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Harbour Grace – Port de Grave district had a good year despite COVID-19, says Parsons

By Chris Lewis | Jan. 28, 2021

Last year was a hectic year for most people in the province, but Pam Parsons says her district of Harbour Grace – Port de Grave was busy in the best way possible.

The incumbent Liberal MHA made the comments in a year end interview a number weeks before the current provincial election was called.

Parsons cited a number of improvements to the region despite the unprecedented challenges posed throughout the year. Among them was roadwork; specifically, Harvey Street in Harbour Grace. A large section of it has seen the potholes fixed and the street repaved.

Parsons said Phase four work is close to completion and phase five was approved toward the end of the year by the province, with monies being announced and secured. Phase five will finish Harvey Street, leading all the way up to Jamie’s Way, adjacent to the Danny Cleary Harbour Grace Community Centre.

“That’s been a huge priority,” Parsons said. “Prior to my time as MHA, it was made clear to me that this was a big priority for the people. So, I made it something that I lobbied for at meetings, and met with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure as well as Municipal Affairs.”

She described the project as being double-pronged: not only did the road need to be re-paved and fixed up, but so did the underground infrastructure, which had to be done before any paving could commence.

Parsons said the Tilton Barrens also saw some paving, from the Bingo Hall to the Thickett area of Riverhead.

“We even got some paving work done on Dock Road up in Bareneed, which was an issue that was made quite clear to me by residents in the area,” Parsons said. “But, there’s always more work to be done on the roads. Rest assured, it’s a top priority for me and is something I’m always keeping on my radar. I’ll keep advocating for it as long as it takes.”

Coley’s Point Primary School was also a big milestone for Parsons and the district. The new school came from a $16.2-million commitment from the province to replace the old Coley’s Point school that was well over 60-years old.

The new school is located just behind Amalgamated Academy, and Parsons said progress is moving along swimmingly.

She hopes to see the school open this year, with work continuing despite the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, albeit a little slower.

On the negative side, Bay Roberts was unable to host the 2020 Newfoundland and Labrador Summer Games due to the pandemic, but Parsons said hope is not lost for the Town.

“Bay Roberts will still get to host the Games,” she said. “We’ll host the next summer games, and we’ll be announcing the exact details on that. Bay Roberts is the host town, yes, but this is a regional thing. Other communities are certainly going to be involved, and benefit from it. We were able to secure funds for upgrades to the Upper Island Cove ball field for example. Also, the Carbonear pool will be utilized. Everyone is going to be chipping in here and enjoying the benefits. I’m so excited, and so confident about this.”

Parsons said much progress has been made in the district despite the pandemic.

“Despite everything this year, we’ve been able to make some great headway,” she said. “But there’s still lots to be done.”

Parsons said she would like to see the district get a “wellness” facility, including a pool. While there is a seasonal pool in Bay Roberts, it can only be accessed during the summer. Parsons said there is a large demand for such a facility.

She added she has been in talks with Bay Roberts council it and that a wellness centre is on the council’s radar as well.

She suspects that something as big as this would have to be done in phases. It is something she plans on lobbying for more this year.

In other districts notes, Parsons said the province was able to give money to the Port de Grave Heritage Society, as well as a number of seniors clubs including those in Upper Island Cove and Spaniard’s Bay.

The Splash Centre in Harbour Grace is also something Parsons hopes to tackle. The centre is located in the same building that was once Harbour Grace Primary, which is still owned by the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District. The building needs repairs, said Parsons, adding it is a priority for her.

She said there are monies secured for programming, but there will be further funding needed for upgrades.

“Communication is key, and I want to keep everyone’s priorities at the forefront,” Parsons said. “It’s important that I keep everyone on my radar … I try to always be on the ground, chatting with people. I’m a big believer in that, and I’m looking forward to getting the chance to get out around to public events and whatnot again. Hopefully, anyway.”

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