Harbour Grace deserves new stadium, says David Kennedy
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.”