As a long-time fan of columnist Barbara Wamboldt, I was somewhat surprised by the negative tone of her whimsical article about our new downtown sports and entertainment centre ("Naming the sports centre: let's call it The Millstone," Nov. 27.)
Unlike her usual breezy approach to life's challenges, Wamboldt has chosen to paint the most negative picture possible of the project, the city and the people who live here.
In a nutshell, Wamboldt says events at the new centre will be unaffordable, it will benefit only downtown residents and Kingstonians won't be willing to brave the winter weather to attend events there.
Oh, c'mon, Barbara. We are Canadians. It will take more than bitter winds off the St. Lawrence river to scare off our adults and kids anxious for the opportunity at last to attend exciting concerts, sporting events and ice shows now available only to those who can afford family trips to Toronto and Ottawa.
Folks in London and other medium-sized cities competently plan, finance, manage and benefit from their downtown sports and entertainment centres. Why not us? Let's show some faith in our civic leaders and ourselves.
Wamboldt infers that you have to be rich to contribute to the community fundraising campaign for the centre. That will come as a surprise to the many who have donated already. Of the more than $650,000 raised so far, more than 90 per cent of the donations have been for $100 or less; in many cases, much less.
Furthermore, Kingstonians are not the wimps Wamboldt's column would suggest they are. Check out the thousands of people bundled up and enjoying Feb Fest each year and our new outdoor skating rink on Market Square. Follow the large crowds of people who cheerfully brave the cold to attend New Year's celebrations outside City Hall and who, this year, will be welcoming in a new year that will make Kingstonians proud.
Thanks to the vision and courage of our people and our leaders, in 2008 we'll have a new sports and entertainment centre to keep our beautiful downtown alive, brand new arenas in the west end and a restored Grand Theatre. Visitors will stop snickering over the broken pipes, dirty washrooms and leaking roof at our old Memorial Centre. Our kids and grandkids will enjoy facilities comparable to those of other cities Kingston's size. Entertainers will stop passing us by on their way to Toronto or Montreal.
Buy yourself an extra pair of warm bloomers, Barbara, and join the crowd.
Kingston needs and deserves boosters, not party-poopers.