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Deer Lake councillor opposes conversion of mini-home park lots

A request by Jade Holdings to convert nine lots in the Woodford Drive mini-home park in Deer Lake into residential lots was approved by the town council Monday night, but not without some opposition.

Coun. Amanda Freake is seen during Monday night’s council meeting at the town hall in Deer Lake.
Diane Crocker/The Western Star

When the request first went to council, it indicated concerns about the location to the developer. In presenting the request, Coun. Kerry Jones said the town asked Jade Holdings to move the proposed lots so they wouldn’t be right in the mini-park. Having more land in the area, the company came back with an alternate plan to move the lots to the edge of the park, and Jones recommended that the request be approved.

When discussion on the motion opened, Coun. Jean Young had some questions about the exact location of the lots and said she thought the town needed housing and a zoning policies.

She then asked for Coun. Amanda Freake’s opinion on the matter. Freake told the council she wasn’t in agreement with it, because it was creating a “mixed development.”

That, she said, is something the town has not allowed in other areas. Freake said mini-homes have been denied on residential streets and the town doesn’t approve permits to build homes in the trailer court.

“I do feel that we’re mix zoning this,” Freake said. “Whether it’s on the boundary or not, that was the purpose of that land.”

When the vote was held, Freake stood by her concerns and opposed it. But with Jones, Young, Elmo Bingle and Sheila Mercer supporting it, the motion passed.

Mayor Dean Ball didn’t participate in the discussion or vote due to a conflict of interest. Jade Holdings is owned by his brother, Dwight Ball, the leader of the provincial Liberal party and MHA for the Humber Valley.

Deputy Mayor Sandra Pinksen wasn’t at the meeting.

Afterwards, Freake reiterated her concerns.

“We won’t allow mini zoning and residential zoning (to) happen within the same subdivision,” she said.

The original intent of the mini-home park was to create more affordable housing in the town.

“I agree 200 per cent that we need more affordable housing for seniors ... however, the location and the mixing of zonings is not clear right now, so I couldn’t vote yes unless the zoning is clear, and it’s not.”

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