It took almost two years for Deer Lake council to finally get word from the province about adjacent crown lands it wanted to use for municipal purposes, and that’s not right.
Having used up most of its industrial park, town officials started looking at neighbouring areas into which it could expand. Economic activity has been at a high point in recent years and running out of land is not good for business.
Council pressed the issue, and got the right to use two of three lots for expansion, and councillors expect to hear about a third, they hope, early next year.
They hope, because the way this is playing out, it could be nearly another two years before they hear anything. The province should be credited for granting the land use, but no matter what the reason, there is no way it should have taken this long.
The provincial government prides itself on being open for business. Running out of land during an economic expansion is not good for business. So logically, from its point of view, this should have been wrapped up last year. When a town comes to the province with the complaint that it has too many business inquiries and nowhere to put them, it’s up to the province to step in when just next door is provincially controlled undeveloped land.
This is an issue that needs an independent inquiry. There should be an updated inventory list of what properties are not being used and a streamlining of the system that allows communities to use them. Letting this go for so long means a delay in revenue streams flowing into not just the town’s coffers, but the province’s as well.
And that affects us all.