The great CBN re­cre­ation fa­cil­ity sweep­stakes

The Compass - - SPORTS - Ni­cholas Mercer

Whether you know it or not, there is an arms race go­ing on in Con­cep­tion Bay North.

This race has noth­ing to do with weapons of mass de­struc­tion or any thing scary like that. Rather, it has to do with re­cre­ation fa­cil­i­ties.

In the Town of Har­bour Grace, a new, state-of-the-art sta­dium is on the hori­zon, while some 18 kilo­me­tres away in Bay Roberts, there is a new aquatic fa­cil­ity be­ing pro­posed.

The sta­dium has been in the works for a cou­ple of years, ever since fund­ing was first an­nounced in 2011.

Mean­while, the pool in Bay Roberts is a rel­a­tively new ef­fort from of­fi­cials. While it has been talked about for some time now, the last cou­ple of weeks have seen an in­creased ef­fort to get ev­ery­thing in place due to is­sues with the cur­rent fa­cil­ity.

While they deal with two dif­fer­ent sports there are a lot of sim­i­lar­i­ties in what the fa­cil­i­ties will bring to the area. Both will re­place ag­ing fa­cil­i­ties and be­come a boon to the lo­cal sport­ing com­mu­ni­ties. Both will fea­ture ameni­ties only pre­vi­ously dreamt about in the re­gion.

There is one more sim­i­lar­ity — no shov­els have clawed into the ground on ei­ther project.

Har­bour Grace has a de­sign done for the sta­dium, while Bay Roberts is in the process of wrap­ping up meet­ings with TRACT Con­sult­ing and a de­sign will be com­ing in short or­der.

Sim­i­larly, each com­mu­nity has des­ig­nated a pre­ferred site where the fa­cil­ity will be built.

With all of these sim­i­lar­i­ties, there is one ques­tion on my mind: Which fa­cil­ity will be built first?

If this sort of thing was plas­tered on a big screen in­side the bet­ting den of a Las Ve­gas casino, Har­bour Grace might be the favourite, with Bay Roberts a slight un­der­dog, largely be­cause in the case of the pool, the provin­cial govern­ment has not ap­proved any cap­i­tal fund­ing.

But, are they re­ally the un­der­dog?

We’ve heard prom­ises of sod turn­ings and test holes be­ing dug at the pre­ferred site for the sta­dium, which is said to be lo­cated at the cor­ner of the Vet­er­ans Me­mo­rial High­way and Jamie’s Way. Still, there has been no move­ment to speak of at the area.

Nev­er­the­less, Har­bour Grace has the money wait­ing for it to start, and in rel­a­tively short or­der.

Bay Roberts, on the other hand, is get­ting ev­ery­thing in place for fund­ing, but there has been no an­nounce­ment to speak of and might not be for some time.

Still, the Har­bour Grace project has been in the works for a long time and there have been ex­tended pe­ri­ods of si­lence since it be­gan. For ev­ery piece of good news that fil­tered out, there were equally long pe­ri­ods of noth­ing that had people ques­tion­ing.

Other cen­tres in Con­cep­tion Bay South and Par­adise are close to open­ing and their fund­ing was an­nounced at the same time.

But, there is a sense of op­ti­mism in Har­bour Grace that has to count for some­thing. People are ex­cited about the fa­cil­ity and there have been whis­pers of a top-flight con­trac­tor com­ing on board to build it.

In Bay Roberts, there is a buzz about the pos­si­bil­ity of a new pool. Of­fi­cials are de­ter­mined to get some­thing new for its cit­i­zens … and quickly.

The cur­rent pool does not have much time left and it would be a shame for the swim pro­gram to take a hia­tus be­cause of a lack of fa­cil­i­ties.

I think that’s what closes the dis­tance be­tween the two towns. Bay Roberts is in dire need of the pool, while Har­bour Grace seems to be com­fort­able in what will hap­pen. So, what hap­pens first? Are they skat­ing in Har­bour Grace be­fore they’re swim­ming in Bay Roberts, or vice versa?

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