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Residents Concerned About The Future Of Ryder Hall

A petition has been launched to keep a hall in Tilbury as a community facility, rather than a proposed split with business.

Jeremy Cartier, owner of Drag U Down Customs and Hashtag Fitness, says there has been a lot of talk around town regarding Ryder Hall. He says a fitness centre from outside of Chatham-Kent has a bid in to use half of the hall, which would take away from other community events held at the venue.

“My greatest concern, first of all, lies with taxpayers’ money,” he says. “I think the space should be used towards the community and not be rented out to a business owned by people who aren’t even from our community.”

Cartier says his other concern is in regards to where people will hold their special occasions such as banquets and Stag and Doe’s.

We’ve started a petition online in order to keep Ryder Hall a community facility,” he says. “I have noted that it will be sent to Mayor Randy Hope and Councillor Mark Authier. We’re definitely doing what we can to bring this to their attention.”

However, Authier is well aware of the concerns as residents have been calling with complaints about the municipality cancelling their scheduled events at the hall.

“I got a message [Thursday] saying their daughter’s event was cancelled because the hall was going to be taken over, which was a huge surprise to myself,” says Authier.

The West Kent councillor says he was made aware that another business had put in a bid to Ryder Hall about six to eight months ago. However, nothing had been finalized and so he didn’t know why events were being called off.

Since Thursday, Authier says he’s been in contact with municipal staff to set up a public session and keep this from going to council for a final decision until the community has a say in the matter.

“What I would like to see instead of a date [for a public meeting] is for the whole plan to be squashed,” says Authier. “I believe they said they would make $10,000 more than they do now, which I guess when you’re looking at a million dollars spent per facility, per year… $10,000 is like 1% so it’s not a huge drop.”

Authier adds until things are clarified and a final decision is made, no events booked at Ryder Hall will be cancelled.

A date for the public meeting has yet to be set.