Lisa Gervais: Shop in Minden’s downtown
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | May 18, 2017|
We’re relieved to see warmer temperatures arrive and flood waters begin to recede across Haliburton County.
Meanwhile, in Minden, life goes on.
This past Saturday, we attended two very different events in the village. The first was a community dinner put on by the Minden Community Food Centre. We dropped in during the afternoon to find volunteers, including one who had come all the way from the Newmarket area, preparing chicken and potatoes for that night’s feast. During a break, chair Marilynne Lesperance took us downstairs to see some of the donations.
They included Tim Hortons juice and frozen food and skids of bottled water from Canadian Tire. There was money, too, from Hydro One employees. We were most touched by the other stories. There was the farmer who dropped off 150 pounds of potatoes. There was the man from Lindsay who drove up with cartons of toilet paper. There was the Lake Simcoe 4 x 4 club who arrived Saturday, and drove through flood waters to deliver meals to some people who had not left their homes for days. The nourishment was one thing, but the dose of human company priceless.
During the dinner, which was attended by Reeve Brent Devolin, some tired-looking residents strolled in for a fine meal, but, again, it was the chance to talk to other people, about things not related to flooding, that really lifted spirits.
The Lions were there to help out, too. They were delighted to share the news that they had been successful in getting a Lions Clubs International Foundation $10,000 emergency grant from their head office in Chicago. They have since been shopping at local establishments to ensure the Food Bank has everything it needs going forward, including food, water, personal care items, clothing, blankets, and cleaning and medical supplies.
This influx of money to local businesses is crucial. As we all know, many Minden businesses have been devastated by this most recent flood. The businesses along main street, in particular, have been impacted by the closure of Bobcaygeon Road. It was closed last Friday (May 12) and remained closesd as of press time Wednesday.
I have visited the downtown several times since flooding began. I drive down Newcastle Street and park near the County of Haliburton or Minden Hills township offices. I have also parked along Bobcaygeon Road. I simply walk to the main street shops and continue to make my purchases. However, I am capable of doing this. I know that some people can’t walk or carry purchases long distances. While doing a fitness class on the main street this past Monday, it was surreal seeing no cars and so few pedestrians. There were children doing chalk art instead.
Devolin told us Tuesday that he feels business owners’ pain. However, he said public safety, protection of municipal infrastructure and access for emergency services has to take precedence. He said the road must be inspected by an engineer before being reopened. How would those businesses – indeed any of us - feel if a vehicle suddenly plunged into a sink hole on main street and someone was killed or injured? The good news is engineers are coming this week. The best news would be if main street were reopened in time for the Victoria Day long weekend.
Meanwhile, the road closures didn’t stop a large crowd from attending that second event in Minden. Hundreds made their way down Scotch Line Road to the Minden Curling Club, for a 50s and 60s dinner and dance featuring the Cruisers. It was great to see the community come together to simply have a good time. This is one resilient community and they’re not going to let a flood get them down.
That said, we are all breathing easier as the Gull River watershed, and the Gull and Burnt rivers recede. We welcome life slowly returning to normal.
Lisa Gervais is the editor for The Highlander.