SAVE LAURENTIAN ATHLETICS
I am a proud, multigenerational Sudburian, Laurentian Human Kinetics Graduate and (ex) varsity athlete. I’m a photographer with a passion for sport photography (with a shrinking number of sports to shoot). I am a coach, a volunteer, a major event coordinator and community builder.
But most importantly, I am a mother to three young children whom my husband and I choose to raise in a community that provides its citizens with opportunity, inspiration, athletic icons, academic exemplars, world class facilities, clean lakes and healthy forests. A city that supports and strengthens its marginalized communities, that collaborates and undertakes innovative, forward thinking projects that make us so much more than a superstack spotted moonscape.
It’s why I stayed as my cohort left in droves, but I’m watching, hands tied and desperate as it is all being decimated.
To date, Varsity Swimming and Hockey programs are no more, with no assurances that it’s the end of the cuts, and no word from the municipality that there is a Plan B.
At this moment, real estate holdings are next on the chopping block, and sport takes up a LOT of prime real estate on Laurentian’s campus. Here are but a few examples;
THE BEN AVERY ATHLETIC COMPLEX
I don’t think the average Sudburian realizes how strapped we are for gym space. As the manager of Sudbury Sport & Social Club for a number of years, my biggest hurdle BY FAR was securing indoor courts for recreational games of volleyball, dodgeball, basketball, floor hockey and badminton. We had 100s of adult has-beens playing games and having fun on any given night of the week, and could have easily recruited more. The players were there. The space was not.
There are two BEAUTIFUL full size courts at Ben Avery and one in Alphonse Raymond that we cannot afford to lose. They're too important.
THE JENO TIHANYI OLYMPIC GOLD POOL
Laurentian houses Northern Ontario’s ONLY 50m swimming pool and one of only a handful in the province.
It’s the pool in which its namesake trained double Olympic gold medalist, Alex Baumann.
It’s the pool in which local swimmer, Nina Kucheran got her start. She’s off to the Olympic trials next month.
It’s the pool in which Varsity Swim Coach, Phil Parker led a long list of athletes to Ontario University Athletics and U SPORTS Canada Championships, and recruited huge rosters of student-athletes from out of town. His talent and dedication even earned him the Women’s OUA Coach of the Year award LAST YEAR.
But it goes beyond the elite; The SWAM Sudbury program, run by student volunteers, provides barrier-free water safety and swimming instruction to children with disabilities. The pool is where I learned to swim, and attended countless birthday parties. It’s where my own mother was a competitive diver. I recently started training with the Laurentian Masters Swimming Club; a lifestyle that has kept me from undergoing back surgery. The club regularly shared the pool with the young participants of the Sudbury Laurentian Swim Club and Sudbury Synchro Swim Club. The Varsity Rowing program used the pool for small-boat skill development - development that has sent no less than three local rowers to the Olympic and Paralympic Games and several more to OUA's and Nationals. It’s trained lifeguards, scuba divers, dragon boaters, even Sudbury Canoe Club whitewater paddlers and kayak polo players.
We can’t allow this facility to become another Sudbury pothole. It's too important.
THE LAURENTIAN UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY TRACK
I will never forget watching Rebecca Johnston - 3 time Olympic hockey medalist - float around that track on her way to smashing every existing city record...as a midget. Nor will I forget watching Nick Foligno and Tessa Bonhomme emcee the opening ceremonies to the 2010 Ontario Summer Games; an event that hosted 3500 young athletes, their coaches and families in our fair city. Reach a little deeper into the memory bank and recall the 1988 World Junior Athletic Championships on our home turf. It’s Sudbury’s only home to everything from elementary and SDSSAA track & field meets to OFSAA Championships, Special Olympics practices and events, Track North Athletics Club, and Varsity XC/Indoor Track..
We can't allow this facility to disappear. It's too important.
THE LAURENTIAN NORDIC SKI TRAILS
Laurentian Nordic Ski Club, a standalone, community organization, maintains 9km of top quality cross country ski trails almost entirely on Laurentian Property. These trails have been graced by Olympians, Paralympians, OUA and OFSAA champions. Countless youth have taken their first of many strides on those trails (myself and my kids included). Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School currently trains one of the best high school cross country programs in the province on those trails.
If all that greenspace is to be sold to the highest bidder, we risk losing all of it, and it's too important.
Sport aside, LU owns large amounts of waterfront on Ramsey, Bennet, Laurentian and Nepahwin Lakes, including a beach / local watering hole, frequented by many. The health of our prided lakes are already at a breaking point, and further development along the shores and within the watersheds could very well render them swamps.
We can't allow this property to fall into the wrong hands. It's too important.
We’ve heard much from faculty, staff and students about the devastation at Laurentian, but little from the greater community in which it is so deeply rooted. Sudbury has lost too much already and we stand to lose SO MUCH MORE if it is left to wither away, so please start making some noise.
We are not just a mining town north of Toronto. Let’s keep it that way.
TO HELP AND STAY INFORMED:
Coalition for Livable Sudbury is spearheading action to protect Laurentian Greenspace from falling into the wrong hands.