One can only imagine the frustration that exists in sporting circles in the Town of Harbour Grace lately.
© Compass file photo
Compass reporter/photographer Nicholas Mercer.
It would seem the town can’t win for trying when it comes to pushing forward with the proposed stadium.
It has been a long couple of years in this part of Conception Bay North waiting for something, anything, to start as it pertains to the construction of the estimated $20 million facility.
In fact, the biggest visual sign of development has been a sign on the Veteran’s Memorial Highway at the entrance of Jamie’s Way in the community.
The town has secured the loan it needs from a financial institution, they’ve (sort of) selected a site and there is every indication the project is indeed moving forward.
Whispers around area say there is even a plan in place when it comes to naming rights of the stadium
Now, the provincial government is again undergoing the process of looking at the town’s books to ensure Harbour Grace can afford the state-of-the-art facility it wants. Namely, two ice pads plus other amenities.
Officials with the town have voiced frustration over the elongated process, and rightfully so. Centres in Paradise and Conception Bay South, announced at the same time as Harbour Grace, are light years ahead of their counterpart.
It begs the question, could all of this have been avoided?
Would the town, underthe previous regime, have been better served to take just a portion of the $20 million provided by government and put it into the venerable S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium?
It would be a retrofit similar to the Joe Byrne Memorial Arena in Grand Falls-Windsor.
Think about it. The stadium is at the centre of town close to gas stations, accommodations and the grocery store and has been a staple of the community for some 50 years.
This is going to change with the new stadium, when it is constructed. If it ends up on Jamie’s Way, which I believe it will, there will be no reason to come into Harbour Grace.
Carbonear is only a short trip over the highway.
Harbour Grace’s economic base is dwindling and this might serve to only help the slide.
First, you’d start with the bleachers. Rip out the existing one and put in individual seating.
They have not been replaced since the stadium first opened in 1958.
Next, pave the parking lot. The current one is a minefield of rim buckling potholes. Hey, pavement has done wonders for the Trinity Placentia Stadium parking lot in Whitbourne.
Remember, it’s only been a couple of years since the town pumped some $450,000 into a new roof in 2007. That’s only a short seven years ago.
The roof at the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts is still going strong 30 years later, and there’s no reason this current roof on the S.W. Moores couldn’t last the same amount of time.
The rest of the changes would just cosmetic. Maybe some new lighting here and a lick of paint there.
I’d be willing to bet the current stadium has a couple of years left in her, and I hope it was an option when the money was awarded.
Of course, any look at the stadium process is revisionist history, and only time will tell what happens.
Maybe I’m out to lunch, who knows?
— Nicholas Mercer is a reporter/photographer with the Compass. He lives in Bay Roberts and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org