Happy Valley-Goose Bay work camp proposal abandoned

Daniel
Daniel MacEachern
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In the face of opposition from Happy Valley-Goose Bay residents, a development company has withdrawn its plan to build a work camp near a residential neighbourhood.

At a public meeting Thursday night, Mayor Leo Abbass read a letter from the Shaw Group's Clayton Developments, informing the town that it was withdrawing its proposal to house workers on Kelland Drive near a residential neighbourhood.

Abbass said the company's withdrawal solves the immediate problem of residents' opposition to this particular proposal, but council still needs to find a way to accommodate the workers somewhere. With hundreds of workers expected in the area - many of which will be needed for work on the Muskrat Falls project on the Lower Churchill - it's a problem the town has to solve before any future proposals are made.

"Nowhere in our town plan, in any of our zoning areas, do we have an area that would permit temporary accommodations," he said.

"So that's a problem we have, and that's what we were trying to deal with last night. Forget the proposal from Shaw Group; anybody could come in here looking for temporary accommodations - we can't accommodate them right now, according to our town plan. Not in the industrial zone, not in the rural zone, not in the commercial zone."

Abbass said that no matter how many of the town's bylaws are amended to approve work camps, individual proposals would still have to come before council for approval, and he anticipates that the Shaw Group will put forth a new plan once the town comes up with a place to put them.

"Once we get a zone that might allow a use like that, then I suspect that they will come back and talk to us and see if there's land available to meet their needs," he said.

He added that he's not worried that the community opposition to this particular plan means Happy Valley-Goose Bay will earn the town a reputation for being anti-development.

"I think the comments that were made by the residents were valid comments, very sincere comments," he said. "I don't think it came across as anti-development. Most of the people who stood up said, 'I'm not opposed to development.'

A representative from Clayton Developments declined to comment on withdrawing its proposal, saying only that the company respects the bylaw amendment process.

dmaceachern@thetelegram.com Twitter: TelegramDaniel

Organizations: Shaw Group

Geographic location: Happy Valley, Goose Bay

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