Harbour Grace groups hoping to make community centre roof replacement an election issue

·3 min read

Roof issues are causing major problems at a Harbour Grace community centre.

The Splash Centre has operated out of the old Harbour Grace Primary building since 2014 and now those running it want to bring people’s attention to the state of the building’s roof and the consequences of not getting it fixed.

With the provincial election in full swing, the centre thought it’d be a good time to start making noise about an issue that, if not addressed, could force the closure of the building.

“We’ve been trying to fight the battle without making too much noise about it, but now we’re reaching out to the parents to help us,” said Splash Centre executive director Maggie Snow. “It is their children who are going to be negatively impacted by the loss of the centre.”

In a recent news release, the centre implored upon people the importance of the health of the building’s roof and its importance to the programs that operate out of there.

The volunteer board that helps run the building is looking for written assurances from the three provincial election candidates running in Harbour Grace-Port de Grave that should they be elected they’ll secure funding to help with the repairs.

They're also asking parents to make sure to ask candidates where they stand on addressing the replacement of the roof.

The roof has long been an issue at the former Harbour Grace Primary. The centre moved to its current location in 2014 and the roof was identified as an area of concern back then.

“We were put here under the promise that this would be our permanent home,” said Snow. “The leaks have been an issue since it operated as a primary school.”

There were assurances the roofing problems would be addressed in the transition, but the fix didn't materialize.

Where once leaks were limited to a couple of areas, they have gotten progressively worse in the last couple of years.

“When it rains … our programs are weather dependent, which is unfortunate when you’re talking about an inside facility,” said Snow.

A recent estimate put the price tag on repairs to the roof in the $300,000 range.

It isn’t only the area’s youth who benefit from having a space like the Splash Centre. The building is also home to the Harbour Grace branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, the Trinity Conception Resource Family Centre and the Communities Against Violence offices.

“It is not just the Splash Centre that would be affected,” said Snow. “It would be all of our programs and services, absolutely, but it would also be all of those additional groups, programs and services as well.”

Harbour Grace Mayor Don Coombs said the town has met with the Splash Centre board about the issue.

The town has also lobbied the provincial government noting the level of service the centre provides to the people in the town and the region as a whole in the form of a letter. That letter was sent in December.

“It is vital that we keep it up,” said Coombs.

The mayor said return correspondence from the government indicated there may be an opportunity for the town to take over the building, however, nothing has been decided on that front.

Coombs said he planned to take up the issue at the next meeting of the Joint Council of Conception Bay North.

“It provides an invaluable service here and not only Harbour Grace but the whole area,” said Coombs. “It is more than programs. There is everything there.”

The fear, for Coombs anyway, is that if the repairs are not done soon, the centre will be forced to look elsewhere for space and could be lost ot the town.

“We want to see it stay open for the programs that it is offering there,” he said.

Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice