"One of the first things I asked the newly hired research
team in the Liberal Opposition Office when I was hired
in October 2010 was to look into it. I was considering
whether to submit a series of questions for the Liberal
MHAs to ask in the House of Assembly about the land
acquisitions , but before I could even broach the broach
the subject with them, Williams unexpectedly resigned."
The Business Post
Jan 23, 2012
Former Telegram reporter, Conservative Party of Canada Candidate, Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador Communications Director and current reporter/publisher/editor of The Business Post, Craig Westcott is digging into a story that has the potential to change how many feel about former Premier Danny Williams.
The story investigates the acquisition of Crown Land for the $5 Billion Glencrest Housing, retail and industrial development.
Westcott is not accusing anyone of wrongdoing, but he is putting the process of zoning in the city, the sale of crown land and the potential lifting of the 1City of St. John's 190 contour restriction under the microscope. He is also questioning the value of the crown land - how much it was sold, for verses how much it was worth, and will return for the buyer when the development is completed.
As the Business Post is not available in digital format, I can not provide a link to the story or Mr. Wescott's Public Ledger Column. However, I do suggest that you go looking for a copy. It makes for interesting reading.
Is this simply a case of Danny Williams renowned business skills and foresight, or did the former premier get special treatment, and a special deal from the past Liberal administrations of Brian Tobin and Roger Grimes?
The big question that I have is, where is the the CBC, The Telegram or NTV with regards to this potentially salacious tale. Is there a
news story here, or is this just an attempt to diminish the
reputation of one of the province's most reputable (and successful)
entrepreneurs. Is this news, or not? What is it? Love to hear people's thoughts.
Land acquisitions have always made great chaff for the gossip mill. From the sale of land for Tims and Irvings in Port Aux Basque, to land sold for the Foxtrap Access Road to the developments around Stavenger Drive. In every town, people grumble about the success of others.
I can recall a prominent St. John's businessman who made a number of pitches to the province to sell land located along the Humber River ,where the provinces agricultural farm is located, for a cattle ranch. He never got anywhere with it but I always respected his entrepreneurial spirit. I am sure that if the province had agreed to the sale, he would not have paid market value.
Developers have speculated on potential opportunities. They have made significant investments that have created great windfalls, or in many case come to nothing. Others, the ones who never take the risks, or do not have the foresight, have always whispered about "inside information" or special concessions. There is nothing people hate more than success.
If Williams is able to turn each $309 per acre investment into a potential return of $1.2 million (less his development costs), as suggested by Westcott, my hat is off to him. I am in awe of his genius. I am also happy to see that he is investing so much of his money and resources in this province that he obviously loves so passionately. Sure he is going to see huge returns, but what is wrong with that? He is taking the risks.
All I can say is that Brothers Grimm's Rumpelstiltskin weaved straw into gold, Danny makes that look like a parlor trick, and he is not the figment of someones fertile imagination.
- Peter L. Whittle
- A former journalist, broadcaster, political staffer and policy adviser, Peter has studied political science, journalism, public administration and Canadian politics. He has grown weary of partisan politics but remains engaged in public policy issues and community activism. Father to three teenage boys,he is committed to teaching them the values of cooperation, volunteering and caring for each other. All I want is for my children to be respectful and successful.