Com­mu­nity cal­en­dar Har­bour Grace search­ing for court op­tions

The Compass - - EDITORIAL - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

A pub­lic dec­la­ra­tion last week by Jus­tice Min­is­ter An­drew Par­sons that gov­ern­ment would not re­con­sider its de­ci­sion to close the court­house in Har­bour Grace has its town coun­cil eval­u­at­ing its op­tions.

At the town’s reg­u­lar coun­cil meet­ing on May 4, Har­bour Grace coun­cil­lors lis­tened as Mayor Terry Barnes said he’d spo­ken with Par­sons since the dec­la­ra­tion and main­tains the gov­ern­ment will con­tinue to lis­ten to any al­ter­na­tives.

Barnes and Coun. Hayward Blake pre­vi­ously met with the min­is­ter on April 27. Then, they were told gov­ern­ment would look at any other op­tions the town could provide.

“I spoke with him this af­ter­noon … he said he’s not de­vi­at­ing from the prom­ise he made coun­cilor Blake and I,” said the mayor. “I’m not go­ing in to fur­ther into that un­til we get back to him with a few pro­pos­als.”

What op­tions are avail­able to the town is not known, but with the court ex­pected to close later this sum­mer there isn’t a lot of time to fig­ure it out.

In the mean­time, Barnes en­cour­aged ev­ery town in the re­gion to con­tinue writ­ing their MHA voic­ing their dis­plea­sure with the de­ci­sion to close the courts.

“This isn’t just an is­sue for us,” he said. “This is a Bay Roberts is­sue, this is a Car­bon­ear is­sue, this is a Whit­bourne is­sue and this is a Pla­cen­tia is­sue.”

“It’s no good for just Har­bour Grace to stand up. We need ev­ery­one to stand up.”

Li­brary con­cerns

The court­house was not the only body blow dealt to Har­bour Grace in the lat­est bud­get. The pub­lic li­brary on Har­vey Street is also ear­marked for clo­sure as one of 56 li­braries across the prov­ince get­ting the axe.

Stand­ing at the tail end of the meet­ing, Coun. Blake sug­gested writ­ing a let­ter to New­found­land and Labrador Pub­lic Li­braries and protest­ing the de­ci­sion.

“I, for one, con­tacted the li­brary board and asked for the res­ig­na­tion of the whole board,” he said. “We, as a coun­cil, should write a let­ter to the li­brary board say­ing that we are to­tally dis­pleased with the fact that we are los­ing our li­brary and im­plore that they keep the li­brary in Har­bour Grace open.”

Over the past year, Har­bour Grace has been ac­tive in selling it­self as a place where young fam­i­lies can come and grow. At the heart of that push has been the li­brary.

Blake said it gets dif­fi­cult selling the town when they con­tin­u­ally have to fight for the ser­vices they have,

“I had some­one email me and say they take their kids there ev­ery week,” he said.

Sta­dium items cleared off agenda

There were a num­ber of items for the new sta­dium taken care off at the meet­ing.

Deputy Mayor So­nia Wil­liams made sev­eral mo­tions con­cern­ing every­thing from op­er­a­tors for the planned pro shop and fit­ness cen­tre, as well as set­ting the ice rental rates when the rink opens in the fall.

First up was the mat­ter of who would run the pro shop. Wil­liams moved the town ac­cept the bid pro­posed by cloth­ing and sneaker out­fit Heart & Sole.

Mean­while, Car­bon­ear’s Eden will run the fit­ness cen­tre at the new fa­cil­ity.

Ice rates were set at $165 an hour for mi­nor hockey and $190 for outside rentals.

Mean­while, a pro­posal for nam­ing rights for the rink was de­ferred till a later meet­ing to give coun­cilors ad­di­tional time to dis­cuss the mat­ter.

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