On Our Radar: What is the future of Grand Falls House?

The Telegram
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2008: AbitibiBowater announces it will shut down the Grand Falls- Windsor mill in the first quarter of 2009. The provincial government passes a bill to expropriate the property, as well as lumber and timber rights, and comes in possession of Grand Falls House. The Tudor-style mansion was built in 1909 by pulp and paper mill baron Alfred Harmsworth and his brother, Harold. They built the structure as an alternate residence for them and guests when they were not in Europe. Over the years, the massive house plays host to visiting celebrities and politicians. It is one of the oldest still standing residential structures in Grand Falls-Windsor.

May 2011

    A provincial government team visits the house to assess it. Tourism Minister Terry French says the government understands the heritage significance of the structure and says a ministerial task force will meet at some point to discuss recommendations for the future of the house. The Department of Transportation and Works is in charge of the house’s security and maintenance. There is no date given for the meeting.

 

May 2013

    It is disclosed that the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor and the provincial government have recently been discussing the fate of the house, but Grand Falls-Windsor Mayor Al Hawkins says no in-depth discussions have taken place. He also says the town is not in a position to assume the liabilities of the property. It is also disclosed that the departments of Transportation and Works, and Tourism, Culture and Recreation have had preliminary discussions with the town and local business associations about potential future uses for the property, but a decision has not been made, according to a spokesperson from Transportation and Works. Members of the Grand Falls-Windsor Heritage Society have visited the house and inventoried its contents. Hawkins says he invites ideas from businesses and the public about possible uses for the structure.

 

Aug. 29, 2013

    Hawkins tells The Telegram that the town still does not have jurisdiction over Grand Falls House, other than its designation as a heritage building to protect the building in case it is divested. He says they have not entertained any proposals for the building and, other than some casual discussions with the province, have not pursued the matter. The Department of Transportation and Works, reiterates that it and the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation have had  preliminary discussions with the town and local business associations, but a decision has not been made on the future use of the house.

The Telegram has been following this story for: 4 years, six months

What we want to know:

What is the future of Grand Falls House?

 

Who has the answer:

    Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation

  P.O. Box 8700

  St. John’s, NL A1B 4J6

  Tel: 709-729-0862

  Fax: 709-729-0870

  tcrinfo@gov.nl.ca

 

    Department of Transportation  and Works

  P.O. Box 8700

  St. John’s, NL A1B 4J6

  Tel: 709-729-2300

  tw@gov.nl.ca

Organizations: College of the North Atlantic-Qatar, The Telegram, Department of Advanced Education and Skills Aboriginal Affairs

Geographic location: Qatar, Newfoundland and Labrador

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