Telegraph Journal - Editorial Nov 11, 2016 - Thank your for the support! / by Bill MacMackin

Field house plans

Welcome help, but stay the course

   As it finalizes its capital budget plan, Common Council should stay the course on the proposed field house, but welcome regional partnerships – and use its political influence to facilitate a genuine regional approach.

   Even as the field house project for the city’s east side is earning increasing community support through its capital campaign, council appears to be having second thoughts on the idea, potentially delaying capital spending on the project unless the suburban municipalities get onboard. While we sympathize with a desire for regional co-operation – and believe that one robust field house on the city’s east side would be better than two competing field houses in Saint John and in Rothesay – we feel that council’s latest position ignores the project’s progress to date. The field house concept is much stronger and more community driven than before, and will give the Saint John region a significant recreation asset without adding operating costs to city hall. As such, the project merits full consideration now, even if it would be a much better project if the suburbs took the leap as well.

   This is where the mayor and council should show political leadership – if they truly feel the field house needs suburban support, they should lobby the regional municipalities to include modest capital contributions to the project in their own capital spending plans. Everyone supports the idea of regional co-operation on paper, and the field house concept represents an opportunity to show it with actual regional leadership.