Harbour Grace, Carbonear officials still discussing regional approach; Kennedy ‘ very concerned’
The Spaniard’s Bay resident who died in a violent head-on collision on Veterans Memorial Highway last week was a giant of a man who adored his family, was crazy about football and had a smile that could light up a room.
That’s how Sarah Bignell described Blaine DesRoches, her 24-year-old common-law husband, on Friday.
“He was a big teddy bear of a man. He often intimidated people by his size, but he was the sweetest guy in the world,” Sarah told The Compass.
Bignell said her only consolation is that their last words before Blaine left their residence on Monday, Nov. 5 was “I love you.”
“We had this fashion. He would say ‘I love you.’ I would say ‘I love you more.’ And he would say ‘I love you most.’ That’s how we parted,” Sarah stated.
Just before 8 a . m. on Nov. 5, Blaine was travelling to Carbonear aboard the couple’s Chevy Impala, preparing for another day of classes in the Occupational Health and Safety program at Keyin College. But witnesses tell police his vehicle veered into the oncoming lane and collided practically head-on with a Hyundai Tiburon, which was being driven by 22-year-old Shearstown native Wiliam Earle. Earle was travelling from Carbonear to his job in Bay Roberts at the time.
The impact was devastating, and both vehicles were completely destroyed. The wreck also left two broken and battered young men pinned inside the crumpled cars, and shocked motorists scrambling to summon help for the two victims.
Over the next hour or so, firefighters from Harbour Grace, Carbonear
Provincial officials have set a timeline for the Town of Harbour Grace to decide whether or not it wants to proceed with the construction of a new arena in the community.
And if the town cannot commit to the project by mid-December, it will be offered to “another town in the area,” Carbonear-Harbour Grace MHA J erom e Kennedy told The Compass last week.
“In these times of economic restraint, we can’t leave $21 million on the table forever without some indication from the town whether they are going to move ahead,” Kennedy stated. and Bay Roberts, along with medical Kennedy and Municipal personnel, police and highway Affairs Minister Kevin O’Brien are enforcement, called upon all their . “very concerned” with the ongotraining and instincts in order to free ing uncertainty over the project, the two men. and “what did not appear to me
William was the first to be placed to be very much progress.” aboard an ambulance and taken to The ultimatum came during a Carboner General Hospital. He meeting between Kennedy, remains in critical condition, having O’Brien and town officials on Oct. suffered extensive injuries, and was 17. undergoing surgery on Friday. “We put it to them squarely: do
“He has a long road ahead of him,” you want the stadium or not?” Melinda Pauls, William’s aunt, told said Kenndy. The Compass. Kennedy stressed that it’s his
William is the father of two young preference that the rink be built children, ages 3 and 5. in Harbour Grace, but added
Meanwhile, it took firefighters and “someone has to make a decision paramedics much longer to remove on this.” Blaine from the wreckage.
Using specialized extrication tools and exercising great care, firefighters cut away large sections of the car, including the roof, all the while trying to comfort Blaine, who was still conscious.
Harbour Grace Chief Ray Verge said it was a “very difficult” extrication, and his team did everything they could to comfort Blaine.
The provincial government announced 14 months ago that it would finance up to 80 per cent of $21-plus million for a new arena in Harbour Grace, replacing the venerable S. W. Moores Memoria l S tadium, which opened in 1958.
The project has been generating plenty of debate ever since, with many questioning whether Harbour Grace can afford the project. Two members of council — Wendell Hunt and David Murphy — have consistently voted against it.
If Harbour Grace were to move forward with a plan to accept the entire amount, its share would amount to some $3.8 million. Some town officials have acknowledged that’s too much for the town of 3,000 to handle on its own, and have reached out to neighbouring municipalities for help.
There have been several meetings to gauge the interest of other town councils, but it now appears that only Carbonear is serious about a regional approach.
After weeks of increasing skepticism and questions about the initiative, officials from both towns, along with two representatives from the Department of Municipal Affairs, met on Nov. 6 to discuss a way forward.
From that meeting, a committee comprised of deputy mayors Terry Barnes (Harbour Grace) and Ches Ash (Carbonear) and town administrators Lester Forward (Harbour Grace) and Cynthia Davis (Carbonear) was formed. The committee has been tasked to prepare a recommendation, which is expected to be voted on by the respective towns during separate council meetings on Nov. 19.
A joint-meeting is planned for Nov. 20 to discuss the outcome of the vote, explained Harbour Grace Mayor Don Coombs.
“We’ll decide whether to move ahead jointly, and if not, the towns of Harbour Grace or Carbonear can look at it and see if the opportunity is there to take it on by themselves. But right now it’s proposed to move ahead jointly,” Coombs said.
“We’re still in a process of gathering information in order to get to a point where it can be taken to the respective town councils,” added Forward. That includes projections on operating costs and revenues.
When asked if that means having Carbonear pick up a share of the capital costs on a per capita basis, and helping offset any annual operating subsidies, Forward replied: “Those are the things we’re talking about.”
Other considerations include a system by which the arena will be administered, and whether it will be a regional board similar to the one in place at Bay Arena in Bay Roberts.
The S. W. Moores Memorial Stadium is owned and operated by the Town of Harbour Grace, and annual subsidies range from $50,000 to $80,000, Forward noted.
Don Coombs is mayor of the Town of Harbour Grace.
Many feel that by working co- operatively, the region can build the arena it needs, modelled largely after the Jack Byrne Memorial Stadium in Torbay. That facility was constructed at a cost of some $15 million several years, but the price tag today for a similar facility would be in the range of $ 21 mil lion , Forward explained.
If Harbour Grace were to go it alone, Forward suggested the town might have to downsize the project.
“Can Harbour Grace afford a stadium that’s between $12 and $15 million? Maybe,” he said.
Kennedy is not sold on the idea of paring down the project, suggesting it “would not be the best use of the money.”
Coombs agreed, stating “I don’t believe that would be necessary, based on assets we have we can dispose of and financing terms and everything else.”
Forward said it would be a mistake to overburden the town by taking on too much debt for a new stadium, since other priorities — water and sewer, road upgrades and more — cannot be overlooked.
Forward said one option being considered is raising a portion or all of the municipal share through sponsorship and the sale of the existing stadium.
“Will it be necessary to borrow that whole amount? These are things that are being explored,” Forward said.
Carbonear Mayor Sam Slade did not attend last week’s meeting, but reiterated his belief that public consultations will be needed before council makes any firm decisions.
Sam Slade is mayor of the Town of Carbonear.
“We have no mandate to move without having consultations,” said Slade. “The people of Carbonear elected us … when we talk about taking that kind of money and putting it into another community, we do not have that mandate.
“But if the people tell me this is a good thing, I will sign on the bottom line.”
Meanwhile, it’s now been two months since the Harbour Grace town council made its recommendation to the Department of Municipal Affairs about what company should be awarded the contract to carry out the engineering and design work on the project.
Six firms submitted proposals, and the top company was selected on a specialized scoring system. Officials from the town and Municipal Affairs scored the proposals, Forward explained.
O’Brien has not yet signed off on the town’s selection.
One of the issues to be determined by the firm is location. Forward said there are two, and possibly
“The people of Carbonear elected us … when we talk about taking that kind of money and putting it into another community, we do not have that
mandate.” — Carbonear Mayor Sam Slade
Lester Forward is town manager in Harbour Grace.
a third, location under consideration, and he brushed off any suggestion that it might be constructed outside of Harbour Grace, perhaps in Carbonear.
“As far as I’m concerned it will be in Harbour Grace,” he said.
When asked when construction might begin, Forward said late 2013 is a likely target.
“Harbour Grace and Carbonear have come together on this and we’re doing our best to make it happen. If there’s a way to make it happen, we will,” Forward said.
This wrecked Hyundia Tiburon was being driven by 22-year- old William Earle of Shearstown.