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I read, as I am sure many people who frequently use the rink, pool and fields around Simmons Sport Centre, with considerable disbelief at the City of Charlottetown’s mayor and council proposed decommissioning of Simmons Sport Centre and the proposed construction of a third ice pad at the Bell Aliant Centre.
There are several issues with your statements Mr. Mayor, firstly the Simmons Sport Centre and the Canada Games are mutually exclusive. Furthermore, you never included the Simmons family in any discussions around proposed changes to this facility. A farm dating back to 1877 was gifted to the city for the purpose of recreation in 1947. I am quite sure they would not be very pleased with the proposal you and the council have put forward. Let’s be perfectly honest, if a third ice pad is built at CARI it will mean there will be no rink built at Simmons.
Mayor Brown, your comments about lowering your carbon footprint lack any kind of credibility when kids have for years walked and biked to the rink, fields and pools at Simmons. Along with accessibility is the fact there is no consideration of the positive impact that having a rink between a junior high and senior high school, along with five elementary schools within walking distance is a wonderful addition to creating a healthier, more vibrant community. Did the mayor and council consider the numerous new families that have moved into the downtown, and the number of low-income families that benefit from the Simmons Sport Centre?
On a personal note, my father as the former principal at West Kent School, Ted Redmond, took students every Friday afternoon to skate at this rink. I grew up playing soccer and football on those fields, went swimming every week in that pool, and now my daughter plays hockey in that rink. Simmons is an iconic structure and facility that requires commitment from the City of Charlottetown to ensure sporting facilities are open and available to all of our citizens. It is an investment into our children and their children’s very future. Centralizing facilities is and always will be a catastrophic mistake.
Mike Redmond is a former Allen Street resident.