• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

Candidates have their say

In Orillia
Oct 16th, 2010

Orillia Packet and Times October 14 2010
Orillia does not have enough recreational facil- ities.
Orillians have waited long enough for the proposed recre- ation centre on West Street.
I would immediately lead the search for an alternate location that could be developed quickly, and am the only candidate for mayor who has made that com- mitment.
The city is currently in talks with the Ontario Reality Corpo- ration to acquire the Huronia Regional
Centre (HRC) and this would be an ideal location for a recreation facility.
Cost is always an issue associated with this type of venture. The money that has been spent at the West Street site is not lost, and moving the facility will, in fact, be a cost- saving measure.
From the point of view of building and operating the facil- ity, millions of taxpayers’ dollars will be saved. We can recycle the plans and some other usable materials, which would signifi- cantly reduce the costs wherever it is located.
It is my contention that Orillia needs this recreation centre for many reasons, including making Orillia a healthier city. This will lessen the health-care burden and improve the general stan- dard of living in Orillia.
Orillians understand that there is a significant deficit of recreational facilities in Orillia, including gymnasiums and aquatic centres. It is time to get this done, now.
It is unacceptable how long we have had to wait for this facility, and I have a realistic plan to make it a reality today.
Thank you for reading my comments. Please see my com- plete vision at www.ralphfor– mayor.ca,or call 259-3900 for more information.
On Oct. 25, please vote for Ralph Cipolla.
The West Orillia Sports Complex has been a signifi- cant step forward. The playing fields, courts, and rinks addressed some pressing needs. But we still have a ways to go. From talking with Orillians and my own experience, I under- stand we need aquatic facilities, quality gymnasiums, and more recreational opportunities for seniors.
We can and we should invest in the right facilities.
The West Orillia Sports Complex is also a demon- stration that if a community commits to an idea, it can be accomplished in short order. We don’t need any more pro- tracted needs studies and we don’t need panic-driven solutions. We need a measured practical expedient plan of attack, developed early in the term and acted upon.
The City of Orillia also needs to consider some creative recre- ation partnerships with Geor- gian College, Lakehead Univer- sity, the OPP, the cash-strapped school boards, the expanding YMCA, and the exciting Common Roof project.
A state-of-the-art track-and- field facility, built in partnership with one of Orillia’s high schools; a field-house for indoor soccer, tennis, and track; a 50-metre pool — such ideas have poten- tially huge economic upsides and deserve consideration
Orillia also deserves a positive outcome for the West
Street multi-use recreation facil- ity (MURF) property. Orillia has spent too much time and money to settle for anything less than a solution the entire community benefits from. Hopefully we can modify our expectations and develop something that every- one feels comfortable with.
I continue to play hockey and soccer in organized leagues in Orillia. I compete with the Orillia Rowing Club, and I run on our trails. I have taken leadership roles in the development of the West Orillia Sport Complex, the Barn- field Point Curling facility, Orillia’s trail system and Scout Valley. Sports are still a major part of my life and I understand how impor- tant recreation is for Orillians.
The recreation advisory committee (RAC) estab- lished the needs for our multi-use recreation facility (MURF) project about 10 years ago; all those needs have not been fulfilled today. The RAC will be tasked to identify the needs, with regard to the demo- graphic shift, financial realities, academic impacts and how we partner with other communities. This will be mandated immedi- ately and answers to those needs must be ren- dered by June 15, 2011.
Orillians need to under- stand that its recreational facilities are supporting a population
beyond its bor- ders, and
attracting users from other communities strengthens the sports competi- tion within our area. Having a broader horizon is healthy and very important to aid in raising players’ competitiveness and economic advantages to our area.
As Orillia is a central hub to our area, it lends itself to becom- ing a regional sports hub to foster recreational excellence. This fosters our area athletes to compete provincially, nationally and internationally. It would be important to build an Olympic- size ice rink, an eight-lane 50- metre aquatic centre, an indoor sports field and other uses that are deemed necessary.
If we are to provide regional recreation, we need to have a community solution. This includes all businesses, residents and municipalities within our region that are within a 50-kilo- metre radius. The buy-in and financial commitment must be had to provide regional facilities.
As it is unfair to burden the tax- payers of Orillia to finance recre- ational needs outside our city, there has to be a financial com- mitment by those outside com- munities. The capital must be there for the vision to be realized.
We need to evaluate three approaches:
1.Needs within our city limits. 2.Needs within and just out-
side our city limits. 3.Needs within our region. Each has to be evaluated and a
case made prior to setting course. We do not want to miss out on any further opportunities when it comes to our kids’ future.
– – –
We asked council hopefuls to provide an answer to the question “What is the most important issue in this election and how would you tackle it?” We also asked mayoral candidates a series of four questions. Their answers will appear over the next two weeks, leading up to the Oct. 25 election.
Today: Ward 1. Mayoral candidates question: Do you feel that Orillia has a lack of recreation facilities and if so, how would you fill that void?. Oct. 15: Ward 2. Mayoral candidates question: How will you boost eco- nomic development in Orillia while keeping taxes in check?
Oct. 20: Ward 3. Mayoral candidates question: There is a natural connec- tion between downtown and the waterfront. What plans do you have to improve both?
Oct. 22: Ward 4. Mayoral candidates question: What would you hope to have accomplished by the end of your four-year term if elected mayor? Be specific.


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