Chase the Ace fever has taken over Goulds, but locals say they want their town back – Newfoundland & Labrador

It’s all fun and games, until someone loses a town.

For people in the Goulds neighbourhood of St. John’s, being swept up in the fervour of a Chase the Ace fundraiser — the jackpot of which reached $1.4 million and became Newfoundland and Labrador’s largest-ever Chase the Ace — has been fun, but they’re ready for it to be over.

“I want it to end now,” said Val Smith, who lives just down the road from St. Kevin’s Parish, where — since October — a Chase the Ace fundraiser has steadily grown.

Val Smith lives down the road from St. Kevin’s Parish in Goulds and has been playing Chase the Ace since before Christmas, but she’s ready for it to be over. (Cal Tobin/CBC)

“A lot of the locals are starting to feel the effect. It’s great for the businesses, but we want our town back. We also want the ace. But, you know, what are you going to do?”

‘We hope it goes before school opens.’
– Carol O’Brien

Smith lined up early Wednesday morning in the pouring rain to get her ticket.

It’s a game she’s been playing since before Christmas, and the sheer volume of people is now a massive change from what the fundraiser once was.

People line up at the tables to buy tickets for the Chase the Ace draw on Aug. 10. (Cal Tobin/CBC)

“I like the atmosphere that’s down here, but, you know, before school starts I hope somebody wins it,” said Smith. “My daughter goes here. So, I mean, it’s time to have the school back for kids.”

The province’s English school district said it is aware of the fundraiser’s close proximity to schools in the area. 

The district said board members have discussed the matter with event organizers and Service NL and said it is committed to ensuring the safety of students and staff, as well as making sure school instruction is not disrupted.

‘Fingers crossed’

Since St. Kevin’s Parish is right next door to St. Kevin’s School, worries about school starting up in a few weeks also play on the minds of fundraiser organizers.

“We hope it goes before school opens. And if it doesn’t, then we got to come up with some kind of another plan,” said Carol O’Brien, one of the event organizers.

Carol O’Brien says Chase the Ace in Goulds has become a well-oiled machine, and she and other organizers have heard good things from plenty of people in the public. (Cal Tobin/CBC)

“We’re just hoping; fingers crossed. We’ve got four weeks now before school opens, we’re down to 11 cards [10 after Wednesday night’s draw]. So the…

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