Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Publish Day - Ink Blog - Centres of the community

My column in today's London Free Press deals with an issue near and dear to me: community centres. Two recent cases in two nearby communities have illustrated how important they are to the life of the community, and how contentious they can be when folks don't want to pay for them.
Community centres vital
Published Wednesday, July 26, 2006
The London Free Press

I practically grew up in a community centre. I learned to swim, attended day camp and had my first sleepover at the facility near my parents’ old house. Later on, it’s where I got my first job as a lifeguard and met the woman I eventually married.

City council’s approval this week of a $3.4 million upgrade to the North London Optimist Community Centre reinforces how important these facilities are to the communities they serve. They’re incubators for the kinds of activities that kids, teens, adults and seniors need.

In St. Marys, a controversy over that community’s $14 million recreation centre threatens to derail the entire project. One-sixth of the town’s 6,000 residents have already signed a petition against it. The issue: money. Opponents say the cost is excessive for such a small town.

The value of such centres is overwhelming. But at some point, the cost can be, too. Beyond the never-ending debate over dollars, the fact remains that wherever they live, all children deserve the same advantages I had.

Your turn: Do you have a community/rec centre story to share? Have such places played an important role in your life?


Anonymous said...

I think they are very important. Unfortunately, in the rural state I grew up in they are far and few between

Unknown said...

We don't have community centers as such where I love. We have a YMCA and a HUGE JCC, but nothing sponsored by the city. We have a lake and a city pool, and an ice skating rink, and of the 12 villages in my city 4 have teen centers. We also have a senior center, an art center, a disabled person's center, but no one place where everything is located. Which is kind of a drag since our small city (85k people) is very large in area and it takes a lot to get from one end to another. For example, although the JCC isn't too far from us, maybe 1.5 miles, the Y is actually farther than Boston itself!