Land-Use Plan’s importance not diminished over criticism: Downer

Cory Hurley cory.hurley@tc.tc
Published on April 21, 2014
Don Downer
File photo

Don Downer acknowledges the existence of skeptics of the Humber Valley Regional Land-Use Plan, but does not understand how anybody can say it is not essential.

More than three years after the draft development plan for outside municipal boundaries was submitted to the provincial government, Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Kent responded with recommendations for inclusion or changes in March.

The response has been greeted with criticism in terms of the length of time it took, its relevance and the actual changes suggested.

Don Downer, chair of the committee which had been dormant in the years that followed, is now piecing together a new leadership committee comprised of municipal representatives from the Humber Valley communities. Meetings have been planned around mid-May to provide a debriefing between staff, consultants, government and municipal representatives. The chair hopes movement toward a redrafting of the plan will be made at that time.

All committee members are, or in the process of, being appointed by the minister. The lone exception is the City of Corner Brook, which Downer said has yet to appoint a representative. Council is awaiting for an update before deciding whether to participate. That is scheduled for this week.

“I am very much aware of what the critics are saying,” he said Saturday. “Regardless of whether this is a good report or not, I do not see why municipal representatives wouldn’t want something like this.”

Downer said the regional development plan in the Humber Valley is essential and should not be downplayed.

“Just simply to look at some of the criticism that is being levelled at people, ‘why are they allowing this’ and ‘why is that happening,’” he said. “All of it seems to point to a need for a plan.”

Regardless of what is in the plan or the recommendations from Kent, Downer said it is time to work toward finalizing what it will become.