For­get the cer­e­mony, just build it

The Compass - - EDITORIAL - Ni­cholas Mercer is a re­porter/pho­tog­ra­pher with The Compass. He hopes the builders re­mem­ber to in­clude a tiny hole at one cor­ner of the rink big enough for a cam­era lens. He can be reached at nmercer@cb­n­com­

It was in the heart of the old arena that of­fi­cials fi­nally an­nounced the im­pend­ing con­struc­tion of the fa­cil­ity that will re­place the S.W. Moores Me­mo­rial Sta­dium in Har­bour Grace.

Pre­sum­ably at cen­tre ice and swal­lowed by the shad­ows of the re­tired jer­seys of CeeBees’ leg­ends Jim Pen­ney, Alex Faulkner and the late Bran­don Har­ris, New­found­land and Labrador Pre­mier Paul Davis and Har­bour Grace Mayor Terry Barnes shook hands and put their signatures on a piece of pa­per that will usher in a new chap­ter in the his­tory of hockey in the com­mu­nity.

Sur­rounded by the re­main­ing mem­bers of the town coun­cil, town em­ploy­ees, gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and hun­dreds of young­sters from nearby St. Fran­cis school, Barnes raised his arms in victory and ex­claimed, “She’s done!”

Pre­sum­ably, the ink was still wet when the mayor let go his victory cry as all in at­ten­dance, some clad in mi­nor hockey jer­seys and fig­ure skat­ing coats, roared their ap­proval.

Yes, Har­bour Grace got her done. At last, the peo­ple of the re­gion have the still-to-be-named recre­ation fa­cil­ity within their grasps.

It’s only been close to four years since fund­ing was an­nounced for the project way back in 2011. Since then, there have been count­less other an­nounce­ments, in­clud­ing one by for­mer Car­bon­ear-Har­bour Grace MHA Jerome Kennedy dur­ing the 2013 Herder se­ries. The Par­adise rink is fin­ished, while the Kel­li­grews sta­dium is set to open its doors in the fall.

Both were an­nounced at the same time. Sim­i­larly, a swim­ming pool in Marys­town is near­ing com­ple­tion.

The Que­bec-based Pomer­leau Inc., are tabbed with the con­struc­tion and they had equip­ment at the top of Jamie’s Way - the of­fi­cial site - on Fri­day. They’ll aim to have the fa­cil­ity, with pro­fes­sional ice sur­face, gym and multi-pur­pose room, com­pleted as soon as pos­si­ble.

Amid all of this cheer and good vi­bra­tions, one ques­tion lingers. What was the need of such pomp and pageantry?

Why not just march out the in­te­gral play­ers, throw a hard hat on them as they turn over some dirt while sur­rounded by bull­doz­ers and other such land clear­ing equip­ment?

It would dis­pel any no­tions of more de­lays to come, even more than the sta­dium show did al­ready. It would’ve shown res­i­dents, and the prov­ince, con­struc­tion was hours away from start­ing in­stead of days or weeks.

In­stead, there was still that sense of dis­be­lief. As the story broke, the mis­trust­ing said, “they’ll be­lieve it when they see it,” while the true believ­ers are aglow with the pos­si­bil­ity of see­ing their beloved se­nior CeeBee Stars glid­ing around the ice. I wouldn’t hold my breath on that hap­pen­ing, by the way.

Even as the earth is be­ing pre­pared for the even­tual in­ser­tion of steel gird­ers, they won’t be­lieve it un­til the doors open. That’s just the way it is.

It is be­cause through the con­stant de­lays and hold ups, they’ve be­come dis­en­chanted with the whole process. That’s why this cer­e­mony, a uni­ver­sal pat on the back, wasn’t nec­es­sary.

In this busi­ness, we’re told to keep it sim­ple. Maybe this should’ve fol­lowed a sim­i­lar path.

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