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No place to hold ceremony has Baie Verte woman on brink of cancelling

Collin Watson and Ashley Hurley are trying to figure out how they can still host their wedding in August.
Collin Watson and Ashley Hurley are trying to figure out how they can still host their wedding in August.

Ashley Hurley thought she had the dream wedding all planned out, and it’s not cold feet that are jeopardizing the big day.

There’s actually no place in Baie Verte for her and Collin Watson to hold the large family wedding they desire.

The plan was to elope originally, according to Hurley. However, the death of her grandmother Alice Hurley earlier this year made her realize the family needed a better reason to come together. Young love certainly sufficed.

The couple from Ontario has sent out more than 200 invitations. The big day in early August was to be held at the Kinsmen Club. It is the community centre located on the same street where she grew up.

The Kin Center, as it is known locally, is where she sat on Santa’s lap each year after the annual Christmas parade. It is the place where she joined Brownies and Girl Guides. She went to her first teenage dance there. In the lower part of the facility, she captured family twosome bowling awards as a member of Youth Bowling Canada (YBC).

If that’s not reason enough to want to share this precious moment with family and friends there, it is also the same place her parents Cyril and Betty wed.

There’s actually no place in Baie Verte for her and Collin Watson to hold the large family wedding they desire.

The plan was to elope originally, according to Hurley. However, the death of her grandmother Alice Hurley earlier this year made her realize the family needed a better reason to come together. Young love certainly sufficed.

The couple from Ontario has sent out more than 200 invitations. The big day in early August was to be held at the Kinsmen Club. It is the community centre located on the same street where she grew up.

The Kin Center, as it is known locally, is where she sat on Santa’s lap each year after the annual Christmas parade. It is the place where she joined Brownies and Girl Guides. She went to her first teenage dance there. In the lower part of the facility, she captured family twosome bowling awards as a member of Youth Bowling Canada (YBC).

If that’s not reason enough to want to share this precious moment with family and friends there, it is also the same place her parents Cyril and Betty wed.

The Baie Verte Kincentre is scheduled to close at year's end.

Sept. 19, she was informed the centre was to be shut down. The building has deteriorated to the point where engineers recommended its closure at year’s end.

“This was really disappointing,” Hurley said. “It was going to be really special.”

The Kinsmen notified Hurley of the impending closure, and — along with the town — they are exploring alternatives to operate from.

While the town is in consultation with the province and the Newfoundland and Labrador English Language School District about the possibility of converting the former high school into a community centre, to date there is no alternative for holding a wedding.

Hurley has suggested using the arena. Approval is pending for a liquor licence. She says she has approached various organizations and businesses, but has not found anybody willing to commit. She has even offered to pay the bartenders personally.

With time running short for all the guests to make or break plans, she is contemplating cancelling the wedding. The event would be a big loss to the town, she said.

“I have invited 220 people and blocked 38 hotel rooms,” she said. “Between accommodations and catering, that’s about $18,000 that would have been spent in the area.”

That didn’t include the decorator, band, and additional money guests would have spent on food, gas and other things during their stay.

Hurley is holding out hope somebody will come forward with a liquor licence for at least the dance portion of the wedding.

Deputy Mayor Trevor Pope said the town is still in discussions with the province pertaining to the vacant school, but had no update on the progress.

He acknowledged there were a number of scheduled events, such as weddings, to be held at the Kinsmen Club in the coming year, but that it was beyond the town’s control.

“We all realize the building has come to the end of its life,” Pope said.

While they sympathize with the unfortunate circumstances people like Hurley have been dealt, the deputy mayor says safety is the main priority.

Pope said the town would be as accommodating as possible to ensure events can go ahead, but there are logistics that have to be worked out in certain scenarios — such as selling or distributing liquor at a facility like the stadium.

“Everything we have dreaded and hoped to avoid has come to fruition, and now we are trying to manage it and mitigate the damage and consequences as much as possible,” he said.

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