Deer Lake won’t get major greenhouse project

Published on March 31, 2014

A major greenhouse project that organizers hoped to begin later this year in Deer Lake will most likely be set up somewhere west of Corner Brook.
Clyde Simmons approached the Town of Deer Lake last year for permission to start a farm/greenhouse project at a property near Junction Brook along the Trans-Canada Highway. He was told a few weeks ago that he would not be granted permission to use the location. Although other properties were suggested to him, Simmons said none of the suggestions matched his plans.

“None of the properties (the town suggested) were big enough,” he said. “So I have to look elsewhere for a property that we can use.”

Simmons would not disclose where he is looking, but suggested it is “west of Corner Brook” and not in the Deer Lake area.

“They have their reasons, I’m sure, they don’t want to allow for expansion, I don’t know,” he said. “I have two other properties I will take a look at. I’m still getting interest from investors and I’m sure we can go forward.”

Simmons announced last year the large greenhouse project would supply area food sellers with locally grown vegetables, such as carrots and potatoes and other items that can traditionally be expensive on island grocery store shelves. At the time Simmons admitted there is still leftover negativity towards greenhouse projects in this province because of the Sprung greenhouse fiasco in Mount Pearl in the late 1980s, in which the province lost millions of dollars. However, Simmons said he is confident his project will go ahead regardless of location.

Deer Lake’s economic development officer Damon Clarke, said the property, about three kilometres east of the airport turnoff from the highway, was simply too far out of town limits.

Clarke said the town will still help Simmons in any way possible. He said wanting the development closer to town is a matter of uniformity. Most towns, he explained, keep zoning categories separate.

“What happens in most municipalities, they keep industrial and commercial in one area and residential in another,” Clarke said. “As we go forward we want to grow in a uniform manner, we don’t want to be all over the place as we (expand).”

Deer Lake Mayor Dean Ball said he was surprised at the news and said he and the town would do what they can.

“Obviously we’ll do whatever it takes within reason. We certainly aren’t interested in losing business,” he said. “We were under the impression that it would be cheaper and better for him to set up here, so we’ll have to look into this.”

The Western Star