Har­bour Grace wants re­gional sports com­plex

S.W. Moores Arena has served the area well, says mayor

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY BUR­TON K. JANES

The days of the S. W. Moores Me­mo­rial Sta­dium in Har­bour Grace may be num­bered. If dreams be­come re­al­ity, the fa­cil­ity will be va­cated around 2015, to be re­placed by a mod­ern, state-of-the-art re­gional sport­splex. An of­fi­cial an­nounce­ment is ex­pected to be made next spring, ac­cord­ing to Har­bour Grace Mayor Don Coombs.

The present struc­ture has served Har­bour Grace and re­gion well for more than 50 years, he said.

“ This re­gion needs a new fa­cil­ity. Based on the age of the build­ing, we re­al­ized that’s well over the life of a sta­dium. With the amount of money we put into it, we thought it would be a good op­por­tu­nity for the town to ap­ply for fund­ing for a sport­splex,” Coombs ex­plained last week.

The ap­pli­ca­tion process was ini­ti­ated about six months ago.

“ We met with some con­sul­tants who would be look­ing af­ter it,” Coombs stated. “ We’re hop­ing to hear within the next six or seven months what’s avail­able and what’s not.”

The mayor stressed the re­gional na­ture of the pro­posed fa­cil­ity.

“Even though it will be in the ju­ris­dic­tion of the Town of Har­bour Grace, it will still serve the re­gion,” he said. “ This will be a sell­ing job for the town. We look at it as a re­gional fa­cil­ity the same way Car­bon­ear looks at its swim­ming pool. We’re sure the re­gion will come out and sup­port it.”

Coombs added, “At the end of the day, ac­count­abil­ity will fall on Har­bour Grace, as it has in the past 50plus years of pro­vid­ing re­gional recre­ation.”

The pro­posed new fa­cil­ity will in­clude such ameni­ties as a bowl­ing al­ley, curl­ing club and walk­ing track. But there’s an added at­trac­tion.

“ There’s been some talk that we’d like to see our coun­cil cham­bers move up to the new build­ing. We’re try­ing to make our pro­posal di­ver­si­fied,” Coombs com­mented.

While spe­cific plans are a close­ly­guarded se­cret, Coombs did re­veal that two sites have al­ready been iden­ti­fied.

“Both are in close prox­im­ity to the Vet­er­ans Me­mo­rial High­way, to make the fa­cil­ity ac­ces­si­ble,” he said.

The fi­nal de­ci­sion will be based on fi­nan­cial con­sid­er­a­tions.

“It must be af­ford­able for the Town of Har­bour Grace and for the tax­pay­ers,” Coombs ex­plained.

Based on the con­struc­tion of sim­i­lar fa­cil­i­ties in the prov­ince in re­cent years, the pro­posed build­ing will cost be­tween $12 and $14 mil­lion.

“ The cost-shar­ing we have with the prov­ince is 80-20. But we’re hop­ing to do a bit bet­ter than that. Hope­fully, the fed­eral govern­ment will come out with a new fund for recre­ation. With­out the three part­ners on this ven­ture — mu­nic­i­pal, pro­vin­cial and fed­eral — it wouldn’t be a fea­si­ble project.”

Coombs has al­ready con­tacted peo­ple to serve on a com­mit­tee to over­see the project.

“Mem­bers won’t just come from Har­bour Grace. They’ll come from dif­fer­ent ar­eas of the re­gion. It’s im­per­a­tive that we get in­put from the sport and recre­ation com­mu­nity, plus busi­ness and other things, and from dif­fer­ent back­grounds.”

The S.W. Moores Me­mo­rial Arena in Har­bour Grace may soon be re­placed by new, state-of-the-art re­gional sports com­plex.

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