Bay Roberts field to undergo retrofit
Bay Roberts upgrading Wilbur Sparks complex
The Wilbur Sparkes Recreation Complex in Bay Roberts is set to undergo a complete retrofit that will see the addition of a new ballfield, beach volleyball courts and clubhouse.
The drawing to the right of Bay Roberts recreation director Ian Flynn desk draws the eye.
Hanging on the wall of his office, it is the manifestation of the town’s plan for the Wilbur Sparkes Recreation Facility.
Designed by St. John’s firm TRACT Consulting, the drawing shows an additional ball field, ample parking, beach volleyball courts and a splash pad. “I’m excited,” said Flynn. The retrofit was approved late last year but the drawing was not uploaded to the town’s Facebook page until last month.
The project is expected to cost in the range of $2.5 million when the work is completed. Flynn said it would take a number of years before the facility renovation is finished.
“There is a 3-5 year plan,” he said. “We’re adding so many new features to the facility.”
With other projects going on in the community, like installing sidewalks and attempting to secure a community centre, it would not be feasible for Bay Roberts to take on the full amount needed for the retrofit.
With this in mind, Flynn is focusing on completing some of the smaller renovations before tackling the bigger ones. “We’re going to pick away at it,” he said. Over the next year, preparing the parking lots will be on the agenda, along with some of the greenery.
“We should have 50 parking spots,” said Flynn.
Should this year’s budget allow, the town will explore moving the skate park from its current location to a more visible one on Track Road and installing the beach volleyball courts.
“The earliest we’d look at the second ball field would be 2016 and that’s based on budget and needs,” said Flynn.
Looking at the games
When it comes to bidding on the Newfoundland Summer Games, towns need to be able to offer a facility like the one Bay Roberts is planning.
Logistically, it helps organizers plan when everything is within walking distance of each other.
Adding to the impressive plans would be adding a community centre less than five kilometres away.
“The Newfoundland Games have been in our sights for a number of years,” said Flynn. “There is nothing we would not have once this facility is finished to hold us back from hosting.”
The splash pad and the planned toboggan hill are two of more interesting planned additions to the facility.
“It’s one of my favourite additions,” Flynn said of the toboggan hill.
The father of two young daughters, he said it has become increasingly difficult to find a sliding hill in the community.
“Parents can take their kids, in a safe environment, and go sliding in the winter time,” said Flynn.
The retrofit will allow the town to accommodate the growing recreational needs of its residents.
“It is going to be fun. It is going to be interesting,” said Flynn.
Bay Roberts recreation director Ian Flynn poses for a photo in front of the design plan for the retrofit of the Wilbur Sparkes Recreation Complex.