Former land-use plan committee member critical of response from government

Cory
Cory Hurley
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Pasadena is shown in an undated aerial photo.

While some councils in the western region are waiting to see how things progress on the Humber Valley Regional Land-Use Plan, a former committee member believes the whole process has been a waste of money.

Donna Thistle, former mayor of Steady Brook, is no longer on the authority that oversaw the plan and submitted its report to government more than three years ago. No longer a council representative, she is expected to be replaced by another member of the Steady Brook council.

After hearing government finally responded to the draft plan, she did ask the town for a copy of the letter and offered to liaise with the town based on her previous involvement.

Thistle, who has expressed interest in running for the Liberals in Humber East in the next provincial election, believes the three years it took for progress on the plan is just too long.

“It’s $600,000 out the window,” she said. “We spent it and it is gone, with no results.

“They are going to have to start over again, start spending money, to piece it back together.”

Financial reports were that slightly more than $427,000 was spent on the plan.

As for the recommendations from government to be adjusted to the plan, Thistle said it appears government was not willing to accept recommendations that the authority put forward. She said the ammendments suggested seem to bring things back to status quo.

“It just felt to me that government didn’t like anything we recommended, and that all the recommendations we made needed to be based on science,” she said. “I wasn’t put there to be a scientist. I was put there, as were all of us, to make recommendations we thought were important.”

Meanwhile, Corner Brook Mayor Charles Pender declined an interview request. He said the city was recently contacted to appoint somebody to the committee. Former Deputy Mayor Donna Luther previously sat on the authority.

The mayor said he will need to be briefed on the status of the plan, and then it would be expected they will appoint a member.

“... It is not a priority for us right now with everything else we have on our plates, we need to focus on what means the most to our residents,” Pender stated in an email.

Deer Lake Coun. Elmo Bingle, who sat on the authority and remains a member of council, said since there has not been a meeting in so long, he would have to consult with council again to make sure he will still represent them on the authority.

He said it will be nice to bring the plan to a closure after all these years.

“Sometimes with government it takes a while to get things done,” he said. “Sometimes it is a slow process, but we will work with the system and hopefully make progress in doing so.”

Organizations: Humber Valley Regional Land-Use Plan

Geographic location: Steady Brook, Humber East, Corner Brook Deer Lake Coun

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