Thirty seconds that could change a community

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Editor,

It’s that time of year again when the TSN Kraft Celebration tour donates $25,000 to improve a deserving Canadian community.

Last year, as you may remember, Prince Edward Island held its own competition between the communities of Abrams-Village and Georgetown. As I recall, Abrams-Village needed the money to replace the rink that had burned a few years ago, while Georgetown needed the money to renovate the Three Rivers Sportsplex. Abrams-Village won the $25,000 and in true P.E.I. fashion, donated $5,000 of their winnings to the community of Georgetown.

This year, there are no communities from the Island involved in the contest and because of that, I have heard little about the contest in general. However, does that mean that we shouldn’t support other deserving communities of the prize? Perhaps we can take a few minutes from our day and give a small community the help in which they need.

This year, I will be voting for Ingonish Beach, Cape Breton, N.S. Perhaps you have stopped in to visit while traveling on the world famous Cabot Trail. Maybe you have even stayed the night at the Keltic, a beautiful resort overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

However, I bet you didn’t know that Ingonish Beach in home to one of the finest ski hills in Altantic Canada. Hills like Wentworth, Martock, and yes, even Brookvale, pale in comparison to the sheer magnitude of the Cape Smokey Ski Hill in Cape Breton.

A friend of mine, an avid skier I may add, told me about Cape Smokey Ski Resort and I thought that I would check it out for myself. This past winter some friends and I drove up to Ingonish to check out the mountain. Now, let me go on record; yes, Cape Smokey is one large ski hill. However, my excitement was cut short when the clerk at the counter told us that only half of the hill was open. They said that the ski lift that was supposed to take skiers to the very top of the hill was broken.

Rather than let sleeping dogs lie, I decided to spark up a conversation with one of the workers of the ski hill. I just couldn’t understand why the lift wasn’t working. I thought that with the lift working, they could get more tourists, and therefore, create more profit for the ski hill.

Clearly, I knew little about not only this particular ski hill, but also about this community.

As it turns out, the ski hill has fallen on hard times over the past five years. Owners have come and gone, envisioning grand plans for the hill, only to see their ideas wash away like the changing of the seasons. The hill, as it stands now, is entirely operated by volunteers from the community.

Even the man to whom I was speaking was taking time out of his day to run the lower half of the ski lift. Everywhere around him, volunteers made an effort to keep this hill going for the children of the community. I got the sense that this ski hill is a pillar in the community.

It was during that conversation that I realized the fundamental truth. The ski hill is essential for every member of that community. It creates a sense of community and belonging that far exceeds its pull as a tourist attraction.

When I saw the list of nominees for this year’s contest, I was overwhelmed that Ingonish Beach had made the list. I could not have picked a more deserving community myself.

The ski hill has become the cornerstone of their community, much like the rink in Abrams-Village, and the SportsPlex in Georgetown.

Perhaps, as Islanders, we can help support a community that just needs some help; much like Islanders did one year ago.

Please take 30 seconds out of your day and vote for this worthy community.        

The vote takes place on Friday, July 22, at 1 p.m. and ends on July 23, at 1 p.m.

To vote visit: www.kraftcelebrationtour.ca. And vote at the top of the page.

Lyndon Oulton

O’Leary

Organizations: Keltic, Cape Smokey Ski Resort

Geographic location: Abrams-Village, Georgetown, Prince Edward Island Cape Breton Atlantic Ocean Altantic Canada Martock Ingonish

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