'I want my kids to keep playing,' Sudbury mom says as future of Laurentian sports facilities remains unclear

Jessica McShane said she’s worried that Sudbury could have fewer elite sports facilities if the string of drastic cuts at Laurentian University continues.

University mulls over the sale of its real estate holdings in current phase of restructuring plans

Laurentian University recently cut several high-profile varsity sports, like swimming and hockey. (Submitted by: Adam Kalab)

Jessica McShane said she's worried that Sudbury could have fewer elite sports facilities if the string of drastic cuts at Laurentian University continues.

Laurentian is currently in the second phase of an insolvency restructuring plan, which includes examining, and possibly selling its real estate holdings.  

That includes the Ben Avery athletics centre, which houses the Jeno Tihanyi Olympic Gold Pool and the Laurentian track.

There's also nine kilometres of running and ski trails that run through Laurentian property.  

McShane, a former varsity athlete at the university, is also a mother of three young children. She said she wants to live in a city that allows kids the opportunity to play.

"We're talking about the Laurentian University community track, the only one in Sudbury," McShane said. "Also the Tihanyi Olympic gold pool, which is the only 50 metre pool in Sudbury and the only 50 metre pool between Barrie and Thunder Bay."

McShane, who was also the logistics coordinator with the 2010 Ontario Summer Games in Sudbury, said losing prime gym space would be "devastating" for the community. 

Jess McShane is a Sudbury mom who says the Laurentian sports facilities are an important part of the community. (Submitted by Jess McShane)

"The Summer Games wouldn't have happened if it weren't for those facilities," she said. "And just a few years ago, Sudbury put in a bid for the 2021 Canada Games, and they were one of the top contenders."

"And I know that [the city] has been throwing big dollars at sports tourism and without these Laurentian facilities, it's just not possible."

 McShane said she's been writing letters, and connecting with Save Our Sudbury, a group that has been vocal in its opposition to the Laurentian cuts. 

But what she would like to hear right now, she said, is reassurance from city hall that it hears the community concerns.

"I would like the city to at least acknowledge how important sports facilities are and how much the community uses them outside of Laurentian and the elite athletics that are taking place there," she said. 

"I just want to keep playing. I want my kids to keep playing."


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