By Nicholas Mercer
TC Media—Bay roberts
The biggest grocery chain in Canada and the Town of Bay Roberts have ended a partnership to develop a proposed business park in the town.
Loblaw Properties Ltd., which operates the Dominion store on Conception Bay Highway, had originally signed a letter of intent on May 14, 2012.
With that letter of intent came a set of obligations for both parties and over the next year, each attempted to fulfill the parameters of the agreement.
However, on April 5, Bay Roberts contacted Loblaw, inquiring where the Canadian grocery giant stood on the agreement.
Correspondence went back and forth until both parties agreed that it would be best to go their separate ways.
“We came to the point where we weren’t going to fulfill the obligations of the agreement and they agreed that they wouldn’t be able to meet our time frames,” said Nigel Black, the town’s chief administrative officer.
With that, Bay Roberts moved forward on accepting new proposals for the development of the roughly 60 acres, located just off L. T. Stick Drive, near Veterans Memorial Highway.
Bay Roberts Mayor Philip Wood said the town was disappointed that the two could not see the project through. “We had been hoping to get something done and moving faster,” he said. “This project has been going now for 10 years.”
Although Loblaw no longer has interest in developing a business park, Wood said the company has indicated interest in Bay Roberts.
“(Loblaw) explained to us that their priority is to secure land and to construct a new building,” he explained. “They remained committed to Bay Roberts and are focused on that goal.”
Bay Roberts is currently going over multiple proposals for the site. To handle the new proposals, Bay Roberts established a business park committee.
This new committee is chaired by the town’s director of tourism and economic development, Ron Delaney, and is also comprised of Wood, Black, Coun. Gerald Greenland and Sean Elms, the director of public works.
This committee allows for a variety of opinions and viewpoints to be heard on each proposal.
“It’s important to look at all the angles,” said Wood.
To date, the town is encouraged by the number of proposals it has received since parting with Loblaw. The mayor said a decision could be made on the new developer in a couple of weeks, but could not give an exact date.
Once the new developer is in place, Wood is hoping to “get things going as quickly as possible.”
Meanwhile, the Veterans Memorial Business Park in Tilton, Spaniard’s Bay appears to be in limbo.
However, Robert Lundrigan, spokesman for the proposed business park, said work is still going on behind the scenes.
“We’re still proceeding with a number of plans,” he said. “We’re dealing with some major companies and we’re not in a position … to offer something at this time, though we hope to fairly soon.
“However, things are still looking good and we’re absolutely confident it is a go.”
When asked if the public might see some activity at the site in 2013, Lundrigan replied: “I can’t commit to that, but I’m optimistic.”