Closing of training centre gets short reprieve

Frank
Frank Gale
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Government to examine other athletic centres

From left: Lenie Rowsell and Evelyn and Everett Davis were among the hundreds of people who attended a rally to protest the closing of the West Coast Training Centre on Thursday.

STEPHENVILLE  While users groups didn’t get what they wanted at a rally against the closing of the West Coast Training Centre in Stephenville, they did get plenty of support.

An estimated 350-400 people from the Bay St. George area turned up to the rally, where there was a protest against the closure of the multi-use recreational facility that had just a 48-hour notice.

When MHA Tony Cornect for the Port au Port District stood up to tell the crowd that there was a three-month extension to the closure, and that it won’t be closing now until June, there was some relief. But many still saw it as not enough time for another entity to take over operation of the facility.

Terry French, minister of the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, said the three-month extension would be the limit.

“The users were looking for a year extension and because of the time of year that it is right now, with a major taekwondo tournament coming up, we (government) decided to grant the three-month extension,” he said.

The province continues to operate the Labrador Training Centre in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, which includes a pool. Also, it operates pools in Corner Brook and Gander housed under the Arts and Culture Centres. French said government is planning on having discussions with the users of these facilities too because it’s not fair for the province to be operating a municipal facility.

French said government will be advertising for expressions of interest from groups wanting to run the Stephenville facility.  

He also said there will be no subsidy provided to the group that takes it over, and it would have to be run like a business and retrieve the costs of running and maintaining it through user fees.

St. George’s-Stephenville East MHA Joan Shea said she is aware the centre plays an important role for health and wellness for a lot of people in the area and that she would be more than will to work with any group that would like to take ownership of the centre.

She said she would try to help out with the facilitation of that transfer.

Mayor Tom O’Brien of Stephenville saw the three-month extension as a positive step.

“We have more life today than we had yesterday,” he said of the delay to close. “Government is prepared to accept a proposal to keep the facility going and transfer it to some other entity.”

He said representatives of user groups are putting a committee together to try to put a viable plan in place for the continued operation of the facility. He said the Town of Stephenville couldn’t take on the facility on its own and it would have to be a regional collaboration.

Organizations: West Coast Training Centre, Department of Tourism, Labrador Training Centre

Geographic location: STEPHENVILLE, Port au Port District, Happy Valley Goose Bay Corner Brook

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Recent comments

  • Dave
    April 02, 2013 - 06:50

    The first two comments paint the picture for bay at George and its wonderful reaidence. Any one says anything you don't like, throw rocks at them. If you sat in the middle of town and announced you had a dozen jobs that needed to be filled the place would be a ghost town. Announce you are taking away something they get for free and cost the provience an estimated $100,000 annually and 400 people show up to complain.

  • Conercerned Person
    April 01, 2013 - 18:08

    It is one thing putting a facility in a community and another running it for 30 plus years under the backs of the other people. Bay St. George wants the facility the people of Bay St. George should pay for it.

  • real westcoaster
    April 01, 2013 - 15:18

    Hey concerned person, we on the west coast felt the same way when the gov't dished out 4.5 million dollars of our tax money to construct your polar center in your town. Dementia must be setting in... stop throwing stones! ... it will come back twice as hard.

  • Concerned Person
    April 01, 2013 - 14:43

    Can someone tell me why our tax dollars should go into support a facility located in Stephenville? Tax dollars are for roads, hospitals, etc. The people of St. Anthony don't really care about this.