Arena com­mit­tee will re­port to coun­cil

Har­bour Grace coun­cil­lor ques­tions whether board will de­lay progress on new fa­cil­ity

The Compass - - NEWS - BYMELISSA JENK­INS SPE­CIAL TO THE COM­PASS

One of the most rec­og­nized is­sues in the Town of Har­bour Grace in re­cent weeks has been the sta­dium com­mit­tee that was put in place just over a month ago. It was dis­cussed at the town coun­cil meet­ing May 6.

The com­mit­tee con­sists of six ap­pointed male mem­bers — some by the provin­cial govern­ment, some by the town coun­cil.

The group, which is now of­fi­cially called the Har­bour Grace Arena Steer­ing Com­mit­tee, held their first meet­ing on May 1 to dis­cuss the pur­pose of the com­mit­tee and to de­ter­mine who would have pri­mary con­trol over the de­ci­sions of the sta­dium.

It was de­cided dur­ing that meet­ing Har­bour Grace town coun­cil will main­tain fi­nan­cial and phys­i­cal con­trol of the new com­plex, start­ing im­me­di­ately, and the com­mit­tee would only be a li­ai­son be­tween it and the govern­ment.

No au­thor­ity for com­mit­tee

“The com­mit­tee has no au­thor­ity to spend money,” Mayor Don Coombs, who is also a com­mit­tee mem­ber, told the coun­cil. “Their rec­om­men­da­tions will come back to coun­cil, and the coun­cil will say yea or nay.”

The com­mit­tee will also dis­cuss with user groups, such as mi­nor hockey and fig­ure skat­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions, their needs and re­quire­ments of the sta­dium.

Coun. Bud Chafe ref­er­enced the new sta­dium in Par­adise, and ques­tioned why they didn’t need a com­mit­tee, but Har­bour Grace did. He felt the govern­ment did not trust them enough to make their own de­ci­sions.

Coombs said they may be the only com­mit­tee out of all the new and fu­ture sta­dium con­struc­tions in the prov­ince.

Mean­while, Coun. Joan Short be­lieves many of the com­mit­tee’s du­ties have al­ready been de­cided by coun­cil in pre­vi­ous months, say­ing they are “rein­vent­ing the wheel.”

“It seems like we are tak­ing a step for­ward and two steps back­wards,” she stated. “We’ve got our work done, so why can’t we progress any fur­ther than this?”

Coombs told the group dis­cus­sions are al­ready tak­ing place with Stan­tec, an en­gin­ner­ing firm, to de­sign lay­out pos­si­bil­i­ties with the at­tributes pre­vi­ously de­cided by coun­cil.

Short also ref­er­enced some of the crit­i­cisms com­ing from town con­stituents.

Some res­i­dents do not be­lieve the pro­ject is ever go­ing to get off the ground, and she be­lieves their pre­vi­ous de­ci­sions should help get con­struc­tion started sooner, in­stead of re­peat­ing the same process again.

An­other con­cern brought up about the com­mit­tee is the lack of fe­male rep­re­sen­ta­tion, but it was de­ter­mined that fe­males would have a place on the board of di­rec­tors when the time comes.

A coun­cil­lor stated the group chose “Don Coombs” and not “Mayor Don Coombs” as the rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the steer­ing com­mit­tee. Coun­cil­lors then voted to re­move the mayor des­ig­na­tion from the com­mit­tee’s list.

Judg­ing Joan

A se­ri­ous ac­cu­sa­tion about a coun­cil­lor was also brought up dur­ing that meet­ing. Short, who is the only fe­male in the group of seven, as­serted her frus­tra­tion with what she calls “un­pro­fes­sional be­hav­iour” from some coun­cil­lors.

“Some­one in their wis­dom left coun­cil cham­bers (af­ter last meet­ing) and said that I spoke about two mem­bers of the com­mit­tee,” she stated, de­scrib­ing what she called in­ac­cu­rate and dis­taste­ful com­ments pro­vided by an anony­mous coun­cil­lor to res­i­dents of the town.

“I don’t know why we have to leave here and twist some­thing that was said. I only spoke about the com­mit­tee and I never named any­body,” she protested.

Short told the coun­cil she has con­tacted her lawyer on con­di­tions of slan­der.

No coun­cil­lors com­mented on the ac­cu­sa­tion, but Coombs quickly came to Short’s de­fence.

“If it is said in pub­lic, it can be re­peated as fact,” he said. “It was some­body’s char­ac­ter that was dam­aged in this sit­u­a­tion.”

The dis­cus­sion ended when Coombs sug­gested the town might have to in­vest in a mi­cro­phone sys­tem to pre­vent this from hap­pen­ing again.

Tem­po­rary wa­ter dis­rup­tion

An area of River­head near Thicket Road had some wa­ter dis­rup­tions in early May.

Coun. David Mur­phy brought the is­sue to coun­cil af­ter re­ceiv­ing phone calls from res­i­dents in the area who are on arte­sian wells.

“One lady called me and said she’d turn on her tap, and it’d be 15 min­utes be­fore she got any wa­ter,” he ex­plained.

The sit­u­a­tion was al­ready known to Coombs and the town man­ager, Lester For­ward, who ex­plained there was a low wa­ter sup­ply due to overuse in the area.

“From what I un­der­stand, some­one filled up a pool in the area,” Coombs said.

For­ward added there is no way they could con­trol that, but re­mind peo­ple that they have to con­serve wa­ter, es­pe­cially when pre­cip­i­ta­tion is low.

Dis­gusted by Doyle’s Brook

Res­i­dents in the area of Al­berta Drive in Har­bour Grace have put forth a pe­ti­tion to coun­cil to have nearby Doyle’s Brook cleaned out.

De­bris has ac­cu­mu­lated in the nar­row wa­ter­way, fill­ing it in, and the town agrees the sit­u­a­tion needs to be taken care of.

Coombs and the coun­cil­lors said fed­eral Depart­ment of Fish­eries and Oceans needs to be con­tacted as soon as pos­si­ble be­cause the town has been tak­ing care of it up un­til now.

Coun­cil said the depart­ment will have to con­duct an area sur­vey and take nec­es­sary steps once they de­ter­mine if the area needs to be cleaned up.

The next meet­ing was schedued to take place May 20 at 3 p.m. at the Har­bour Grace Town Hall.

Har­bour Grace Mayor Don Coombs dis­cussed the Har­bour Grace Arena Steer­ing Com­mit­tee with coun­cil­lors dur­ing a meet­ing May 6.

Har­bour Grace Coun. Joan Short be­lieves the new arena com­mitte is de­lay­ing the sta­dium be­cause they are re­spon­si­ble for de­ci­sions al­ready dis­cussed by coun­cil.

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