Recently (31 March) several members of the varsity rugby team travelled to the nation’s capitol in order to take part in a fundraiser to benefit the earthquake relief efforts in Christchurch New Zealand. The New Zealand High Commissioner, Andrew Needs and his lovely wife Bronwyn hosted the event at their home in Ottawa.
Mr Needs highlighted some of the terrible destruction that Christchurch has suffered. “Close to 200 people died, many from overseas, including one Canadian. Many more have serious and debilitating injuries. The world’s media focus, understandably, was on the human toll. I think that beyond New Zealand, an understanding of the physical and economic impact is less clear-Over 4500 buildings in the CBD have been inspected, and around 1000 of these will require demolition or major structural repairs-More than 10,000 homes in Christchurch may have to be demolished with another 100,000 having maintained damage.
Roads are badly damaged. Road closures remain in place especially in the CBD and other areas where buildings are unsafe and require demolition. Of the 94 sport grounds in Christchurch, 41 are unusable due to liquefaction and sink holes. All 48 sports and recreation facilities are closed. Sixteen of the 20 public libraries are closed. Water has been restored to residents, but the sewerage system requires major repair. The city has been supplied with 40, 000 temporary toilets while this work is underway. Estimates of the damage vary, but recent figures suggest the cost could be up to NZ $20 billion or around 15 per cent of GDP.”
The team was able to raise $1400-mostly out of their own pockets and were happy to present the cheque to the High Commissioner. The evening provided a incredible platform for the cadets to exercise their social skills and mingle amongst local residents including several well know personalities; Canadian rugby legend Al Charon, news icon Don Newman, speaker of the house and Kingston’s own the honourable Peter Milliken, ex cadet and senior policy advisor to the MND Richard Cohen and Commissioner of the RCMP William Elliot to name a few. As the evening came to an end, Mr Needs heaped high praise on the cadets from RMC “Those young men are Fantastic ambassadors for Canada”.
The team now settles into exam routine before departing on their annual fixture with The United States Naval Academy over the first weekend of May.
Group opposes sports dome
As for the location of the dome, Rousseau said it was selected by engineering staff for convenience.
“RMC is going to be using it, and the base, and all our sports facilities are in that area,” he said.
“It wouldn’t be appropriate to have it up the hill on the base because that wouldn’t work for RMC [cadets]. They’d waste too much time getting back and forth.”