Dear Editor, Uxbridge council has decided, without public consultation, to delay the opening of the Uxbridge community centre. This decision will negatively impact girls’ hockey in North Durham. Because there are so few girls who play hockey in our communities, there are no restrictions on where they can play. Girls can play in whatever town they decide, unlike the boys. By delaying the opening of the Uxbridge arena, this September, it will force the girls to secure a spot on a team in a neighbouring community, who have already opened their rinks and programs. When the girls want to return to North Durham, they will be ineligible to play here. In effect, this decision will gut the local North Durham Blades girls’ hockey program of players. No impact will be felt for the boys, other than a delay in much needed physical activity and a return to routine. We are trying to promote girls’ hockey and equity in the sport. This decision, made by Uxbridge council unilaterally, will force hundreds of young girls to play hockey outside our community and not allow them to return once council has lifted its “wait and see” approach. I might argue, the impact of our girls health and well-being, having to travel to neighbouring centres and being disconnected from their peer group, might have a greater impact on their health and possibly the health of North Durham residents, as families travel back and forth to our neighbouring communities. This is an issue of gender parody and equity within our sport. I urge Uxbridge council to re-examine their decision to delay the opening of the arena. I urge them to join our neighbours and create spaces that promote health and well-being. Uxbridge is standing alone, as all other centres in our area are cautiously opening their doors with success. I don’t want to “wait and see” girls’ hockey disappear in North Durham because Uxbridge council doesn’t know the impact of their decision and the effect it will have on girls’ hockey.
R. Thompson Scugog