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Opinion: Dave Dale, Feints, jabs and hooks

North Bay Coun. Tanya Vrebosch gets points for a good opening jab, council ducked the blow and took a step back while Mayor Peter Chirico appears to be playing the ref and stepping in to break it up. Let’s just wait to see what happens in the next round.
It's always interesting to see people step up to a challenge, whether it's in a cage or council chamber. In this photo, North Bay's Dylan Dale takes on Eddy Mogbock in Montreal Fight League Action.

I thought Coun. Tanya Vrebosch did an excellent job of bringing the Cassellholme Home for the Aged and Castle Arms senior living board business into focus Tuesday night.

There’s a lot of background involved that could have become personal, with many unresolved conflicts around the room. And while I enjoy a good toe-to-toe public debate, I think there might be a better time and place for it down the road – at least not at the tail end of a 155-minute meeting.

Punting her motions that called for detailed investigations into the decision trail at those boards, including the change of representation at Castle Arms, to the general government committee may have appeared to sweep the issues into a procedural abyss. But I don’t think the committee chair, Deputy Mayor Maggie Horsfield, will bury it under a pile of priorities forever. And Mayor Peter Chirico provided assurance the issues Vrebosch raised are not “falling on deaf ears,” so there’s still hope we’ll see the transition details examined publicly and hopefully put to rest.

Before the vote moving her Castle Arms investigation motion to committee, Chirico told Vrebosch and the public that there is behind-the-scenes work being done to set things right.

Chirico, who is now on the Cassellholme board, said he is working with North Bay council’s other representatives on the board (Councillors Mark King and Chris Mayne) to get representation on the Castle Arms board, with a transparent process, and to retain the governance of that asset within the scope of the municipalities that contributed to building it.

“I don’t think that was the case,” he said, referencing how the board was restructured, while tipping his hat to Vrebosch’s lengthy summary of events. “(There was) a lot of information (outlined in the motion), very factual, and I’m not disputing any of it. I want you to know we are working on it and it doesn’t fall on deaf ears.”

Chirico added that he was meeting with municipal representatives to discuss Cassellholme redevelopment and Castle Arms issues the next day (Wednesday).

So Vrebosch gets points for a good opening jab, council ducked the blow and took a step back and Chirico appears to be playing the ref and stepping in to break it up. Let’s just wait to see what happens in the next round.

I do have to say, though, it was harsh to require Deputy Clerk Veronique Hie to read that lengthy motion. She earned points there for sure.

Vrebosch also gave notice of a motion at the end of the meeting to ask for an update on whatever discussions are taking place regarding the twin-pad community centre project. Council had punted the notion of putting the current plan to tender with talk of alternative ideas expected to come forward. Vrebosch wants whatever is being considered to be done in public, telegraphing another punch aimed at those questioning the design, location, financing, and need.

I don’t always agree with Vrebosch and I’m not saying she has the right perspective here, just acknowledging her much-improved ability to stir things up. Everybody on council has a role to play.

Speaking of breaking up fights, I interviewed a couple of hockey refs from back in the day that were sometimes more entertaining than the game on the ice.

Hockey officials are favourite targets of abuse, and sometimes they earn it with their decisions. Ken Miller and Dave Saad were in the thick of things and shared recollections of ‘Life in the Stripes’ that puck lovers might appreciate. They touched on the big games, such as the time the Moscow Dynamos played Canada’s national team at Memorial Gardens, as well as early Centennials OHL action and the city hosting the Air Canada Cup Midget AAA championships won by Pinehill Coffee Shop.

In related fight news, my son Dylan Dale had his first MMA (mixed martial arts) bout on the weekend. My mom and I took a road trip into the mountains north of Montreal for the occasion, which doubled as a visit with my Uncle Bill Hawrish who lives not far from the venue in Sainte Agathe des Monts (just south of Mont Tremblant).

The Montreal Fight League had almost 30 amateur bouts on the multi-discipline combat fighting card and there were almost 1,000 people attending.

I’m trying to write a column about what it’s like to watch your 24-year-old son enter a cage for a bloody battle with a game opponent. It’s not an easy thing to explain because some of the thoughts and feelings drill deep into my view of life, society, and death.

For now, here’s the highlight reel of the fight with Dylan earning a tight decision. There’s another version with his walk-out song that can be found on Facebook, as I didn’t have permission to publish it until after the upload to YouTube. There’s a good story about why he chose Northern Cree’s War Paint song, but I’ll save that for another day.

Dylan scored a lot of points with his kicks and wrestling control, although it’s fair to say his opponent Eddy Mogbock (who was training in North Bay while Dylan trained in Montreal with the TriStar club) had superior fists and caused the most damage.

Maybe Dylan was given the edge because he fought through the adversity? It sure would be interesting to see them fight again someday, although I suspect both would benefit more from having different opponents for their next couple of bouts.

I’m a fight-not-flight fan, no doubt, literally and figuratively. I think a person wins the moment they step into the ring or cage or any situation where you answer the bell in life – preparing for and taking on a challenge regardless of the risk and odds.

Dave Dale is a veteran journalist and columnist who has covered the North Bay area for more than 30 years. Reader responses meant as Letters to the Editor can be sent to [email protected]. Contact the writer directly, email: [email protected] or check out his website 


Dave Dale

About the Author: Dave Dale

Dave Dale is a veteran journalist who has been writing about Northern Ontario issues for more than three decades.
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