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Charlie, age 9, got tired walking up Finn Hill. So here's what he did...

City Council to consider Charlie Lachapelle-Smith's proposal for a conveyor belt so kids won’t get tired so fast and can stay longer
2020-07-12 charlie smith letter finn hill
Nine-year-old Charlie Smith wrote this letter to Mayor Provenzano

City Council will weigh the merits of an improvement proposal for the Sault's most popular tobogganing hill, prepared by a 9-year-old who loves sledding down the hill but gets tired walking up.

In a letter to Mayor Provenzano, Charlie Lachapelle-Smith is asking for a conveyor belt, or maybe a chair lift or even what he cutely terms a 'toe' rope.

"Maybe a way to get up the hill without walking,' Charlie says.

"That will make it so you don't have to leave as soon."

The following is Mayor Provenzano's reply to Charlie, followed by a resolution placed on the agenda of Monday's City Council meeting by Ward 1 Coun. Sandra Hollingsworth and Ward 3 Coun. Matthew Shoemaker.

The meeting will be held by teleconference to comply with COVID-19 requirenents, but will be livestreamed on SooToday starting at 4:30 p.m.

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Office of the Mayor
Corporation of the City of Sault Ste. Marie
June 27, 2020

Dear Charlie,

I have your letter regarding Finn Hill.

First off, please accept my appreciation for demonstrating that you care about our community. lt is important to care about the community that you live in. lt is also important to try and improve the community you live in. Your letter is a great example of both.

With specific respect to Finn Hill, after receiving your letter I asked city staff to provide me with a briefing on the history of the city's involvement with the hill. City Council has, from time to time, considered investing in the hill and the type of infrastructure that you have suggested; however, previous councils have never made the decision to spend the money that would be required to make that investment. Other priorities and city facilities, many of which require significant upkeep and resources, have come first.

I do think you have made a very good point and that the matter is worth considering again. I have provided your letter to Virginia Mcleod who works in our community development department and with our Parks and Recreation Committee. I would suggest to you that you should raise the issue with your ward councillors and see if either of them have any interest in considering the project. lf they do, they would be able to assist you in moving it forward.

Thank you for taking the time to write to me Charlie. You are important to your community and you can make a difference. I appreciate your effort and I am confident that you will make Sault Ste. Marie a better place.

Christian C. Provenzano, B.A, LL.B., LL.M

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Finn Hill resolution

Mover: Coun. S. Hollingsworth
Seconder: Coun. M. Shoemaker

Whereas Sault Ste. Marie and the surrounding area offers fantastic, all-season recreation for all ages from hiking, camping, biking, skiing and tobogganing to name a few; and

Whereas children need to remain active throughout the day and year as a means to interact with others, explore their outdoor environment, and gain exercise; and

Whereas our community has a popular tobogganing hill known as Finn Hill where families for generations have enjoyed sledding as a fun activity that has allowed kids to remain active in the winter; and

Whereas there may be a potential opportunity to improve Finn Hill by studying ideas that have been brought to the attention of the mayor, Coun. Christian, Coun. Hilsinger, Coun. Hollingsworth, and Coun. Shoemaker by Master Charlie Lachapelle-Smith, nine-year-old student and frequent sledder; and

Whereas the suggested ideas may complement the 2016-2020 Sault Ste. Marie Corporate Strategic Plan and FutureSSM goals, especially with regard to improving the quality of life for the families of our community; and

Whereas council is open to hearing and discussing ideas that make sense;

Now therefore be it resolved that staff be requested to review input received, and seek further input on potential improvements to Finn Hill, and that the recommended improvements be brought forward in a report to council.

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David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans six decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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