Where’s your share?
Bay Roberts councillors question why neighbouring towns not supporting Bay Arena
by a municipality.
However, it is operated at arm’slength by the Bay Arena Association, which is comprised of a volunteer board of directors chaired by Ed Neil.
Unlike many other arenas in the province, the Bay Arena has been largely self-sufficient over the years, largely due to the heavy demand for ice time.
But the association has complained in recent months that because maintenance costs are starting to mount, it’s becoming harder to operate in a cost-effective manner.
“ We trust your town is in a position to include this amount in this year’s budget, to eliminate our deficit and ensure the long-term viability of this … facility,” Neil stated in a recent letter to the Town of Bay Roberts.
So why are the leaders of neighbouring communities spurning the requests for funding? The ownership issue is an underlying factor, but priorities for spending scarce tax dollars also comes into play, said Spaniard’s Bay Mayor John Drover.
It’s been many years since Spaniard’s Bay — the second largest community in the region served by the Bay Arena with some 2,800 residents — has made a financial contribution to the Bay Arena. And it’s not likely to do so this year.
Drover said he sees the value in having the arena in the area, but noted, “It is an asset of the Town of Bay Roberts, not the area.”
He said “ budget restraints” is the primary reason why Spaniard’s Bay has not been paying grants to the arena.
“Each year we take a look at it, and I’m sure we’ll take a look at it for this year’s budget as well, but our priorities in this town have to come first,” he said.
“ The stadium will be low on the priority list when everything is taken into consideration,” he said. “ That doesn’t mean we don’t think the stadium is important. It certainly is. But if the funding is not there, you can’t do it.”
Meanwhile, the Town of Clarke’s Beach has been paying grants to the stadium in the amount of $ 500 annually, said Mayor Betty Moore. But with a population of more than 1,200, that’s well below the $1 per citizen formula.
Moore said if the arena is having financial difficulty, she’d like to be provided with more details.
“ They need to open the lines of communication Moore stated.
Moore supports the facility, but wondered, “ If the facility was in Clarke’s Beach, would other towns, would the Town of Bay Roberts, be committing to it?”
Cupids Mayor Ron Laracy did not respond to a request for an interview.