The Gleaner
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Letter to the editor: There have been recent concerns raised by the public over the demolition of the Dining Hall on the Ormstown Fairgrounds.

The building is in sorry shape, and truth be told, if we were to remove all of the modifications that have been made over the years, there would be little left of the original building that would be worth saving. A more important factor to many, myself included, is that this building is one of the few remaining monuments to the community involvement that helped create Expo Ormstown, and also the Chateauguay Valley as we know it, where people would come together, donating of their time and talents towards a common cause. And it’s more than raising money, although fundraising is a key aspect of our community; a unique bond is formed when like-minded souls share an altruistic goal.

I’ve had the good fortune to spend time with some of the Ukrainian folks arriving in our area. One of the more difficult concepts that I’ve tried to explain to them is the importance of community involvement. Whether due to coming from an urban area, or coming from years of war and conflict, the idea of getting to know, relying on, and helping neighbours is literally a “foreign” concept to them.

But looking around, you can see how the same thing could easily happen here. Your community is no longer defined by your geographical location, but rather by the strength of your internet connection. There are more people in the Valley now, but a lot fewer lawn socials, pancake suppers, and turkey dinners – and I’d like to help to reverse that trend.

Temple Grandin spoke at the fairgrounds recently; part of her presentation was of the need for children to become actively involved in their surroundings (i.e. community). Maybe we, as adults, need to lead by example.

I do believe that the GoodSparks Fund is an incredible opportunity not to be missed, but the building it pays for doesn’t need to replace the Dining Hall and can be built anywhere on the fairgrounds.

I would love to approach the LBA with a third option, that of building the GoodSparks-funded community centre elsewhere, and rebuilding the old Dining Hall as an involvement project. In order to do this, I would want a list (petition) of 200 people willing to commit time and effort, to volunteer in whatever capacity their talents provide.

December 5 was National Volunteer’s Day. If you want to sign on my list, come and talk to me. Bruce Barr, Howick

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