An excavation company is about half-way through the job of clearcutting and trucking materials offsite for Danny Williams’ Glencrest project near Southlands.
Crews are working around the clock, says John Hill of J3 Consulting and Excavating Ltd.
He said flood lights have been set up so they can work until 7 p.m. and sometimes later.
“We’re trying to get it done before the snow sets in,” Hill told The Telegram Friday.
“We started clearing Sept. 13 and we’re hoping to be finished by Christmas providing the weather stays co-operative,” he said.
The former Newfoundland premier told The Telegram this week the work underway is part of a $4-million contract awarded to Dexter Construction Ltd. to get Glencrest ready for development.
Dexter subcontracted the work J3 Consulting and Excavating Ltd. which is doing the clearing, grubbing and removal of unusable material.
Williams said the unusable material is essentially decomposed material, like a huge a compost heap, that can’t be built on so it has to be removed. He said up to 700 truckloads a day is being brought to farmers in the Goulds.
“So they’re delighted they’re getting it dropped off to them to level and extend their fields, and the boys are flat out. You can see from the level of activity in there — about 50 people working and 30 trucks coming and going — there’s a lot of work done,” he said.
The 2,000-acre project is near Southlands and borders the Trans-Canada Highway as well as Mount Pearl and St. John’s.
Four sections of Glencrest have already been rezoned — industrial (87.32 acres), commercial (97.09 acres), residential apartment (20.84 acres) residential single houses (30.99 acres).
Williams said what is being cleared now is for a combination of industrial and retail development.
“We’re hoping to start construction late summer or early fall and we’ll be clearing the road, grubbing the roads, for the industrial end in the course of the next month. We’re probably less than a year from a building going in there. If all goes according to plan, we could be starting construction within a year. Once you get the water mains and the main roads put in there, it’s site-ready,” he said.
“We’ve had several expressions of interest on the industrial side so now we’re in the process of getting a partner on the whole retail side. We’ve done a national search for people who have done retail development — some of the biggest in the country — and we’re going through the process of selecting a partner by the end of the year, and we’ll work with them to bring in all the major retailers,” said Williams.
Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro has stated that as Glencrest develops, it would require an additional 230-kilovolt terminal station.
In Hydro’s 2014 capital budget application, it says potential large-scale developments like Glencrest will have a “a significant impact on the load forecast for the area and distribution of load” in the area, and notes that it is estimated to be the size of the town of Gander when it’s fully developed.
“Glencrest has the potential to strain existing transmission infrastructure to the point where a new 230/66 kV terminal station is warranted,” it states.
Williams said he hasn’t had any discussions with Hydro about power but noted the project is to be developed gradually over 20 years.
There was also some questions raised by city councillors about the amount of strain the project could have on water pressure, but Williams said the approval of the project was done on the basis that the water supply is adequate.
“Secondly we’ll be building our own reservoirs, building water towers to service that area,” he said.