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NEW Regional Plan Review to Cover 15 Municipalities on Northeast Avalon

Municipal Affairs Minister Eddie Joyce has launched a review of the Northeast Avalon Regional Plan. It will replace the 40-year-old St. John’s Urban Regional Plan, and includes 15 municipalities in the Northeast Avalon.

Joyce says it’s a major initiative and is important to all the municipalities involved. He says it’s a big plan involving all the municipalities over the past three months and now public consultations can be held to get input from all the communities involved to come up with a plan to benefit the entire region. The plan emphasizes seven key areas including municipal services, transportation, the environment, governance and the economy.

Public consultations begin next month and are scheduled to be completed by June of this year. Though no final amount has been announced for the cost of the review, Minister Joyce says they are looking at around £900,000 which is being split 50/50 by the provincial government and the 15 municipalities. Chair of the Northeast Avalon Plan oversight committee, Graham Letto, says the plan is going to shape future growth in the region.

He says it’s long overdue and now the communities involved can take the plan back to their communities for input and look at how the plan shapes the future sustainability of the region. Letto says every community can’t have everything so by coming up with a plan that works for the entire region communities can look at substantial cost savings while providing all the services that residents need. Meanwhile the Mayor of Wabana on Bell Island is optimistic the new Northeast Avalon Plan helps draw tourists to the area.

Gary Gosine says he’s pleased to see the things finally coming together to replace a dated regional plan. He says it’s exciting to see things moving forward with a new plan and he’s hoping through consultations residents are able to offer valuable insight on how to improve it. Gosine says when the new Bell Island ferry system is up and running tourists will be less than 40 minutes to Bell Island from the St.

John’s Airport and the new plan should emphasize tourism on Bell Island.

He says given his residents live on an island the new plan should work to draw tourists to Bell Island’s attractions like the Mining Museum and Radio Station.

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