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Paradise not moving the goal posts, but is buying new ones

By Mark Squibb/January 27, 2022

At its public meeting last week, the first of the new year, council voted to ratify the results of an e-mail poll held January 11 to buy new soccer nets and football uprights for the multi-sports turf facility under construction at the Diane Whelan soccer complex.

Construction of the $2.5 million facility began in November, and staff were working on finer details such as field line demarcations when a problem arose.

“It was intended that the Avalon Minor Football Association would provide football uprights, however, after further investigation with other municipalities in the area that received these uprights, it was evident that this piece of infrastructure has not held up to the climate here in Newfoundland,” explained recreation and community services chairperson Elizabeth Laurie.

The town’s professional engineering staff, she added, recommended an alternative option to incorporate both soccer goals and football uprights, a sort of hybrid model.

“Staff are confident of the design, and the integration of the soccer goals,” said Laurie. “And the uprights can be swung back and removed completely for big soccer events. To remove them completely, it does require a crane.”

She said the hybrid uprights have a shelf life of about 25 years, and that maintenance would be minimal. A warranty is included in the quote.

As to the uprights that would have been provided by the football association, she said there were a number of cons. Laurie said that without proper specs for the donated uprights, the Town would have had to make design assumptions that could prove to be wrong. There was also too much risk that the Town would not be able to engineer the foundation and integration correctly.

“And reports are that previous designs using these uprights are inadequate,” Laurie added. “This makes the design process more cumbersome, and long. There is also no warranty on materials and likely little performance measure for the design. So, to push ahead with these goals and the associated risks, we will interfere with the project schedule as well.”

Council had voted on the matter in an e-mail poll, Laurie explained, because quick notice needed to be given to the contractor.

There was $30,000 budgeted for the main soccer goals to incorporate the uprights. There is now an additional cost of $16,274, HST included. So, the total for both is now $46,274. The additional money will come from the overall borrowing being done for the project and, said Laurie, will not affect the Town’s operating budget.

Laurie noted the new multi-sport turf will be the only artificial, multi-sport field in the province with the uprights, and will likely draw a regional audience.

The change order, which was approved unanimously, is the second change order related to the new turf field. The first change order was the addition of a concept plan in November at a cost of some $7,475, HST included.

The initial contract also came in over and above what the Town had anticipated. Council had originally budgeted $1.9 million for the project, but the contract was awarded to GTR Turf Inc./Shaw Sports at a cost of $2.5 million, HST Included.

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