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Deer Lake has a plan for Joe Butt’s Land

The Town of Deer Lake is working on a plan to change this vacant piece of property on Nicholsvile Road into a community gathering or social space. GARY KEAN/THE WESTERN STAR
The Town of Deer Lake is working on a plan to change this vacant piece of property on Nicholsvile Road into a community gathering or social space. GARY KEAN/THE WESTERN STAR
DEER LAKE, N.L. —

An empty lot on Nicholsville Road in Deer Lake may not be attractive now, but the town is working on a plan to change that.
Known locally as Joe Butt’s Land, and once the site of a service station, the town acquired the land in 2018. It had a vision for light development there – to turn it in a community gathering or social space.
“A bit of beautification, and connect some of our green spaces in the town,” said Mark Lamswood, the town’s economic development officer/town planner.
Across the street to the south is Joe Butt’s Lookout and entrance to the beach. The area would be a connective tissue to Schwartz Park.
Lamswood said the beach has seen a lot of improvements and is being used more. the town’s recreational vehicle park has also had upgrades, so doing something with this space made sense.
“We’re just trying to continue that continuity of care of green space right through a critical area of town.”
Before moving forward, the town wanted to do its due diligence as land owners and registered the plan according to the province’s environmental assessment process.
Following a request for proposals that closed on July 10, Stantec was awarded a contract to oversee that process. 
Lamswood said the town was in contact with the Department of Municipal Affairs and the Environment before starting the environmental assessment process and doesn’t anticipate any problems. 
He said there is no plan to dig up much of the land as the current plans include putting in some benches, trees, tiered seating and a small stage to turn the area into a social space. Also being considered are above-ground retail kiosks that could make the area a seasonal marketplace.
The town already had two concept layouts completed for the project, but Lamswood said a final decision on what will be done has yet to been made.
Stantec will also provide the town with recommendations on how to proceed with the project.
“We want to have some language around best practice for what it is that we want to do, for when we do and do it,” said Lamswood.
Stantec’s work should be completed this fall and then more planning will take place over the winter. 
Lamswood did not have an estimate on the project cost.

diane.crocker@thewesternstar.com
Twitter: WS_DianeCrocker

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