Orr Becomes a Weed-Whacker

May 16, 2013

If those behind the idea of turn­ing the arena in Mac­Tier into a legal mar­i­juana grow-op thought they had a fight on their hands before, No.  4 has just jumped over the boards. Bobby Orr was famous for scor­ing big goals and, if nec­es­sary, drop­ping the gloves, too. This time he’s pre­pared to do both. In his more than half cen­tury of celebrity, Orr rarely speaks out or steps into con­tro­versy. How­ever, when it comes to clos­ing down an arena and com­mu­nity cen­tre on his home turf to rent out to a com­pany so they can grow med­i­c­i­nal mar­i­juana, it brings out the anger in the Hockey Hall of Famer. When he first heard of it, the two-time Stan­ley Cup win­ner who also led Canada to the 1976 Canada Cup, thought some­body must be smok­ing some­thing. But it turns out, there really is a move to shut the Mac­Tier Com­mu­nity Cen­tre and lease the space out it to grow pot. “Its out­ra­geous,” Orr said in an exclu­sive inter­view. Some­body must be smok­ing the strong stuff up there on Hwy.  69 if they thought they were going to sneak this one by with­out reac­tion. But it seems, that is exactly what has hap­pened. And Mon­day at 9 a.m.  the coun­cil is expected to dis­cuss a let­ter of under­stand­ing they have struck with the med­ical mar­i­juana com­pany Met­trum Ltd. It will be a heated debate for the peo­ple who live there, some of whom have formed Save the Com­mu­nity Cen­tre Com­mit­tee led in part by Steven Schell. Orr said to add his name to the cause. “Shame, shame, shame.  Shame on those deci­sion mak­ers,” said the Boston Bruin’s leg­end and Cana­dian icon.  “What are they think­ing?” The whole thing is upset­ting for the pride of Parry Sound, Ont.  since, although he grew up 20 min­utes north, Orr con­sid­ers him­self hail­ing from Mac­Tier too. “I love Mac­Tier.  I spent a lot of my youth there,” said Orr.  “My sis­ter Penny mar­ried Ron Blan­chard from Mac­Tier.  These are very good peo­ple.” The com­mu­nity cen­tre was built in the 1970s and although Orr never played in it, he played base­ball at the dia­mond nearby.  In fact he was on the 1964 Mac­Tier Legion­naires cham­pi­onship team which is dis­played in a pic­ture in the arena. Cheryl Ward, gen­eral man­ager of the Stockey Cen­tre and Bobby Orr Hall of Fame, said Orr also played minor hockey on out­door rinks in Mac­Tier. “Where would I be if not for the hockey rink,” asked Orr.  “Where would any Cana­dian kid be?” The local con­nec­tion aside, Orr said, he would have taken the rare approach of speak­ing out if this was being done in any Cana­dian arena. “Does it seem right to you?” asked Orr.  “Who would close down a com­mu­nity cen­tre to grow mar­i­juana? Who would close a com­mu­nity cen­tre down for any rea­son?” Town­ship of Geor­gian Bay Mayor Larry Braid told QMI Agency’s Roberta Bell “the annual cost of oper­at­ing the com­mu­nity cen­tre is about $250,000″ and it only “gen­er­ates about $30,000 in rev­enue for the town­ship.” Orr said he had never heard of such an argu­ment before in his decades around hockey. “It doesn’t make enough money? Give me a break,” said Orr.  “Are these com­mu­nity are­nas sup­posed to make money? When did they ever make money? That’s not what they are for.” And the one in Mac­Tier is so vital to the com­mu­nity, the irony is it was there 300 of the 800 res­i­dents gath­ered last week for a meet­ing with the com­pany about this pro­posal. Many stormed out in dis­gust. Orr said he under­stands how they felt and agrees with them whole­heart­edly. “They are going to haul the mar­i­juana out of the old arena right past the kids in the school across the street and right through the down­town?” asked Orr. “It’s dis­grace­ful.  I can’t believe this.  It’s a com­mu­nity cen­tre.  A com­mu­nity place.  They have wed­dings there.  Seniors gather there and play cards.  There are birth­day par­ties, funer­als.  I just don’t under­stand this.” Braid told QMI Agency this new oper­a­tion could cre­ate 35 jobs and pro­vide a bet­ter return on invest­ment in the ledger book. “But where are the kids going to play hockey and fig­ure skate?” asked Orr.  “They just put money into this arena last year to fix it up and now the kids will have to drive to Mid­land 40 min­utes away and the seniors will have nowhere to go.” Oth­ers Orr has talked to about this have noth­ing against the com­pany or grow­ing pot for med­ical use but won­der “is this the only place in the Geor­gian Bay region where they could put it?” The hockey leg­end said his involve­ment in this fight will con­tinue when he comes up for his annual visit this sum­mer.  “This is just not right,” said Orr. Time will tell how it turns out but his­tory shows when Bobby Orr is in the game, his team usu­ally wins. Source: Intel­li­gencer, The (CN ON) Copy­right: 2013, The Belleville Intel­li­gencer Con­tact: http://​www​.intel​li​gencer​.ca/​l​e​t​t​ers Web­site: http://​www​.intel​li​gencer​.ca/ Author: Joe Warmington

d64fb31377rr 584.jpg 150x84 Orr Becomes a Weed Whacker

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Orr Becomes a Weed-Whacker

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