Council divided over purchase of scoreboard

Community News

By Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday, August 18, 2016

A vote on the decision to purchase and install an $80,000 multi-sport electronic scoreboard for the newly constructed Petawawa track and field facility was tied during the Aug. 8 council-in-committee meeting. It was broken by Mayor Bob Sweet, who voted in favour.

The scoreboard in question is ideal for sports like football and soccer, but not for track and field events, confirmed Councillor Gary Serviss. He is a Valour School teacher and very involved with its track and field program.

His main issue is that the current design does not display a full list of race times, which is important for participating athletes.”

It displays only one athlete and his or her speed at a time.

“If you held a track meet, this $80,000 sign could not do anything,” said Serviss.

Parks and Recreation Manager Kelly Williams pointed out that a future board expansion would include room for more including timings and the names of sponsors.

This wasn’t the best solution for Serviss and those who agreed with him.

“Why spend $80,000 now and then spend an additional $40,000 to do track and field?” the councillor asked.

According to Williams, electronic signboards are a niche market and to get one that would show everything would go over the initial budget.

“I don’t think the town should be on the hook for a really expensive track and field display,” said Williams, adding sponsors and the school could chip in some funds.

“In the meantime, we have soccer using that field five days a week,” he added, noting the sign is great for these games.

Ultimately, the town will be going forward with the purchase.

Half the funds for this project are being provided by the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program.

The town will be putting in $40,000 of their own money, and the contract was awarded to the Scoreboard Man/Nevco for $78,400, excluding taxes.