Soc­cer red card

Changes still haven’t been made to Bay Roberts fa­cil­ity

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER THE COM­PASS

What should have been a sim­ple pro­ce­dure in the ren­o­va­tion of the soc­cer field in Bay Roberts has now en­tered the le­gal arena as the BAE-New­plan Group in Mount Pearl and Con­cord Paving in Car­bon­ear at­tempt to set­tle a dis­pute over ac­count­abil­ity.

As both com­pa­nies lawyer up, caught in the mid­dle of this strug­gle is the Town of Bay Roberts and the hun­dreds of young soc­cer ath­letes in the area.

“Es­sen­tially, Con­cord is deny­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity,” said Bay Roberts Mayor Philip Wood.

For those caught be­tween the two large com­pa­nies, the sit­u­a­tion has en­tered into the realm of the worstcase sce­nario.

“It looks like the sea­son could be lost on that field this year,” said Wood.

Prior to the prob­lem with the soc­cer field, Wood said there were plans of a pos­si­ble show­case of high-level provin­cial soc­cer hap­pen­ing at the field.

“We had hopes to host some tour­na­ments and to host some Chal­lenge Cup games,” he said. “It’s an­other op­por­tu­nity lost.”

Be­ing the mayor, Wood is forced to look at the prob­lem from dif­fer­ent an­gles. Not only does he see the ath­letic quandary his town finds it­self in, but also the eco­nomic hit the town would take be­cause of the loss of games.

“There is a spinoff ef­fect. Not only is the field not be­ing used, but it also means peo­ple that are com­ing to visit the area are not tak­ing ad­van­tage of our busi­nesses,” he said. “Ev­ery­body losses then.”

Wood said he was ex­cited to per­haps take in some of the top soc­cer in the New­found­land and Labrador.

“I’d love to go down there and watch a Chal­lenge Cup game,” he said. “There are end­less op­por­tu­ni­ties that you can avail of if you have the fa­cil­i­ties and, of course, we can’t avail of any of those.”

e en­tire sit­u­a­tion sur­round­ing the project “ex­tremely frus­trat­ing.”

“Our young peo­ple are be­ing de­nied ac­cess to a fa­cil­ity that Bay Roberts paid good money for, and it’s frus­trat­ing be­cause it is dif­fer­ent from what I was orig­i­nally led to be­lieved would hap­pen this summer to be re­paired and pos­si­bly used this year,” he said.

The orig­i­nal com­plaint the town had about the soc­cer field re­volved around a prob­lem with poor wa­ter drainage, mak­ing it un­com­fort­able for players dur­ing wet con­di­tions.

Af­ter the BAE-New­plan Group con­ducted tests on the soil, it was dis­cov­ered that the layer of soil un­der­neath the grass had been done in­cor­rectly.

It was an­tic­i­pated that work on the fa­cil­ity would have started by this point, and fin­ished by the mid­dle of next month, but as of late last week, there were no timeline for com­ple­tion. Not con­cerned with who did it Bay Roberts is not con­cerned with who is re­spon­si­ble or what went wrong.

“As I’ve said from the be­gin­ning we just want it fixed and sooner rather than later,” said Wood. “It’s a ma­jor dis­rup­tion to our re­cre­ation pro­gram and a ma­jor in­con­ve­nience to all who want to use it.”

The mayor said that the town still has a war­ranty on the field and it is still go­ing to be fixed, ac­cord­ing to the town’s en­gi­neer­ing firm.

“We don’t know who is re­spon­si­ble. We aren’t tak­ing sides here,” said Wood.

A call by The Com­pass to the of­fice of Con­cord Paving was met with laugh­ter and “no comment.”

In the mean­time, BAE-New­plan Group has given Bay Roberts a “siz­able dol­lar fig­ure” in order for the town to “put in some hasti ly ar­ranged up­grades” to the soc­cer field be­hind As­cen­sion Col­le­giate.

nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

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