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Recreation leaders use social media to relay needs to candidates

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Some of the biggest sports groups in the city are using social media to get the ear of hopefuls for the Corner Brook municipal election.

Voters will go to the polls Sept. 26 to choose who they want for mayor and the six councillors they want charged with the task of turning Corner Brook into a better place to call home.

 The Corner Brook Minor Soccer Association reached out to council candidates with a post on their Facebook page that asks those with their hat in the ring to provide their stance on the association’s need to have proper change-room facilities with showers and toilets built on the Wellington soccer complex.

“It seems right now that the easiest and fastest way to get somebody is to put it through social media,” CBMSA president Stephen Leonard said earlier this week.

Leonard said this work was part of the original design for the Wellington soccer facility, which was completed in 2008, but due to budgetary limitations this portion of the design was put on hold and subsequently taken off the table with a change in council in 2013.

According to Leonard, this work has recently been included in the three-year infrastructure plan for the City of Corner Brook, and the minor soccer association has been told the work is high on the priority list behind work scheduled to be done at Jubilee Field, and a design, cost-shared between the city and the soccer association, has been completed.

“They are trying to use social media so we’re trying to get their attention the same way,” he said.

Leonard has heard from a handful of council candidates, but he would like to hear from everybody they can before voters have their say on Sept. 26.

“We’ve got a lot of followers on our page who are watching us and we’re trying to see where they stand,” he said. “We want to get our voice out there and heard.”

The Corner Brook Rapids Swim Club has been busy for a year or so trying to get people of all walks of life and various levels of government to see the great need for a regional aquatics centre in Corner Brook.

The Rapids sent out a tweet on its Twitter account last week asking candidates to declare their position on the vision for a regional aquatics facility.

“It’s an important issue, obviously, and we’ve been talking about it for a year or more now,” Rapids president Laura Edwards said. “This has to be an issue for the community and has to be discussed.”

Edwards said a new facility would be beneficial to the sport of swimming and competitive swimmers who have aspirations to swim at the college level or higher someday, but it’s also a great asset for people of all ages who want to swim on a recreational level or the sake of the health benefits.

“We know all the candidates are very active on social media,” Edwards said. “This is a way for us to understand their position.”

Edwards said the swim club opted to reach out to candidates through social media because they figured a lot of them are busy down the stretch knocking on doors trying to gather votes with voting day only days away. The club has received a few replies and one candidate actually approached the club about meeting with them to hear their concerns and that took place.

“It’s an important municipal issue for sure,” she said.

The Corner Book Baseball Association took a different approach to letting political hopefuls know what they needed to make Jubilee Field a better venue and how long they have been waiting for the work to come to fruition.

The association invited all candidates to an open forum at Jubilee Field Thursday night.

Association president Darrin O’Quinn said the group wanted to meet candidates in person, especially the new faces on the ballot, so he could educate them on what the association’s vision is for the future and give them a history of the ongoing discussions with the City of Corner Brook in their effort to do a major overhaul at Jubilee Field.

“Rather than try to renovate the 60-plus-year-old stuff that’s there, it’s about tearing down and starting new,” he said.

While others chose the social media route, don’t expect any Facebook posts or tweets from the association any time soon, because O’Quinn isn’t a fan.

“We wanted a chance for people if they wanted to speak to do it face to face as opposed to this social media thing,” O’Quinn said.

He saw instances where his group sent out a message on Twitter and it caused a stir with some politicians, so he wants to avoid a repeat of such exchanges.

“We’ll put out a tweet and then people ride on it and get personal, and that’s not our approach,” he said.

Candidates weigh in on recreation

A strong recreational component is a vital part of any community. It allows residents to show their pride and gives people — young and old — the opportunity to form bonds while interacting with each other. In The Western Star’s continuing coverage leading up to the Sept. 26 municipal election, we asked each candidate where they stand on the issue of recreation in the city.

Here are their edited responses.

Mayor

Charles Pender

We have invested and continue to invest in many recreation facilities and programs. We have major issues to deal with including replacing the Jubilee Field clubhouse, building the Wellington Street change rooms, a new Aquatics Centre and smaller items such as improving our skateboard park, extending our walking trails and cycling trails. 

We also need to work with the sporting community to ensure better coordination and cooperation and planning. 

Finally let’s make sure we have more age appropriate activities and programs for our youngest residents and for our seniors to make sure they are included in everything we do.

Jim Parsons

Sport and recreation are essential to health, leisure and community spirit.  Our facilities need to be accessible and affordable to all citizens. 

City hall spends almost a million dollars on our Civic Centre. We have to make it more accessible to community sports groups. I’d like to see us take the politics out of policy and revisit our Recreation Master Plan as a tool to set priorities for renovation and improvement.

Of course, finding a solution to our pool problem is a priority and essential to our future as a means to attract young families.

 

Council

Donna Wheeler

Track consulting completed the “Leisure and Recreation Master Plan” on behalf of the City of Corner Brook.  I would like to see the recommendations of this report, starting on page 93, actioned by the new council. This document addresses the needs of a wide variety of our sports groups, including indoor and outdoor facilities, parks, trails, and leisure programs and services. The previous council did start to implement recommendations from this report. The new council needs to pick up where it left off.

Tom Stewart

Athletics and recreation plays a key role in the physical, social and economic health of Corner Brook. We need to upgrade key facilities and maximize the usage of others. These investments in time and material not only benefit our youth and adults, but the community as a whole. It keeps us healthy. It brings us together and brings others to us.  I truly believe that the amateur athletics and recreation community, if properly promoted and supported by the city, can be the positive boast this city needs, both socially and economically. It is our future.

Bernd Staeben

City has two recreational opportunities that need action now. Jubilee Field is in great shape but building, washrooms, canteen are a disgrace dating back to 1950. They need to be replaced. Council has agreed that is top priority, and some plans are in place, we may have to look for a moderate expenditure. Change rooms for soccer are very important as well so we can host tournaments. Continue investment in Canada Games Centre, such as  $1.5 million dollars for SALTOS. Challenge is money and can we get regional support.

Brian Sparkes

Proper recreational facilities are crucial to the economic growth of our city. Hopefully, we will see a new aquatic centre in a few short years which I know is already being worked on now by council. I have recently visited Jubilee Field to take in a baseball game. While there I had a chance to speak to one of the parents of a baseball player about the condition of the change rooms and canteen building. This should be a top priority to have this building replaced at Jubilee Field. Change rooms at the Wellington Complex also need to be addressed.  

Devon Pardy

Recreation is a fundamental part of any successful community. It will be my goal to work closely with each recreational organization to improve communication and promote community involvement. Together, we must create realistic goals for new and improved recreation. By coming together we can work towards achieving our vision as a community.

Maureen Mennie

We need an Olympic-sized pool. Make it an addition to the Civic Centre Sports Complex for competitive activities. Repair the Arts & Culture Centre pool once and for all for recreational swimming. The old hospital, check the integrity of the building. It could become a Community Centre for having coffee and a cut or a read rooms for craftsperson to work and teach the community. A sort of “one stop” place for all ages and capabilities to mix and  take part in  interests other than sports. We could have a proper dog park in the grounds.

Bill Griffin

The importance of recreation in our city has a tendency to be overlooked. I think an active and a healthy lifestyle go hand in hand.  That said, having the facilities doesn’t cut it if we don’t keep them up.  A prime example is the building at Jubilee field. This building is as outdated as the old change room at MB Park.  Another example is the playing surface at the Wellington Street Complex. The turf hasn’t been serviced since it was put there. To me, that’s how a $10 upkeep becomes a $100 repair. 

Having recreational facilities is a necessity, but keeping them up is a must.

Vaughn Granter

Recreation is a vital aspect for individual and community health. It is also an important spoke in the wheel for population growth. When potential families consider Corner Brook they often ask about the recreation and sport facilities and green space that is available in the city. A recreation, fitness, facility analysis needs to take place if not already current for all infrastructure and programs offered to residents in Corner Brook. A long-term plan needs to be initiated and followed with the appropriate cost analysis. 

The analysis of the recreation facilities and programs should be generational and be inclusive of all age groups abilities and disabilities.

Pamela Gill

One of my main objectives is to review/refurbish sport, recreation and park facilities in the city. I’ve heard from athletics group representatives that facilities are not meeting their needs. Also, I’d like council to identify gaps in youth programming/facilities. And certainly we need to continue to push for a municipal or regional aquatic centre. Recreation and athletics serve several important roles in the lives of our residents, including promotion of lifelong healthy lifestyles, mentoring of youth, and the benefits associated with team-building and socio-cultural activities. Additionally, recreation and sport act as an important economic driver with respect to “sport tourism.”

Keith Cormier

Having recreation facilities that are inclusive is vital to having a vibrant, healthy community. These facilities are important in attracting and keeping young families here in Corner Brook. I support the establishment of a true regional aquatic centre, a new clubhouse for Jubilee Field and the many other improvements being sought by the city’s residents. Providing these facilities, as well as keeping an eye on the city's fiscal situation is critical. One of the most suggested ideas from residents when I speak with them at the door is for more fully developed neighbourhood parks and properly maintained, which I fully support.

Linda Chaisson

Corner Brook has a respected reputation for sport and recreation in the province. Our sport and recreation facilities are used by all ages and contribute to a healthy lifestyle. We need to continue to support these programs and maintain the facilities to ensure residents have the opportunities for competitions or just recreational use.

There is a need to invest in some facilities such as a new aquatic centre, infrastructure for Jubilee Field and change rooms at the Wellington soccer facility.

Josh Carey

Recreation infrastructure and programming is a core element to the sustainability of any community and a pillar in creating economic development. The linkage between recreation opportunities, outdoor leisure and lifestyle cannot be underestimated when building a stronger healthier community. I do support recreation and I believe strongly in the benefits we derive from building a healthier community. I also believe council must prioritize the various demands for limited dollars including the replacement of a new clubhouse at Jubilee Field, the construction of a new regional aquatics centre or providing change rooms for soccer.

Tony Buckle

One of the first things that the new council will have to do is replace the aging Jubilee Field. This facility is in deplorable condition. A complete overhaul is needed. Other sporting fields need dressing rooms, washroom and storage areas.

We have to remember that sports provide a platform for people to come together and show their pride. It keeps kids and adults healthy and are great for the economy. Whenever we have an opportunity to bid for an event, this city should fully support it because it has a positive impact on our society.

Leo Bruce

Sports and recreation can stimulate Corner Brook's economy. Funding towards the improvement of existing facilities and the construction of a new aquatic centre are worthwhile investments in infrastructure. Sports tourism is the fastest growing sector within the Canadian tourism industry. With the proper game plan Corner Brook can attract many events that will create job.

Our facilities can provide a tremendous boost to the local economy. We must make a stronger and coordinated effort to develop sports and recreation so that everyone can enjoy the benefits.

Kyle Brookings

Recreation has been a part of my platform after hearing from several residents in the city. There is an obvious need for a new swimming pool and upgrades to our existing Recreation facilities. I think we need to advocate the provincial and federal governments to get some funding so we can modernize our recreational facilities. I am also aware that the change rooms need to be updated at the ball field after hearing from a couple of concerned citizens. I think upgrading our Recreation faculties would be a good way to keep young people in the city.

Priscilla Boutcher

In today’s increasing health conscious world, recreation is a big part of a healthy lifestyle. It is important for adults, youth and children to participate in various exercise and recreation activities. To encourage this participation, the city needs to have recreation facilities that are up to standard, affordable and accessible for all. I have always been a strong proponent of physical fitness and recreation and believe that it is important to be active in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Lenny Benoit

Sports and recreation to me is a cornerstone of what community is all about. Our recreation associations need up to date facilities to do what they do best, teach. Showing the importance of fair play, sportsmanship, being part of a team and an overall improved healthy lifestyle. Amateur athletics can also add, in no small part, to the economy of the city. Better facilities, bigger tournaments and meets, more athletes travelling to the region. It’s a win-win situation.

Katrina Basha

I would like to have a better understanding of how adequate the city’s present recreation facilities are with respect to infrastructure, accessibility and overall resources. I feel there should exist a complete inventory of recreation facilities whereby the city could play an integral and supporting role in helping sports and recreational groups to better manage, anticipate issues and replacement of structures proactively, and refurbish present infrastructure.

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