New minor hockey rule ‘smacks of discrimination’


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Jennifer Swales is hot enough under the collar to melt the ice at the Timken Centre.

In an email to this corner, Swales expressed concerns about rule changes adopted this season by St. Thomas Minor Hockey Association.

Apparently under the new rules, if a child has received a subsidy for hockey they cannot tryout or play on a travel team, advises Swales.

“This rule at the very least smacks of discrimination,” she continues.

“How these families raise the money should have zero bearing on this league. These children work delivering papers, cutting grass, saving birthday money. These families have to qualify for subsidy.”

There are many, many families suffering hardship in St. Thomas and they don’t need to be ostracized any more than they are, she points out.

She continues, “Individuals who made this rule based on financial concerns for the parents smack of righteousness and assumptions, and we all know what that does.

“As parents and grandparents, we have been involved with this league for 45 years with little change seen. Travel teams are often seen as upper echelon instead of skills-based.

Swales wonders, “Do these parents/coaches feel poorer families and their children are undesirable? Skills are skills, give your collective heads a shake.”

Chris Smith, STMHA president, responded to Swales’ concerns and we will summarize the organization’s position, with the full rationale next week in this corner.

“Our board is of the opinion if a player’s family can afford all of the extra costs associated with travel (in the neighborhood of $1,000 on average over the course of a season), then this same family can afford to pay a general registration and allow the association to provide funding to a player who truly cannot afford to play hockey without our assistance.”

City Scope welcomes reader input.

CAST YOUR VOTE, GRANT YOUR WISH

In what has proven to be a badly kept secret, or perhaps intentionally leaked political teaser, Premier Dalton McGuinty is due in St. Thomas next week to announce a three-storey addition to St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital and improvements to the existing facility.

Which prompts a question or two.

This project has been in the works for ages, so it couldn’t have been announced say, earlier this year or perhaps in 2010?

This wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact MPP Steve Peters is out of the October election race and the Libs are fearful of losing the riding to the Jeff Yurek/Tim Hudak team?

So then, the addition/improvements are yours, Elgin-Middlesex-London voters, if you support McGuinty on Oct. 6.

In that case, is this really about healthcare improvements or securing the riding?

Oh, forgot to mention.

It appears there is a rather substantial string attached. The community has to chip in millions of dollars in front money to nail down the deal.

TIME KEEPS ON TICKING

Rummaging through the City Scope archives sparked the realization It’s more than three years since the demise of Alma College and in that time the owners, the city and the minister of culture have buried their collective heads in the sand when confronted with the future of the chapel and music building that remain on the Moore Street property.

There shouldn’t be any need to remind these parties that what little remains of Alma still warrants protection under its heritage site designation.

“Heritage is not just about the past. It is about the places, spaces and stories that we value today and saving and preserving them for tomorrow.”

Words to ponder from Chris Mahood, an outreach consultant with the Ontario Ministry of Culture when Alma was more than a blighted pile of bricks.

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO . . .

A new home for the city’s police service.

The last we heard, the city is waiting on results from the Ministry of the Environment with regards to contaminated soil levels at the site under consideration, just north of the Timken Centre.

Police Chief Bill Lynch has told the Times-Journal most of the contaminated soil has been cleared, but the city is waiting on a completely clean site before finalizing the property’s purchase.

He anticipated a closing date in the fall. From there, the city will decide whether or not to proceed with requests for proposal for its design.

The key question — is there a consensus on council to commence with the project estimated to cost $15 million?

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“We are proud to be associated with a true leader in its field and a company that is dedicated to making the right environmentally and socially responsible choices in every facet of their business.”

St. Thomas Mayor Heather Jackson-Chapman responds to the announcement Hydro One will relocate operations from London to St. Thomas. Reading between the lines, is there a subtle jab in the direction of Premier Dalton McGuinty and his Green Energy Act?

City Scope appears every Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be emailed to: mccallum@stthomastimesjournal.com.

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