The Dewcor president and project developer is asking the city to make an exception to its development policies by allowing a building permit for Costco to be issued at the same time as necessary infrastructure work to accommodate the major commercial tenant in Galway Shoppes is taking place.
“The problem is if the development doesn’t get done in time, we’re still not going to be able to issue the proponent an occupancy permit,” said Deputy Mayor Ron Ellsworth, who raised questions about correspondence between the city and Williams at Monday’s council meeting. “So we could have a building constructed, ready to go, we the city can’t allow occupancy because the infrastructure is not in place to allow traffic to move through the area safely.
“There’s nothing like this before and we’ll never see nothing like it again, but at the end of the day we still got to make sure that the bottom line is our taxpayers are protected and not on the hook for any infrastructure that’s required for this development and to make sure the developer can move ahead in a timely fashion.”
A traffic study as part of the Land Use Assessment Report (LUAR) identified that there needs to be a lane heading into the roundabout to accommodate for the volume of traffic stemming from Costco and Galway’s commercial district.
“If the roundabout is done and the laneway is not done, all that is going to happen is traffic is going to back up into the roundabout and the roundabout is not going to work because traffic is stopped,” Ellsworth said.
The correspondence between Dewcor and the city also indicates the developer is prepared to provide financial securities.
But city staff indicated that while securities are common in ensuring the city’s interests are taken into account, in this case they don’t do enough to mitigate potential problems.
“Even if securities are in place, if the building is completed and the infrastructure is not done, we still can’t let the building open because there’s no infrastructure in place to allow the traffic to flow through there.”
Ellsworth also expressed concern over suggestions in the correspondence that Dewcor hinted at legal action in the event construction is delayed, thereby causing undue financial stress.
“For them, timing is crucial, obviously, and we want to make sure, too, but they could have done this months ago, could have had this application in, could have had design done, could have had it appeared and into city and they certainly would have had enough time to do their construction during the winter time.”
Dewcor has since submitted infrastructure designs to the City of St. John’s and the City of Mount Pearl for approval.