Happy Valley-Goose Bay working to create a town

By Jenny McCarthy

Special to Transcontinental Media

Happy Valley-Goose Bay

When developer Lyman Langille contacted the town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay two years ago with an idea, he garnered a lot of attention.

Langille said while there are stores and residential areas throughout the community, he noticed Goose Bay was lacking a town centre.

So he and some partners came together to form Goose Bay Capital Corporation and proposed to create such a focal point.

Happy Valley-Goose Bay Mayor Leo Abbass thought it was a great idea.

“It would unite our community. It would tie the lower valley in with the upper part of town,” he said. “It would give us that centre location and maybe even an area we can look at as a downtown area.”

The developers proposed a central area with stores, green spaces and a residential area all in one. What’s more, as an added bonus for the town, the development would cost the town little more than the expense of amending some zoning bylaws.

The proposed area contains a mixture of residential, environmental protection, public and commercial zoning. The town has drafted amendments to change the areas to mixed use as Centre Goose Bay so the residential, commercial and green spaces can be intermixed.

Last summer, the town took the proposed bylaw amendments to the community and, without much protest, the rezoning proposals were sent to the provincial government for approval.

Meanwhile, the developer began community consultations to get an idea of what residents would like to see in a central development.

Community members provided input on potential concepts and, in the end, Langille and his consultants took away the ideas to draw up a draft plan.

The draft plan was submitted to the municipal council for input and council made suggestions and negotiations continued until a final plan was agreed upon.

Details are being ironed out before the agreement can be signed.

“We want to make sure everything that’s being done is in the best interest of the community,” said Abbass.

The town is currently waiting for the provincial government’s decision and for some issues to be cleared with the Department of National Defence, but the mayor is optimistic.

“The expectation is that it would start this construction season.”

He said the development is planned out in phases and could take years to complete.

While some local business people have expressed concerns about the impact potential big-box stores could have on their bottom lines, Abbass said the space is meant to also be inclusive of local businesses that may be interested in being part of the development.

“Nobody is going to be shut out,” he said.

Local Labrador North Chamber of Commerce executive director Brian Fowlow said he sees it as a positive move for the region.

“From what we’ve seen so far it would be a positive thing, not only for new business coming in to set up, but also existing business from the standpoint that if we are to develop as a community these are the kind of developments we need.”

Fowlow said the chamber of commerce is looking at building its own office and can see the benefits of being located in the proposed town centre.

The Labradorian

Source: http://horizons2012.wordpress.com/community-second-edition/happy-valley-goose-bay-working-to-create-a-town-square/

January 2nd, 2013

Posted In: Town Centre News