Har­bour Grace de­serves new sta­dium, says David Kennedy

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY BILL BOW­MAN THE COM­PASS

Would the Town of Car­bon­ear con­sider tak­ing on the pro­posed new sta­dium project for the re­gion should a fi­nan­cial as­sess­ment of the Town of Har­bour Grace de­ter­mine it would not be eco­nom­i­cally fea­si­ble for it to meet its 20 per cent share of the es­ti­mated $15 mil­lion project?

The Com­pass put that ques­tion to out­spo­ken Car­bon­ear town coun­cil­lor David Kennedy last week dur­ing an in­ter­view about his pro­posal to have his town and other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties get in­volved in help­ing out its mu­nic­i­pal neigh­bor to get the project off the ground. (See re­lated story).

“Af­ter main­tain­ing their sta­dium for 60 years, they de­serve to have it (new one),” Kennedy replied. “But Har­bour Grace also de­serves the sup­port of the peo­ple in the other towns around them.

“I don’t know if Har­bour Grace can af­ford the new sta­dium, but maybe they shouldn’t have to on their own any­more.

“They (Har­bour Grace) have a lot go­ing for them in­clud­ing the eq­uity built up in their build­ing and if they could sell it to­mor­row, that’s money that could go into the new fa­cil­ity.”

Mayor Don Coombs has al­ready stated he’s had of­fers on the build­ing.

“They also have all the pro­grams in place,” Kennedy pointed out.

If it doesn’t work out for Har­bour Grace, and they end up say­ing we don’t want any­thing to do with the sta­dium, so be it — maybe gov­ern­ment would of­fer it to Car­bon­ear. Rather than lose the fa­cil­ity from the area alto- gether, maybe we (Car­bon­ear) would have to ask our­selves could we do this on our own? But if Har­bour Grace has dif­fi­culty to do it on its own, what would make it any eas­ier for us to suc­ceed?”

Point­ing out his town is cur­rently fork­ing out close to $200,000 in sub­si­dies for all its re­cre­ation fa­cil­i­ties and his­tor­i­cal prop­er­ties, Kennedy asked, “could we al­lot an ex­tra $100,000 in case some­thing went astray with a sta­dium?

“If we can show some re­gional co-op­er­a­tion to help Har­bour Grace get the new sta­dium,” he re­it­er­ated, “they’ve had it and main­tained it for 60 years — there’s a his­tory around it and they de­serve to have it.”

Sta­dium melts into swim­ming pool

Back in the early 1970s a com­mit­tee of Car­bon­ear cit­i­zens raised around $20,000 to­wards the cost of a new sta­dium for the town. But Car­bon­ear na­tive Frank Moores, who hap­pened to be premier at the time, and hold­ing the gov­ern­ment purse strings, re­fused to loosen them for a new sta­dium in Car­bon­ear, as long as there was one in Har­bour Grace — es­pe­cially one bear­ing his fa­ther’s name, Si­las Wil­mott Moores.

A com­pro­mise was reached and the sta­dium com­mit­tee fi­nally turned over the $20,000 they had raised to the Car­bon­ear Re­cre­ation Com­mis­sion to go to­wards a new swim­ming pool. The prov­ince poured 90 per cent of the over $300,000 it cost to build the pool into that fa­cil­ity. When it opened in 1974, then Re­cre­ation Com­mis­sion chair­man Rex Cot­ter re­calls the pool was “debt free.”

bbow­man@cb­n­com­pass.ca

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