'It just don't add up'

Steve
Steve Bartlett
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Store owner can't understand why city won't allow extension

A Portugal Cove-St. Philip's store owner is wondering why the City of St. John's has no problem OK'ing development in a nearby park, but won't allow her to expand.

"It just doesn't make any sense. It just don't add up," said Jill Sharpe, who operates Sharpe's Store and Deli on Thorburn Road with her husband Ed.

Jill Sharpe stands outside her family's gas bar and convenience store in Portugal Cove-St. Philip's. - Photo by Steve Bartlett/The Telegram

A Portugal Cove-St. Philip's store owner is wondering why the City of St. John's has no problem OK'ing development in a nearby park, but won't allow her to expand.

"It just doesn't make any sense. It just don't add up," said Jill Sharpe, who operates Sharpe's Store and Deli on Thorburn Road with her husband Ed.

They want to increase their shop's floorspace by 50 per cent. The extension wouldn't have a basement or require plumbing.

Her town is OK with the plan, but because the store is in the city watershed, development falls under the City of St. John's Act and must be approved by the capital's council.

Sharpe says despite an application, an appeal and meetings, St. John's refuses to give her the green light.

She says the city tells her there is no provision in the legislation to permit an extension to her property.

Sharpe also notes Ron Penney, St. John's chief commissioner, has the discretionary power to recommend such a development to council.

She says that's not happening either.

What puzzles her is that a large extension to a shed is underway just up the road at Rotary Sunshine Park.

"I bring up the park because they are expanding that so much, but that is right, smack dab in the watershed," she said.

"They don't have any adverse affect when they've got thousands of people swimming, they are allowed to have motorized boats in that pond over there and they are allowed to have outhouses? How can I have an adverse affect by just having a few feet on the store?"

She says she asked St. John's Mayor Dennis O'Keefe the difference between granting her a permit and giving one to the park.

"He said, 'Well, the difference is the park is for the good of the people.' That's his exact words."

Under the legislation, the work at the park is permitted because it's for a public purpose and not a private or commercial interest.

City not trying to be difficult

O'Keefe says the city is not trying to be difficult or unreasonable.

He explains they are trying to protect the water for future generations and simply doesn't allow development in the watershed.

"We are very hard-nosed about (it) because once you lose your water, once you contaminate your water, then you're in real big trouble, and we're simply not going to do it."

O'Keefe also notes Sharpe didn't do her homework on the outhouses.

Those amenities, he explains, sit atop specially-designed steal containers and the waste is disposed of properly.

"There is absolutely nothing that goes into the ground."

As for exercising his power to recommend Sharpe's application go ahead, Penney explains he is just not prepared to do so.

"The reason is that I feel have a duty to protect the integrity of the watershed and the way in which we do that is to prohibit any further development."

Want to meet with city

Norm Collins, mayor of Portugal Cove-St. Philip's, says his town is trying to set up a meeting with the City of St. John's to discuss the situation.

"We're supporting (the Sharpes) all the way," he said.

"We think they are getting a raw deal on this. I know it's a watershed, but we think there is an exception there, that the City of St. John's is not being reasonable on this one."

Sharpe says she also intends on lodging a complaint with Municipal Affairs Minister Dianne Whalen.

sbartlett@thetelegram.com

Geographic location: St. John's, Portugal Cove, Thorburn Road Rotary Sunshine Park

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  • JILL
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    Just a few points that never got printed.
    I wouldn't consider my extenstion a development. I think that as Mayor Dennis O'keefe put it when asked about the Rotary Sunshine Park's extentsion it is an upgrade. We want to upgrade a 58 year old building. I would also like to point out that it is perfectly ok for the City of St. John's to break there own city policies and regulations that there should be no organized rereation in the watershed , when I brought this up to members of the Development Committee of St. John's, Mr. Art Cheeseman , the Assoc.Commissioner & Director of Engineering stated that if it were up to him the park would not be there. Funny how they listen to his advice when it comes to applications from some people but not when it comes to themselves.

  • W
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    City Hall is ripe with nepotism, arrogance and ignorance. This is the same City Hall that allowd the Rooms monstrosity to be built next to the Bascillica.

    The Park is for the good of the people, classic O'Keefe. I'd build it and go to court if I were the Sharpe's....after the fact no judge would rule to have it taken down. There is no plumbing, just more wires and wood.

  • Nasty
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    What does not add up is this is just a re-hash once again of the same thing they lost before. Face it, you lost. The Telegram and public temper tantrums are not going to change a thing. Get a lawyer and go to court like everyone else needs to do to change laws. Trying the free route shows that you are out to obtain something for nothing.

    You have not stated that you are willing to take any measures to mitigate spills, no assesments to prove your case. Give it up, or spend some cash to prove your case next time.

  • Sparkey
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    I fell bad for the Sharpe`s they see a-need too expand & the city won`t let them but! if they had friends or family linked too The City! then things would be different. I wonder if they put a [For Sale] on the building,who would purchase it!,someone from the City Of St.John`s maybe?

  • DB
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    I guess water has finally figured out how to flow up hill hey Dennis.I guess you are trying to fill Andy's shoes so much for small business development.I wonder how many condoms make it into the water supply for the park from stories I have hear the is more then swiming going on down there.

  • Lawrence
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    All the people from PC/SP should go down to city and Protest!, If OKeefe & the people are that worried about the water, they would stop all the gas from the boats & motors the the pond. All you have to do is over the back off any boat/motor after you start them & see the rainbow on top of the water, I guess if the stop the boats the city would lose to much money???? but yet the city, stops businesses from making more money, more jobs, & the city make TAXES????? What a smart crowd running ST John's!!!

  • Perry
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    I would like to know in what possible way expanding Sharpes Store could impact on the watershed ? Gull pond which flows into Healys Pond is at least 200 yards away . Neither of which is hooked up to the water supply unless water has figured out away to flow upstream to Winsor Lake . Thousands of people every year urinate into both of those ponds while swimming . The city years ago stated that both of those ponds were to small to make it feasible to pump back into the water supply . People living in this area have had problems with the city of St Johns for decades and that is wrong . It is like taxation without representation . If you lived in St Johns and you have a problem with the city you at least have a counciler you can talk to and possibly vote for . St Johns has no elected oficial in the area therefore no one to vote for . No one to campaign against . No one on council to help .I think it is time for the people of St Phillips to stand up and fight this issue together . It has been going on to long . Remember The Johnsons ?

  • viola
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    i can't understand why some people don't want small businesses to expand. the sharpe's only want to improve the store and give themselves a little more space as well as bringing more pride to the town. the city of st. john's should pay more attention to the crowds of teenagers that hang out in the park that's across the street from the store. this park was created by the city of st. john's, out houses and all. in summer its nice to go to that park during the day, but try going to sharpe's to get a loaf of bread. there's hardly enough room to get to the checkout. that store has been a family business for a long time, i worked there as a teenager and was very grateful and proud to have done so. so come on st. john's council, clear your brains of the cobwebs and give the sharpe,s the ok to expand and grow to make the town a better place to live.

  • July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    I heard that someone on the council likes Sharpes store the way it is already, and this is why they don't want the owners to make any changes. A bigger store would take business from other stores in the area. There is a personal interest involved - Jill Sharpe may want to look into this.

  • Drew
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    If Mr. Cheeseman the Director of Engineering, doesn't feel the park should be there than why isn't he saying so in public. Lets hear his reason. What is the danger to the water supply in allowing the Sharpes upgrade? Lets hear the reason as I havent heard one yet other than BECAUSE. That is something one says to a child when they are stuck for an explanation. Well we are not children so give an answer. Why is the City allowed to develop a park when your own act prohibits such development in the water shed? You stated on NTV you do not want another Walkerton explain how your development is Walkerton friendly and Sharpes simple extension is not. What are your guide lines for allowing some and not others?

  • George
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    Yep...Protect the watershed alright!
    You want to protect my water supply while you're at it?
    I'm here in the west side of CBS and the city is promising to threaten my water supply by putting a drop in the pressure via the ongoing construction in the upper reaches of Kenmount Road!
    Yes people...Pave paradise and it's ok to put up a parking lot. Nothing gets absorbed into the ground and it won't be long before you hear of ongoing wash-outs of property farther down the kenmount Valley as a result.

  • Butch
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    OK, so the city has steel drums to contain the waste . When all is said and done - Both the containers and city council are full of #@*^.

  • B
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    Once again the intelligence level of the Capital City and it's leaders shines through! Just one of the many examples of stupid and stubborn decisions hashed up at city hall and lame excuses when confronted on them. Just look how they let the development of the Mile One stadium and conference center go ahead with little or no parking, the continual state of road conditions, the building of hotels downtown with again parking issues, etc, etc, etc.... Smarten up city hall and give the Sharpes their permit.

  • jill
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    A relpy to NASTY NATE we are already goverened by all government depts.
    Enviroment, Dept of Health etc and checked on a regular basis.
    And I would hire a lawyer if I had access to yours and all the residents of St. John's tax dollars as St. John's has to use for there lawyers.

  • Tom
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    This is typical of the current city council. Honestly there needs to be a change at city hall. Bring in some new life. The same old people have been on council for far too long.

    It seems as if there is absolutely no planning in this city anymore. The council are all for large development with little planning (see Stavenger Drive) but there is always such an uproar over the silliest little things such as this simple expansion. I honestly believe that there needs to be new regulations put in place that sees so much landscaping (trees, etc.) included with any development in the city.

  • Dan
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    I'd like to wade in here without prejudice or partisanship to either side but the needs of one person seems to out weigh the needs of the many.
    In this particular situation, I think Doc O'Keefe is being very unreasonable.
    Why you ask? Just uttering the word Watershed has this man shucking and jiving and slamming doors in the faces of good people who regularly pay their taxes. It blows my mind given O'keefe's stance that he is so unwilling to dip a little further into this one-of situation and have engineering look into this matter.Quite simply it can be proven either way if there was even a remote chance of contamination to Winsor lake that is 3/4's of a mile away from the store. Mr. Okeefe If you are so reluctant to help out these people and more determined to protect the clean water, then why aren't you out busy shooing away the thousands of daily migratory diseased gulls who eat at Robin Hood Bay dump and then wash their arses in Winsor lake? What about the hundreds of septic tanks that were left in the ground and leaching into the soil, a mile around the lake? You seem to forget that many prominent people such as the Lieutenant governor of Newfoundland, members of the RNC, staff from NTV, HMDC, Exxon Mobil work in your fair city and have homes in this rural area and frequent this store on a daily basis. Mr. O'Keefe you aren't pissing the Sharpes off, you're just making the rest of us wait longer for good service.

  • Solution
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    I have a solution to the Sharpe's problem, just change the name to Sobey's or Loblaws and you will get the okay.

  • DON
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    St Phillips should tell Okeefe to step off
    and worry about the mess St John s is
    in....I live here and have spent over 1500.00 on damgage to my car,due to the state of the roads.
    Sharpe, s have been in buisness 58 yrs
    and it's the best store on the rock in my
    opinion....
    Grow up Okeefe...Get a life , Penny...and give the folks a permit...

  • Bruce
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Wish you all the best, Sharpes, I visit your store almost daily.

  • TErrible
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Nasty Nate, is your real name O'Keefe? I lived close to and grew up in this area and it makes absolutely no sense to not allow it. It's too bad Jill and Ed are Honest and tried the Proper Route. Ed, Pick a Sat night with a Few lights and 10 or so Buddies and Build it. The Idiots would probably not even Notice..and when or if they do,... get a good Lawyer...

  • L
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    The current crew at the city of St. John's have no reservations in allowing unsanitary construction in another municipal jurisdiction and using nothing more than bully tactics towards a small business. OK so you have a steel container under the outhouses. Therefore what you are saying is that you can expand with the right materiel and construction..why cannot this attitude be taken with a small business. If you can contain human feces in the ground,,then why is it a building cannot expand a few feet. Every time you speak Mayor you are just exposing your real bias to people outside of the city. No different than when you speak with bias about Mount Pearl, or any other place. The small minded attitude of a city that cannot even approve a multi-million dollar business without making a spectacle of themselves on national TV.

  • K
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    To Solution: Funny, but SOOOOO TRUE. Prime examples: Mt. Cashel and Memorial Stadium.

  • L
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    It's too bad that you brought the attention to it. It probably would have been better to go ahead and build and chances are that nobody would even have noticed. After all, they aren't there because of their intelligence.
    It's always about money, and who the council members are friends with and what they feel like that day when the decisions are made.
    The truth is this is a very large group of idiots. Look at the state of downtown, whether it's parking, construction etc.
    How they got to these positions is questionable to me. Anything to do with small business is not their concern at all. I have battled with them on other issues myself concerning my own small business and have made no sense of it. Ask any of them individually and they'll agree with you 100% but as a group, they haven't a clue and hide from responsibility.
    They are certainly the reason that we moved from St. John's.

  • JILL
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    Just a few points that never got printed.
    I wouldn't consider my extenstion a development. I think that as Mayor Dennis O'keefe put it when asked about the Rotary Sunshine Park's extentsion it is an upgrade. We want to upgrade a 58 year old building. I would also like to point out that it is perfectly ok for the City of St. John's to break there own city policies and regulations that there should be no organized rereation in the watershed , when I brought this up to members of the Development Committee of St. John's, Mr. Art Cheeseman , the Assoc.Commissioner & Director of Engineering stated that if it were up to him the park would not be there. Funny how they listen to his advice when it comes to applications from some people but not when it comes to themselves.

  • W
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    City Hall is ripe with nepotism, arrogance and ignorance. This is the same City Hall that allowd the Rooms monstrosity to be built next to the Bascillica.

    The Park is for the good of the people, classic O'Keefe. I'd build it and go to court if I were the Sharpe's....after the fact no judge would rule to have it taken down. There is no plumbing, just more wires and wood.

  • Nasty
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    What does not add up is this is just a re-hash once again of the same thing they lost before. Face it, you lost. The Telegram and public temper tantrums are not going to change a thing. Get a lawyer and go to court like everyone else needs to do to change laws. Trying the free route shows that you are out to obtain something for nothing.

    You have not stated that you are willing to take any measures to mitigate spills, no assesments to prove your case. Give it up, or spend some cash to prove your case next time.

  • Sparkey
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    I fell bad for the Sharpe`s they see a-need too expand & the city won`t let them but! if they had friends or family linked too The City! then things would be different. I wonder if they put a [For Sale] on the building,who would purchase it!,someone from the City Of St.John`s maybe?

  • DB
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    I guess water has finally figured out how to flow up hill hey Dennis.I guess you are trying to fill Andy's shoes so much for small business development.I wonder how many condoms make it into the water supply for the park from stories I have hear the is more then swiming going on down there.

  • Lawrence
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    All the people from PC/SP should go down to city and Protest!, If OKeefe & the people are that worried about the water, they would stop all the gas from the boats & motors the the pond. All you have to do is over the back off any boat/motor after you start them & see the rainbow on top of the water, I guess if the stop the boats the city would lose to much money???? but yet the city, stops businesses from making more money, more jobs, & the city make TAXES????? What a smart crowd running ST John's!!!

  • Perry
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    I would like to know in what possible way expanding Sharpes Store could impact on the watershed ? Gull pond which flows into Healys Pond is at least 200 yards away . Neither of which is hooked up to the water supply unless water has figured out away to flow upstream to Winsor Lake . Thousands of people every year urinate into both of those ponds while swimming . The city years ago stated that both of those ponds were to small to make it feasible to pump back into the water supply . People living in this area have had problems with the city of St Johns for decades and that is wrong . It is like taxation without representation . If you lived in St Johns and you have a problem with the city you at least have a counciler you can talk to and possibly vote for . St Johns has no elected oficial in the area therefore no one to vote for . No one to campaign against . No one on council to help .I think it is time for the people of St Phillips to stand up and fight this issue together . It has been going on to long . Remember The Johnsons ?

  • viola
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    i can't understand why some people don't want small businesses to expand. the sharpe's only want to improve the store and give themselves a little more space as well as bringing more pride to the town. the city of st. john's should pay more attention to the crowds of teenagers that hang out in the park that's across the street from the store. this park was created by the city of st. john's, out houses and all. in summer its nice to go to that park during the day, but try going to sharpe's to get a loaf of bread. there's hardly enough room to get to the checkout. that store has been a family business for a long time, i worked there as a teenager and was very grateful and proud to have done so. so come on st. john's council, clear your brains of the cobwebs and give the sharpe,s the ok to expand and grow to make the town a better place to live.

  • July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    I heard that someone on the council likes Sharpes store the way it is already, and this is why they don't want the owners to make any changes. A bigger store would take business from other stores in the area. There is a personal interest involved - Jill Sharpe may want to look into this.

  • Drew
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    If Mr. Cheeseman the Director of Engineering, doesn't feel the park should be there than why isn't he saying so in public. Lets hear his reason. What is the danger to the water supply in allowing the Sharpes upgrade? Lets hear the reason as I havent heard one yet other than BECAUSE. That is something one says to a child when they are stuck for an explanation. Well we are not children so give an answer. Why is the City allowed to develop a park when your own act prohibits such development in the water shed? You stated on NTV you do not want another Walkerton explain how your development is Walkerton friendly and Sharpes simple extension is not. What are your guide lines for allowing some and not others?

  • George
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    Yep...Protect the watershed alright!
    You want to protect my water supply while you're at it?
    I'm here in the west side of CBS and the city is promising to threaten my water supply by putting a drop in the pressure via the ongoing construction in the upper reaches of Kenmount Road!
    Yes people...Pave paradise and it's ok to put up a parking lot. Nothing gets absorbed into the ground and it won't be long before you hear of ongoing wash-outs of property farther down the kenmount Valley as a result.

  • Butch
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    OK, so the city has steel drums to contain the waste . When all is said and done - Both the containers and city council are full of #@*^.

  • B
    July 01, 2010 - 19:59

    Once again the intelligence level of the Capital City and it's leaders shines through! Just one of the many examples of stupid and stubborn decisions hashed up at city hall and lame excuses when confronted on them. Just look how they let the development of the Mile One stadium and conference center go ahead with little or no parking, the continual state of road conditions, the building of hotels downtown with again parking issues, etc, etc, etc.... Smarten up city hall and give the Sharpes their permit.

  • jill
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    A relpy to NASTY NATE we are already goverened by all government depts.
    Enviroment, Dept of Health etc and checked on a regular basis.
    And I would hire a lawyer if I had access to yours and all the residents of St. John's tax dollars as St. John's has to use for there lawyers.

  • Tom
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    This is typical of the current city council. Honestly there needs to be a change at city hall. Bring in some new life. The same old people have been on council for far too long.

    It seems as if there is absolutely no planning in this city anymore. The council are all for large development with little planning (see Stavenger Drive) but there is always such an uproar over the silliest little things such as this simple expansion. I honestly believe that there needs to be new regulations put in place that sees so much landscaping (trees, etc.) included with any development in the city.

  • Dan
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    I'd like to wade in here without prejudice or partisanship to either side but the needs of one person seems to out weigh the needs of the many.
    In this particular situation, I think Doc O'Keefe is being very unreasonable.
    Why you ask? Just uttering the word Watershed has this man shucking and jiving and slamming doors in the faces of good people who regularly pay their taxes. It blows my mind given O'keefe's stance that he is so unwilling to dip a little further into this one-of situation and have engineering look into this matter.Quite simply it can be proven either way if there was even a remote chance of contamination to Winsor lake that is 3/4's of a mile away from the store. Mr. Okeefe If you are so reluctant to help out these people and more determined to protect the clean water, then why aren't you out busy shooing away the thousands of daily migratory diseased gulls who eat at Robin Hood Bay dump and then wash their arses in Winsor lake? What about the hundreds of septic tanks that were left in the ground and leaching into the soil, a mile around the lake? You seem to forget that many prominent people such as the Lieutenant governor of Newfoundland, members of the RNC, staff from NTV, HMDC, Exxon Mobil work in your fair city and have homes in this rural area and frequent this store on a daily basis. Mr. O'Keefe you aren't pissing the Sharpes off, you're just making the rest of us wait longer for good service.

  • Solution
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    I have a solution to the Sharpe's problem, just change the name to Sobey's or Loblaws and you will get the okay.

  • DON
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    St Phillips should tell Okeefe to step off
    and worry about the mess St John s is
    in....I live here and have spent over 1500.00 on damgage to my car,due to the state of the roads.
    Sharpe, s have been in buisness 58 yrs
    and it's the best store on the rock in my
    opinion....
    Grow up Okeefe...Get a life , Penny...and give the folks a permit...

  • Bruce
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    Wish you all the best, Sharpes, I visit your store almost daily.

  • TErrible
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    Nasty Nate, is your real name O'Keefe? I lived close to and grew up in this area and it makes absolutely no sense to not allow it. It's too bad Jill and Ed are Honest and tried the Proper Route. Ed, Pick a Sat night with a Few lights and 10 or so Buddies and Build it. The Idiots would probably not even Notice..and when or if they do,... get a good Lawyer...

  • L
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    The current crew at the city of St. John's have no reservations in allowing unsanitary construction in another municipal jurisdiction and using nothing more than bully tactics towards a small business. OK so you have a steel container under the outhouses. Therefore what you are saying is that you can expand with the right materiel and construction..why cannot this attitude be taken with a small business. If you can contain human feces in the ground,,then why is it a building cannot expand a few feet. Every time you speak Mayor you are just exposing your real bias to people outside of the city. No different than when you speak with bias about Mount Pearl, or any other place. The small minded attitude of a city that cannot even approve a multi-million dollar business without making a spectacle of themselves on national TV.

  • K
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    To Solution: Funny, but SOOOOO TRUE. Prime examples: Mt. Cashel and Memorial Stadium.

  • L
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    It's too bad that you brought the attention to it. It probably would have been better to go ahead and build and chances are that nobody would even have noticed. After all, they aren't there because of their intelligence.
    It's always about money, and who the council members are friends with and what they feel like that day when the decisions are made.
    The truth is this is a very large group of idiots. Look at the state of downtown, whether it's parking, construction etc.
    How they got to these positions is questionable to me. Anything to do with small business is not their concern at all. I have battled with them on other issues myself concerning my own small business and have made no sense of it. Ask any of them individually and they'll agree with you 100% but as a group, they haven't a clue and hide from responsibility.
    They are certainly the reason that we moved from St. John's.