Mayor Sam Synard is defending the prices being charged for commercial properties by the Town of Marystown.
"Land is tight," Synard said. "When we opened up the Harris Drive Business Park, it took a lot of years for it to take off, but now every lot in there is sold."
There are 14 sites in the park and the town hopes to double that down the road.
Brian Hutchings of Winterland attended last week's council meeting to discuss his attempt to buy a piece of land to start a sheet metal business.
He'd made an offer on a piece of town-owed land on McGettigan Boulevard, but council rejected his bid as being too low. Hutchings wanted to know why lots in the Harris Drive Business Park were sold for $7,500, when the piece of land he wanted was 10 times that amount.
Synard said the town is just trying to get the best price it can for the McGettigan Boulevard property.
"We have had offers on that land, but the offers haven't been really where the market value is," the mayor said.
"As an owner of land, not unlike individuals who own land, we have an obligation to maximize the return on land. Having said that, we certainly offered the lots in Harris Drive Business Park really inexpensively starting off because they weren't moving, but once they moved, they moved fast, and now they're all gone."
Meanwhile, there are 15 large lots in the Marine Industrial Park off McGettigan Boulevard that Synard said could easily be divided to bring the total to 20 or more.
Those sites would soon become available, he suggested, and the town hopes to attract heavy industrial-type operations and manufacturing businesses there.
"We're on target to have 48 industrial lots in Marystown - just as much as any community has developed over a long period of time."
Synard said the fully serviced lots in Marine Industrial Park would likely sell for up to $60,000, which he contends is not overly expensive, given the amount a private developer would need to charge just to break even on such a project.
"Even $60,000-plus is not really where prices are in Clarenville for industrial lots, or St. John's, or Corner Brook and so on. They're not as expensive as lots in many other centres around the province."
Synard said a mainland company has already expressed an interest in purchasing space - a venture that could create 15-20 jobs if everything falls into place.
"That's the kind of clientele we're trying to really attract to the new industrial park," he said.
Synard said the town wants to work with everybody it can, and added there are some small parcels of land to be had.
"Unfortunately, we don't have the ability to pull land out of the air," he said. "So, we only have what we have to work with and it seems like people want to be in the centre of Marystown for business. Certainly, if you're going to be into a retail business, you want to be into the highest traffic area possible."
It's a sign of the times, he said.
"If there's a good side to the story, it shows progress. There's a lot going on here."