In support of Harbour Grace stadium project
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