April 9, 2019 – At a special joint meeting between the Town of Bridgewater (TOB) and the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg (MODL) on April 9, the Councils declined the funding request of the South Shore Field House Society (which operates the HB Studios Sports Centre), and instead directed their respective CAOs to prepare a report on alternative models for the sustainable operation of the fieldhouse facility.
“As the public is aware, HB Studios Sports Centre is struggling right now under the weight of its debts,” said Bridgewater Mayor David Mitchell. “Both the Town and the Municipality recognize the importance of this regional facility – it is one of just a handful of year-round indoor turf facilities in the entire province. It not only serves soccer players and a variety of other athletes of all ages from Lunenburg and Queens counties, but it’s also an asset that draws people in from other parts of Nova Scotia and has a positive economic impact on our region.”
The South Shore Field House Society opened HB Studios Sports Centre in 2006. At that time, both municipal units agreed to each contribute a combined $620,000 in operating funds over 10 years. During this time, the Society was unable to pay off the capital debt from the construction of the facility. Today, the Society’s debt stands at more than $400,000.
Though the facility is the only indoor sports field in the area and boasts a diverse user group, the cost to run such a facility is high. In 2018/2019, the municipalities contributed $32,000 from MODL and $25,000 from TOB. This spring, the Society requested that the municipalities each commit to contributing more than $40,000 per year for a period of five years to help alleviate the Society’s debt and cash-flow issues.
After careful consideration of this most recent request, the Councils agreed that in order to balance the needs and requests of community groups with fiscal responsibility and accountability, the current funding request cannot be supported. Instead, the CAOs will work with the Society and other stakeholders to develop alternatives for Council consideration that would allow the facility to operate in a fiscally sustainable manner.
“Our Council is very interested in working with the Town of Bridgewater, and continuing a dialogue with stakeholders, including the Society, to explore other options for the future sustainable operation of the facility,” said the Municipality’s Mayor, Carolyn Bolivar-Getson. “Our goal is to ensure that fieldhouse remains part of our region’s vibrant recreational offerings. Our Councils firmly believe that there is a path forward and it must be a true collaborative effort with all local municipalities helping to share the load.”
For further information please contact:
Mayor, Town of Bridgewater
CAO, Town of Bridgewater
Communications Officer, MODL
Phone: (902) 541-1328