The hope that the Canada 150 Rink could be coming to Kemptville seems to be fading. Southgate Church has been eager to spend the money to have a full-sized ice surface at their property for some time now, encouraged by Mayor Gordon and other members of the congregation there. However, the emotional advantage seems to lie with Gananoque these days. The home town of the late Gord Brown, member of Parliament for this riding, has also applied to get the rink, and Michael Barrett, who has received the nomination of the Conservative Party to replace Gord, has been campaigning vigorously.
“Mr. Brown had actually started inquiring about bringing this rink to Gananoque prior to his untimely passing,” Mr. Barrett says in a letter to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism, Pablo Rodriguez, who noted that Gord Brown had already established an organisation to raise money for the rink. This group, the Thousand Islands Accommodation Partners, has also received the backing of Bob Runciman, retired Senator and one-time M.P. for the riding, as well as another ex-M.P., Joe Jordon. The fact that Joe Jordon was a Liberal and Bob Runciman was a Conservative, gives the Gananoque application bipartisan support, a significant advantage for their claim.
Community support in the Gananoque area has been another important factor. A Go Fund Me account was established to raise money for the project which has now become a memorial for the late Member of Parliament. The Thousand Islands CFDC has also donated over $100,000 to the cause. Michael Barrett is not slow to emphasise the trump card he believes he holds in the matter: “I know there are many communities wishing to receive this rink but Gananoque is the perfect place to put it. It is a perfect way to honour Gord’s legacy.”