MidlandToday welcomes letters to the editor at [email protected] or via the website. Please include your full name, daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). This letter is in response to a story titled 'Non-residents to 'pay fair share' for using Midland rec centre,' published Feb. 2.
With regard to the potential charging of non-resident user fees at the North Simcoe Sports and Recreation Centre:
Before Midland Mayor Bill Gordon and town council go through with this, the following things should be considered.
Many of the people using this facility have members who don’t live in Midland but are significant supporters of the Town of Midland. They include members of the Midland Civitan Club, Askennonia Senior Centre, the cadets, and others. There are also several minor sports organizations using the facility who have members from outside the town. This is the reason it was named the North Simcoe Sports and Recreation Centre.
Twenty years ago, there was a $1.6-million fundraising campaign for the construction of this wonderful facility. Many of the people who volunteered countless hours of their time and energy to raise this money through activities, presentations to businesses, service clubs, and other groups were non-residents of the Town of Midland. Many of the businesses and individuals who supported this campaign were from outside of town. The Township of Tay and a Tay Township business were two of the biggest contributors. Personally, I spent about two years along with my co-chair and our committee working tirelessly on this campaign.
I do not live in town but have supported it, my own home town of Penetanguishene, and all of north Simcoe for many, many decades. I do agree that the other north Simcoe communities should be helping financially with the operating and maintenance costs associated with this facility, but it shouldn’t be passed on to the people we built it for.
I believe that charging non-resident user fees will open a can of worms that could be devastating to the whole community idea. There must be a better way. Other communities need to step up and support this and other shared facilities in our communities. Maybe there are some advertising or sponsorship opportunities here. It’s worth some thought.