Letter: Any new community center must include the arts | Catch My Job


‘I couldn’t help but notice that there was any mention of use for recreational activities outside the confines of sports. As a former teacher… I must question the direction of this proposed framework.’

In preparation for the upcoming municipal elections, I read with great interest your articles outlining the candidates’ positions on the proposed Omischl building and its location for a new arena, recreation and community center in the North Bay.

see: Which mayoral candidates support the new recreation center in Omischl?

and: Which council candidates support/oppose the new race center/rink?

Aside from all the relevant issues — such as construction costs, design, sustainability costs and location — I couldn’t help but notice that there was little if any mention of use for recreational activities beyond the confines of sports. As a former teacher with many years of experience in entertainment programming behind me, I have to question aspects of this proposed framework.

See more: Opinion: Create new fields… and then what?

Will it only be sports focused? “Do you support this new facility?” No descriptive references are given outside that term. I firmly believe that the word “entertainment” encompasses many other things: music, dance, visual arts, and drama — and all add to the “well-being” of our children and their families.

Also, I noticed that Dreamcoat Fantasy Theater is looking for a new location. Also, the North Bay Art Association needs a location to meet and hold workshops and exhibitions. I am sure there are many other non-profit cultural organizations that would like to serve their needs in this new facility. Can this proposed framework consider recreational needs beyond sports?

Yes, my personal interests revolve around art but I am no stranger to hockey. Both of my parents’ careers were based in arena management and community recreation programs in Northern Ontario. In fact, my father, Harold Ribson, nurtured, promoted and coached women’s hockey in both northern and southern Ontario. So, I challenge our candidates to step up to the plate and broaden their focus. Wherever their sympathies lie: general plans, designer plans, cost-effectiveness or preferred location, please search for a comprehensive view of the purpose of a new complexity and a supportive framework for inclusion.


Dennis Ribson


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