The Town of Conception Bay South is optimistic its 100-acre Gateway business park will spur economic prosperity for the growing community, and now it appears town council is looking to its harbour for further economic benefits.
Proposals were due to be received by closing-time Wednesday at the town hall for a tender on the completion of a harbour-potential study on the prospects for enhancing its attractiveness to local residents.
Coun. Stephen Tessier, chairman of the town's economic development committee, said the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) controls small craft harbours like that found in what's locally known as the "inner pond" of Long Pond, located adjacent to Bishop's Road.
Tessier said DFO is divesting itself of smaller harbours not used commercially. With the divestment, the Town of Conception Bay South would gain control of the harbour leases, excluding the area that serves container ships.
"Through that process, we have to do a usage study to see if it's of any benefit to the Town of Conception Bay South," said Tessier.
Town chief administrative officer Keith Arns said a recreation and tourism master plan completed several years ago referred to the potential for harbour development.
At present, there are more than 100 boats using the harbour, many of which are based out of the Royal Newfoundland Yacht Club located on Greenslades Road.
Tessier said the town may look at potential recreation and tourism prospects for the harbour.
"It's yet another jewel in the crown of Conception Bay South, along with the coastline," said Tessier. "Boating is huge right now, so I would be hoping to expand on that pleasure craft use and, hopefully, get some commercial use as well."
Arns agrees with Tessier that there is a potential to further develop the area, but the feasibility study represents an early step in assessing that potential.
Being close to the downtown core of Conception Bay South, creating a connection between the areas with a walking trail and boardwalk may prove useful, Tessier said.
"I'm looking forward to seeing the results of the study."
Tessier said DFO intends to have operation and usage of the harbour settled by March 31.
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