Council Candidate Trevor Thompson Talks Chatham-Kent Sports

Chatham-Kent Civic Centre

Chatham-Kent Civic Centre

CKSN asked all candidates running for Chatham-Kent council and mayor, to give us their backgrounds in sports and recreation, and decribe their goals and views for not only sports and recreation in Chatham-Kent, but making Chatham-Kent a healthier, and more active place to live.

The Chatham-Kent Municipal election day is October 27, 2014.

Here are council candidate Trevor Thompson’s responses. Thompson is running for council in Ward 2 – South Kent.

1. Background in sports and recreation:

As a child I was involved in swimming, baseball and soccer programs. As an adult, I canoe and bicycle quite frequently, my children and I enjoy fishing, hiking and biking in Rondeau and Lake Erie, both my children are involved in swimming at Gable Rees Pool and my daughter has taken up dance.

2. What specific ideas or goals do you have for Chatham-Kent, to improve or maintain recreational programs and facilities, and support our athletes and sports organizations? Or to help build opportunities for future growth in these areas?

Ease of access is a large barrier to many of the services that are offered, especially in rural communities. There is no network of bike trails, paths and hiking trails. As it stands, nearly all of our recreation opportunities are stand alone operations. Our rivers have limited access for small craft such as canoes, kayaks and small pleasure boats. I’d also like to look at items like pool and ice rates and times. Arena rental rates are prohibitive, and rules are inflexible. I’ve been told charitable hockey tourneys have been cancelled due to rental costs.

A new arena in Chatham is needed, and current council missed a great opportunity when the plan to build a twin pad arena, with soccer fields was abandoned. Unfortunately, without provincial and federal funding, a new arena simply isn’t in the cards. That’s why we need to lobby those levels of government to get that done.

Tourism and recreation goes hand in hand. Sport fishing is a huge market that is ignored. In a given season, our charter companies will see groups from every U.S. state come to the area to fish. Biking is growing in leaps and bounds every year. Tourism dollars directly linked to biking in North America is nearly half a billion dollars annually. The municipality can promote, market and in the case of biking, easily set of the infrastructure to catch those dollars. If tourists are doing it, you can bet locals will be to.

3. How will you work to make Chatham-Kent a healthier, more active place to live?

Tie Chatham-Kent together with a network of bike paths, trails and walking routes. Develop launch sites for paddlers along the the Thames and Sydenham. Both are stunning rivers that offer some of the longest routes in Ontario without a portage! If I could dream, I’d love to see an outfitter like River Canard Canoe set up along the Thames and offer overnight trips. From there, it’s all about promotion and support.

4. Anything else you’d like to add?

Chatham-Kent is full of untapped potential. We need to bring sport and recreation together as a cohesive group of easily accessible services.

What did you think of Council Candidate Trevor Thompson’s responses? Let us know in the comments below!

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