LAWN, N.L. – Controversy is brewing over the ownership of Lawn’s community centre.
St. Thomas Aqunias Parish is claiming ownership of the building, however, Eileen Thorn, chairperson of the hall committee – the body responsible for the centre – contends ownership belongs to the taxpayers of the town.
Thorn told The Southern Gazette she has been doing research on the centre for the past three years.
“The town owns the land – the grants that built it came from GLADAS (Greater Lamaline Area Development Association), which the town applied for. So how do they own it?” questioned Thorn.
There is a growing concern in the town because the parish, which is under the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. John’s, is looking to sell the building.
Thorn, who has been part of talks between the Town of Lawn and the parish regarding the building, is worried the building could be purchased by a private individual.
“It’s a very important building for our community; it gets used a lot, but then again, there might be periods of a couple weeks when there’s nothing going on, but everybody knows it’s there when they need it.”
She added the only other facilities within the town large enough to hold events are privately owned.
She also feels the building could be used as a multipurpose facility.
“They could take part of the (centre) and make a town hall out of it, there’ll still be loads of room.”
Thorn said in the past the community centre was a hot spot, and she said the potential is there for that to happen again, if ownership of the building went back to the people of the town.
“We have to fight to keep this one so we can improve it, because we will never stand the chance of getting another one,” said Thorn. “In this day and age, with the financial situation the way it’s going, you fight to keep what you have, and then you fight to try and get more.”
Talks are ongoing between the Town of Lawn and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. John’s about the facility.
The Southern Gazette emailed the Archdiocese for a statement about talks with the town, but a response was not received by deadline. Lawn Mayor John Strang declined to comment on the matter.