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Illegal home-based companies bad for business, says council

Happy Valley-Goose Bay councilor Bert Pomeroy says the number of unregistered home-based businesses in the community is not fair to those who abide by the rules and regulations.

Pomeroy, chair of the development, planning and public engagement committee, brought up the issue at council’s regular public meeting Sept. 30.

“We have a number of issues with unregistered and illegal home-based businesses,” he said, prior to going over land use applications.

“Bruce Roberts at 24 Saunders Street, for example, has been operating a greenhouse business from his home since 1988. The business is not registered and no taxes are paid to the town. He was advised this summer that this is not a permitted use.

“I want to stress to (the public) that they ensure they are in compliance with the rules and regulations.”

Pomeroy said Roberts has been instructed to remove all structures associated with the illegal use.

On that note, Pomeroy moved onto the recommendations to council for several motions including:

  • Crown land application from Bruce Roberts at 24 Saunders Street for two triangular pieces of land to square off property — council approved application;
  • Crown land application from Bruce Roberts at 24 Saunders Street for land located behind his property – council does not approve application;
  • Discretionary land use application from Chad Greene at 16 Hamel Street for office space for construction business at his home — council approved application;
  • Discretionary land use application from Thomas Dostie at 19A Corte Real for subsidiary apartment — council approved application;
  • Discretionary land use application by Al McLean at corner of Hamel and Hefler to subdivide property — council denied application.

On another matter, Pomeroy said his committee is looking into the matter of the former Robert Leckie School in Spruce Park.

“That is the biggest eyesore,” said Pomeroy. “It’s been abandoned for 20 years due to public health and safety.”

Pomeroy said they are now in touch with the NL English District School Board via a clean-up order, to try to get some action on the matter.

“We have instructed town staff to look into this matter further, to explore all options and rid the community of this eyesore.”

The development, planning and public engagement committee also approved the re-establishment of the Goose Bay Marketing and Development Committee — which would be a sub-committee — and its terms of reference.

Changes to taxi regulations

Councilor Tanya Michelin, chair of the enforcement committee, put forward a motion for revisions to the town’s current taxi regulations — the motion was passed unanimously by council.

One of those changes includes the background of taxi drivers.

“It used to be if there was any convictions (for a taxi driver) within five years, now there is no time limit,” she said.

“We have replaced it with a vulnerable sector check with the RCMP as the determining factor whether an individual is deemed fit to receive a taxi licence.”

Michelin noted council will consider any and all convictions under the Criminal Code of Canada, particularly around convictions of physical or sexual violence, breach of trust or fiduciary duty, fraud, trafficking in illegal drugs or driving wile under the influence.

Other changes to amendments include mandatory inspections on taxi vehicles after one year of service; and taxi dispatch stations must be within town boundaries and in approved land use zone.

“All of these changes, as well as a few others, have been done in conjunction with our legal counsel and review of other taxi regulations within our province,” noted Michelin.

“It has taken almost a year to get these finalized. It was a long process but it is done right and that is the most important thing.”

In other enforcement news, Michelin said the town’s animal control officer picks up three to six dogs on average per month.

“Those that are not claimed are euthanized,” she notes, as the town can only hold them for so long.

“I encourage dog owners to get a town tag, and a tag with dogs name and owner’s contact information on it. Also, if a dog is outside, it should be tied on. I would like to see these numbers decrease.”

Michelin said council has been working closely with the RCMP as of late to address speeding issues and other matters, noting the recently installed digital speed sign on Kelland Drive.

She also said five surveillance cameras will be placed in various areas in and around the community to catch illegal dumpers.

Michelin said the new community constable, Murray Perrett, would be starting his position Oct. 6.

Councilor Shannon Tobin, chair of the Municipal Services committee, noted the pavement should soon be done at Kinsmen Park for the parking lot as soon as the contractor is ready. He expects it will be done within the next couple of weeks.

Councilor Jackie Compton Hobbs, chair of the Community Services and Recreation committee, noted minor hockey is now up and running for the year; arena renovations are ongoing, the Roberts Road playground is now completed and new equipment has been added to Perrault Place playground.

She also noted the chain link fencing for the new dog park should be installed within the next month.

Hobbs also put forward a motion to waive fees for public skating at the following times: noon hour skates (12–1 p.m.); shinny hockey skate (1-2 p.m.); and seniors skating (Mondays and Thursdays) from 11 a.m. – 12 noon.

The motion was passed.

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