Bay Roberts field to un­dergo retrofit

Bay Roberts up­grad­ing Wil­bur Sparks com­plex

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

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.”

Static recre­ation

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.

Photo by Ni­cholas Mercer/The Com­pass

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.

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