Postponing public meeting on rink positive step back by Chelsea, Quebec

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by admin on September 8, 2010

The Editor,

The decision to remove the rink from the Meredith Centre footprint in Chelsea, Quebec was shocking and inexplicable to me and many others in the community who have been working on the community centre concept for many years.

However, Chelsea council and the Chelsea Foundation are to be commended for postponing the Sept. 2 public meeting so they can analyze new information that is available to them. This was the responsible thing to do because the current plan is simply not sustainable.

I think everyone should be concerned about removing the rink from the Meredith Centre as this would place a very costly burden on the community. During the referendum I, and others, maintained that the Meredith Centre would not be a drain on the public purse. We were convinced of this because of the rink. It was the only part of the project supported by a well-researched and solid business case.

With the rink and under the right management, the Meredith Centre can pay its own way. Without the rink, the operations of the Meredith Centre will be a fiscal drain on the finances of the municipality in the order of several hundred thousands dollars a year. I don’t think anyone wants this no matter which way they voted during the referendum.

Ours is a deeply-divided community badly in need of a project that can bring it together again. I think the Meredith Centre can become this project. For that to happen, we need to align fiscal responsibility and priority community needs for infrastructure with the opportunity the government grants offer us.

And we need to do this quickly. I am heartened by what appears to be a genuine attempt by council to do this and produce the right mix for the community we want to create together.

Marc Allain

Chelsea, Quebec