Bay Roberts, Loblaws part ways on business park

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Loblaw Properties Inc. and the Town of Bay Roberts have parted ways on an agreement that would have seen Loblaw develop the 60 acres shown here into a business park.  — File photo by The Compass

By Nicholas Mercer

TC Media—Bay roberts

The biggest grocery chain in Canada and the Town of Bay Roberts have ended a partnership to develop a proposed business park in the town.

Loblaw Properties Ltd., which operates the Dominion store on Conception Bay Highway, had originally signed a letter of intent on May 14, 2012.

With that letter of intent came a set of obligations for both parties and over the next year, each attempted to fulfill the parameters of the agreement.

However, on April 5, Bay Roberts contacted Loblaw, inquiring where the Canadian grocery giant stood on the agreement.

Correspondence went back and forth until both parties agreed that it would be best to go their separate ways.

“We came to the point where we weren’t going to fulfill the obligations of the agreement and they agreed that they wouldn’t be able to meet our time frames,” said Nigel Black, the town’s chief administrative officer.

With that, Bay Roberts moved forward on accepting new proposals for the development of the roughly 60 acres, located just off L. T. Stick Drive, near Veterans Memorial Highway.

Bay Roberts Mayor Philip Wood said the town was disappointed that the two could not see the project through. “We had been hoping to get something done and moving faster,” he said. “This project has been going now for 10 years.”

Although Loblaw no longer has interest in developing a business park, Wood said the company has indicated interest in Bay Roberts.

“(Loblaw) explained to us that their priority is to secure land and to construct a new building,” he explained. “They remained committed to Bay Roberts and are focused on that goal.”

Bay Roberts is currently going over multiple proposals for the site. To handle the new proposals, Bay Roberts established a business park committee.

This new committee is chaired by the town’s director of tourism and economic development, Ron Delaney, and is also comprised of Wood, Black, Coun. Gerald Greenland and Sean Elms, the director of public works.

This committee allows for a variety of opinions and viewpoints to be heard on each proposal.

“It’s important to look at all the angles,” said Wood.

To date, the town is encouraged by the number of proposals it has received since parting with Loblaw. The mayor said a decision could be made on the new developer in a couple of weeks, but could not give an exact date.

Once the new developer is in place, Wood is hoping to “get things going as quickly as possible.”

Meanwhile, the Veterans Memorial Business Park in Tilton, Spaniard’s Bay appears to be in limbo.

However, Robert Lundrigan, spokesman for the proposed business park, said work is still going on behind the scenes.

“We’re still proceeding with a number of plans,” he said. “We’re dealing with some major companies and we’re not in a position … to offer something at this time, though we hope to fairly soon.

“However, things are still looking good and we’re absolutely confident it is a go.”

When asked if the public might see some activity at the site in 2013, Lundrigan replied: “I can’t commit to that, but I’m optimistic.”


The Compass

Organizations: Loblaws, Properties, Dominion The Compass

Geographic location: Bay Roberts, Nicholas MercerTC Media—Bay, Canada Business Park Tilton

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Recent comments

  • Jack Squat
    July 17, 2013 - 19:09

    The state of grocery stores in this entire geographical location are appalling. Where else can you go though a grocery store and see the weekly meat specials in grocery shopping carts unrefrigerated and waiting for people to pick through them. Luckily I work in the metro St. John's area so I can continue to support Costco as much as possible until the poor state of shopping options in this community is corrected.

  • Danny
    July 17, 2013 - 11:38

    Are they going to follow their St. John's example? Buy up the other potential supermarket locations, sit on them, turn them into dead malls - so that everyone needs to drive to one of their mega stores? Great business model for non-local investors - and the suburbanites seem to love it. The rest of the city - students, elderly, working poor - we are all screwed over by Loblaw's success at destroying local business and their refusal to sell or lease properties in the city centre to other companies (Ropewalk Lane, Newfoundland Drive, Churchill Square...)

    • Another Buisness Man
      July 17, 2013 - 13:25

      That's how Loblaw makes its money; through intelligent investing. It's called FREE ENTERPRISE. The students, elderly and working poor don't have enough money to be of interest to real entrepreneurs. They are a drag on society. Let them walk.

    • Brad
      July 17, 2013 - 17:00

      @Another Businessman Idiot.

  • Jack
    July 17, 2013 - 10:10

    With Loblaw's getting bigger and bigger due to the Shoppers Drug Mart acquisition, as this company gets larger, they will use this power and influence to turn their back on small towns and get away with it. Lessons learned, never trust Loblaw's or Sobey's to build business parks as they will say one thing and do another.

    • a business man
      July 18, 2013 - 18:51

      I am okay with Loblaws turning its back on small towns. I have turned my back on small towns and made lots of money by doing so. If I can do it, so can Loblaws. If anything, I hope they do it simply because they have the right to do so.