Editor's note: the following was first published in the Oct. 16, 2012 print edition of The Compass
The status of the much-maligned new soccer pitch in Bay Roberts continues to be booted around as a dispute continues over who is responsible for drainage problems.
The modern facility has been off-limits for users for most of the past two seasons because the field becomes soggy and unsafe for players following a heavy rain.
Originally, the BAE-Newplan Group, the town's engineering consultants, took responsibility for the shortcomings, and committed to making the necessary repairs. However, the firm later backed off, arguing that the contractor, Concord Paving of Carbonear, failed to follow the specifications for the layering of soil.
Officials with Concord have also denied responsibility, and both sides are now disputing who is at fault.
Officials with the Town of Bay Roberts are hoping for a settlement to the impasse, as soon as possible.
Bay Roberts Mayor Philip Wood said he is hoping to avoid the issue ending up in a legal battle.
"We are hoping to come to an agreement with all three parties," he said.
Wood said the town wants the work completed "with no additional costs" to the town.
If it happens to appear before a judge, it could mean a prolonged period without the town being able to use the soccer field.
The goal for Bay Roberts is to have the field in tip-top condition for next season, said Wood.
Meanwhile, there is growing concern in Bay Roberts surrounding the increased value in property assessments.
For the town, the average residential property value increase was 51 per cent, while the average commercial property rose by an average of 15 per cent.
Wood said the town is aware of the pressures this can put on homeowners in the community.
With the town already approving 63 new homes in 2012, it is not surprising to Wood that the values of properties in the community have increased.
"There will be a review in our budget consultations, which start the end of November," he said.
There are a number of options available to the town to help ease the strain of the increased assessment values, with Wood pointing to the probable lowering of the town's mill rate, which currently sits at 8.75.
Wood said he has been fielding calls from citizens concerned about an increase in taxes.
"Fifty-one per cent does not mean a 51 per cent raise in taxes," he said.
Tenders for upgrades and extension to the water main on L.T. Stick Drive (formerly CB Access Road) closed on Sept. 21.
Bay Roberts received eight tenders with bids ranging from $563,000 to $768,000.
Coun. Gerald Greenland made the motion that the town awards the tender to New Harbour company H & B Construction, who made the low bid of $563,464.33.
The move was approved unanimously.
The decision still awaits approval from the Department of Municipal Affairs.
Amending the town plan
With Bay Roberts growing as fast as it is, the town council thought it paramount to have a look at the town plan.
It asked St. John's-based company CBCL Limited to take a look at the current plan.
CBCL made a number of amendments to the plan, and they are currently under review by the town council.
"We're just tidying up the boundaries and tidying up the loose ends," said Wood.
Once council has approved the recommendations, they are to be published in a public forum.
Getting rid of excess leaves
In the wake of tropical storm Leslie and the onset of fall, Bay Roberts has begun offering a five-day-a-week service for residents who want their grass clippings, leaves and tree branches shredded.
Citizens can drop off their organics at the quarry on Central Street during regular business hours from Monday to Friday until later this fall.
Over the winter, council will begin to look at a more permanent site and possibly opening the service on Saturdays.