Reading through all the information via editorials, letters to the editor, and the explanation in the very excellent write-up of the proposed arena expansion plans by Journal Argus staff member Andrea Macko, left me extremely frustrated.
Up to now I've stayed away from becoming involved; like many my age, I felt this was something for our younger citizens in town. They should be the ones making the decision, after all it is a debt they will be carrying for the next 20 years, and it will be their responsibility.
Also, I'm at a stage in my life, I've been there, done that, and refuse to go out to evening meetings that will end up by giving me a sleepless night. Along with heavy meals late at night, they are something that I've given up.
But I was dragged into the ongoing Town saga when four of us, all 80 plus, sat after a rousing game of bridge and started talking and the subject of the LLP and the proposed arena plans came up. Suddenly it turned into a very heated conversation when all four of us questioned "where on earth is the present Town Council heading?"
Next morning I was talking to a friend and she mentioned that her bridge group, all eight of them, also met the day before and were asking the same question. That makes 12 people who are getting quite riled up about this proposed arena expansion, and with the council pushing this upon the citizens without a vote.
My group felt something should be done and with the meeting on March 28, time is of an essence. Well I can't put the blame on anyone else so my suggestion was that we each phone 15 to 20 people, gather them into a group and, each yielding a large broom, we march down to the meeting and sweep the council members out on the street, lock up the Town Hall and not allow anyone back in until they come up with a plan that would include a referendum.
It sounded great until we realized that it would send our blood pressure through the roof and we'd all end up in the hospital's emergency ward. Another approach had to be made. So this is the reason I'm writing this column. It will end up with only me being in the emergency ward.
I've always been a big advocate of an indoor swimming pool. Several years ago a survey was done on St. Marys and at that time the results said we were a near-perfect small town and the only thing we lacked was an indoor swimming pool. Then I read in the write up that a lap pool was being suggested. What on earth is a community lap pool?
Do we want a lap pool for the big guys to use and for competitions?
What we need is a regular swimming pool that young mothers can take their babies to, in order to learn about swimming.
What we want is a pool for school kids from kindergarten up to learn how to swim.
What we want is a pool for handicapped people and seniors to do aquatics. It covers a large number of people and becomes a lifetime sport that is with them right into the senior years. We are very fortunate to have a fabulous summer swimming program in St. Marys. It was there when my husband was growing up and all my children went through the complete Red Cross swimming program right up to getting their lifeguard certificates.
I've been told by the group behind our great Wellness Centre that building an indoor pool was not the problem, but it was the maintenance of such a pool that would cripple the project. The annual fee of staff, building upkeep, insurance etc. was the hold-up.
If we can't afford $16 million for the arena expansion, how can we manage the money to keep a pool and other projects going? A vote, as the editorial said, would settle the problem. If voted on, then we should all stand behind it and give the okay to go ahead.