Harbourfront propane tank sparks St. John's council debate

A 10-metre-tall propane tank that will be placed near two restaurants that will soon open on the St. John's harbourfront will be an eyesore, a councillor warns.
Discussion from St. John's City council regarding a propane tank approved for the waterfront to service three restaurants 12:59

A 10-metre-tall propane tank that will be placed near two restaurants that will soon open on the St. John's harbourfront will be an eyesore, a councillor warns.

The tank will go up near the existing Keg restaurant, at the west end of the waterfront. The new eateries, a Jack Astor's franchise and a French-Italian restaurant called Legros and Motti, have begun hiring staff in advance of an opening in 2014.

Coun. Danny Breen said council will require measures to make the area more aesthetically pleasing. (CBC)
 Coun. Jonathan Galgay said the tank will be higher than a three-storey building, and likely not go over well with residents who enjoy their view of the harbour.

"I think it's ridiculous," Galgay told Monday night's council meeting.

"I don't think it fits well. I think it's quite ugly, and I think if this council proceeds to allow that, be prepared to face some public criticism," said Galgay, adding that some residents despise the new permanent security fence that is also being built along a stretch of Harbour Drive.

Coun. Bruce Tilley does not think the height or look of the tank will matter that much.

"It's down on the waterfront," Tilley said. "It's not up on Government House. It's not in a church yard — it's on the waterfront."

Council agreed to approve the installation of the tank, but only on the grounds that the restaurants find an artist to paint a mural on it, and hire a landscaper to plant trees around it.

No other options deemed practical

Coun. Danny Breen, who sits on the city's planning committee, said council's options were limited.

"There's a 10,000-square-foot restaurant space being developed. They need propane," he said.

"We looked at different ways that it could be, whether you could use two tanks lying on their side and none of them were practical, so there are other methods being used to screen it besides trees."

The new restaurants will create a couple of hundred jobs, which Coun. Art Puddister said is a key factor.

"At the end of day, this is a working port employing thousands and thousands of people," he said.

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