Reading your recent editorial presents an interesting challenge to our growing community. I first ran for Thorold Council in 1976 and identified the need for Thorold to welcome the Confederation Heights newcomers into our sense of community.
Well, here we are 42 years later, still asking the same questions. A strong sense of community requires a strong central public gathering place that all citizens have not only easy access to but more importantly, a need to go there. Our finances are better than most, if not all, Ontario municipalities. Interest rates are extremely low and we have more than $20 million in reserves. It’s time to look at the big picture.
Other communities access government grants to improve infrastructure and build for the future. For example, the Town of Pelham built a bold, progressive new community centre complex that will serve its citizens for 50 years. It’s time we invest in our children’s future.
A new City Civic Centre downtown would make a statement of who we are and where we are going. Limiting dreams and maintaining the status quo will eventually erode our sense of community. If you are not convinced, just look around at our municipal buildings. A run-down outdated public works building, our fire department needs to be rebuilt to better reflect our current and future needs. Our city hall is now undersized and poorly located, our “old” arena was built in the 1930s! Our “new” arena was built in the 1970s!
Hey folks, it’s 2018! With the municipal elections just around the corner, we need to elect a Mayor, Regional Councillor and City Council who can focus on our collective horizon and not on the ground. Our forefathers who envisioned and built what we have enjoyed for so many years deserve a forward-thinking City Council who understands that having a great balance sheet includes investment for the next generation’s future.
We have the money, we have the need, but do we have the visionaries who understand that becoming a great place to raise our children means taking the action to make it happen? I’m hoping so.