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Bay Roberts’ new Rec Director lays out big plans

By Mark Squibb/February 17, 2023

Dave Tibbo has only been on the job for about two weeks, but he already has big plans for Bay Roberts.

Tibbo, who is filling the role left vacant by former director of recreation Ian Flynn, spent 21 years as the Director of Recreation and Leisure Services with the Town of Conception Bay South before retiring last year. In that role he oversaw the town’s many recreation facilities, playgrounds, fields, and special events such as the Kelligrews Soiree and Winterfest. He was also highly involved in many events hosted by the Town of Conception Bay South, including two Grand Slam of Curling events, two NL Summer Games, and a 2011 Kraft Hockeyville title win.

Tibbo himself was present for this week’s meeting to give his first department update to council.

“It’s just been two weeks, but it seems longer because I’ve learned so much,” said Tibbo. “I certainly want to extend my thanks to the former director for his help, and most importantly the staff here at the Town Hall and the stadium and the parks. I’m not sure if they’re used to being asked a hundred questions a day, but I have been asking them, and trying to find out as much information as I can. I will say that staff here are very helpful, and very cooperative. It certainly made the transition easier.”

Tibbo noted he has met with the chairpersons of the Newfoundland and Labrador Summer Games committee and said residents should expect to hear much more about the upcoming games in the weeks and months to come, with Bay Roberts set to host the Games in 2024.

He said he has also done an assessment on the town’s facilities, and found them to be in great shape — for the most part.

“But being four or five years removed from the last Games, we certainly need to do a thorough assessment as to where we are now and where they were in 2019,” said Tibbo.

The new director is stationed at the Bay Arena, and praised the passion of the arena’s staff.

He noted that some of the boards and slab are showing their age, and that a former assessment of the rink noted as much. Tibbo said he will meet with the CAO and bring the matter back to council at a later date to discuss pricing.

But there was one matter that Tibbo said shouldn’t be held off much longer.

“One immediate concern I found, and I’m not trying to be negative, just observant, but in talking to some of the user groups, I’ve noted that there are several leaks at the arena, which I think most people are aware of,” he said. “I know there was some work done back in 2017. But that’s six years ago, and it wasn’t a full roof replacement. So, what I’m hoping to do over the next week is get some pricing on a potential assessment and once I get that price estimate I will bring it forward for consideration.”

Tibbo acknowledged the roof won’t be fixed overnight, but will likely need to be done sooner rather than later and it may be cheaper in the long run than continually repairing it.

Tibbo said he’s doing a review of all Town facilities, and plans to provide council short, medium, and long term maintenance plans for the facilities, noting he would prefer council be pro-active rather than reactive.

Tibbo also noted how busy the arena is, and said he was amazed that a town the size of Bay Roberts boasts as many as six or seven rec hockey leagues.

He said he would like to see polices tightened just a little bit to ensure everyone is given the same rates and fees and treated consistently.

Tibbo’s first big event in the town will likely be the Athlete of the Year and Hall of Fame event later this spring. He said last year’s call for nominations deadline was late May, and suggested council bump it up a little earlier.

As to the Bay Arena, and potential upgrades, Mayor Walter Yetman conceded the rink is “the hub of the community, no doubt about it,” and called it the region’s biggest economic driver.

Deputy Mayor Geoff Seymour suggested that, as the arena is a regional facility, council ought to badger the provincial government for funds for the repairs.

Mayor Yetman also passed along his thanks to Flynn for 21 years of service with the Town of Bay Roberts.

“He left our recreation department in excellent shape,” said Yetman. “Tibbo is walking into a good situation.”

Councillor Frank Deering said he felt comfortable with Tibbo leading the department, telling him, “it feels like you’ve been here forever.”

Tibbo joked that things won’t always be rosy, especially when it comes to asking the CAO and council for money.

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