Six po­ten­tial sta­dium sites

Har­bour Grace arena lo­ca­tion to be cho­sen by “logic and rea­son”

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BYMELISSA JENK­INS

Res­i­dents of Har­bour Grace may be one step closer to lac­ing up their skates for the new arena sched­uled to be­gin con­struc­tion later this year.

Joey Ge­orge, chair­per­son for the Har­bour Grace Arena Steer­ing Com­mit­tee, re­leased some new de­tails on the site se­lec­tion process and where things cur­rently stand with the sta­dium dur­ing a meet­ing with The Com­pass on May 29.

Al­though the site has not been se­lected yet, the com­mit­tee has de­ter­mined the method to choose the best pos­si­ble build­ing lo­ca­tion out of the six pos­si­bil­i­ties will be “logic and rea­son.”

The com­mit­tee has de­cided to rec­om­mend a site based on six or seven ma­jor cri­te­ria, al­though Ge­orge was tight-lipped about what they were.

Each in­di­vid­ual cri­te­rion will be rated with a num­ber. That num­ber will rep­re­sent the im­por­tance and need for the lo­ca­tion — the higher the num­ber the more im­por­tant it is for the arena.

The com­mit­tee will to­tal the re­sults of each site, and the lo­ca­tion with the high­est to­tal will be des­ig­nated the new home of the sta­dium.

Th­ese re­sults will then fol­low the com­mit­tee pro­to­col — go back to the provin­cial govern­ment and Har­bour Grace coun­cil for ap­proval.

This should be com­pleted by midJune, Ge­orge said.

Ten­der process

Craig Gor­don, an en­gi­neer with the provin­cial Depart­ment of Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs, at­tended a May 27 meet­ing to dis­cuss the de­sign and con­struc­tion process, said Ge­orge.

“We all have agreed on a ‘de­sign/build’ con­cept,” Ge­orge ex­plained. “The per­son who de­signs the build­ing does a joint ven­ture with a con­struc­tion com­pany so they can team up to build it.”

The provin­cial govern­ment will send out re­quests to sev­eral dif­fer­ent de­sign firms across the prov­ince, and pos­si­bly across Canada, to sub­mit their qual­i­fi­ca­tions for the pro­ject.

Once two or three good can­di­dates are se­lected from those sub­mis­sions, the govern­ment will send a re­quest for a price on the pro­ject, and the se­lec­tion will be made from those re­sults.

The ex­pected time­frame for this to be fin­ished is the be­gin­ning of Septem­ber, and Ge­orge ex­pects to have a sod-turn­ing cer­e­mony at that time.

What does the sta­dium need?

The com­mit­tee is ask­ing an in­de­pen­dent per­son who works in the recre­ation in­dus­try to help it de­ter­mine the needs of the sta­dium.

This per­son will at­tend meet­ings with stake­hold­ers in the area, in­clud­ing hockey and fig­ure skat­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tives, se­nior cit­i­zens and oth­ers that will ben­e­fit from what Ge­orge called a “mul­tipur­pose com­plex.”

“We felt if we had some­body from the out­side look­ing in, it’s prob­a­bly bet­ter,” Ge­orge said.

The de­ci­sion is less likely to be bi­ased if they bring some­body in, and ev­ery­one will have equal op­por­tu­nity to ex­plain their needs.

An­other way the com­mit­tee is de­ter­min­ing the needs of their new build­ing is by trav­el­ling to two or three are­nas in the prov­ince that have been built in the past few years to get a first-hand ac­count of what has and hasn’t worked.

Ge­orge be­lieves this will be com­pleted by mid-June as well.

Once all the de­ci­sions are made, the in­for­ma­tion will be sent to the provin­cial govern­ment, and they will have ei­ther 60 or 90 days to pro­duce a de­sign from the de­sign/build can­di­dates.

“Of course, the de­sign and what goes in it will have to fit the prop­erty that we pick,” Ge­orge said.

Absolutely no over­runs

Ge­orge was adamant there would be no room for fis­cal er­ror.

“The monies we have are the monies we have to live within, and that should not be a prob­lem any­way,” he stated. “We’ll build within our means.”

Ge­orge sug­gested that an­other sta­dium that has re­cently be­gan con­struc­tion is al­ready over its $22-mil­lion bud­get, and the com­mit­tee agreed that will not hap­pen with Har­bour Grace.

“When we rec­om­mend ev­ery­thing, it will be within our means,” he said. “That’s what we have been tasked to do and that’s what we’re go­ing to do.”

No over­runs may mean com­pro­mise for some of the for­mer sug­ges­tions for the com­plex, but Ge­orge said the com­mit­tee would take that into con­sid­er­a­tion when more def­i­nite plans are in place.

“I am led to be­lieve if this de­ci­sion is made on solid rea­son­ing then it should be no prob­lem,” he said, not­ing he dis­cussed the sit­u­a­tion with mem­bers of the Har­bour Grace town coun­cil in mid-May.

Com­pass file photo

Joey Ge­orge is chair­per­son for the Har­bour Grace Arena Steer­ing Com­mit­tee. The com­mit­tee is cur­rently rank­ing po­ten­tial lo­ca­tions for the new sta­dium us­ing six or seven cri­te­ria that is only known to the com­mit­tee at this time.

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