CORNER BROOK Kicking around a soccer ball, throwing frisbee, playing catch with a friend. Bill Boland did it all on George (Daddy) Dawe Memorial Soccer Pitch when he was a youngster.
Now a family man, he wants his own daughter and other children in the Corner Brook area to have the same opportunities he did as a child. Boland is the voice for a group of concerned Corner Brook residents who want to see the Curling facility not only kept open for the long-term, but brought up to the quality standards that other sports venues in the city boast.
The fight to keep the pitch open goes back to last year when his group went public with their concerns. City officials eventually agreed to open the field and went about making it safe for the various user groups, even though it was only opened for a couple of weeks after laying dormant for about 18 months.
Boland went for a stroll down at Dawe Pitch a couple of nights ago but was disgusted seeing garbage strewn about, a microwave in a sandpile, logs in the parking lot, piles of asphalt and nets that are starting to sway. It's a far cry from what Boland remembers as a child.
"Our concern is the abandonment of a recreational facility that happens to be in the Curling area and it is an absolute joke," Boland said Thursday.
Boland wants city officials to restore the facility to a safe venue for user groups, but also wants area youth to be able to use it beyond their structured programs.
"It's disgusting to say that the city even owns it," he said.
Boland has a collection of photos from his visit to the pitch this week, and he sent emails to city staff and councillors expressing his concerns over the cosmetic look of the venue. He received an emailed response from Coun. Linda Chaisson who said she would look into it and keep him posted on the matter.
On Wednesday, Boland got a call saying workers were down cleaning up the mess in the area. He said, however, attempt to clean up the mess was up to standard, and a poor attempt at trying to make residents happy with what was carried out.
"Right now, there's not a parent who would take their child anywhere close to that place," he said.
Boland believes other city facilities are much better than what is seen at Dawe.
"This will not go to rest and I will turn this into a publicity nightmare," he said. "We will continue to push this council to ensure that they don't abandon recreational facilities in Curling, on the east side or anywhere else in the city."
Boland is hoping the city sees the value of having a quality facility in the Curling area for people to enjoy.
"The fear we have, is if somebody goes to use something and it's second-rate and dangerous they won't come back," he said.