To The Editor,

We, the good people of Hawkesbury, have amazing activities right here, in our very own town, just waiting to happen. It’s like the claim owner who told the miner, “You’re a millionaire, you just have to first get the gold out of the ground.” We, like the miner, just have to do a little work and we’ll be having so much fun that we’ll soon be THE hot spot that people just have to come to. We’ll be the thing that people have to do. I can dream.

By work, I don’t mean pick up a shovel and dig for gold or cut a tree or write a book, but work in terms of think of what to do with our existing resources and turn them into reality. It doesn’t take much to turn an idea into reality, you just need a good idea, a little investment capital, a willing citizenry and or government support.

One idea my girlfriend Signe and I had this morning, while skating at the Robert Hartley Sports Complex, was to do something like the indoor roller-skating disco. Evidently they are really popular all over the world. The Hawkesbury spin on that favorite pastime would be to do it on ice. Saturday nights from 7 pm to 10 pm. Wear something warm and flashy, tie on your skates and bring a date or wear something glow in the dark to identify yourself as single (just ideas). $5 or $10 at the door and there would be pop, juice, beer, wine, etc. for sale by a wonderful staff who would greet you with a smile (just ideas).

I bet the idea would work if the Hawkesbury Recreation Department got wind of this. They are always looking for ways to get people moving. “Let’s get moving” but without spending a boat load of money. More bang for their buck. Value. And unlike the $10,000 volleyball court, they wouldn’t have to pay for something that almost no one has used, is available only in the non-snow months (5 or 6?) and in good weather. Honestly, how many of you have used the volleyball court? We have the ice, we have the building, we have the people with skates, we have the people that are looking to do something, we have skate shops, we have the sound system and we have the lighting (disco lighting of course!).

Doing rough math, if 50 people turned up for the disco skate (or rock or hip hop, just as examples) paying $5.00 each, that would come to $250 a night. Do that 30 times a year and that generates $7,500. Imagine if it became popular. Imagine if people started coming in from Grenville, L’Orignal, Vankleek Hill, etc. to skate with us on Saturday night (something to do, right?) and they started using the other facilities (and paying for them). Imagine if they started buying the beer and wine and their kids bought the Cokes and Sprite. Why this weekly skating event has now turned into a collateral marketing campaign with exponential ROI. Imagine.

After all, who doesn’t like to skate? It’s part of our culture. It’s part of our heritage. It’s on our currency (some $5 bills). No matter what the weather’s doing, we can skate indoors. It’s also really addictive and our citizens who haven’t started moving, yet, may hear about if from a friend and give it a try themselves. The people that do go skating at the Robert Hartley Sports Complex range from 3 to 80+ year olds. It’s a sport that could be better promoted to all generations and it’s very social. It’s a sport that almost anyone can do, it’s absolutely fun and it’s really healthy. It promotes muscle strength, balance, critical thinking and so many more benefits.

Would you go to a Saturday Night Boogie Woogie Hustle at the Robert Hartley Sports Complex? Do you like to skate / dance? Are you as active as you’d like to be? Are you looking for a new date night experience? Are you looking for affordable things to do during these long nights? Are you looking for some local activities? Are you looking for a new family activity? Are you new to the area and looking to meet new people? Are you trying to get your kids off their tablets and have them show off their Fortnite moves (smh)? If you answered yes to any one of these questions, then you are definitely going to have talk to the city and ask them to put this on. Tell them it was your idea.

I hope, that one day soon, I get to attend a Hawkesbury Saturday Night Boogie Woogie Hustle at the Robert Hartley Sports Complex. Maybe after the skate they’d open the pool for a midnight swim! Oh the dreams! What next, a beach in the summer and a basketball court, maybe a skating rink around the gazebo on the island or a skating rink at the Place des Pionniers? Let’s not forget dragon boat racing in the summer. Whoa! Impossible? Probably not, but safe to say that if they did add some fun and culture into our evenings and weekends then people might start coming here from over there and the downtown core might see new restaurants, boutiques, etc. open up and our existing business do better. It’s possible, we just need the people to make it happen and I think we have some of them, I just hope that we have enough of them.

Stephen Sockett, Hawkesbury