Placentia gets its pool
Six years of hard work pays off for community
In a gymnasium full of happy folks last Thursday in Placentia, there was probably no one happier than Jamie Neville.
Neville’s daughter was a member of the swim team in Mount Pearl, but a change in schools prevented her from continuing. That was six years ago.
Since then, Neville and other members of the local Lions Club in Placentia have put in countless hours trying to get a pool for the community. Last Thursday, all that work finally paid off.
“This was our key project, and to see this day come, it’s unbelievable,” Neville told The Compass, standing inside the gymnasium at Laval High School.
Premier Paul Davis dropped by Placentia to share the news that through the Voisey’s Bay Development Agreement, the province would be able to contribute $4.5 million to construct a new pool that will be connected to the town’s stadium.
The Lions Club has $500,000 to contribute to work that will also upgrade the stadium itself. The group plans to raise a further $500,000 to help with that.
“Today’s announcement is for everyone,” Neville told the large crowd. “It’s for the kids, the seniors, the grandparents to take their grandchildren, it’s for everybody to enjoy this project. And that’s why it means so much to me.”
Given all the groundwork that’s already been done, Neville understands the project should be able to go to tender in a few months, with construction to start in the spring and a pool likely ready to open a year from now. The Lions Club has already spent tens of thousands of dollars on engineering work and other services.
“That’s an ambitious timeframe, but we’re ambitious people,” Neville told The Compass.
Neville, who chaired the committee in charge of the pool project, was particularly grateful for the tremendous community support shown over the years.
“I want to thank everybody here in this community, because everyone here purchased those 50-50 tickets,” he said. “We got kids up at St. Anne’s (Academy in Dunville) that were selling flowers — the premier’s not even aware of this stuff — we had them selling flowers on the side of the roads. They were selling ice. I want some of these people to work for me!”
Since so many neighbouring communities like Long Harbour, Branch and Whitbourne will also benefit from the pool, Neville views it as a success story for the region.
“The thing is with it, an idea is one thing, but to make it happen, it’s because of persistence, and everyone was persistent in getting this done,” he said.
Premier Paul Davis, left, chats with Placentia Lions Club member Jamie Neville and Health Minister Steve Kent following last week’s announcement that government will fund a new pool for the community.
This is what the new pool in Placentia will look like once it is built as an addon to the town’s stadium.