Mayor Sam Synard acknowledges there's "a lot of people moving earth around" in Marystown these days.
A sizable number of projects are presently in some phase of development in the Burin Peninsula's largest community.
From water and sewer upgrades, to roadwork, water treatment, business and industrial park growth and recreation plans - the mayor admitted it can be dizzying to try to keep track of all that's happening in the town.
One of the more significant developments yet to receive much attention is the construction of a new 30,000-square-foot building by the Marco Group of Cos to replace Eastern Health's offices in Burin.
The building will be located in the Harris Drive Business Park where the original dozen lots have all been sold.
Marco owner Chris Hickman indicated another related company would own the building, which will cost approximately $6 million. He confirmed Eastern Health has agreed to lease the building for the next two decades.
"It was a tender we bid on sometime this summer for a 20-year lease. It was a public tender. We were the low tender - I think the only tender actually.
"It's a design/build so we've been going through the design process all summer and we finally now got all the permits in place and the design completed and approved by the Department of Health. So, we're off to the races."
Hickman said the Brenton Group is the local civil contractor and is responsible for all outside work.
He said if all goes according to plan the building would be ready for occupation July 1, 2010.
"There's been a fair amount of blasting, bog removal and rock removal. They've been working there now three weeks straight, seven days a week."
Synard, who sees the building as the "crown jewel" of the business park, suggested the structure would likely represent the largest office complex along the province's south coast, thus necessitating a need to revisit traffic congestion in the area, which he indicated has become an issue in the town in general.
He said residents could likely expect to see additional traffic lights in the community in the future.
"We've having a good discussion now with the Department of Transportation. Even without this new building ... and without the new marine industrial park being developed, we needed lights at the tourist chalet to begin with."
As for the marine industrial park at Power's Cove, Synard said the first two phases of the $3.1-million project - split federally, provincially and municipally - are now in the final stages of completion.
"By the end of November, when the pavers get finished, you'll be able to drive right to the water's edge on a beautifully paved road and it'll have 15, possibly 16, lots in total, all serviced going down."
Synard, who noted the town has already received some interest from developers, explained the lots would not be sold haphazardly.
"We're interested in sort of selling ideas. So, we're not just going to sell lots to people. You need to have a really good plan showing us how much employment you're going to create (and) what are you going to add to the tax base of the town.
"They're really for heavy industry. We're not really going to sell big lots for a purpose you don't need a big lot for. So, we're going to play judge and jury to some degree in what goes in there."
Synard said the town's other major project, the $12.5-million water-treatment plant, financed under the Building Canada Fund, is still awaiting some final decisions. He explained those mainly relate to the technologies the system will use.
"We are hoping now to go to tender in really short order and we're hoping to get some capital construction started in the spring.
"It's going to be a fairly modern water-treatment plant and we're going to close out the reservoir - right now we have a dam-type reservoir - to go with a large holding tank. It'll be pretty imposing as you drive into town."
Additionally, the town also has secured $3.5 million under the federal government's new infrastructure program for roadwork, primarily paving. He said engineering design work would be completed this fall, with the hope being to start before the end of the season, but, if not, then to begin early next spring.
"We're looking at a number of streets," Synard said.
"The demand always outstrips the supply of money, but we're looking at probably 12 streets, different ones around town that are problematic."
Capital works and gas tax
The town is knee-deep in this year's projects under its multi-year capital works plan, with other water and sewer infrastructure developments, implementing the town's gas tax funding, ready to begin shortly.
From the former, the contract for the $1.1-million sewer project on Atlantic Street was recently awarded to Trepassey's Southern Construction and work has begun.
Mallay's Industrial Services of Marystown is nearing completion on a $566,000 job to replace waterlines on Marine Drive and will begin another $330,000 project to add sewer access to Cheeke's Road, an older area of town that doesn't have proper sewer collection systems, later this month.
A fourth project, awarded to St. John's-based Nortech Construction at a cost of $50,000, will see road upgrades and paving on Dober's Lane.
A portion of the town's gas tax funding - $350,000 - was put to use earlier this year to extend waterlines on McGettigan Boulevard near Wal-Mart. Other projects lined up to go include $250,000 to replace waterlines under the Harris Drive overpass, a $60,000 sewer replacement job on Hillview Heights in Little Bay and $50,000 to complete an Integrated Community Sustainability Plan for the town.
Meanwhile, Synard said the town just received approval from the province to go ahead with a second, more detailed study on a new recreation complex for Marystown at a cost of $125,000.
He noted several options are being explored on what facilities the centre might include.
The debate centres on whether to build a year-round swimming pool and upgrade the existing arena, or attempt to construct new buildings for both.
The mayor explained the study should be completed before the end of the year.
"We're hoping in the provincial budget of April coming, the 2010-11 provincial budget, we'll get an announcement that Marystown will receive $15 million to build a new recreation complex. That's moving forward, as well."
On another note, the town is preparing to submit potential projects for approval to the province for the 2010-11 Municipal Capital Works program at month's end.
The various projects and developments all add up to quite a few dollars. The mayor acknowledged these are heady days in Marystown, indeed.
"I haven't seen it this prosperous in a long time. It's great to see. We're going in the right direction."