By Dianne Pinder-Moss
Bill Ryan provided a brief overview of the Cubacan project, as well as making a pitch to Perth Town Council in regards to the project’s newest initiative, at the Aug. 9 Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting.
That initiative focuses on improving the quality of the bats now made in Cuba, as well as increasing the production capabilities. Funds are being raised to purchase a hydraulic copy lathe and other equipment, which will be shipped to Cuba and set up in a bat factory there to replace the rudimentary equipment currently being used.
Along with making council aware of the initiative, Ryan sought its support, both morally, as well in the form of a financial donation and in encouraging its participation in the organizing of a fundraising event. He also asked if the town would be able to connect him with local service clubs to speak about the project.
Making mention of how the town was “very entrenched” in baseball, Mayor John Fenik said he liked “the synergy” of the initiative. “I’m sure these asks are doable one way or another,” he stated, suggesting later that this might be something in which the Perth campus of Algonquin College would like to be involved.
Councillor Judy Brown asked if the initiative would be eligible for funding under the Community Grants program. Perhaps, it could be considered for 2017, responded Shannon Baillon, director of community services. Councillor Riq Turner wondered if some form of fundraiser could be run concurrent to the Little League Ontario Championship being hosted by Perth and District Little League in July 2017.
“Maybe we could have a little league team from Cuba as part of the tournament,” he added.
Councillor Jim Graff said he felt the project had lots of possibilities. The town’s support of the initiative could establish Perth as a small town that is a friend to Cuba, he stated.
A motion directing Baillon to prepare a report for October “on how best to support the Cubacan Project” was approved by council. The resolution will come before the regular meeting of town council on Aug. 30 for final approval.
In an email response following the meeting, Ryan said he was very pleased with the visit to Perth Town Council.
“I knew that there were many similarities between Havana and Perth and I mentioned a few in my presentation,” he stated. “There was one that I didn’t mention, which is probably the most significant.
“I’ve found that people from the Ottawa Valley and Perth in particular, and Cuban people are very similar. Valley people look after one another. They know when to help, even without being asked. Cubans have and will continue to face many challenges and they face them together as a community. I’m looking forward to introducing them.”
A recent feature on Ryan and the Cubacan Project can be found at http://ow.ly/vMFP3039g6b.