Res­i­dents agree to fund com­mu­nity cen­tre

Green’s Har­bour holds vote to de­ter­mine fi­nan­cial fate of lo­cal fa­cil­ity

The Compass - - MUNICIPAL - BYMELISSA JENK­INS Melissa.jenk­

Nes­tled amongst a horse­shoe shaped cove, sur­rounded by an abun­dance of trees, lies the com­mu­nity of Green’s Har­bour, Trin­ity Bay.

Al­though not an in­cor­po­rated town, the com­mu­nity of some 700 res­i­dents has sev­eral of the fa­cil­i­ties and of­fer­ings most in­cor­po­rated towns through­out New­found­land and Labrador have — a phar­macy, a med­i­cal clinic, an ele­men­tary school, a fire depart­ment and more.

One of the fa­cil­i­ties the com­mu­nity has is the lo­cal com­mu­nity cen­tre, which can be seen while head­ing north on Route 80.

The cen­tre was built, ran and paid for by the lo­cal Li­ons Club for the past 25 years. Last year, it was given to the lo­cal ser­vice dis­trict.

The lo­cal ser­vice dis­trict quickly put in place a com­mit­tee to over­see the op­er­a­tions of the build­ing.

“Due to re­stric­tions on lo­cal ser­vice dis­trict com­mit­tees, we were ad­vised to in­cor­po­rate a board of trustees to be re­spon­si­ble for the over­sight of the com­mu­nity cen­tre,” a rep­re­sen­ta­tive with the cen­tre wrote The Com­pass in an email. “Cur­rently, we have a vol­un­teer build­ing com­mit­tee, which looks af­ter fundrais­ing to cover op­er­at­ing ex­penses and main­te­nance.”

Run­ning a com­mu­nity cen­tre can be a pricey en­deav­our for a lo­cal ser­vice dis­trict with very lim­ited funds.

The build­ing com­mit­tee held a pub­lic con- sul­ta­tion meet­ing Oct. 29 to dis­cuss with the res­i­dents the fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion sur­round­ing the cen­tre. Forty res­i­dents showed up to voice their con­cerns.

Take a vote

It was de­cided to hold a plebiscite it the com­mu­nity, with two op­tions on the bal­lot:

No. 1 — pay $50 per house­hold per year, or $40 for se­niors;

No. 2 — to not pay any­thing to­wards the com­mu­nity cen­tre.

Those spear­head­ing the plebiscite agreed to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion by email to The Com­pass, but on the con­di­tion that their names not be used.

Mean­while, a res­i­dent of Green’s Har­bour, who also asked not to be iden­ti­fied, said she thought the fee was a good idea.

She was con­cerned if the build­ing was not kept up, it would be sold. Then it would be un­likely the cen­tre could be used for wed­dings, par­ties or any so­cial ac­tiv­ity.

The vote by se­cret bal­lot took place Nov. 26 at the com­mu­nity cen­tre, with two res­i­dents of nearby Cavendish count­ing the votes.

Al­though the Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties Act says only seven things can be charged by a lo­cal ser­vice dis­trict — wa­ter sup­ply, sewer sys­tems, fire ser­vices, garbage col­lec­tion, street lights, an­i­mal con­trol and snow clear­ing/road main­te­nance — Green’s Har­bour es­tab­lished the build­ing com­mit­tee, which will man­age the money col­lected.

This en­sures the ser­vice dis­trict stays within their re­stric­tive bound­aries, but the

com­mu­nity cen­tre can still thrive.

Vot­ing re­sults

The com­mu­nity cen­tre has re­ceived sig­nif­i­cant sup­port from the town in the past, through rental of the fa­cil­i­ties for wed­dings, pri­vate par­ties, so­cial func­tions, com­mu­nity events and re­cre­ational ac­tiv­i­ties, the spokesper­son said, and the vote was no ex­cep­tion.

A vote of 92 per­cent was re­ceived in favour of the ad­di­tional $50 yearly fee. At­tempts to find out how many res­i­dents cast a bal­lot were un­suc­cess­ful.

“Thank you to all who took the time to place your bal­lot,” com­mu­nity cen­tre rep­re­sen­ta­tives pro­claimed on so­cial me­dia. “The over­whelm­ing sup­port shows our com­mu­nity spirit is alive and well.”

What does this mean for the area?

“It’s just a lit­tle amount of money just once a year,” the res­i­dent said. “If we didn’t have this build­ing, we wouldn’t have any­thing. If this build­ing were to be sold, then that’s it. We have noth­ing.”

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the com­mu­nity cen­tre com­mit­tee agreed it was the right process to choose whether or not the res­i­dents should pay for the cen­tre.

“This (was) a demo­cratic process where the en­tire com­mu­nity de­cided what (will) hap­pen to their com­mu­nity cen­tre,” the spokesper­son said.

With the com­mu­nity cen­tre set to be­gin re­ceiv­ing $50 per year in 2014, it will re­main avail­able for use by res­i­dents and man­aged by the build­ing com­mit­tee.

Mean­while, the Green’s Har­bour com­mu­nity cen­tre will host a com­mu­nity event — an ugly sweater party — on Satur­day, Dec. 14 at 10 p.m.

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