English says nay to Paradise's $1.1 M Game volleyball bid

·3 min read

We may not be able to gather to attend or participate in major sporting events right now, due to COVID-19 restrictions, however the Town of Paradise, along with the City of St. John’s and other communities in the metro region, are looking ahead to 2025, when hopefully, large events are a reality once again.

“The City of St. John’s, along with the region, is bidding to host the Canada Summer Games in 2025. A bid committee is determining host locations for various sports taking place as part of the games,” said councillor Patrick Martin during Tuesday’s meeting of council. “Critical to this submission is to identify partners. Paradise has been selected by the committee to host volleyball, male and female. This is one of the most exciting venues of the games filled with music, action-packed competition, and an overall festival atmosphere. The committee has advised the park will need one million dollars in upgrades before 2025.”

Martin concluded by saying the committee requested confirmation from Paradise on whether it would be willing to make the necessary financial and operational commitments.

Deputy Mayor Elizabeth Laurie said that it would be an incredible opportunity for the town, and would bring great economic benefit to the region, which she heard might be as high as $100 million. She also noted it would be an opportunity to upgrade facilities in Paradise Park, and, on top of that, staff would likely explore funding options so that the full cost of upgrades did not fall to the Town.

Councillors Kimberly Street and Sterling Willis echoed several of those sentiments.

Councillor Alan English, however, served up a different take on the situation.

“I’m taking a slightly different track. I can’t support this. I think it’s wonderful to assist the City of St. Johns with their bids for the summer games, but I can’t see us making a commitment of this amount, given all the things we need to do in the town,” English said. “We’ll be discussing the budget later on, and we know the constraints we have. I know a million dollars is probably not going to solve all these problems, but we need a water tower, we need water and sewer, road improvements. And I realize this is over a four year period, but I just don’t see the return of investment here for the town.”

English allowed it was too bad the Town has not been asked to host soccer, as they already have a sufficient facility.

CAO Lisa Nibock said the upgrades have more to do with seating than the playing grounds.

“None of the facilities that we currently have would meet the requirements for the seating,” she said.

Niblock also noted, as Laurie had said earlier in the meeting, that grants and funding would likely become available.

Councillors Deborah Quilty and Patrick Martin then outlined their support for the motion, for reasons iterated by other councillors.

Still, English was not convinced, and voted against the motion to commit to the project, the lone councillor to do so.

Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News