First sign of a sta­dium

The Compass - - OPINION -

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 ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca.

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