Proposed rezoning hits potential snag

Christopher Gooding
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SPRINGHILL - Give the people of this proud former mining town an opportunity to speak and they will take it.
Citizens gave town planner Jason MacDonald an earful regarding the proposed rezoning of a parcel of land near the Dr. Carson &?Marion Murray Community Centre from commercial to industrial so the town can build a new public works garage.
It was Mayor Guy Brown, however, who spoke first producing a letter of correspondence between former Loblaws employee Jim Steeves and the late Kim Halliday, head of the fundraising committee for the community centre in 2003 and carbon copied to former councilor Allen Dill, leisure services director Pam Adams and Springhill's Chief Administrative Officer Don Tabor. Brown brought to everyone's attention there may be a rider to the land in question.
"The town requested the lot for the best usage for all of the county," Brown said. "Not just Springhill."
Allen Dill, present at the hearing, remembered that Steeves visited Springhill after volunteers failed twice to negotiate the acquisition of the land. The discussion was unresponsive, Dill alleged, until the committee explained the land would benefit the children of Cumberland County and not just Springhill. Afterwards, the deal was done and Springhill began utilizing the site.
MacDonald, said he's never seen any of these agreements nor any deed that could possible identify conditions to the land that would prevent it from being rezoned industrial.
"Your CAO should have this. I haven't seen it," MacDonald said. "What I've been told the agreement would allow rezoning if parking could be accommodated."
MacDonald's agenda was specific, he said.
"Mr. Tabor contacted me and said start a rezoning process for that site," MacDonald said.
Many in the audience, however, felt the process has come on too soon. Questions of the cost to rebuild the existing public works site on Drummond Street and the town's financial situation were repeatedly brought forward.
The separation of a rezoning hearing from the town's intention to build a new public works was difficult for some to accept, even though advertising for the meeting said the purpose of the amendment is to permit the construction of a new engineering and public works facility.
"It was for the children to play there and for parking," Herb Babineau said. "To have a thorn in between two roses doesn't seem right."
"That land should be designated recreational with the land around it," June Henwood said.
Safety is a concern MacDonald said he will be looking at before giving his recommendations to council. With a community centre, college, seniors recreational centre, bowling alley and a workshop for special needs clients in the immediate area MacDonald feels me must consider what impact the lot would have if rezoned industrial.
Following MacDonald's recommendation for the lot council can chose to not approve a first or second reading of any motion to rezone the property.. An industrial designation does not mean council has approved the construction of a new public works building, though.
When asked by Mayor Brown if they felt the land in question should be rezoned industrial the packed house responded with a vocal and unanimous "No."

Organizations: Loblaws

Geographic location: Cumberland County, Drummond Street

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  • Frank
    January 18, 2010 - 11:14

    The town has hundreds of acres of industrial land in their Industrial Park to build industrial buildings . If the town doesn't want to build there then how do they expect anyone else to locate there. This facility should be a cornerstone and facilitator for the industrial park development . As a related subject ;has anyone looked at the Steath Ventures web site picture of the two well pads working in connection with the lagoon . With the coming of the gas play and geothermal energy there is great potential for industry within Springhill industrial park. IMO