No internet, phone frustrate Happy Valley-Goose Bay suburb

Residents of a new subdivision in Happy Valley-Goose Bay say six months waiting for phone or internet service is long enough.

Dispute between Bell Aliant, subdivision developer blamed for lack of service

Bell Aliant says it requires almost $100,000 from a developer before installing infrastructure for phone and internet service in a new subdivision. (CBC)

Residents of a new subdivision in Happy Valley-Goose Bay say six months waiting for internet and phone service is long enough.

What's more, they're learning it could be some time yet before they're connected.

The delay in getting service comes down to a stalemate between the developer of the subdivision, Glenn Noseworthy, and Bell Aliant.

The utility says it's had a policy in place since 2012 that requires developers to pay almost $100,000 up front for the necessary infrastructure to be installed. They also say they'll reimburse the developer over time as customers come online.

Noseworthy, however, has so far refused to pay the fee, noting he owns five other subdivisions and has never been asked to do so before.

While he declined an interview request this week, he did express his frustration during a Labrador North Chamber of Commerce luncheon in October 2013. At the time, Bell Aliant officials were on hand to defend their service before a room full of disgruntled business owners.

Noseworthy believes he should be entitled to royalties associated with the service if he's going to pay for installation of the infrastructure.

Meanwhile, new residents like Debbie Mercer say the situation has created much more than just an inconvenience. She says in her case, it could put lives at risk.

"I work at the hospital. I'm on call for emergency calls. I do not have a telephone. I don't have a backup," Mercer told CBC News.

Ian Martin and his wife have been leasing in the subdivision since last fall.

"I don't think we would have moved if we realized that we weren't going to get the basic necessities that people are used to," he said.

"In this day and age, everyone needs internet, it seems like. You do your business on the internet, and your banking and so forth, and it seems that we're cut off."

With no end in sight to the dispute, some want town officials to get involved.

But that's not likely to happen any time soon, either.

"Common sense has to prevail here," said Bert Pomeroy, a councillor and chair of development and planning for the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay. "The developer and the utility company really need to sit down and resolve this issue."

Mercer, meanwhile, believes it might actually be easier to break her lease and move.

"It's so frustrating and disappointing dealing with the companies and dealing with the town. Is it going to be easier to move? Like, maybe another area in Goose Bay? What do you do?" she said.