Deck the hall
It’s a narrative that’s unfolded over several years, spanning the terms of multiple Minden Hills councils.
This month, the township will begin the process of seeking bids for the design and construction of a new fire hall. It’s expected a contract will be awarded in October.
This is great news for the community for a couple of reasons.
First, with its location along the Highway 35 corridor, the new hall should help reduce response times for the fire department. The current hall’s location in Minden’s downtown can leave trucks susceptible to the traffic congestion that comes with summer in the Haliburton Highlands.
A location along the highway will also move fire services out of Minden’s floodplain. The current hall is vulnerable to high waters during the springtime and, many will recall, sustained significant damage during the catastrophic flood of 2013.
The new facility will put the township’s base out of the reach of the Gull River and provide the fire department a modern, state-of-the-art space for equipment storage, training, etc.
The second advantage to moving fire services out of the downtown core is that it will free up the real estate occupied by the current hall. It’s located on a municipally owned property on the block bordered by Milne, Prince and St. Germaine streets, along with Pritchard Lane. With the exception of one vacant, privately owned lot, the township owns the rest of that block. The remainder is also vacant, once home to a rental unit operated by the municipality and the historic Pritchard House, which council concluded was beyond the scope of repair. Both were demolished in December.
If the township is able to acquire the one privately owned property that is part of that block, it would create an ideal setting for a civic space in the heart of the village.
Think trees, benches, picnic tables. Think fountain. Think band shell. Minden has no outdoor performing arts venue in the downtown.
There could also be a monument to the Prichard House, which was once home to members of one of Minden’s prominent, pioneering families.
The relocation of the fire hall creates the opportunity for a civic space that accommodates Minden’s future while paying respect to its past.