

It seems unlikely that postponed Come Home Year 2020 will still go ahead in 2021 given the COVID-19 restrictions prohibiting large scale gatherings which are typical throughout that week, especially when it comes to musical performances.

“Unless something drastically changes, I mean now they’re into a second wave,” noted Coun. Jim Lane. “The other thing is, if you come home for Come Home Year, you’ve got to isolate for two weeks. There’s no point. It doesn’t look good at this point in time.”

However, no official cancellation has yet been announced.

Farmer’s Market

Vendors selling food and other items from their vehicles will be required to do so in the parking lot of the Railway Heritage Museum. The town is hoping that by establishing a farmer’s market in that location it will be safer for buyers and sellers, as well as alleviate traffic congestion near the hospital.

Beach overnight parking

The information package submitted to council by a resident of Kyle Lane objecting to overnight campers on the beach parking lot was discussed. Both Mayor Spencer and Coun. Lane noted that the photos included were actually of the C.N. parking lot and not that of the beach parking lot.

Deputy Mayor Todd Strickland noted that the signatures on the submitted petition included those of residents living nowhere near Kyle Lane or the beach area.

“I remember that issue very well back in the ‘90s when I was on council,” said Spencer. “It was a private property in the Codroy Valley that registered a complaint at that time.”

He told council that before the larger ferries were able to accommodate more campers, tourists used to park near the former ASIL industrial building when they rolled into town the evening before the next morning crossing. Spencer recalled that Mayor Aneitha Sheaves was put in a difficult position, as she didn’t want the town to appear unwelcoming to tourists and drive away potential revenue. For his part, Coun. Lane agreed that the town should be pushing Hopedale as an alternative rest spot as opposed to the beach parking lot, but no official motion was made to post signage to prohibit any further overnight parking at Grand Bay West.

Power update

Newfoundland Hydro intends to place electric car charging stations near the Irving’s Mainway Gas Station. No timeline for the installation was given but currently the only place in town to charge an electric vehicle is located at St. Christopher’s Hotel. Meanwhile Newfoundland Power has advised that the dedicated line to the Lion’s Club, which serves as an emergency warming centre during prolonged outages, is completed and just needs to be charged.

Fire department

The Channel-Port aux Basques Volunteer Fire Department is still trying to figure out if it can hold a Christmas parade during a global pandemic. If they are able to figure out a solution to proceed with a parade, it will likely be very different from previous years.

Meanwhile the new pumper truck is slightly behind schedule and not expected to be delivered before mid-November. After the truck arrives it will need to have decals put on.

Grand Bay Bottom Sewer Project begins

Three tenders for the Grand Bay Bottom Sewer Project were submitted. The lowest tender for $1,035,042.55, which was the only one within the allotted budget, was the successful bid adopted by council. Work on the project has already begun.

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