< B>Dear sir:
I have, at hand, the Times dated Jan. 14/98. It contains an editorial pointing out the grassroots problem in our community. It was so accurate—and so depressing to read.
The Times also contains quotes from Chris Brown in an article on the arena project, and a letter to the editor from L. Caul. These ladies expressed exactly the feelings that the whole community is experiencing.
What is wrong that is causing so much turmoil? One party told me that every time the arena plan is brought into a conversation, he got ill!
There is only one thing that is wrong with our community and only one thing that can correct the problem—and both are at our town hall.
Our mayor and council have lost all credibility. The arguments that are going round and round were all answered in the six years that “Ice for Kids” was out in the community promoting a second ice surface for the children of our town.
The meeting held last winter at the Rendez-Vous, which attracted a room full of citizens, settled all the questions when the mayor and council promised to build a “side by side, two-sheet arena like the Dakota model in St. Vital" as long as "Ice for Kids” went out and got pledges for $500,000.
“Ice for Kids" asked for only 30 days to register their $500,000 worth of pledges, and did it! This was due to the generosity of the community and because of the "side by side” two-sheet facility promised. The ball was now back in council’s court, and all they had to do was arrange to build the complex.
On July 1, 1997, there was a float in the Canada Day parade with a group of young children of our community, and on the back was a large sign saying, in large letters, “Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Town of Fort Frances and District.” The sign said it all; the town had made a promise and the town and district pledged $500,000. What optimism!
But sometime between July and November, everything changed. The side-by-side was side-tracked in favour of an “L-shaped” design and, not only that, a contract was signed. Perhaps our servants at the town hall will tell us why, when, and who authorized the change, and who signed the contract?
Seven years’ dedication by that group of parents looking for a sheet of covered artificial ice carried them and the community to the pinnacle of enthusiasm. And in seven months, the politicians we elected to our town hall dropped them to the depths of despair.
I say “Honour thy Rendez-Vous promise” and fulfill your commitment to our fine community. To do less than that, the mayor and council should be ashamed of themselves.
For the community to accept anything less, we should be ashamed of ourselves.
Community Services manager George Bell has the side-by-side information, the treasury obviously has the money, so all council needs is the will to obey the electorate’s wishes.
Please don’t create a monument to ineptness. Let’s put all this behind us as quickly as possible and build the side-by-side design so we point to it with pride.
The irony of it all is that if that doesn’t get done, the very real losers will be our children and grandchildren who “Ice for Kids” started out to help—and who have been forgotten in the bureaucratic maze.
It’s believed that the pledgers will be patient a little longer if the right thing is done. I say again, “Honour thy Rendez-Vous promise.”
< B>< *r>Without prejudice,
< B>< *r>Kenneth J. Egan
< B>< *r>Old enough to say
< B>< *r>what I believe
P.S. Do we need a larger ice surface than the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks play on? Fort Frances will do fine with two North American-sized rinks.
Why not do something else with the $150,000 extra that the Olympic-sized one costs?