Development, Youth Centre purchase ahead for Central Huron in 2021
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
While 2020 has been a challenging year for many residents locally and around the world, Central Huron Mayor Jim Ginn says there are brighter days ahead in his municipality.
One of the most high-profile projects beginning right now is the Back Alley Artists Extravaganza, created by Community Improvement Co-ordinator Angela Smith.
Created in anticipation of Clinton’s main street undergoing severe reconstruction in 2022, Smith has encouraged main street business owners to clear access to their stores through their back doors and she’s working to beautify the alleys with resident-created art.
Similar to barn quilts, pieces of plywood that are four feet squared or four feet by eight feet are available to residents at Langford Lumber in Clinton. People are then asked to paint those pieces and return them to Smith so they can be prominently displayed in the alleys. Not only will this serve to beautify the alley, Ginn said, but he hopes it will turn into a tourist attraction for Clinton, bringing people to the town.
He also said that council has approved a motion to keep its holiday lights up throughout the winter and is encouraging residents to do the same.
On the development side, Ginn says Clinton is close to several new housing developments that will serve to ease the burden on those looking for housing in Huron County, as the market has only increased for homes locally during the pandemic.
He also said the municipality is very close to finalizing a deal to purchase the former home of the Bluewater Youth Centre after nearly a decade of negotiations with the provincial government. That, he said, will close the book on a project council has been working on for a very long time.
Ginn also said there is plenty of hope on the horizon for Huron County. Long-term care staff are receiving COVID-19 vaccine doses as we speak, with small groups travelling to London to receive their shots. He has also said previously that he feels the vaccine roll-out will move faster than most think. He says he believes most area residents who want the vaccine will have it by late spring or early summer, which is what he’s hearing from Huron Perth Public Health.
He also said Huron Perth Public Health has benefitted from the generosity of South Bruce, which received three vaccine freezers from Bruce Power. Only needing two, they donated the third to Huron Perth Public Health for its vaccine stores.
To keep the spirits of residents up, Ginn recently proposed a safe event schedule throughout the county in which each of the county’s nine municipalities would create a weekend event that was safe to attend. Not only would it provide residents with something to look forward to every weekend, he said, but it would also encourage residents to visit parts of the county they might not otherwise see, but from the safety of their vehicles.
Warden Glen McNeil has since sent out a letter to Huron County’s lower-tier municipalities and it will be up to those councils to decide whether the municipality will participate.
As the chair of the Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus, Ginn said there is still plenty of work to do regarding the South West Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) project, with Huron County’s request for proposals due to close in the coming weeks.
With so many people working and learning from home, improved internet, he said, is absolutely essential for county residents.