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LETTER: Use imagination and vision in Simmons Complex decision

Mark Fisher, left, and Olin Penna, are members of a community group still trying to save Simmons Sport Centre from the wrecking ball in Charlottetown.
Mark Fisher, left, and Olin Penna, are members of a community group still trying to save Simmons Sport Centre from the wrecking ball in Charlottetown.

Kirsten and Tom Connor
Guest opinion


From time to time we are fortunate and elect representatives with vision, eg. the city council that purchased the lot on the corner of Water and Prince streets.

The Town of Stratford recently purchased a large amount of land for future use, another example of municipal vision.

From time to time we have the opportunity to applaud some civic-minded citizens for trying to help out and make a difference, such as the Save Simmons group.

It would be comforting if the current Charlottetown city council were to take time and consider the sensible proposal from this group of citizens to refurbish the Simmons complex.

Maintaining this asset speaks to so many of today’s desired goals: healthy population, curtailing pollution (walk instead of driving to use it), recycling.

This is a superb location for revitalization, with four schools in the vicinity — West Kent, Spring Park, Queen Charlotte and Colonel Gray— that could incorporate use of it.

It is within walking distance of densely populated neighbourhoods, making it easy for young and old alike to come to participate, or view others. Children can walk and enjoy the facility more often, not needing to be driven, and can have a place to meet friends.

As far as addressing climate change, maintaining neighbourhood facilities to which people can walk instead of drive, is a no brainer and is part of city planning in modern societies around the world — the way of the future. Here is Charlottetown's opportunity.

Aside from the need for more rink time, the pool at Victoria Park is overcrowded and a longer season pool is sorely needed. We owe our young people places to go, to learn and to enjoy swimming, -- wholesome places to meet and do things, both summer and winter.

We are constantly reminded of child/youth obesity, excessive time on various screens and mental illness. It is time to stop wringing our hands and decrying these ills and think of ways to do something about it. Opportunities to learn, do fun things, test the body in sports and recreation builds good health and self-confidence. So, don't tear down, use vision and intelligence to build up, for the benefit of the whole community.

While it is makes sense to chase Canada Games money, or any other money for that matter, concentrating everything at the university does not. It is not a way to enhance and support people living in the neighbourhoods around the city.

On the matter of the Simmons issue, we can only urge city council to bring imagination and vision to the table, when courteously inviting and sitting down to listen to the volunteer citizens group.

Investing, sooner rather than later, in a long-lasting, up-to-date summer and winter neighbourhood sports facility is an investment in the health of the body and mind of thousands of young people especially, as well as others. It will give an immeasurable return for the community. Answering this call would be a decision informed by vision and wisdom.

Kirsten and Tom Connor live in Charlottetown.

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