Please allow me to respond to the latest dose of angst in our community. I am listing the causes for the angsts as I see them.
I. Our mayor and council ignored the obvious and selected a name other than “Ice for Kids” for the second ice surface. For this community organization, it was the proverbial last straw that broke the camel’s back.
II. The editor of this newspaper, in the editorial “Wrong Move,” described “Ice for Kids” co-chairs (Dave Egan and Les Baker) as churlish children. He also said the name was a done deal!
III. He also described “Ice for Kids” as pulling the plug, backing away, or reneging on their verbal agreement to run the canteen. I remind him of the “Rendez-Vous Promise,” made in front of a full house of citizens but not followed through, of the L-shaped, two-rink arena the mayor and council designed, the mayor and council’s signed contract, with no other input, with a company they then found couldn’t be bonded.
It was “Ice for Kids” who rejected this grandiose scheme.
IV. In a democratic manner, the citizenry voiced their disagreement to the name chosen by phoning the mayor and councillors who, because of the flak, caved in and rescinded their bylaw and said the name would be “Ice for Kids Millennium Arena.”
It is the citizenry that should be commended for the change!
V. In his column last week, in what I would say was an out of character manner, the editor referred to the fiasco in a tirade which included very derogatory name calling and angst.
One of the other words used was blackmail. Yet he, in “Wrong Move,” emphasized the name was a done deal.” So where is the blackmail?
The co-chairs reacted to the last of many slights. Mr. Editor knows of these slights firsthand and has written of them in the recent past.
VI. Another word in the tirade was “quitters.” A sad description of the two reps and the organization they represent. They have now served and led their organization’s struggle for eight-and-a-half years (it will be nine years by the “grand opening” time).
Me thinks, Mr. Editor, you owe them an apology but it’s only a suggestion.
It’s about time, you, the mayor and council, and anyone else who tells jokes about “Ice for Kids” gave co-chair Baker and Egan their due. This project wouldn’t be there without their organization’s energy. And the community supports them as evidenced by the $570,000 in pledges and a verbal agreement to raise another $200,000 (total $770,000).
What more proof does anyone need to judge their dedication to a project--sorely needed--in our community? As well, because of the procrastination of those in control, these two men’s children are mostly through the minor hockey program, and there are many other boys and girls (and men and women) who have had no opportunity to pursue their programs.
Now for the euphoria. In “Wrong Move,” you say “the project should be such a source of community pride.” No one knows that better than “Ice for Kids.”
Now is when the community should go into a state of euphoria and there are many reasons to do so. I list some:
I. A citizenry that pledges more than $1 million to two projects that are jewels in our crown. The third jewel is our new college and high school facility, thanks to all the folks who served on the boards of education.
II. The many business people who are expanding our tax base and others re-building--a new airport terminal, St. Judes, Normiska, a new truck service centre, a new Robin’s Donuts, many new industrial site purchases, the recent great addition to the Rendez-Vous, the four-laning of King’s Highway by Witherspoon’s, and, most recently, word of further double-laning planned between West End Motors and the cemetery (if I missed you, sorry).
III. But most of all, it takes people to have a progressive community, the bass tournament, “Ice for Kids,” the safety coalition (putting us on a world stage), all the service clubs, the many churches, the extra-curricular school activities, the UNFC (if I left you out, I’m sorry).
Euphoria should be our new watch word, signifying a change of attitude and a true appreciation for our very progressive town.
Please, town fathers, hold us up in front of the communities you meet with, tell the world about our townspeople, and give everyone the credit they deserve.
Yours without prejudice,
Kenneth J. Egan
Euphoric citizen and
‘Ice for Kids” supporter
P.S. PennCo. is certainly deserving of praise for their work ethic to get the second ice surface completed on time. I’ll give them a pat on the back from our community!