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Work to do to attract more tourists, Grand Bank council acknowledges

Legendary Coasts of Eastern Newfoundland held a tourism opportunities forum on the Burin Peninsula earlier this month. One of the sessions was held at the Provincial Seamen’s Museum in Grand Bank. - Legendary Coasts of Eastern Newfoundland Facebook photo
Legendary Coasts of Eastern Newfoundland held a tourism opportunities forum on the Burin Peninsula earlier this month. One of the sessions was held at the Provincial Seamen’s Museum in Grand Bank. - Legendary Coasts of Eastern Newfoundland Facebook photo - Submitted

Room for improvement

GRAND BANK, N.L. – A tourism opportunities forum held on the Burin Peninsula in late May was an eye-opener for several Grand Bank councillors who took part in the initiative.

The forum, organized by Legendary Coasts of Eastern Newfoundland, featured a number of sessions and took participants to visit several tourism sites around the region.

Coun. Jack Burfitt’s takeaway was that Grand Bank needs to step up its tourism game.

“When it comes to tourism, here in Grand Bank we’re behind the eight ball,” he told fellow councillors during the town’s council meeting on Monday, May 28.

Likewise, Coun. Stan Burt said, from listening to some of the sessions, it is obvious the town has work to do.

“The thing is we’ve got to get people involved. As a council, we can’t do everything,” Burt said. “We’ve got it all here. It’s just a matter of getting it out and expanding on what we have.”

Coun. George Bennett acknowledged other towns are using one main attraction as a tourism anchor and building around it, citing Sandy Cove beach as an example in Lord’s Cove.

He said the anchor for Grand Bank should be the town’s downtown and waterfront re-development project. The town recently received nearly $900,000 from the federal and provincial government to complete the first stage of the plan.

Bennett said other areas towns are working together to promote each other’s efforts.

The recent forum also involved representatives from the neighbouring French islands of St-Pierre-et-Miquelon.

“They want to help promote things in (this) area, as well, according to what they were saying the week,” Bennett said.

Mayor Rex Matthews said a major issue on the Burin Peninsula is the lack of a one-stop website where people can go to find out the events and activities happening around the region.

“Somebody got to take the initiative to put all that together under one umbrella. It’ll never succeed if we don’t get together on that,” he said. “We have a lot of things to do and see in Grand Bank, but you know, we don’t get the publicity.”


Other highlights from the May 28 meeting of the Grand Bank town council:

Speed bumps

At the request of Deputy Mayor Clayton Welsh, council has asked staff to look at the cost of purchasing removable speed bumps.

The deterrents are needed in particular around the community park area, where there are frequently children playing, Welsh said.

Coun. Jack Burfitt agreed with Welsh on the need to slow traffic around the park.

“That’s a deathtrap there with kids in that area. I think we certainly should look at something there to alleviate that,” he said.

Speeding in areas throughout town was the subject of a meeting held recently with concerned citizens, town clerk Cathy Follett indicated.

Permit approval pending

Dynamic Air Shelters is moving ahead with its plan to construct an inflatable building in the former Centennial Park.

Council passed a motion requiring the company to advertise the project to give the public an opportunity to express any concerns.

If there are none, and Service NL gives its approval, the project will receive a permit from council.

The company is aiming to finish construction of the building by October.

Scrapped and abandoned vehicles

The planning and development committee recommended staff follow up on letters sent out previously to owners of scrapped or abandoned vehicles to see if they have been removed.

If there are any remaining, the owners will be advised the vehicles will be removed by the town.

The committee also planned to canvas the town on June 1 to identify any other vehicles that need to be removed.

Displeased with paving job

Council continues to be unhappy with the asphalt laid on Old Road as part of the major infrastructure project in the area.

Mayor Rex Matthews said the work would be unacceptable if it was completed in any of the bigger towns in the province.

“I’ve told the engineer I’m not signing off on no money for that road until we gets up to speed,” he said. “They said they’re going to take some core samples, and the core samples have got to be taken, they’ve got to be analyzed, and I still don’t care what they core samples says – it’s not a good job.”

Municipal garage upgrades

Some adjustments were made for the tender and the deadline extended for the project to renovate the municipal garage.

The new tender deadline was May 30.

Matthews said, according to SNC Lavalin — the engineers for the project — work on the garage should ready to begin by mid-June.

Bulk garbage policy review

The finance committee is reviewing the town’s collection policy on bulk items.

Currently, bulk items are only to be placed curbside on the day of or day before collection. If they are placed earlier, the items can be collected by the town and a $100 fee assessed.

Matthews says he felt the $100 fee may be a “bit too heavy handed” and suggested a $50 charge would still get the same message out about keeping the town tidy.

The finance committee will consider the change along with making it retroactive to Jan. 1 of this year.

Gas Tax exhausted

Matthews said the town has spent the last of its Gas Tax funding – $60,000 – on paving.

“So, we have to wait until 2019 to see how much more we’re going to get,” Matthews said.

Municipal centre negotiations

The town, through its solicitor, is negotiating a settlement with its insurance company for damages the municipal centre suffered from major leaks in the roof back in 2014.

The matter went through a discovery process and the town has decided not to go through the court system.

To speed up the process, a motion was passed giving Matthews, finance committee chair Coun. Stan Burt, town manager Wayne Bolt and town clerk Cathy Follott the authority to act on council’s behalf.

They will bring a recommendation back to council before a final decision is made.

Recognition for deputy mayor

Deputy Mayor Welsh has been recognized by the provincial government for 16 years of service on the municipal council in Grand Bank.

The mayor presented Welsh with his certificate towards the end of the meeting.


paul.herridge@southerngazette.ca

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