Mulgrave council tables proposed plan for new residential land

MULGRAVE – Citing citizen concerns about the potential loss of economic opportunity, Town of Mulgrave council has decided not to turn over a key piece of industrial land for residential development for at least a year.

“I think there’s [been] some really valid points brought up,” Councillor Krista Luddington said, referring to submissions at a public hearing last week (Feb. 21), concerning the property located on Loggie St. near the museum and McNair’s Cove.

“Maybe it makes sense to … explore … other parcels of land [for residential development] in the community.”

At the hearing, letters from residents Basil Ryan and Joe Brennan raised specific concerns about the original proposal, which had been designed to provide new options for housing.

“The property in question is prime industrial land situated on the waterfront, and I believe it would be a grievous error to rezone this property at this time,” Ryan wrote. “It does not create any advantage to the community, but rather potentially creates an impediment for future commercial development within the area of the Mulgrave Marine Industrial Park. The street area is garnering significant interest, particularly as it relates to green energy projects. Rezoning at this time would not create any competitive advantage to the community. In fact, I believe the opposite would occur.”

He noted: “Reducing the size of the industrial land will limit the size of any potential project that could be attracted to the Mulgrave Industrial Park. Taxation of commercial rates is almost three times higher than residential rates, and changing the property to residential will reduce the taxation potential. Creating residential housing lots adjacent to industrial land can create unforeseen … ‘not-in-my-backyard’ scenarios.”

What’s more, he added, “Within the past year or so, the town has agreed to participate in a program sponsored by several federal departments and provincial agencies with respect to cataloguing development-ready property throughout Atlanta Canada. While the program has yet to yield definitive results, significant interest is being expressed with regard to the Mulgrave Marine Industrial Park … I believe there is a need for residential house lots within the Town of Mulgrave. However, I do not think rezoning the waterfront property within the Marine industrial Park is the appropriate solution.”

In his submission, Brennan wrote: “Industrial lands and Marine Industrial Park will provide a significant source of tax revenue to the Town of Margrave, compared to what would be realized by rezoning the property to residential use. Furthermore, the rezoning … will have a negative impact in the future potential of economic development. I’m favour of the town making more land available for residential development, but not a prime industrial property. I urge you to reconsider.”

Following the hearing, Councillor Luddington said, “I think this all stemmed from the interest in housing, which is a struggle across the board. There was significant interest that landed at the council table in terms of people [saying] that if that land were ever to be accessible, they would be interested in purchasing it. That’s kind of why we went down this road — to kind of explore it. But hearing some of these concerns, I can definitely see the points [against it].

Added Councillor Debbie King: “Basil and Joe did make some [good] points…Prior to coming here, I’d been on the fence. But, yeah, I’d be willing to [hold] for a year and then re-evaluate.”

Council unanimously agreed and voted accordingly.

Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal