Darlene Massey, President of the Calmar Figure Skating Club, asked to speak at the March 3rd Regular Meeting of Calmar Council to extend an invitation to attend the Calmar Figure Skating Club’s 40-year celebration and Ice Show. She also wanted to clarify a previous request for a donation and express the need for a “change in the way going forward in order to help support various arena user groups.”
Massey expressed frustration over what she describes as a “communication breakdown between the Town and arena user groups.”
She then made the following requests: 1) establish a focus/user group by the end of May; 2) have focus group decisions communicated to the community via the Town newsletter; 3) assurance that the concession will be open for the Ice Show and that the netting be raised and the Plexiglas defogged; 4) a donation of $1000 in honour of the 40th Anniversary and to help support and grow the club.
User groups’ frustration
Others also spoke out about an apparent communication breakdown between the Rec Board and Council. “We’ve seen, in the past four years, that the decisions made just don’t get here…and eventually, the (volunteer) community stops trying.” Another attendee said, "Calmar Minor Hockey is also extremely frustrated.”
Yet another requested that the arena concession also be open during after-school activities, as well as during games and events.
Councilor Anne Donovan expressed appreciation for the number of people present at the Council meeting—about 16—and invited all to attend the next Rec Board meeting.
“Council needs to communicate back to the people so we know where things are going,” said Massey later in a phone interview. “Maybe we need a forum so Council knows how the community feels.”
The frustration expressed by the representatives from the arena user groups present seems to center around the request process. Requests appear to get lost somewhere along the line–through the rec board communications to Council, Council’s deferral process or by Council referring the requests elsewhere. There is no follow up or item tracking system in place, so the requests seem to fall through the cracks. “Now, our request for $1000 was deferred back to Mike in finance,” said Massey. “Fortunately, we have received some donations from local small businesses that are just awesome.”
At the Council meeting, Mayor Faulker indicated there are plans for public consultation going forward to hear input for overall community recreational needs; but he couldn’t say whether there would be a focus group or if it would be a public consultation process with the Rec Board. He assured Massey and others present that there would be opportunities for user groups to be heard.
The Calmar Figure Skating Club’s Ice Carnival is on Sunday, March 16 at 1 PM in the Mike Karbonik Arena.