Artistic drawings on Sackville’s Sports Wall of Fame may not be scrapped after all

Deputy Mayor Ron Aiken

Sackville Town Council passed a unanimous motion Tuesday night asking for a delay in replacing the charcoal drawings on the Sports Wall of Fame (SWOF) with smaller 8 x 10 inch plaques.

The motion by Deputy Mayor Ron Aiken also asked the SWOF board of directors to re-consider making the change that council approved last month after being told that wall space is running out for the 13 x 18 inch drawings.

Aiken said that councillors had received what he called “considerable push-back and commentary” from members of the public about their decision, “and none of it was positive.”

He added that over the weekend, he visited the mezzanine at the Civic Centre where the charcoal drawings are displayed and his measurements showed that there is plenty of space for many more of them.

“There’s about as much room on the back wall of the mezzanine there as is currently devoted to the Sports Wall of Fame,” Aiken said, “so you could effectively double the size of it without making any changes.”

The deputy mayor said that the drawings themselves are unique and that he knew of nowhere else that has such a display of sports heroes and contributors.

“To me, it represents a nice overlap of the arts community and the sports community,” he said, adding that his motion calls on the SWOF board to give the matter some second thought.

“We have council representation on the board now and I think they are more than capable of conveying our sentiments to the board,” Aiken concluded.

Note: The council representatives on the SWOF board are Bruce Phinney and Michael Tower. The other members of the current board are: David Hicks, Gregor MacAskill, Steve Ridlington and Christine Gilroy.

Avoid social media, Black urges

Councillor Andrew Black

Mayor Higham was just about to call the vote on Aiken’s motion when Councillor Andrew Black indicated he had something to say.

He began by pointing out that town staff had received only two e-mails on changes to the Sports Wall of Fame, both from the same person and that as a councillor, he had received a total of three.

“If you look around the Internet, you see many, many comments about this issue from people in Sackville and beyond,” Black said. “I want to strongly urge citizens of our wonderful community to please reach out to the people who know about what’s going on in Sackville,” he added.

Black said the town’s website lists telephone numbers and e-mail addresses for staff and councillors.

“If you have a question or concern about something going on in town, whether good or bad, get the right information directly from the source,” he said, adding that such comments and ideas would get into the hands of people who could do something about them.

“Please don’t let yourself fall into the swampy mire of news blogs, improperly moderated social media sites or non-town affiliated Facebook pages that thrive on conjecture, misinformation, populist opinion and falsehoods,” Black said.

“Get your voice heard by the people who can make a difference, your elected officials and competent town staff,” he concluded.

Other councillors speak

Councillor Shawn Mesheau reacted to Black’s comments by saying that he had heard from several people about changes to the Sports Wall and had also seen comments online.

“I take to heart anything that is read online,” he said, “and I [also] take it with a grain of salt.”

Councillor Joyce O’Neil

Councillor Joyce O’Neil said that she ran into a lot of controversy over possible changes to the Sports Wall as she participated in 50+ aerobics classes at the Civic Centre.

She said people there know the sports figures depicted in the charcoal drawings and are pleased with the drawings.

“They’ve encouraged me to just ask that we take another look at things and hope that we can continue in the way we’re going,” she added.

Councillor Bill Evans appeared to agree with Black suggesting that it’s OK to disagree with what council does in online comments, but it’s not OK to be disagreeable.

“Everybody — people who are for and against the decision — want to do what they think is best,” Evans said. “We all want to honour the Sports Wall of Fame honourees. We’re only disagreeing about how best to do that, so let’s not impugn the motives of people.”

Councillor Michael Tower had the last word before the unanimous vote in favour of the deputy mayor’s motion.

Tower said that maybe we need to think outside the box and possibly create an additional Sports Wall.

“I don’t like to see these beautiful…pictures taken down,” he said. “It’s our sports history and we’re honouring them and I think we should keep them there as best we can.”

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2 Responses to Artistic drawings on Sackville’s Sports Wall of Fame may not be scrapped after all

  1. Les Hicks says:

    Thanks for the update on the discussions about the proposed changes to the Sports Wall of Fame, Bruce. I read with interest your report of Councillor Black admonishing Sackville citizens for obtaining information from what he calls ‘the swampy mire of news blogs’, etc, and his advice to instead contact “the people who can make a difference, your elected officials and competent town staff.” I have three issues with this statement. First of all, his ‘swampy mire’ comment appears that it could be directed at The New Wark Times, a news source that to my knowledge has always strived to report the ‘facts’, and in the rare instance where there has been an inadvertent error, I have read Bruce’s written apology for the error along with a correction. Secondly, I have personally contacted members of the town staff and town councillors by email expressing my concerns about various decisions that were made and apart from one reply from a councillor (not councillor Black, by the way) I have received no acknowledgement of my concerns or replies explaining the reasons that certain decisions were made. It seems that factual reporting by reporters like Bruce is the only way to keep up with decisions made by town staff and councillors. Finally, his reference to competent town staff (I am sure that the majority are competent), ignores the fact that major errors made by some town staff ended up costing Sackville taxpayers an extra $500,000 for the ongoing drainage program. As far as I know, no one has been held accountable for such a waste of our tax dollars.

  2. Brian Lane says:

    “The swampy mire, improperly moderated social media sites” WOW! Councillor Black is judging exactly what appeared to have swayed Councils opinion on this matter – he seems to indicate there was not much direct pushback to the Town or Council. Take Councillor Mesheau’s advice and take everything with a grain of salt or better yet attend meetings or listen and watch the meetings if you have time. However you view this councils decisions, remember they are the ones who put themselves out there for the betterment of the town. It takes a considerable amount of time and their private for very little pay or few Thank you’s for what they are doing. As Councillor Evans says it’s OK to disagree , you don’t need to be disagreeable when doing it.

    This particular issue was presented twice in October. There were only 2 councillors opposed – Black and Mesheau. It appeared the majority of Council did not fully understand what was being proposed even though Councillor Black pointed it out what it explicitly meant. Council has asked this decision to be reconsidered but it hasn’t been changed. The public needs to continue to be active on this issue to ensure their voices are heard. Contact your Councillors and SWOF Members.

    These minefields council keeps finding themselves in could perhaps be alleviated by a suggestion I made to the Mayor and Council via email many months ago. after the armoured vehicle situation. There seems to be a rush to decision with too little time before presentation at a special council meeting followed a week later by motion to accept. I suggested switching the order of meetings each month so after information is presented at a Special Meeting there was more of a window in between presentation and acceptance. Another method is to give conditional approval to some motions with a final approval taking place at a later meeting.

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