CARBONEAR, NL — The minds behind a proposed luxury boutique hotel for Crocker’s Cove Point in Carbonear were thrilled to learn last week they could move on to the next step in making their dream a reality.
At last Tuesday’s regular meeting, councillors unanimously approved amendments to the town plan and development regulations that would allow the property’s owners to apply for a permit to build a hotel.
Through the amendments, two hectares of land have been rezoned from conservation to medium-density residential, and hotels are now a permitted use of land under the latter zoning category.
The town did, however, introduce some additional changes to the development regulations concerning the potential for a hotel development.
As announced by Coun. Danielle Doyle, chair of the development committee, the design of certain features must take into account noise, light and general disturbance considerations. This would apply to outdoor components, such as the parking lot, dumpster and waste disposal facilities, loading areas and decks.
Ontario-based developers James Bailie and Janet Whittle-Bailie received an email from the town Wednesday morning confirming approval of the amendments.
“I guess we’re kind of relieved,” Whittle-Bailie told the Compass when asked about their reaction to the approval.
The addition of specific guidelines for addressing noise and lights from the development won’t be a problem for the developers.
“We’re all about (dealing with) those kinds of things — noise pollution and light pollution,” Bailie said. “We’re against those things to begin with, so it shouldn’t be too bad for us.”
With the project’s future hinging on amendments to the town plan and development regulations, Bailie and Bailie-Whittle will now give their architect the go-ahead to draw up a more detailed design for the building. They were proposing to build a three-storey hotel with 50 rooms. It would also reportedly feature a restaurant, bar, conference centre and other amenities, employing 45-50 people.
“We’re still excited and we’re still looking forward to proceeding,” said Whittle-Bailie.
Their original hope was to be ready to begin building the hotel this spring. However, wading through the process to get the necessary municipal amendments has added at least a year to that timeline. The developers now hope to be ready to welcome guests in 2021.
“The architect originally told me it would take her three-to-six months,” said Bailie-Whittle. “Now we’re going to be into the fall before we have that for presentation to the (town).”
Bailie noted too that before a building permit application is submitted, they must address road access to the property with the municipality. The developers will be covering the bill for constructing that road.
“So hopefully the first thing that happens is construction on the road, so we’re going to have to come down now in the next week or so and have a meeting with the town,” Bailie said.
The project has encountered some resistance locally, as was made clear during a pair of public hearings last year. Some questioned the suitability of a hotel in a largely residential area. Concerns were also raised about the impact of increased traffic on the neighbourhood.
However, many residents have reacted favourably to the proposal, suggesting the hotel would give an economic boost to the community and help attract events to the area.