Work is underway on a series of projects to upgrade recreation facilities in the Town of Carbonear in preparation for the 2012 Newfoundland and Labrador Summer Games.
The Games are being co-hosted by Harbour Grace and Carbonear, and runs from Aug. 18-25.
The town and the provincial government has allocated some $665,000 for infrastructure upgrades to facilities at the recreation complex on Valley Road. The province is paying 80 per cent, while the town is picking up the remainder.
The most significant project involves the 400-metre oval running track, which was constructed for the 1992 Summer Games. The old rubberized surface, which was applied over an asphalt base, has been removed. It had reached the end of its lifespan.
A new layer of asphalt will be applied in the coming days, and a new rubber surface will be installed within the next month, say town officials.
This phase will cost some $553,000, and also includes, among other things, upgrades to the playing surface on the two ball fields, and a resurfacing of the deck at the regional swimming pool.
Concord Construction of Carbonear has been awarded the contract.
Considerable work is also planned for the two softball fields in order to meet safety standards. The player dugouts at both fields will be demolished and moved further back from the playing surface in order to allow for the installation of a chain-link fence in front of each dugout.
Total cost of this project is some $43,000, with Shaw Ventures Co. Ltd. carrying out the work.
The final phase includes an upgrade to chain-linking fencing around the complex, improvements to the backstops at both fields, and other upgrades.
Provincial Fence Products is carrying out this $48,000 project.
Town administrator Cynthia Davis said the upgrades will ensure the complex meets all the required standards for hosting such a large sporting event.
She noted that the resurfacing of the pool deck will require a temporary closure of the facility, but it's not yet known how long, or when.
Town leaders have expressed concern about a pool closure, and want to see any interruption in operations kept to a minimal, since activity at the pool has been very brisk, with many events booked.
"We need to move as quickly as possible on this," deputy mayor Ches Ash stated during a June 11 council meeting.
Construction values way up
Town officials are reporting a dramatic surge in the number of renovation and construction permits being approved by council.
Up to the end of May, some 183 permits had been issued, with a combined value of just under $5.4 million. That's a substantial increase over the same period in 2011, when 87 permits valued at just over $1.7 million had been approved.
These permits include residential and commercial activity, and includes everything from a new home or business to a deck repair or home renovation.
Town administrator Cynthia Davis said it's the most dramatic year-over-year increase she's experienced in her 14 years with the municipality.
She attributes the growth to a strength in the economy, and noted that permits for general repairs are on the upswing.
As of May 31, the town had approved permits for eight new dwellings, which is one more than the same period in 2011.
"This indicates continued growth and development," deputy mayor Ash stated last week.
Extended boil water order
A delay in getting the water tested following an incident that saw a water line accidentally breached by heavy equipment on June 5 led to one of the longest boil water orders in recent memory.
A company contracted by a provincial government department to carry out some upgrades on Line Road earlier this month damaged a main water line during ditching operations.
The repairs were completed in a timely manner, but regulations require that the town implement a boil water order until officials with Government Services carry out tests to ensure the water is again safe for consumption.
Town officials say there were delays in having these tests carried out, and the boil order was likely to be lifted late last week.
The town will also look to recoup the cost of repairs from either the contracting company or the provincial government.
Garbage collection gets thumbs-up
Mayor Sam Slade was describing the garbage collection service last week as "superb."
This followed a special meeting with a representatives of the contractor, Lynch's Trucking of Upper Island Cove, and a resounding condemnation of the company's performance during a May 28 council meeting.
At the time, Slade described the number of public complaints about the company as "unbearable."
"Things went well last week," Slade said.
Bulk garbage that had been left on the roadside for extended periods of time have been collected, and town administrator Cynthia Davis said there were "very few calls" last week from residents with complaints about the service.
Meanwhile, town officials were describing the participation rate on the first week of a new curbside recycling program as "relatively good."
Deputy mayor Ash said an informal survey suggested that roughly 20 per cent of homeowners took part in the first collection on June 4
"We have to keep emphasizing the benefits of curbside recycling," Ash stated.
New signage for town
Visitors to Carbonear will soon be aided by a collection of new highway signs directing them to various services and attractions in the town.
Up to five highway signs of varying sizes will be installed in the coming weeks.
The town is now in the design and cost estimate stage, said Davis.
"It's part of our overall marketing strategy," said Davis.