BY SOUTHGREY.CA STAFF — Construction and delays have not only inconvenienced many motorists in the region but have disrupted many local events this year, as well.
With the arrival of September, Dundalk streets still resemble a war zone with detours and restricted access to some downtown locations. As a result, the Dundalk Fall Fair which is set to open this weekend from September 6 to 8, has cancelled all horse events.
"We will need to utilize our track for parking and will be operating with only one gate entrance at the livestock barns," said a recent Facebook post describing difficulties encountered by the Agricultural Society for this year's fair. "We are very upset but with the construction, it becomes a safety concern to have the horses and the vehicles coming and going in the same way," said a Dundalk Agricultural Society spokesperson. "This is only a one year thing. Next year our horse activities will be back bigger and better than ever. We are hoping that everyone has patience with us as we work through this year."
This horse lets us know what he thinks of construction delays and the cancellation of his events at the Dundalk Fall Fair.
All other events will go ahead as planned and there is still plenty of fun to be had at this year's fair. Truck and tractor pulls, livestock shows, demolition derby and more, will not be affected and organizers hope that visitors will brave any inconvenience felt due to nearby road construction and detours.For more information, visit the Dundalk Fall Fair website.
Adding to Dundalk's woes, The Southgate Community Market has also been weathering the storm of road construction this summer. Although visitors have largely been unobstructed, entering the market just off Main Street each Wednesday, adjacent road closures and construction detours have not helped to persuade customers from outside the community, that access to fresh local produce and hand-crafted items remains free and clear.
According to Southgate Public Works Manager Jim Ellis, "The whole project is expected to finish late October/November." Headded, "But final asphalt may have to wait until spring, weather dependant."
Nevertheless, the Southgate Farmers' Market has been working hard to keep people coming. Last Wednesday, August 28, saw a good turnout for their annual customer appreciation corn boil. The market continues every Wednesday from 4pm to 7pm until Thanksgiving weekend.
Sarah and Liz Terpstra of the Dundalk Youth Action Committee helping at the Southgate Community Market customer appreciation corn boil.
In Grey Highlands, Fall events at the Kimberley Hall have either moved or been cancelled, also due to construction delays. The Kimberley Hall Accessibility Project including new elevator, accessibility washrooms, ramps and automated doors, was planned to be completed this year but delays have meant that the Kimberley Community Association (KCA) Apples and Art festival in September has been cancelled for 2019.
Organizers Wendy and Ray MacDonald are saddened by this turn-of-events. "Ray and I are disappointed and very upset that because of delays, Apples &Art and other functions have been cancelled," said Wendy MacDonald. "This shouldn’t have happened," she added. In January, the KCA received an Ontario Trillium Fund Grant in the amount of $55,000. This money was to be applied exclusively to the Kimberley Hall Accessibility Project with a deadline for the completion of renovations by December 31, 2019. The KCA was worried that if work didn't begin soon, the grant money may be forfeited for lack of progress. But at the Grey Highlands Council meeting held on September 4, it was revealed that an extension to the completion date requirement of the grant had been revised to the end of June, 2020.
A sign on the front of Kimberley Hall invites donations to the Kimberley Hall Accessibility Project.
In a passionate plea made to council, Wendy MacDonald stressed the need to bring the project to completion in order to meet the extended deadline before the grant money slips away. In a report released to council, staff explained that "despite repeated attempts to encourage tender submissions and speaking directly to at least 15-20 contractors, as well as to the Collingwood Contractors' Association, the municipality has only received two quotations, both of which were only for the exterior ramp." But according to MacDonald, "there are essential errors in the report."
Other events have also been affected. Remembrance Day activities originally scheduled inside the hall for November 11 are also in jeopardy. But organizers say the event will go on, even if they have to choose an alternate location. MacDonald cited many aging veterans who have been unable to navigate the hall's steep stairs during past Remembrance Day events and urged council and staff to make accessibility at the hall a high priority.
The 4th Annual Beaver Valley Handmade Artisan Market which was to be held at Kimberley Hall on November 16 has been moved because of the uncertainty of construction at the hall. "Regretfully, we will be moving the event to the Beaver Valley Community Centre in Thornbury," said Barbara Pearn, one of the event's organizers. "It will be held on the same date of November 16, but we hope for an even bigger and better show at the new location," she said.
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