In de­fense of the old barn in Har­bour Grace

The Compass - - SPORTS - Ni­cholas Mercer — Ni­cholas Mercer is a re­porter/pho­tog­ra­pher with the Com­pass. He lives in Bay Roberts and can be reached at nmercer@cb­n­com­

One can only imag­ine the frus­tra­tion that ex­ists in sport­ing cir­cles in the Town of Har­bour Grace lately.

It would seem the town can’t win for try­ing when it comes to push­ing for­ward with the pro­posed sta­dium.

It has been a long cou­ple of years in this part of Con­cep­tion Bay North wait­ing for some­thing, any­thing, to start as it per­tains to the con­struc­tion of the es­ti­mated $20 mil­lion fa­cil­ity.

In fact, the big­gest vis­ual sign of de­vel­op­ment has been a sign on the Vet­eran’s Me­mo­rial High­way at the en­trance of Jamie’s Way in the com­mu­nity.

The town has se­cured the loan it needs from a fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion, they’ve (sort of) selected a site and there is ev­ery in­di­ca­tion the project is in­deed mov­ing for­ward.

Whis­pers around area say there is even a plan in place when it comes to nam­ing rights of the sta­dium

Now, the provin­cial govern­ment is again un­der­go­ing the process of look­ing at the town’s books to en­sure Har­bour Grace can af­ford the state-of-the-art fa­cil­ity it wants. Namely, two ice pads plus other ameni­ties.

Of­fi­cials with the town have voiced frus­tra­tion over the elon­gated process, and right­fully so. Cen­tres in Par­adise and Con­cep­tion Bay South, an­nounced at the same time as Har­bour Grace, are light years ahead of their coun­ter­part.

It begs the ques­tion, could all of this have been avoided?

Would the town, un­der­the pre­vi­ous regime, have been bet­ter served to take just a por­tion of the $20 mil­lion pro­vided by govern­ment and put it into the ven­er­a­ble S.W. Moores Me­mo­rial Sta­dium?

It would be a retro­fit sim­i­lar to the Joe Byrne Me­mo­rial Arena in Grand Falls-Wind­sor.

Think about it. The sta­dium is at the cen­tre of town close to gas sta­tions, ac­com­mo­da­tions and the gro­cery store and has been a sta­ple of the com­mu­nity for some 50 years.

This is go­ing to change with the new sta­dium, when it is con­structed. If it ends up on Jamie’s Way, which I be­lieve it will, there will be no rea­son to come into Har­bour Grace.

Car­bon­ear is only a short trip over the high­way.

Har­bour Grace’s eco­nomic base is dwin­dling and this might serve to only help the slide.

First, you’d start with the bleachers. Rip out the ex­ist­ing one and put in in­di­vid­ual seat­ing.

They have not been re­placed since the sta­dium first opened in 1958.

Next, pave the park­ing lot. The cur­rent one is a mine­field of rim buck­ling pot­holes. Hey, pave­ment has done won­ders for the Trin­ity Pla­cen­tia Sta­dium park­ing lot in Whit­bourne.

Re­mem­ber, it’s only been a cou­ple of years since the town pumped some $450,000 into a new roof in 2007. That’s only a short seven years ago.

The roof at the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts is still go­ing strong 30 years later, and there’s no rea­son this cur­rent roof on the S. W. Moores couldn’t last the same amount of time.

The rest of the changes would just cos­metic. Maybe some new light­ing here and a lick of paint there.

I’d be will­ing to bet the cur­rent sta­dium has a cou­ple of years left in her, and I hope it was an op­tion when the money was awarded.

Of course, any look at the sta­dium process is re­vi­sion­ist his­tory, and only time will tell what hap­pens.

Maybe I’m out to lunch, who knows?

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