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LETTER: Where's the new arena for Conception Bay North?

In August 2011, the provincial government announced funding for new arenas for Paradise, Conception Bay South and Harbour Grace.

The rinks in Paradise and C.B.S. are under construction, but there hasn't been as much as a shovel of soil moved for the Harbour Grace facility.

It's been nearly three years since the funding was announced for the Harbour Grace arena but tenders have not even been called yet for the project.

Some residents are concerned whether this facility will become a reality and will only be convinced it is going ahead when they see steel being erected.

The excitement and optimism following the arena funding announcement made by former Carbonear - Harbour Grace MHA and cabinet minister Jerome Kennedy has been replaced by confusion and scepticism in recent months.

Current Liberal MHA Sam Slade said recently on a radio talk show that he has been seeking information from the government about the delays to the facility, but has received few answers.

Questions have arisen about whether the government is still committed to this project and, if not, the reason for its cancellation.

Harbour Grace town council members have indicated they have done their due diligence in regards to the financial feasibility of this project for the town. The town accountant has determined that, not only can the town afford the required 20 per cent of the construction cost, but it can also afford to operate the facility when it is opened.

Harbour Grace has also secured financing from a banking institution for its share of the construction cost.

The town council has approved the site recommendation made by a government appointed arena building committee.

Council has indicated that it has done everything required of it by the provincial government to get this arena started.

It appears that the ball is now in the government's court to take the next steps required for construction of this facility to begin.

A modern, state-of-the-art sports complex would go a long way towards meeting the recreational needs of the residents of the entire Conception Bay North region.

It will provide an attractive facility for sports, concerts and trade shows. It will also promote healthy lifestyles for area residents, as the plans for the new arena include an indoor walking track, thereby providing them the opportunity to avail of safe, comfortable, and year round physical activity.

It is the hope of many residents of the region that the current PC government will follow through on its promise to build this much needed facility for the area.

— Paul McCarthy writes from Harbour Grace

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