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Eric Sawyer


by Rhonda Spivak, January 31, 2011

Eric Sawyer, Rady JCC board president, was quoted recently as stating that if the Asper Campus maintained its current rate of license fee increases, the Rady JCC might close within three years.

If Mr Sawyer did make such a statement, he ought not have. The community would not allow the Rady JCC to close its doors; it is an anchor tenant of the Asper Campus and there is simply no replacement for it. In my view It was nonsense for Mr Sawyer to even allude to this possibility, and one questions to what purpose? The discussion on containing license fees has been ongoing since the Campus opened, and would be better conducted at a board table than in the media.

Another statement attributed to Mr Gilfix suggested that plans for expanding daycare spots at the Rady JCC had been shelved indefinitely. After speaking with Bob Freedman, CEO of the Jewish Federation, my understanding is that is unlikely that plans for an addition to campus will be ready in the near future, such that space off campus will be rented for the next year or two for the daycare. I have made an inquiry of the Asper Campus to see what if anything they decided at a recent meeting regarding the expansion but have not yet heard back at the time of the writing of this article.

To clarify remarks attributed to him and to Mr Gilfix, Eric Sawyer issued the following press release on January 25 indicating he was "writing to clarify some information that was included in a recent article...".

Sawyer wrote: 

"The statement regarding the possible closure of the Rady JCC in 3 years is incorrect. As detailed in our recent Annual Report ... the Rady JCC will continue to thrive. We have 5,000 members and 12,000 participants in our cultural and family programs. We had one of our strongest years ever in terms of our financial performance and ability to further achieve our mission. In fact, the Rady JCC has the highest member retention rate of any similar-sized JCCs across North America. And, we finished in the top tier when our financial performance was compared to other comparable JCCs in both Canada and the U.S.

"The second statement requiring clarification concerns the plans for expanding the daycare. The Rady JCC is strongly committed to meeting the critical need for child care in our community and with the support of our partners we are moving forward with our plan to develop 60 new spaces. This will be in addition to the 113 spaces that are currently located in the Kaufman Child Care Centre.

" We have 93 years of being committed to ensuring our community remains strong and vital for generations to come. We welcome the willingness of the community leadership to work together to address important issues going forward so that Winnipeg’s Jewish community remains a leading example for communities everywhere.”

Kudos to Mr Sawyer for his quick turnaround. Let us hope that everyone works together in regard to issues affecting the community, be they liscencing fees, expansion of the daycare, or other challenges that no doubt lie ahead.




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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.