Questions about land

Published on February 27, 2014

I write concerning Danny Williams renaming Southlands Development as Galway. Its size is reported to be the size of Gander.

My questions, to whoever can answer, are who owned this land before it was purchased by Mr. Williams?

Was it private land? If so, it’s none of my business.

Was it Crown land? If so, when was it purchased? How was one person able to get so much land?

How much was the purchase price? Was it fair market value?

My reasons for these questions?

A few years ago, Charlene Johnson, a minister of Crown lands in the Progressive Conservative government under Danny’s rule, targeted between 8,000 and 9,000 cabins and trailers owners for the illegal occupation of Crown lands.

Trailers where banished altogether, but cabin owners were fined $500 and given 60 days to get the land registered or their cabins removed. If not, they would be removed by the department and the owner would have to pay the cost. Not only did they have to pay a fine, but they would have to pay an exorbitant price for the land, plus the cost of septic systems, etc.

The price of land ranged from $3,800 to $35,000 and owners were responsible for roads and snow clearing.

In a conversation with the Crown Lands division, I inquired how they came up with the price of Crown lands for cabins and was told it was based on the land in the nearest community — for instance, if you were granted a piece of land at Gaff Topsails, it would be the same price of a piece of land in Badger, and a cabin lot in the Gander area would be the same price of a piece of land in Gander.

If a piece of land for a cabin was bought, say, between 50 kilometres from Mount Pearl, it would cost the same as piece of land in Mount Pearl, quite a price for a small portion of land.

I would hate to think the price Mr. Williams paid for this land if it was purchased from Crown lands and would hope that he paid fair market value, the same as the rest of the citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador would have to pay.

If someone out there can answer these questions, please let me know.

In 2008, I made an application to Crown lands for a permit to build a 12 foot by 16 foot cabin to be used mainly in the fall for hunting purposes.

After being approved, following a lengthy time period, by all departments involved, I have my cabin built and my registration paid for since October 2010, but Crown Lands still refused to register my land.

So I have a legitimate reason to ask these questions.

Retired Captain Wilfred Bartlett writes

from Green Bay South. His email is

wilfbartlett@hotmail.com.