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Opinion: Don Curry, Why is it taking so long to find a home for cricket in this city?

My response was, why is no one talking about immigration in North Bay when the face of the city is changing before our eyes?

I enjoyed talking about immigration with two media veterans, Dave Dale and Scott Clark, recently on their Echo Essentials video podcast.

Their questions were right on the mark and near the end, I was asked if there was anything else I wanted to mention. My response was, why is no one talking about immigration in North Bay when the face of the city is changing before our eyes?

That is not entirely true, as we have immigration advocates at the North Bay & District Multicultural Centre, Yes Employment, North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce, Labour Market Group and the city’s economic development department.

But, I haven’t heard a peep about it at a city council meeting. I haven’t heard our political representatives, Anthony Rota and Vic Fedeli talking about it.

I commended Scott and Dave for talking about it on their podcast, and I watched another video podcast Dave did with North Bay council members Sarah Inch and Jamie Lowery. They talked about the growth of cricket in the city for a few minutes.

That brought back memories of former Mayor Al McDonald and I swinging a cricket bat with the players about 10 years ago. They made it easy for us to hit the ball, so we didn’t embarrass ourselves.

But hey, that was 10 years ago. At that time the players were looking for a permanent pitch to play on. They’re still looking.

I know this is a hockey town, and I’ve coached a few hockey teams, and basketball teams, myself, but 10 years!

Look around you. Do the people of the city look the same as they did 10 years ago? No, of course not. Rapid immigration, driven mainly by Canadore College and the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, has changed the face of the city.

I live near a city bus stop. A few years ago, I didn’t see too many people in my neighbourhood taking the bus. Now, when I walk or drive by the bus stop, there are people waiting, and they are mainly international students.

Can’t city council talk about the increase in transit ridership and why?

My sense is very few newcomers will be playing hockey. It is very expensive and if you didn’t grow up with skates on like a lot of Canadians, it’s difficult to learn. They will want to play soccer and cricket.

Why is this not an issue at city council, and why is it taking 10 years to dedicate a desirable space for cricket?

Is it because no one is talking about it except the cricket players themselves, and they don’t have the ear of decision makers?

Now that I’m on a roll, how about the lack of diversity at city hall? If they had a few immigrants working there I would think there would be more awareness among the staff about the need for different recreation facilities.

The rapid influx we have seen over the past two or three years may well slow down with the federal government slashing the number of study permits available, but the numbers will remain strong, especially if the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) becomes a permanent program.

Again, why aren’t our political leaders talking about that?

The program is now in limbo, with no decision yet announced about its future, despite Immigration Minister Marc Miller saying at a November news conference in Ottawa that he loves the program and wants to expand it.

I would hope that behind the scenes the federal government is being lobbied to make an announcement about the program’s future soon. That may be a false hope because I have not heard a word about it.

Scott and Dave are two people who get immigration, and it was a pleasure discussing the topic with them. If you would like to hear and see the full discussion, here is a link.

It was recorded just before Christmas, so it was prior to the announcement of the massive cuts in study permits that will affect Canadore and all the other colleges, public and private, in Ontario.

Editor’s Note:  Don Curry is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant living in North Bay, and a member of Bay Today’s community advisory committee.

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Don Curry

About the Author: Don Curry

Don Curry is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant and president of Curry Immigration Consulting and a former journalism instructor
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