Dome debate continues

Rudy Norman
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Council votes to explore other options

An issue in South Brook over a recreational complex and a proposed new use for the building appears to have finally come to an end, after a council meeting last week.

The Dome

Mayor Paul Mills says that the issue surrounding “The Dome,” which is formally called the Hillside Recreation Complex, has gone on too long and has caused too much division in the community.

The Nor’wester reported on the debate over the building back in December. At the time, council held a meeting to vote on whether the building would be renovated to meet the needs of several groups within town that need facilities for their various functions and equipment. Some in the town opposed this idea, fearing it would mean less access for the groups that currently use the building for recreation.

The motion to renovate the Dome to accommodate several groups was defeated when the vote was tied. However, Mills says that didn’t put an end to the issue or the debates.

“It was still an issue for many people, for sure,” he told The Nor’Wester. “It was raised in council after that vote was taken, as well.”

The Dome has continued to be a topic of conversation around town, and with people offering their opinions in letters to the Editor and comments on the story at www.thenorwester.ca

The Dome was on the agenda once again at last Tuesday night’s meeting of council.

After some discussion, another motion was made for council to explore other options to meet the needs of local groups, other than using The Dome. The motion passed with a vote for 4-2.

“What that means, I’m not sure,” says Mills. “I’ve instructed council to return to our next council meeting with a list of ideas and solutions that will allow us to move forward.”

It all likelihood, though, that would mean council would have to build a new building to serve the groups that need facilities. Currently, the local fire department and maintenance crews don’t have adequate space to store and repair equipment. The proposal put forward late last year including converting The Dome into a multi- use facility that would house everything the town needed in way of Fire Services, equipment maintenance and recreation under one roof.

Mills says Tuesday night’s council meeting once again had to be moved out of chambers and into the Town Hall, because of the large number of people in the gallery.

The meeting was held in the area between the space used by the Family Resource Centre for children’s education at one end of the building, and the new location of the town’s Green Depot, operated by the Fire Department, at the other end of the building.

Mills says the Green Depot was moved into the Town Hall after the Fire Department was evicted from its previous location, which it had been renting.

“The Fire Department received correspondence several weeks ago informing them they were to vacate the space they were renting to house their Green Depot,” said Mills. Local businessman Wallace McKay, who is also a town councilor, owns the space they were renting.

At the meeting in December when the vote was taken on the future of the Dome, McKay did not participate in the vote due to conflict of interest.

Since McKay has since evicted the Fire Department from his building, he was allowed to participate in the discussion surrounding the issue this past week, and eventually made the motion leading to the vote in favor of exploring other options.

“It’s a testament of why we need another facility,” says Mills. “It’s obvious that we don’t have enough space right now, and a solution needs to be met as soon as possible.”

Organizations: The Dome, Fire Department, The Nor’Wester Fire Services Family Resource Centre

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