Mayor weighs in on fitness centre issue

Derek Montague
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Hoping that "election year" might move wellness centre plans forward

On the morning of June 16, all 150 civilian gym memberships were quickly sold out at the 5 Wing Fitness Sports and Recreation Centre, leaving many Happy Valley-Goose Bay residents frustrated.

The fitness centre, operated by the Department of National Defense, is meant to be used primarily by military personal. Therefore, civilian memberships are kept limited.

The mayor of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Jamie Snook, is concerned with the community’s lack of a public fitness centre. He believes the town needs it’s own recreational facilities, rather then continuously relying on 5 Wing Goose Bay to share their resources.

“I feel that it’s unacceptable that, in the fifth largest town in the province, that we don’t have our own facilities that people can go and use,” said Snook. “Throughout our history we’ve depended upon facilities that have been built for other people’s purposes and we’ve gotten hand-me-downs over the years.

So I think the time has come where we need to start investing in infrastructure in our community.”

Ever since he and the rest of council were elected in 2013, Snook has publicly supported the idea of a new multi-use wellness centre being built in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

On June 17, the town council issued a news release, stating that a report on the recreational infrastructure of the town has been completed. The report, titled “Facilities Audit, Redevelopment Scenarios and Financial Analysis for Municipal Wellness Infrastructure Projects in the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay,” affirms Snook’s concerns about the town’s aging recreational buildings.

“The report … is quite simple. It documents that we’re using 50 and 60-year-old infrastructure and it no longer makes financial sense to continue investing. It is reaching, or has reached, the end of its useful life,” said Snook.

“For the next 30 or 40 years, it makes more sense for us to invest in new, modern, infrastructure that’s energy efficient and environmentally friendly.”

Snook is hoping the provincial government will fund a new wellness centre, which will be a multimillion-dollar investment.

“We’re hoping that everyone’s aware that an election year is coming up in the very near future,” said Snook.

“We’ll certainly be asking the question of which (political) party sees fit to make this a reality in Goose Bay. It is the number one infrastructure priority for the council.”

Organizations: Department of National Defense, Municipal Wellness Infrastructure Projects

Geographic location: Goose Bay, Happy Valley

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