Light at the end of the tunnel

Nicholas Mercer
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Bay Roberts soccer pitch one step closer to revitilization

The soccer field at the Wilbur Sparkes Recreation Complex in Bay Roberts is set to have a new drainage system installed in the coming months.

Editor's note: This article first appeared in the April 16 print edition of the Compass.

The saga continues for the much-maligned soccer field in Bay Roberts.

It came to light in the April 9 regular council meeting that drainage work is set to begin in the coming weeks, with the re-seeding to follow immediately after the work is done.

The re-seeding is anticipated to take up to four months for the field, which is located at the Wilbur Sparkes Recreation Complex.

Officials with the town are hoping for work to start in May early June.

"A lot of it seems weather dependent," said Nigel Black, chief administrative officer for the Town of Bay Roberts.

Shaw Ventures in Bay Roberts has been contracted by Mount Pearl engineering firm BAE-Newplan Group to oversee the installation of the new drainage system.

These developments are the latest in the long running situation surrounding the four-year-old project.

Construction began on the field in 2009 and it was finished in 2010. The project, which cost $250,000, was finalized in 2010.

In June 2011, residents of the Conception Bay North community started using the facility.

"When that was in its prime, it was one of the best grass fields in the province," said Robert Tarrant. "It was in fantastic shape before the drainage situation arose."

Tarrant is president of the Conception Bay North Lightening Soccer Club. His club has been at a "disadvantage" because of the inability to use a full-sized soccer pitch.

He called the news "very, very positive."

"As long as its done and done properly, that's my main issue," said Tarrant.

Black had similar comments.

"From our point of view, we want a field that is suitable and we can use, and we want it as soon as we can get it," he said. "It is a relief that the work is going to get done. We've been a long time trying to get a field that is suitable to play on."

This work was scheduled to start last fall, but weather caused delays. Disputes over responsibility for the deficiencies have also complicated the matter.

Originally, BAE-Newplan Group accepted the responsibility for the shortcomings. As they were preparing to start repairs, the engineering firm backed off, placing blame on contractor Concord Paving of Carbonear. Concord also denied responsibility.

"It's not fixed until there are people playing on it," said Black.

When contacted by The Compass, officials with BAE-Newplan group declined an interview request.

Identifying problems

Meanwhile, in other council news, public works director Sean Elms has had a busy first three months on the job.

He has been travelling the streets of Bay Roberts in order to gain a better understanding of the community he now serves.

During these trips, Elms said in a report to council, there are numerous objectives he would like to address.

"Some infrastructure is buried and thus, is not working properly or properly identified," Elms wrote council. "This infrastructure was in place for a reason and if it were decommissioned, then it should have been taken out of the ground and reused if at all possible."

Other goals Elms has set are:

° Properly test, paint and raise all fire hydrants in the town;

° Set up unidirectional flushing program throughout the town;

° Ensure that any new development or road construction consists of installing proper concrete sidewalks.

Developing leak detection

Bay Roberts had its water meters tested at the chlorination plant and Elms said that they were all found to be working properly.

This comes on the heels of the town's 24-hour flow measurement, which found that during the evening-early morning hours, the lowest consumption was 550 gallons per minute.

"I don't think there is enough water running in the high commercial industries we have here to account for 550 galloons," said Elms.

The director believes the correct course of action would be to start the development of a leak detection system.

Flood risk mapping

Elms made a proposal to council that would add flood plain lines to the municipal plan and development regulations.

The move comes after the department of environment and conservation released their findings from a study of the Shearstown Brook, which was released in May 2012. Since 1991, the brook has had five flooding events which has resulted in varying degrees of damage and cost to Bay Roberts.

One of the recommendations was for the town to look at adopting flood lines.

The move passed unanimously.

New website launched

Bay Roberts Director of Economic Development Ron Delaney made a presentation for the official launch of the town's new website.

The new design has been a year-and-a-half in the making.

"What we wanted to do ... was make our website more functional ... more fast, more easy to specific departments, and I think we achieved that here," said Delaney.

Delaney made special mention of Margaret Ayad, who was a key contributor in the development of the new site.

Organizations: BAE-Newplan Group, Wilbur Sparkes Recreation Complex

Geographic location: Bay Roberts, Conception Bay, Mount Pearl Carbonear Concord

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