UPDATE: State-of-the-art stadium expected in Harbour Grace

Melissa Jenkins
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Newly approved recreation complex will include previously announced amenities, says Barnes

The mayor of Harbour Grace is standing by a promise made to the residents of the area that the town’s future recreation complex will go ahead with all the bells and whistles initially suggested.

Harbour Grace Mayor Terry Barnes

Mayor Terry Barnes, who met with The Compass June 11, said besides downgrading the facility to one ice surface, the facility has “pretty much” the same plan.

Barnes spoke out after rumours surfaced that the facility will not have fitness equipment or an indoor walking track, as previous announced. Former discussions with designers, government officials and councillors all concluded the facility would be state-of-the-art, said Barnes.

“We’ve been told no different,” he explained.

Local concerns

Earlier this year, concerns had been raised by the provincial government that Harbour Grace might not be able to support the facility financially.

The original design was expected to cost some $21 million. The new projected cost is $14 million.

Financial statements were presented on numerous occasions to the Department of Municipal Affairs, demonstrating the prospective revenues expected.

Barnes confirmed those numbers are still projected to be accurate.

Some locals also believed the longer the project was delayed, the less likely it was to go ahead. But after an announcement last week, the project will continue on to the next phase.

Although the facility was confirmed, other concerns were raised by some residents. Would it be as good as other new facilities in the province? Will the facility live up to the expectations of the people of Harbour Grace and surrounding communities? Will it offer everything that was promised?

Barnes is confident the facility will be on par, or better, than other comparable facilities in the province.

He was also adamant that it would meet or exceed expectations from locals who will be using it.

“If we’re going to do this, we’re going to do it right,” Barned said.

He said some 780 seats are expected to be installed, the walking track and fitness centre will still be include and a minimum of six dressing rooms will be constructed. Barnes did say the idea to have council chambers at the facility has been scrapped. The building will also have “all the infrastructure in place if the town decides (in a few years) to upgrade to two surfaces."

Government responds

Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Kent sent The Compass an email confirming more details for the new facility.

“The functional specification for the building is still being determined along with Stantec, who is the consultant on the project,” he said. “During this process it will be determined what exactly will be included as part of the final design, such as the walking track, fitness area, etc.

“The facility will indeed be a modern and state-of-the-art building… In terms of comparison with other facilities recently constructed or under construction in the province, the Harbour Grace facility will be comparable in many ways, and in some cases will be more modern as a result of advances in green technology in recent years.”

There will be a meeting between the department and the Town of Harbour Grace Monday, June 16 at 1 p.m. to discuss the specifications of the new complex.

Downgrading

Many have questioned how this project went from a two-surface, regional, multi-purpose facility to a single ice-surface sports complex operated by one town.

When asked, Barnes said it would have definitely had the two ice surfaces had other communities worked together to offer financial support.

He still sees the facility as regional.

Talks among towns broke down several years ago when then Carbonear mayor Sam Slade — now the MHA for Carbonear-Harbour Grace — argued against financial assistance unless a large mandate of the residents of the town agreed to take part. He also noted the town may not be in the financial position to assist.

Now, Harbour Grace is continuing with the project, and downsizing was the most reasonable way to do that, said Barnes.

Barnes exclaimed he stands by the residents of his town, and the region, and will fight for all the amenities the town can afford.

Melissa.jenkins@tc.tc

Organizations: The Compass, Department of Municipal Affairs, Town of Harbour Grace

Geographic location: Carbonear

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Recent comments

  • taxpayer
    June 17, 2014 - 21:59

    Even though it has been scaled down, companies such as Marco or Olympic can still build a fine facility for $14 M. And as Mayor Barnes stated, the option will be there to build a second ice surface at a later date.

  • taxpayer
    June 17, 2014 - 21:51

    Don't worry lw, we'll pay for it no problem. When the water and sewer is installed up to the top of Jamie's Way it will open up the surrounding land for new commercial and residential development, it will pay for itself. And Tax Payer, why would the former Hr. Grace council agree to put in down on dump road and goes on the half with Carbonear when it would have 0 economic benefit for Hr. Grace?

  • Tax Payer
    June 13, 2014 - 21:01

    It is so great to see such a fine facility come to our Area. Towns proposed and would have supported the facility, had it not been for the bone heads on the previous H. G. council, especially mayor Coombs who wanted no input from any other town, just money, Barnes was a puppet who agreed with him. Go to the Compass archives, things were progressing, until Nimble Coombs and its cronies (Barnes et al) voted to put in up further in Harbour Grace. The final individual decision which drove Carbonear away. As for Sammy Clause, he never did, not even now, believe in regional amenities. To bad the partisan writer did not ask for his input. You can sure be sure Bally would type up a good response for the Compass. Then again people continually cover his behind. As mayor of Carbonear, he set the CBN area years behind, by he narrow minded, concentric view that Carbonear only help Carbonear. Nothing regional will ever happen under his watch. Unless it is bringing pavement to the LSd's (freshwater and bristols hope) as Carbonear, Victoria and Harbour Graces expense. He is self serving (pavement on Bunker Hill) and cares nothing about regionalization. It may take time, but the people of Carb - H. G. will figure the jewel out.

  • lw
    June 13, 2014 - 15:07

    Please stop calling this a regional facility. It was money given to one town, like Paradise and CBS who don't call theirs regional. Harbour Grace couldn't afford it they tries to get others towns to help pay and they rightly didn't. If it was regional all the regional players would have been consulted beforehand and then the location would have been chosen by a committee of all towns involved and government and everyone would have been included in the announcement. You wanted it HG now its yours to pay for.