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LETTER: Geneva Park is a 'precious gem' that must be saved

'This unique, gentle, natural treasure, with its rich history, must not be simply sold off to the highest bidder,' says letter writer
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If Geneva Park is sold, the YMCA, community, province and country will regret the loss of this 'precious emerald gem,' says letter writer.

OrilliaMatters welcomes letters to the editor. This letter is in reference to the YMCA's recently announced plans to begin the process of selling Geneva Park. Send your letters to
Helping people and groups in need is at the core of YMCA values. Geneva Park, YMCA, has provided programming to groups such as the March of Dimes, the original Camp Oochigeas, for children afflicted with cancer, in addition to religious organizations and youth leadership programs.

Geneva Park has helped those in need for its entire existence of more than a century. In addition, it is a greenspace which hosts conferences for the Assembly of First Nations, the Leacock Medal for Humour, and the renowned Couchiching Conference.

Geneva Park must be preserved and protected as it is in danger of being lost. Looking for solutions with governments at the municipal, provincial and federal levels must be given priority, and the necessary time, to be painstakingly studied, as an Ontario Heritage resource under the Ontario Heritage Act.

On a personal note, I first went to Geneva Park as a child in 1973. On summer staff, I adapted activities so that children afflicted with cancer could enjoy themselves as any other.

I have been blessed to have witnessed the invaluable good that is embodied in Geneva Park. I know that this unique, gentle, natural treasure, with its rich history, must not be simply sold off to the highest bidder.

Ideas, such as the one presented above, must be thoroughly researched until the solution is found. The YMCA, politicians and other such partners must find the way to protect and preserve Geneva Park for the people and organizations who are truly in need and are at the point of losing their park.

If Geneva Park is sold, the Simcoe/Muskoka YMCA, YMCA Canada, Orillia and region, the Province of Ontario and Canada, will profoundly regret that this precious emerald gem is lost forever.

Thank you for your time in reading my ideas, and in sharing the true concern and commitment you have for the preservation and protection of Geneva Park.

Stephen Holloran, B.Ed., LL.B.
Quebec City