Sackville Town Council has approved a major change to the Sports of Wall of Fame (SWOF) housed in the foyer of the Tantramar Veterans Memorial Civic Centre.
At their meeting on Tuesday, a majority of councillors voted to approve revising the SWOF board of governors’ guidelines to permit the replacement of the 13 x 18 inch framed charcoal drawings that appear on the wall now with plaques that will measure approximately 8 x 10 inches.
The change would reverse the present system under which SWOF inductees receive a plaque in recognition of their achievements and contributions to sports while the town displays a charcoal drawing at the Civic Centre.
Matt Pryde, Sackville’s director of recreation programs and events, told council at an earlier meeting on October 7th that the SWOF board was recommending the change because space is running out on the wall at the Civic Centre.
“The last three inductees from last year are kind of around a corner and hidden a little bit,” Pryde said, adding that the SWOF board was recommending replacing the charcoal drawings with smaller plaques.
“We’ll have to discuss exactly how we want to display those, if it would all be on one wall or spread out over a similar display as what we currently have,” Pryde said.
“But it would take up a lot less space and give us several years’ worth of room to be able to continue to add to the Sports Wall.”
Pryde, who acts as a staff advisor to the SWOF board, said the existing drawings would be given to inductees, their families or other appropriate people and that it would cost about $6,000 to replace the present drawings with plaques.
He said that would be much cheaper than building a larger display for the drawings similar to the Sackville Arts Wall or the brick structure in Moncton that houses plaques.
“We did talk about a few different things, but something like that would be a $30,000 project,” Pryde added.
“We feel that with a small [$6,000] operational increase for the year that we could actually make a pretty nice looking display with a title naming what it is people are looking at — the Sackville Sports Wall of Fame — and make it look pretty good without breaking the bank.”
Some opponents speak out
At town council’s meeting on Tuesday, Councillor Shawn Mesheau noted he had heard from people who wanted to keep the charcoal drawings.
“There’s been comments about what about saving space with a digital presentation,” he said.
Senior town manager Jamie Burke said he had also noticed comments on Facebook and had received several e-mails about the change, but he added that the new plaques haven’t been designed yet, and they could include an image of SWOF inductees.
Burke agreed with Mesheau that there is still enough wall space for another year or two, but, he said, the SWOF board recognized that a change had to be made for the wall to continue.
When Mesheau suggested he was reluctant to vote for a change without seeing it first, Councillor Bill Evans said council was simply being asked to authorize doing things differently by saving wall space with smaller plaques.
“The nature of those plaques has yet to be determined,” Evans added. “We will have to think it’s better or we won’t vote to do it.”
Councillors Allison Butcher and Michael Tower agreed.
However, Councillor Andrew Black noted that the SWOF board’s recommendation for a 8 x 10 inch plaque was very specific.
In the end, only Black and Mesheau voted against Councillor Joyce O’Neil’s motion which read: “I move that council approve the changes to the Sackville Sports Wall of Fame governance guidelines as presented at the Special Meeting of Council on October the 7th, 2019.”
To read the revised governance guideline that council approved, click here.
Just wondering if the local person by the name of Jack Phinney who gave so much of his time to the town of Sackville will ever be nominated. Maybe some of his fellow players should stand up, after all he lived all his life in Sackville and Midgic.
It appears Councillor Evans is under the impression there will be another vote before any changes are actually made. In his words – “The nature of those plaques has yet to be determined,” … “We will have to think it’s better or we won’t vote to do it.” Councillors Butcher and Tower agreed with him.
In actual fact, Council’s vote on Tuesday night was specifically to accept replacing the original drawings with 8” x 10” plaques, for a cost of $6,000. It’s a done deal.
There were seemingly just 2 councillors actually paying attention when this vote was taken. Both Councillors Black and Mesheau voted against accepting the proposed changes. Councillor Black noted the very specific mention of 8” x 10” plaques to replace the original artwork currently on display at the Civic Centre; while Councillor Mesheau indicated he was not comfortable voting to accept the motion because there was not enough data or time to evaluate the still-unfinished plans.
Council was apparently given only very sketchy information on what those changes will entail, with no actual details and no samples to view. And they were given only 1 week to review the little bit of information they had.
It seems they could at least have had a sample plaque ready for Council to view. The fact that at least 3 councillors were clearly misinformed about what they were actually voting on indicates just how ambiguous the information really was.
Mr Burke indicated the plaques have not yet been designed, and suggested they may include images of the inductees. So we don’t even know yet just what the plaques will look like, other than they will be 8” x 10” in size and it will cost $6,000 to have them made. If they are similar to the plaques currently presented to the inductees, which include a small engraved image of the portrait, they are clearly not intended to be viewed from any distance.
They haven’t even decided how the new plaques will be displayed at the Civic Centre. If they are placed on the wall where the portraits now currently hang, their small size will render them virtually impossible to see by anyone standing on the floor.
In addition, there is no clear direction yet as to what will become of the original works of art which will be removed from the Civic Centre display. It has been suggested they will be given to individual inductees, or their families. This raises a number of questions:
?? – Who will be responsible for tracking down the current whereabouts of past inductees or their descendants?
?? – How will they decide who gets team portraits? One football team portrait includes 38 individuals – so which one gets the portrait?
?? – If it is not possible to track down all the individuals, what will happen to any ‘unclaimed’ portraits? It would be simply disrespectful to the inductees to stash their portraits in a closet somewhere.
In essence, Council has voted to accept whatever plaque design or display arrangements the committee now decides to make, and to pay the fee for replacing the existing drawings with small plaques. They basically bought a $6,000 pig in a poke.
Our Sackville Sports Wall of Fame, since its inception in 1989, has become an institution – a way to honour our illustrious local sportspeople who have made Sackville proud. Many citizens go to the Civic Centre to admire the stamina and dedication of those who put so much effort into their various sports. Athletes of the past become inspiration for athletes of the future.
This is like a gallery – a collection of original artworks. Would you go into Owens Art Gallery and replace their collection of paintings with small engraved plaques?
To me those are valuable as just lovely works of art and should be cherished… so sad this town is moving in the ‘progressive’ direction… I so hope they keep those beautiful portraits up there. Its the story of this place and it matters a lot to preserve the legacy you have built as a small town on the eastcoast.. you’ll miss it when it is gone…