Where’s your share?

Bay Roberts coun­cil­lors ques­tion why neigh­bour­ing towns not sup­port­ing Bay Arena

The Compass - - SPORTS -

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.




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