Bay Roberts lay­ing ground­work for new pool

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cbn­com­pass.ca

The Town of Bay Roberts is mak­ing sure to have their ducks in a row when it comes to their pro­posed recre­ation and aquatic fa­cil­ity. Even though they have no govern­ment fund­ing, they have site se­lected and the de­sign com­pleted, and town recre­ation di­rec­tor Ian Flynn says the recre­ation com­mit­tee is now look­ing to get a jump on the fundrais­ing work.

The Town of Bay Roberts is mak­ing sure all of the work on their end is com­pleted when it comes to the pro­posed aquatic fa­cil­ity.

Recre­ation di­rec­tor Ian Flynn, the man at the fore­front of the work, wants the pro­vin­cial govern­ment to have all of the an­swers avail­able to them when they be­gin look­ing at projects to sup­port.

He rec­og­nized that with the pow­ers-that-be fac­ing a $2 bil­lion deficit, spend­ing on in­fra­struc­ture like recre­ation fa­cil­i­ties will be ei­ther lim­ited or non-ex­is­tent, but that hasn’t stopped them from spear­head­ing the pro­ject.

“Our plan is that if and when govern­ment is ready and awards us some money, they know we’re shovel ready,” said Flynn in a re­cent in­ter­view with The Com­pass. “For years, we’ve been ap­proach­ing govern­ment say­ing, ’We need a new pool, we need a new pool,’ and the an­swer was al­ways, ‘Well, we don’t know what you want. How can we award you money, if we don’t know what you want?’”

To that end, the town has com­pleted the site se­lec­tion and de­sign phases of the pro­ject and has en­tered the fundrais­ing part of the process. They mod­eled their dream fa­cil­ity on a sim­i­lar struc­ture in Dieppe, N.B., and hope to have it built on land a res­i­dent do­nated to the town. It would be along­side Amal­ga­mated Academy and the planned school to re­place Coley’s Point Pri­mary.

“To have a recre­ation fa­cil­ity and pool within a two-minute walk from 1,800 kids in the K-12 school sys­tem was too good to turn down,” said Flynn.

Now, the recre­ation com­mit­tee aims to raise some $2 mil­lion to­wards the pool by the end of 2017. To that end, they’ve part­nered with the town’s her­itage foun­da­tion in hopes of gen­er­at­ing some ex­cite­ment around the com­mu­nity. The idea is to ap­proach cor­po­rate spon­sors around the re­gion, while also hold­ing spe­cial events that will cre­ate a buzz.

The bells and whis­tles

As it stands now, the de­sign calls for a state of the art fa­cil­ity with mul­ti­ple pools and all of the bells and whis­tles.

There is a pair of pools, one for com­pet­i­tive swim­ming and an­other that will func­tion for ther­a­peu­tic rea­sons, meet­ing rooms, spa­ces for birth­days, fam­ily change rooms and am­ple space for com­mu­nity events or cul­tural arts events.

“We re­ally liked the lay­out and felt it fit the needs of ev­ery­one in the re­gion,” said Flynn.

As Flynn al­luded to, the idea of a new pool isn’t one that’s re­cent. The town has been af­ter a new fa­cil­ity for some time in an ef­fort to re­place the rapidly ag­ing Bay Roberts Swim­ming Pool next to As­cen­sion Col­le­giate. The con­crete for the pool was poured in the 1970s, mak­ing it more than three decades old. At this age, recre­ation fa­cil­i­ties start to show their age and the pool is no dif­fer­ent.

Bay Roberts makes sure it re­mains open in the sum­mer time when swim­ming be­comes a fab­ric of the com­mu­nity, but it’s be­come high time to re­place the struc­ture. A new year-round aquatic cen­tre would thrust Bay Roberts into a po­si­tion it hasn’t seen in all of the years the town has had a pool. That means job cre­ation and a shift for a pool that has been sum­mer only for the en­tirety of its ex­is­tence.

“Now we have a build­ing that we can use year round and have pro­grams through­out the day for the kids be­cause now you can op­ti­mize the school pro­grams as well,” said Flynn. “That where we see our ben­e­fit there.”

Flynn has made sure Har­bour Grace-Port de Grave MHA Pam Par­sons is in the know when it comes to the pro­posed aquatic cen­tre. She has the de­sign plan on her desk.

“I want the doc­u­ment to be a cur­rent doc­u­ment,” he said.

Our plan is that if and when govern­ment is ready awards us some money, they we’re shovel ready. Ian Flynn

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