Residents agree to fund community centre
Green’s Harbour holds vote to determine financial fate of local facility
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.
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.