In sup­port of Har­bour Grace sta­dium project

The Compass - - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR -

As a res­i­dent of Har­bour Grace, I of­ten look out over the town sur­round­ing the har­bour and say to my­self, “What a beau­ti­ful place we live!”

I think this is a feel­ing that is shared by most res­i­dents. I say “most” be­cause there are al­ways a few who choose to con­cen­trate on past fail­ures and chal­leng­ing fu­tures. When I run into th­ese neg­a­tive folks, I al­ways en­joy the de­bate of get­ting them to see how wrong they are.

In this re­gard, I join with oth­ers to try and con­vince those op­posed to the new Har­bour Grace Sta­dium ( I pre­fer to call it a Sports Com­plex) to re­al­ize that this is a great project. We need to em­brace it as a key step to­ward a more pos­i­tive fu­ture for our town. That’s the po­si­tion that I ex­pect from our town coun­cil, too.

I’m sure all our res­i­dents have heard the lament, “Ev­ery­thing is mov­ing out of Har­bour Grace.” I go ab­so­lutely wild when I hear this state­ment. When it is said to me, the per­son who states it al­ways gets both bar­rels.

There are towns all around New­found­land and Labrador that would love to have what our town has. Just re­flect for a moment on our as­sets: government of­fices, RCMP head­quar­ters, ship­yard, Terra Shoes, Greenspar, Pow­ells, gas/con­ve­nience bars, con­struc­tion com­pa­nies, cold stor­age shrimp plant, Ad­mi­ral’s Ma­rina, SPLASH Cen­tre, phar­macy, med­i­cal of­fices, ho­tel, vol­un­teer groups, and the list goes on and on.

We don’t have any right to cry about how lit­tle we have. We should al­ways be aware of our strengths and be ready to wel­come new op­por­tu­ni­ties.

The town coun­cil has to fo­cus on the po­ten­tial that this sta­dium/sports com­plex will bring to Har­bour Grace and re­gion. If the coun­cil con­tin­ues to drag its de­ci­sion-mak­ing much longer, this ex­cit­ing project will prob­a­bly slip away from us. It has been a very long time since it was an­nounced by the Honourable Jerome Kennedy in Au­gust, 2011 and dead­lines are get­ting closer. While most oth- er towns would die to have this op­por­tu­nity, we seem to be hes­i­tat­ing.

As im­por­tant as los­ing an ice sta­dium is, I am not talk­ing only about that. We are also los­ing much more: the po­ten­tial for a fam­ily gath­er­ing place, ex­er­cise fa­cil­i­ties, youth sport venues, small busi­nesses, land­mark con­struc­tion fa­cil­i­ties, new res­i­den­tial at­trac­tions and jobs, jobs, jobs. If the of­fer falls off the ta­ble, the whole town is los­ing; no one is gain­ing.

There are $20 mil­lion of in­vest­ment at stake in this ini­tia­tive. I re­al­ize that part of this amount has to be shared by our com­mu­nity. If coun­cil be­lieves that the town’s share is too large for Har­bour Grace, then part­ner with our neigh­bour­hood towns and make this a truly re­gional fa­cil­ity. We have to do what­ever it takes to move our sta­dium/sports com­plex for­ward. A spirit of co-op­er­a­tion is good for ev­ery­one, no mat­ter what the is­sue.

Take a look around and see how sim­i­lar fa­cil­i­ties have been funded and eval­u­ate how they have ben­e­fit­ted. Talk to Port aux Basques res­i­dents and they will tell you that the ac­tiv­i­ties of the Bruce II Sports Cen­tre are worth far more than the build­ing’s dol­lar cost. Other towns will tell the same story. While noth­ing im­por­tant comes free, our new sta­dium/sports com­plex comes to us at a tremen­dously re­duced price.

Har­bour Grace town coun­cil, please take up the lead­er­ship and make this new fa­cil­ity a re­al­ity for our town. If you doubt how the res­i­dents feel, call a town meet­ing and let us show you that you have our sup­port to move for­ward.

In the mean­time fel­low ci­ti­zens, write, email, and/or phone the town coun­cil and tell them how you feel and of­fer your help. The clock is tick­ing and we need our coun­cil­lors to act de­ci­sively be­fore in­de­ci­sion sends this op­por­tu­nity off to an­other town, and you can be sure the next town won’t turn it down.

Gor­don F. Stone writes from Har­bour Grace

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