St. John's council ponders saving Pleasantville drill hall from demolition

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Bonnie Belec
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Ken O'Brien

The military might not need it anymore for training, but the city of

St. John’s isn’t convinced the drill hall in Pleasantville has outgrown its use.

Coun. Gerry Colbert recently asked city staff to look into the feasibility of keeping the drill hall for community groups to use during sporting events or for recreational purposes rather than see it demolished.

The revamping of Canadian Forces stations across the country was announced by the Stephen Harper government in 2007. The CFS in St. John’s, developed in the 1940s by the Americans, has been under construction for about four years and will be for at least another 10, says Colbert.

Part of the plan to modernize Fort Pepperrell is to tear down the drill hall.

In a memo to council from the city’s recreation director, in response to Colbert queries, Tanya Haywood wrote “the city has no need for another indoor facility in the east end of the city as the new Wedgewood Park Recreation Centre will provide enhanced programming space.”

This response wasn’t enough for council and it directed staff Monday to look further.

“What I asked for was for us to take a much larger look than just the recreation needs in the city,” said Colbert.

“We talked about the farmer’s market, and since then I have had calls from community groups asking if they could use the building on rainy days for soccer or basketball. I said that’s the purpose if we can look at it in far greater use than what we may require for city programming,” he said.

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Organizations: Canada Lands, Canadian Forces, Wedgewood Park Recreation Centre

Geographic location: Pleasantville

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