DEER LAKE — It was a happy time for council back in the fall of 2013 when the province freezed up 100 acres of Crown land for development by the town. That land represents the main focus for council in the new year, said Deer Lake Mayor Dean Ball.
“That was just some of the best news we had heard and now we’ll have to develop it,” said Ball. “We’ll start doing that as soon as we can in the new year and it’s desperately needed.”
That land grant has actually been required by the town since the local industrial park started running out of space in 2011 after infrastructure improvements there. It took council almost three years to work out a deal with the province to allow the town to utilize the land, some of which is along the Trans-Canada Highway near the Deer Lake Regional Airport.
The only other challenge Ball sees as the new year begins is infrastructure. Like a lot of smaller towns, Deer Lake needs to replace some of its aging infrastructure and has to balance the budget numbers greatly in order to do it. Some of the water pipes have been underground since Deer Lake was incorporated in 1950, and 2014, Ball said, needs to be the year to get it done.
“It’s actually costing us money to maintain what’s in the ground now, we still have some areas with asbestos lines, which needs to be a major priority,” said Ball. “We’re looking forward to maintaining a good working relationship with the province, especially in light of that infrastructure we need to get done.”
Other areas of priority in the new year include working out the waste management system, which Ball said he would like to see improve, and getting the snowmobile hub project nearer to completion.
With the snowfall starting early this year, Ball said they are already seeing snowmobile traffic coming in from the Avalon Peninsula and getting the town’s project to make Deer Lake a hub for snowmobiling in the province takes priority.