Volunteers who fixed up football field upset that Halifax Regional Municipality wants them to pay to use it

Prince Andrew High Football Coach Shawn McIntyre points to rocks they removed from field. .
Prince Andrew High Football Coach Shawn McIntyre points to rocks they removed from field. . Jeremy Keefe / Global News

Just days after volunteers spent several hours digging large rocks out of the field that sits behind Prince Andrew High School, Halifax Regional Municipality advised the football team’s coaching staff that they’d need to pay in order to use the field this coming season.

“For 20 years this field has been deteriorating,” explained Shawn McIntyre, one of the team’s coaches. “This past year, we’ve slowly been upgrading things and trying to fix it up.”

Before the group of 20-30 people came together on Sunday, McIntyre said there’s been ongoing efforts for the last few years. Benches have been built, equipment maintained and PVC pipe was even installed on the soccer net to create makeshift uprights for field-goal kicking.

At no point did the team pay a user fee as the city wasn’t maintaining the field.

Now that the football team spent considerable time and effort on increasing the field’s level of safety by pulling the rocks and filling the ensuing holes with dirt, McIntyre said the timing on behalf of the city couldn’t be worse.

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“Why would you just go and slap us in the face now by charging us for a field that we basically up kept for you for the last few years?”

Tony Mancini , the city councillor for District 6, said when those volunteers reached out to him recently, he made sure the city provided them with wheelbarrows, dirt and other supplies to support their efforts.

He said that although it is the case with many of Halifax Regional Centre for Education’s fields that booking and payment must be done through the city, he doesn’t think it should apply in this situation.

“That doesn’t make any sense,” Mancini said. “What I’d like to see us do is have no charge for this year because the community fixed up the field.”

“I feel very confident we can work this out.”

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McIntyre said he’s optimistic and thinks the football team will be able to work with the city to come to an agreement that works for all parties involved.

In the meantime, he said the team has no plans of slowing down its work and still plans to make the field the best it’s ever been. However, he said they would be happy to see the city play a larger role in its upkeep.

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“We’re looking forward to working with the city to see what sort of deal we can come up with when it comes to compensating us for all the work we’ve done, but also ongoing [work],” he explained. “How we can work with them to maintain this field and have us continue to use it.”

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