Baie Verte — Gerald Acreman, mayor of the town of Baie Verte, says that while there are challenges facing council in many areas of operation, he’s confident the future for the community is looking brighter than ever.
Several months ago, the town, along with many other municipalities in the province, submitted an integrated community sustainability plan to government in order to qualify for its share of gas tax funding.
As part of the report, council issued questionnaires to residents of the community asking opinions on what people thought was most needed for the town.
Residents highlighted key areas they felt were of critical importance that council should consider strongly in future planning. Some of the things members of the community brought forward were concerns about water and sewer and water treatment, roadways, recreation facilities, and tourism.
Acreman says all areas highlighted are priorities to council —especially issues surrounding infrastructure throughout the community and the basic necessities that residents have come to expect.
Back in February, the town was hit with a tragedy in the loss of their fire hall and all its equipment.
“Since then, we’ve been slightly preoccupied,” says Acreman, but assures residents council has not forgotten their concerns and are actively working towards solutions.
Acreman says when it comes to water treatment in the town, the main goal is to establish a gravitational water system which will eliminate the cost of pumping water, which currently sits at around $30,000 a year.
“Right now, every minute someone in the town has their tap running, it’s money down the drain,” he says.
But with the new system, the town will experience a relief in the cost of water treatment. The town office has already been in communication with government and begun putting the wheels in motion towards new infrastructure. Acreman says within the next couple years they should see something in place.
As for the water system within the town, Acreman reminds people the current piping was installed back in the 1960s — making it nearly 40 years old, and in his opinion in need of serious upgrades.
The goal of council is to relieve two issues at once, since another issue raised in the report was the condition of the town’s roads.
“Ideally, we’d like to replace the water lines and such, and at the same time, repave and improve the roads in the town,” he says.
There are currently approximately 18km of roads throughout the town, and without major help from government, Acreman says repairing them all at once will not be an easy task, but at least doing it this way will ensure the best result possible.
“We know that our roads and water system need improvements, and council is committed to working with government to bring those improvements to reality,” he stated. Included in those upgrades would not only include upgrades to driving roads, but also sidewalks in key residential areas.
“Ideally, we’d like to replace the water lines and such, and at the same time, repave and improve the roads in the town,” - Mayor Gerald Acreman
Acreman is quick to point out residential growth is happening in Baie Verte at a rapid pace, with many news homes being built as of recent months.
“People are investing in Baie Verte,” he says.
“The future is looking good, because people see that there’s potential here, and they’ve decided they want to live here. Another sign that Baie Verte is likely going to be around for a long time yet, as the mayor points out, is the significant investment government is making in the town with major funding for the hospital and a new school set to open in 2011.
“We’re extremely pleased that government has recognized the potential that Baie Verte has by making huge investments here,” he says.
Other areas of concern to many residents of Baie Verte are what the town is doing for the recreation and tourism industries. The town has facilities such as the local swimming pool, stadium, museum, ball fields, and more which would contribute to all of this, but many say more can be done.
Acreman says council is committed to seeing recreational and tourism features throughout town, but adds in his opinion there are bigger fish to fry right now.
“Basic infrastructure has to come first,” he says.
“We desperately need the work I talked about earlier with our water system and our roadways.
“These are things that all residents benefit from — where as recreation is something not everyone needs.”
He notes the town is actively working towards a new pool for the community, and is committed to maintaining Tommy Ricketts Arena so it can be used for several events throughout the year.
When it comes to tourism, Acreman says that’s a bigger issue that shouldn’t necessarily be focused only on the town of Baie Verte, but the peninsula as a whole.
“We’re not in competition with each other,” he says, talking about other communities in the area.
Acreman says he wants to assure residents council is doing all it can to ensure a sustainable economy and culture for the people of Baie Verte and the area. Preliminary plans have already been put in place for the new fire hall/community centre, and a location has been chosen along Highway 410 close to the centre of town.
While there were challenges in the past, mainly with finances, which limited what could be done to improve life in Baie Verte, Acreman says that’s the case no more.
“For years,” he says, “we lived on hopes and dreams. But now, things are finally happening.”