Pla­cen­tia gets its pool

Six years of hard work pays off for com­mu­nity

The Compass - - NEWS - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON editor@CB­N­com­pass.ca

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.

PHOTO BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON/THE COM­PASS

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.

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