Growing town or city-to-be?

Dave Bartlett
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C.B.S. in no rush to become urban

The Town of Conception Bay South is one of the fastest growing towns in the province. Some of the businesses are shown in Manuels.

There's no question Conception Bay South - like many municipalities on the Northeast Avalon - is booming.

But is the largest town in Newfoundland and Labrador contemplating a jump to city status?

After the Town of C.B.S. brought down its 2012 budget earlier this month, The Telegram put that question to Mayor Woodrow French and Deputy Mayor John Hicks, who chairs the town's financial and administrative services committee.

"We raise it around the table and have a bit of fun with it," said French of the city/town conundrum.

"I remember one time saying we should look at city status and somebody, I don't (remember who), said, 'What would you rather be, the (smallest) city or the biggest town?' So we really don't know."

But French said he feels the way the town is run means there's no need, or at least no rush, to become a city.

"Under (a C.B.S.) city's act we would have more freedom to do some things with financing, but the bottom line is we're still subject to the Municipalities Act, regardless of which way we go," said the mayor. "It's not a priority within council, but it's something we're keeping our eye on."

Hicks said because of the growth facing C.B.S. it has needs beyond that of more rural towns.

"We have this growth that requires we keep certain things and provide certain services," he said, noting in recent years the town has had to renovate its swimming pool, added an Astroturf soccer pitch and is in the process of adding another ice surface.

And that's just under the recreation banner.

The town opened a new business park - The Gateway - in 2011 to try to increase its commercial tax base and has also decided to collect its own garbage in the new year instead of continuing to contract out the service.

But Hicks also said many residents of the town still rely on wells for drinking water and septic tanks for sewage and that means some are paying for services they don't get - a problem C.B.S. is trying to deal with.

"We are the largest municipality that's not a city in Newfoundland and Labrador, and as the mayor often says, we've got residents that don't have a drop of drinking water," he said.

But Hicks also acknowledges the way many people feel about the urban-rural mix of the town.

"One of the things people like about Conception Bay South ... is it's got a strangely urban-rural feel that doesn't really exist anywhere else around this area. And people who come here, come for a reason, and we have to try and preserve that while we're managing the growth," he said.

"One of the key ways you preserve something is that you understand its value and you put plans in place to keep it," Hicks added.

"So as long as we understand our rural part of Conception Bay South is important to us, then that's going to be maintained. It's just as simple as that."

dbartlett@thetelegram.com

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Northeast Avalon

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Recent comments

  • William Daniels
    January 02, 2012 - 21:41

    Conception Bay South better hope St. John's doesn't wake up and roll over on them. Mayors French, Simms, Wiseman are only intersted in self preservation.

  • billyd
    January 02, 2012 - 20:30

    ..maybe they can join Mount Pearl as the only other "city" that doesn't have an escalator.

  • billyd
    January 02, 2012 - 20:22

    ..maybe they can join Mount Pearl as the only other "city" that doesn't have an escalator.

  • Jack
    January 02, 2012 - 20:04

    Since Conception Bay South is about the same size as Corner Brook and Mount Pearl, now is the time for this town to graduate to city status. If Conception Bay South remains a town, it will become the Whitby, Ontario or Newfoundland and Labrador as both communities are large towns with populations levels comparable to small cities. CBS has almost 22,000 people, and Whitby has 112,000 (has town status). In an unrelated note, Grand Falls-Windsor should also be upgraded to a city as well.

  • FRED
    January 02, 2012 - 19:14

    time for the toll booths..plain ans simple..no amalgamation...but if you are using st.john's services then you damn well pay...don't cry... don't amalgamate..just pay....!!!! if you want to stay as you are there is a price to pay....$10 a day....!

  • Sealer
    January 02, 2012 - 18:32

    I give the Mayor and Council of CBS a grade I ..... for Inept.

  • Political watcher
    January 02, 2012 - 17:25

    Glad to see Woody and Company starting off the New Year as looney as the last one. I can see it now: a City where three quarters of its resident have no water, no sewer, no sidewalks, no recreation facilities etc... CBS can barely hold it's own as a Town let alone a City. Woody, by your own admission you couldn't run a two hole sh*%#ouse now you want a three hole one? CBS and others like it exists only because they can reap the benefits of being close to St. John's. Mount Pearl is only a City because Peckford owed Windsor a favour before leaving politics.

  • Anon to City Boy
    January 02, 2012 - 15:47

    When the city of St. John's can run a city effectively, we'll consider amalgamation but right now it's a moronic idea considering the debt load of St. John's compared to CBS, Mount Pearl and Paradise. It'd be like Texas deciding to become part of Mexico... scrap that, the US is a fish out of water dying in the sun. Regardless, there's nothing in it for us if we join St. John's except higher taxes and even worse leadership. No thank you. I'd sooner amalgamate with Holyrood, Paradise or Mount Pearl, though CBS its self it an amalgamation already. (Telegram, you're a newspaper in Newfoundland, not CIA or Pentagon, get a better captcha program ffs)

  • City BoY
    January 02, 2012 - 14:27

    A city with no services, without St. John's there would be even less out there. Amalgate with St. John's is the only answer. Wake up people, st. john's is the only thing keeping the town going and the people entertained, it is a place to lay your head and sleep and thats it.

    • Jack
      January 02, 2012 - 20:19

      Didn't you learn anything from the Halifax Amalgamation in 1996? Since almagamation results in higher taxes but little or no municipal government services, inadequate municipal services, greater traffic congestion, worsening urban sprawl, and higher municipal government costs, it doesn't work. As a person originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, I experienced or learned about the consequences of amalgation. Having CBS, Paradise, Torbay, The Goulds, Kilbride, Mount Pearl, and St. John's remaing separate towns and cities instead of being a regional municipality is a good thing. Otherwise, the Greater St. John's area will turn into another Halifax Regional Municipality, and live with the consequences that go with it.

  • Jeremiah
    January 02, 2012 - 14:17

    Chris, That would be a step in the right direction at least.

  • Chris
    January 02, 2012 - 13:48

    CBS, Paradise and Mt Pearl should merge Never join St John's

  • Kay
    January 02, 2012 - 12:33

    I would have to agree with anonymous. I don't believe there is "a plan" for CBC. It has become horrible looking because of all the subdivisions. The subdivisions are just a congested mess of houses crammed together. The roads are horrible and cannot support the level of traffic on them and there are no sidewalks. I am not sure what the answer is but, I respectfully think that Mr. French is out of his league when it comes to progressing a town.

  • Bonnie Butler
    January 02, 2012 - 12:32

    we live on a road in seal cove named Morgans rd. which has over thirty homes and we don't have water and sewer services but our tax bill is the same as friends and family that lives in Long Pond.The last few years when we get some funding the small roads with anywhere from three homes to ten homes are done before ours.this is a problem that can't we just figure out.Can you?

  • Jeremiah
    January 02, 2012 - 12:10

    Amalgamate NE Avalon! No brainer. Long, long overdue.

    • Mike B
      January 02, 2012 - 15:53

      They can't do that, it would mean that they would have to pay for the services they are leaching off of St. John's...

    • Jack
      January 02, 2012 - 20:13

      As a former Halifax resident myself, I can tell you from my experience that amalgamation will not work. When Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford, and Halifax County Municipality merged to form Halifax Regional Municipality (herein referred to as HRM) in 1996, many Haligonians thought that alamgamation would solve all problems in the Halifax County area, but it didn't. For example, many rural HRM residents experienced large property tax increase but don't get adequate municipal services, urban sprawl problems have gotten worse as many Haligonians live in neighbouring satellite communities, municipal government costs have dramatically increased especially for policing and fire fighting service, and some parts of Halifax still don't have running water particuarly Purcell's Cove. If there's one lesson learned from amalgamation, especially with HRM, it doesn't work and its causes more problems in the long run.

  • Anon
    January 02, 2012 - 09:45

    Can someone on the town council explain why all of these subdivisions are going up, littering the landscape with cul de sacs and not a single road to connect any of them. Our population has been exploding over the last 15 years or so that I've lived here and there's still ONLY ONE ROAD IN THE WHOLE TOWN. Any 12 year old with a copy of Sim City can tell you that our roadways are poorly designed and desperately need connections. to get from tilleys road south to the schools on the access road is a displacement of about 2 and a half kilometers but takes more than double that distance to get there... as one of several examples. Though the problem is far more drastic on the west side than the east.

    • cbs man
      January 02, 2012 - 11:46

      i agree totally with anon, i have been saying the same thing to myself past 3 years!!