Civic centre plans causing controversy in Grand Falls-Windsor
A new civic centre planned for Grand Falls-Windsor has stirred up debate over how the building should be used.
The new civic centre proposal, which would fill a vacant lot on High Street, would be a multi-purpose building meant to house several arts groups.
Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador rents office space inside the existing centre, and under the terms of the proposed deal for the new building, the group would move into the new civic centre along with a Hockey Hall of Fame type of attraction.
Coun. Darren Finn said he's concerned there may not be enough room for local business or organizations within the building if provincial organizations are given more priority.
"The SPCA, and the Y2C (Youth 2,000 Centre) are all in old buildings that need repairs. These are community groups that are based in our community, that their mandates are only this community — those are the groups we should be serving," he said.
The N.L. Hockey Hall of Fame already has a home in Corner Brook, and it isn't clear if it would relocate to Grand Falls-Windsor under the proposed deal.
According to Finn, no matter where it is, it isn't necessarily a tourist magnet.
He said offering up space in the new centre for something that may not bring in many people likely isn’t worth it and the town would probably lose money on the deal.
"They have very low attendance, so will that change? I don't think it will," he said. "We have no statistics, we have no forecast, so we have no idea on what the return on the investment would be."
Grand Falls-Windsor Mayor Al Hawkins said with the provincial government paying 70 per cent of the bill, the town can easily afford the remaining cost and therefore won’t be losing money on the agreement.
Hawkins said sealing the deal with Hockey NL is still about a month away, but the centre will be going up whether or not it wants to be a tenant.
Hockey NL said it has not consulted all of its members on the move and has yet to make a decision.