ST. LAWRENCE, NL – St. Lawrence Mayor Paul Pike took an opportunity to speak with the Southern Gazette about some of council’s accomplishments over the past year, as well as some of the things on the horizon for the town.
Below is the full interview.
Q: How do you feel the past year has gone? What were some of the biggest accomplishments
A: We’ve had a great year. We’ve certainly managed to get a number of projects completed this year.
Museum (upgrades are) underway and we are hoping that’ll be finished in 2018, but it has been something we are certainly quite proud of, finally getting that moving.
We had phase one of Pollux Crescent done this year, which was about $650,000 worth of work, and that is certainly something that improved the infrastructure upgrades to our water and sewer.
This year we (constructed) fire training grounds (for the fire department) so we’re pleased to have that done. We did many upgrades to the fire hall.
We are very pleased that during 2017 we erected two monuments – the veterans’ memorial, and the Chamber Cove monument as well, so we’re quite pleased with that.
We had a wonderful Come Home Year, well attended and well organized, and we were very pleased with that turnout. It was great to see so many people come home and be with their families and friends.
It was probably one of the best Come Home Years ever.
Q: What are some of the goals you have set for the upcoming year?
A: We have a number of goals planned.
One is to open the new tea room at the museum to give tourists a new tourism experience. Tourists can come into town, stay at the RV park that the town has now and visit the museum, where they will be able to have a snack, or a lunch packed in a lunch can that would resemble the lunch can men took to work with them years ago.
They can have a guided tour of Chamber Cove and have a picnic, or make a piece of jewelry from fluorspar themselves and then keep it.
These are a couple things that we are excited about in the tourism sector.
With regards to the town itself, we set two major priorities for (next) year, one being the subdivision Laurentian Estates.
We are hoping that through our capital works expenditures, we will be able to get a trunk put in there, which will provide water and sewer to the property. From there we’ll be able to develop upwards of 55 building lots.
There is a need in the town for that and with the new development, we’re hoping that we’ll be able to sell those lots.
Another major one is the industrial park. The town, in partnership with the provincial and federal governments, is in the process of looking at the possibility of putting an industrial park in the community, which will supply materials and any kind of assistance that required (by) the aquaculture industry and the mining industry.
Very early in the new year we’re expecting that the mine will be in full production, and that will see a lot of permanent jobs in the community and in the region.
We’re hoping that a number of people will be able to come home and work in the town.
Another bright spot for 2018 is Grieg Aquaculture and their comment to the Town of St. Lawrence to process salmon in the community.
This will certainly provide jobs. In the plant itself we’re looking at 120 full-time positions, another 10-15 in the oil-making facility, and a number of truck drivers and fishery people.
Q: Were there things you wanted to accomplish in the past year that you didn’t? Do you intend to carry those items over into the new year?
A: One of the town’s priorities is paving our streets, but with the present ratio government has – if you’re paving roads it is a 50-50 split, with the province paying 50 per cent and us paying 50 per cent – we really can’t afford to do a lot of paving in the town.
The only paving we’ll see (next) year will be Pollux Crescent, but that will be under phase I of Pollux Crescent.
It certainly is a priority for us to do some paving in the community. It’s got to be done, our roads are in deplorable condition.
Q: What growth areas have you seen in the town for 2017?
A: We’ve seen a lot of growth in infrastructure and in investments in the community through Canada Fluorspar Inc. (CFI), who are a great corporate citizen, and who have certainly done a lot of work with community groups and the town itself, so we are really pleased to have them aboard.
(Also) we’ve seen a lot of growth in tourism … and in infrastructure improvements.
Q: If you were to set a New Year’s resolution for council, what would it be and why?
A: My New Year’s resolution for council would be to continue to work together with the positive attitude that we have, and to continue to keep our residents informed of what’s happening in the community, and to ensure that council supports our volunteer organizations. Our volunteers have made a real difference to this community.