EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Friday, October 19, 2012

Provincial parks closings brings groundswell of grassroots pushback in Northern Ontario

A grassroots movement in Northern Ontario after the provincial government, without any consultation, closed provincial parks, including Ivanhoe and Shoals near Chapleau, may be getting a positive result, after the issue united citizens like none other in many years.

Hundreds of letters as well as petitions are arriving daily at the office of Natural Resources Minister Michael Gravelle.

Prior to meeting with Natural Resources  Minister Gravelle at Queen's Park on Oct 18, Kapuskasing mayor Al Spacek had said: "In my time in politics, I have not seen the groundswell of pushback, coming from the grassroots.."

Mr. Spacek is also president of the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM)

After meeting with the minister, Q92Timmins radio station was reporting that Mr. Spacek and Timmins mayor Tom Laughren returned with a "positive outlook."

According to the radio station, they presented the minister with 15 suggestions.

Mr. Laughren said the minister "was enthusiastic and receptive" and a decision is expected within a few weeks.

Meanwhile, it has been reported from Queen's Park that Timmins-James Bay NDP MPP Gilles Bisson, along with NDP MPP’s John Vanthof and France Gelinas, have continued direct dialogue with MNR Minister Michael Gravelle over the issue of park closures. 

“I have spoken with the Minister on a number of occasions this past week. I encouraged him to look at other options as a way of raising revenue," said Mr. Bisson.
Mr. Bisson says he understands fully the need for MNR to reduce expenditures, but says there are other ways to do that. As a result of the public meetings held in Timmins, Kapuskasing and Foleyet, he says a number of suggestions were made.
“We discussed increasing the number of spots available for seasonal camping as a possibility of raising more revenue. Also there’s the possibility of extending the season a week or 2. Staff restructuring and how we better utilize staff is another issue that should be looked at.”

“We now look forward to hearing back from the Minister on this important northern industry issue.

Although I have not lived in Northern Ontario for more than 20 years, I do not recall a single issue that so united its citizens as the parks decision has done. In the interests of full disclosure, I was a member of the FONOM executive in the 1970s when I was reeve of Chapleau. 

I  also covered Northern Ontario news as a reporter at the Daily Press in Timmins in the 1960s, and then was a sports columnist and general interest columnist with that newspaper in the 1980s. I also worked for the Toronto Star as a Northern Ontario correspondent. Interestingly, the Star, the largest daily newspaper in Canada took an interest in this story as did major television networks --- and they usually stop their coverage at the north end of Toronto.

Grassroots democracy is alive and well at least in Northern Ontario --- witness the letters, photos and comments posted on the Friends of Ivanhoe Provincial  Park Facebook page. HERE IS LINK http://www.facebook.com/groups/436063029763593/

NORTHERN ONTARIO HIT AGAIN: RELATED STORY http://michaeljmorrisreports.blogspot.ca/2012/10/plus-ca-change-plus-cest-la-meme-chose.html

Thanks to David Winchester, who has camped at Ivanhoe for 37 years for making photos of the park available.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

John Tavella scores first goal in Moore Arena as Chapleau Intermediate 'A" Huskies down Valley East Crusaders in 1978

UPDATE: John Tavella died at age 59 on October 21, 2015.

The Chapleau Intermediate "A" Huskies inaugurated the Moore Arena at the Chapleau Recreation Centre,  on October 7 and 8, 1978 winning two exhibition games against the Valley East Crusaders.

With a crowd of more than 500 fans on hand for each game, the Huskies were "equal to the task" according to the Chapleau Sentinel, winning both games 6-4 and 5-4 respectively.

Doug Prusky, who had been a star with both the Chapleau Junior "B" and Intermediate "A" Huskies until an injury forced his retirement was entering his second year as coach of the Huskies. I was the manager.

David McAdam and Glen Cappellani shared goaltending duties.

John Tavella of Wawa, now playing for the Chapleau team, who had set an Ontario Hockey Association record for most points by a rookie when he played for the Sault Greyhounds, earned the honour of scoring the first goal in the Moore Arena at the 17:10 mark of the first period. Pat Swanson assisted.

The Sentinel reported that in the first game, Tavella and Jamie Doyle came through with "super performances culminating their efforts with two goals each.

RON LARCHER and the donkey
Entering their fourth year in the Northland Intermediate Hockey League, the Huskies, were playing the newest entry. The Crusaders were the 1977-78 Sudbury Intermediate League champions.

The first period ended in a 1-1 tie.

Doyle scored his first of the night in the second with assists going to Richard Lacroix and Bill Scheer. The Crusaders again tied the match but Ron Larcher scored on an unassisted effort, and the period ended 3-2 for the locals.

Ron Larcher, Bill Scheer on attack
But the Crusaders roared to the attack in the third pulling ahead by one goal.

Richard Lacroix, who had returned to the lineup after an absence started the comeback when he "put home one of his blasts" assisted by Larcher and Jacques Sylvestre. Fans were delighted to see Lacroix back with the Huskies. He had been the team's leading scorer and Rookie of the year during its first year of operation in 1975-76. Tavella scored his second of the night.

With six minutes left Doyle scored his second of the night assisted by Bill Scheer and Dave McMillan, which turned out to be the winning goal.

Veteran referee Jim Hong kept the game well under control handing out only minor penalties to both clubs.

Tavella was again the big marksman in the second game as he scored twice and earned one assist.

In the second game, Larcher opened the scoring for the Huskies after the Crusaders had taken the lead. Ted Swanson, who never missed a game in the team's four year history, assisted on Larcher's goal.

McMillan put the Huskies ahead with assists to Ted Zajac and Ted Swanson.

Although the Crusaders came back again, John Simon, also from Wawa, who had also played for the Sault Greyhounds, scored his first goal in a Chapleau uniform assisted by Tavella and Pat Swanson to give the locals a 3-2 edge at the end of the second period. Simon's son Chris played in the National Hockey League.

The Huskies in Summerfest bed race
In the third, the Crusaders tied the game, but Tavella put the Huskies back in front assisted by McMillan and then scored the winner assisted by Simon and George Card.

Barbara (Bowland) Groves advised that she sold the first ticket for the hockey game in the new Moore Arena. Barbara was the cashier and canteen manager until 1986, commenting "lots of hockey games." Thanks Barbara.

As an aside, while chatting with Graham Bertrand, co-chair of the Chapleau High School 90th anniversary reunion committee, he reminded me that the recreation centre had been officially opened on June 29, 1978, 34 years to the day of the beginning of the reunion.

in !978, Graham was the trainer for the Huskies, as well as serving as chair of Taste of the North the winter carnival and as a member of the Chapleau Recreation Centre. My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Photos courtesy of JOHN THERIAULT

Michael J Morris

Michael J Morris
MJ with Buckwheat (1989-2009) Photo by Leo Ouimet


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Following the American Dream from Chapleau. CLICK ON IMAGE