Paradise lost?

Alisha Morrissey
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It could be for some residents, who worry the town is being overdeveloped

Some residents of Paradise who say they moved there looking for rural living might have a hard time finding it once their front doors open onto a new subdivision.

"If you drive through Paradise now ... all you can see is rooftops," said Jerome Lawlor, who'll be able to see the development going up across the street from his house on St. Thomas Line.

Alton Gelnn, town planner for the Town of Paradise, shows materials related to development in that town. Photo by Steve Bartlett/The Telegram

Some residents of Paradise who say they moved there looking for rural living might have a hard time finding it once their front doors open onto a new subdivision.

"If you drive through Paradise now ... all you can see is rooftops," said Jerome Lawlor, who'll be able to see the development going up across the street from his house on St. Thomas Line.

"They cut every bough, branch and limb. It's getting to the point now, if a bird comes into Paradise, he's going to have to bring his own branch to land on."

Lawlor says he doesn't know anyone in his area who is looking forward to the massive development.

Like many of his neighbours, he's concerned about the town's 25- to 30-year plan that will see up to 2,800 homes built in the area between Octagon Pond and Three Island Pond.

Much of the area was rezoned from "rural" to "residential subdivision area" about a month ago, and since then residents have come forward with a wide range of concerns, including worries that town services won't be able to meet the demand created by an influx of new residents.

But the long-term plan is best for the town, Paradise planner Alton Glenn maintains.

"The easy thing would be to do piecemeal development and rezone a piece at a time at 20 or 30 lots, and then you're hiding under the radar and people would say it's no big deal," he says.

And no one agrees more than Coun. Ed Howlett, who is also the town's planning committee chairman.

"This is going to be a very slow-paced development as far as we're concerned," Howlett says.

"This is how we plan to develop our town. It is long-term, and the public has input. As each developer requests zoning change we will be going to the public with that zoning change."

Most of the 650 acres of land involved is owned by developer Fairview Investments, but the development plan was created by the town.

Howlett says the town will benefit from the growth, business will flourish, there will be parks and walking trails, and the environment will be protected by buffer zones and rules against clearcutting.

"We're on a border with two cities ... so there's a rural and an urban setting in Paradise. ... The pace of this development will obviously be dictated by the housing market," Howlett says.

"The development won't take place if ... the demand is not there. ... There may never be that many homes up there."

But residents like Lawlor say they don't trust the council.

"Everybody has the same fears, that they're going to come in and rape it - rip it right down and not leave so much as a limb standing there," he says of the landscape.

"All we have up there is a youth centre that was built last year by Rotary. OK, we got a few banks out there and a little small supermarket, but when it comes to basic services, we don't have any."

Howlett argues the development will be the catalyst for better services for the town.

Sarah Rose has opposed the development of the Octagon Pond area for more than a decade.

"I've sort of given up. It seems like the town is going to do what it wants regardless," she says, clearly exasperated. "I hate to sound discouraged, but I am."

Rose says she's already seen streams turned into culverts, and walking in the woods she's seen spots of orange paint where utility poles will go.

"They have never even been in those woods ... they wouldn't know a buffer zone if it smacked them in the face," she says.

"The only thing I can hope for is that the economy will turn so bad that they won't be able to move ahead with this kind of development.

"Maybe I'm wrong, maybe there is no value in trees and moose and streams."

amorrissey@thetelegram.com

Geographic location: Island Pond

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Recent comments

  • marge
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    Very tragic....reminds me of the song pave paradise, put up a parking lot .

  • Chris
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    Again we see a story in the Telegram about the rapid pace of development and seeming indifference of the town council to the concerns of its residents. (see stories May 3, 2007 Paradise Lost - and October 21, 2008 - Expanding Paradise).

    The issues of all three stories are similar Paradise is growing much too fast and without adequate planning to deal with the new infrastructure needs traffic being the biggest problem. Of course, there are still many people without water and sewer, yet council wants to keep building. It seems that council is allowing developers to do as they please all in the name of the mighty tax dollar. With increased development, the environment is suffering. Depending on who you talk to in Paradise, green space has two meanings.

    What's equally disturbing is the flippant attitude of most of the town council. It is next impossible to get a straight answer from the mayor. His response to a question from an elementary student on why he didn't leave any trees and was clear cutting - it meant smaller lots and that there was less grass to mow so lawnmowers would contribute less green house gases speaks for itself.

    Many residents are frustrated and the frustration is continuing to grow. The mayor recently announced that he would be seeking another term. If we can't get any satisfaction from town hall, perhaps we should get it at the ballot box.

  • Jill
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    I recently drove by Castletown Place in Paradise. It's an ironic name because the cul-de-sac is so small, and the lots are very thin and as long as a football field. The houses on that cul-de-sac are crammed together making it difficult to differentiate between them - two houses look like one ! It reminds me of my trip to India where everything is crammed on top of each other. Why is that happening here in NL ? I've never, never seen this before in NL. It doesn't look right - it looks very awkward.

    Also, I noticed a very obvious lack of green belts. Can someone tell me where I can a stand of trees not just beyond the subdivisions' construction area, but amongst the new homes ? I can't find one off Kenmount Road.

    Someone does not want to give up one red cent of possible profit and this is why they are clear-cutting the area and not leaving even one natural stand of trees.

  • July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    'Howlett says the town will benefit from the growth, business will flourish, there will be parks and walking trails' - But NO ROADS. Anyone try Topsail Rd/CBS Hwy recently ?

    And when they do build roads, they have blind intersections - you cannot pull away from stop signs without fear of an accident due to not being able to see far enough down the road to avoid always-speeding traffic. There is simply not enough clearance around the corners to gauge the lead time to safely pull out. Very poor design. Very poor. Watching the subdivisions being put in, I can see there is no reason not to make the roadways safer. I once asked PDC about this and the response was, We like to make it interesting.' Maybe so, but I'd rather make it safe. It's time to stop the cow-patch method of making roads and start laying down some grids. Where are the experts ? We only have unqualified 'professionals' (people who work at a profession, not necessarily an expert), at the helm here.

  • Jack
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    I agree with Gordon, it's alright once your in a comfortable, but god forbid anybody to building on the lot next to or on back of you. The community will grow beyond what any of us could imagine, expect it and get use to it. People should welcome the developments, but should fight the hardest for movements on schools, swimming pool and ice rink, it don't take much to make most of us happy a couple more small recreational developments for our kids and we will be on track and keeping people content

  • Gordon
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Some residents of Paradise who say they moved there looking for rural living might have a hard time finding it once their front doors open onto a new subdivision.

    So people who moved to Paradise are worried about more people moving to Paradise?

    You can't expect to enjoy the conveinience of living so close to Mount Pearl and St. John's with the rural backdrop of a place like Paradise for very long.

  • JK
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    What a hideous place to live.

  • Sue
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    I certainly will not be moving to Paradise, the town does not have the proper infrastructure in place to support it's population. Until recently there's only been one road in and out to and from the city of St. John's and now even with 2 the traffic is still horrendous (I know it's not Toronto but compared to St. john's/ Mt. Pearl). I think the council needs to focus on expanding transportation & the appearance of it's eye sore of a main road before it accepts anymore residents.

  • M
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    No kidding, all you can see is rooftops. Out in St John's,a lot of new developments are landscaped properly, and they even have a tree in every front yard. Here, it's see a tree......KILL it!! And God FORBID the developers should have to beautify in any way,shape or form. As it is, if you get 2 or 3 inches of topsoil on top of the rocks, before the front lawn gets put down, you're lucky.

    As for the council, they let the developers do whatever they please, be it starting at 5 in the am, finishing at 9 pm, or working full tilt on a Saturaday or Sunday, and to hell with the people already living in the area. The council itself does some really strange things, like putting in a 3 way stop sign at an intersection that has a very steep hill beginning at that stop sign. Winter ought to be fun, because you have to make a run at that hill to get up it, all due to the fact that it's never sanded or ploughed properly. THIS is PROGRESS? You can't handle what's there NOW, so how are you going to do justice to more places, HMMM?


    You want to be fair to the residents? Then send them out mail-in ballots, about important issues, and don't leave it to a select few to make all our decisions FOR us. Majority rules, and as far as i'm concerned, you get voted in, you can ALSO get voted OUT. THAT should apply for every position in the council, from the mayor to the town planner.

  • marge
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    Very tragic....reminds me of the song pave paradise, put up a parking lot .

  • Chris
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    Again we see a story in the Telegram about the rapid pace of development and seeming indifference of the town council to the concerns of its residents. (see stories May 3, 2007 Paradise Lost - and October 21, 2008 - Expanding Paradise).

    The issues of all three stories are similar Paradise is growing much too fast and without adequate planning to deal with the new infrastructure needs traffic being the biggest problem. Of course, there are still many people without water and sewer, yet council wants to keep building. It seems that council is allowing developers to do as they please all in the name of the mighty tax dollar. With increased development, the environment is suffering. Depending on who you talk to in Paradise, green space has two meanings.

    What's equally disturbing is the flippant attitude of most of the town council. It is next impossible to get a straight answer from the mayor. His response to a question from an elementary student on why he didn't leave any trees and was clear cutting - it meant smaller lots and that there was less grass to mow so lawnmowers would contribute less green house gases speaks for itself.

    Many residents are frustrated and the frustration is continuing to grow. The mayor recently announced that he would be seeking another term. If we can't get any satisfaction from town hall, perhaps we should get it at the ballot box.

  • Jill
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    I recently drove by Castletown Place in Paradise. It's an ironic name because the cul-de-sac is so small, and the lots are very thin and as long as a football field. The houses on that cul-de-sac are crammed together making it difficult to differentiate between them - two houses look like one ! It reminds me of my trip to India where everything is crammed on top of each other. Why is that happening here in NL ? I've never, never seen this before in NL. It doesn't look right - it looks very awkward.

    Also, I noticed a very obvious lack of green belts. Can someone tell me where I can a stand of trees not just beyond the subdivisions' construction area, but amongst the new homes ? I can't find one off Kenmount Road.

    Someone does not want to give up one red cent of possible profit and this is why they are clear-cutting the area and not leaving even one natural stand of trees.

  • July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    'Howlett says the town will benefit from the growth, business will flourish, there will be parks and walking trails' - But NO ROADS. Anyone try Topsail Rd/CBS Hwy recently ?

    And when they do build roads, they have blind intersections - you cannot pull away from stop signs without fear of an accident due to not being able to see far enough down the road to avoid always-speeding traffic. There is simply not enough clearance around the corners to gauge the lead time to safely pull out. Very poor design. Very poor. Watching the subdivisions being put in, I can see there is no reason not to make the roadways safer. I once asked PDC about this and the response was, We like to make it interesting.' Maybe so, but I'd rather make it safe. It's time to stop the cow-patch method of making roads and start laying down some grids. Where are the experts ? We only have unqualified 'professionals' (people who work at a profession, not necessarily an expert), at the helm here.

  • Jack
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    I agree with Gordon, it's alright once your in a comfortable, but god forbid anybody to building on the lot next to or on back of you. The community will grow beyond what any of us could imagine, expect it and get use to it. People should welcome the developments, but should fight the hardest for movements on schools, swimming pool and ice rink, it don't take much to make most of us happy a couple more small recreational developments for our kids and we will be on track and keeping people content

  • Gordon
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    Some residents of Paradise who say they moved there looking for rural living might have a hard time finding it once their front doors open onto a new subdivision.

    So people who moved to Paradise are worried about more people moving to Paradise?

    You can't expect to enjoy the conveinience of living so close to Mount Pearl and St. John's with the rural backdrop of a place like Paradise for very long.

  • JK
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    What a hideous place to live.

  • Sue
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    I certainly will not be moving to Paradise, the town does not have the proper infrastructure in place to support it's population. Until recently there's only been one road in and out to and from the city of St. John's and now even with 2 the traffic is still horrendous (I know it's not Toronto but compared to St. john's/ Mt. Pearl). I think the council needs to focus on expanding transportation & the appearance of it's eye sore of a main road before it accepts anymore residents.

  • M
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    No kidding, all you can see is rooftops. Out in St John's,a lot of new developments are landscaped properly, and they even have a tree in every front yard. Here, it's see a tree......KILL it!! And God FORBID the developers should have to beautify in any way,shape or form. As it is, if you get 2 or 3 inches of topsoil on top of the rocks, before the front lawn gets put down, you're lucky.

    As for the council, they let the developers do whatever they please, be it starting at 5 in the am, finishing at 9 pm, or working full tilt on a Saturaday or Sunday, and to hell with the people already living in the area. The council itself does some really strange things, like putting in a 3 way stop sign at an intersection that has a very steep hill beginning at that stop sign. Winter ought to be fun, because you have to make a run at that hill to get up it, all due to the fact that it's never sanded or ploughed properly. THIS is PROGRESS? You can't handle what's there NOW, so how are you going to do justice to more places, HMMM?


    You want to be fair to the residents? Then send them out mail-in ballots, about important issues, and don't leave it to a select few to make all our decisions FOR us. Majority rules, and as far as i'm concerned, you get voted in, you can ALSO get voted OUT. THAT should apply for every position in the council, from the mayor to the town planner.