First sign of a stadium
We still have a long way to go before getting to taste some stadium fries in a Harbour Grace rink other than S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium, but last week finally offered some physical proof that a new facility is on its way.
Digging test holes in the ground may not seem like much of a start, but it is surely an essential part of the process paving the way for an eventual successor to the old stadium, likely the most visited building in the community (St. Francis School in all its various forms could give the stadium a run for its money on that front).
There might still be pockets of the community questioning the town’s commitment to taking on such a big project despite a shrinking tax base. The facility is billed as the Harbour Grace Regional Wellness Centre. That name admits to the fact residents of neighbouring communities will make good use of the building without sinking any tax dollars into it (notwithstanding taxes paid to the provincial government — the province is covering 80 per cent of the cost).
That said, one could argue Harbour Grace needs a reason for people to come to the community. In light of the impending closure of the Terra Nova Shoes factory next month, more uncertainty lingers over the community’s economic future.
People will no doubt make great use of the facility. A walking track and fitness centre are good features to incorporate into its design. It was also sensible for the town to scale down the project from a $21-million facility to $14 million. All the bells and whistles may have been fine and dandy in theory, but a small town needs to set its limits.
Assuming all goes well with testing to ensure the land is suitable for building such a facility, the project can proceed to whatever the next phase of work entails. Otherwise, the town may be forced to abandon that location next to Veterans Memorial Highway and take a fresh look at the other seven potential locations previously considered.
In any event, the presence of workers in the area last week makes the eventual construction of a new stadium seem all the more real.
Meanwhile, there’ll surely be plenty of fries, dressing and gravy to be had down at the old rink.
— Andrew Robinson is The Compass’ new editor. He prefers eating fries with ketchup at S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium and can be reached at email@example.com.