Community hubs

By Angelica Ingram

Published May 3 2016

Since becoming a homeowner I have become slightly obsessed with home renovation shows. You know the ones: Property Brothers Love it or List it Good Bones.
These shows have a pretty predictable plot line which include a spectacular home makeover with a couple of wrenches thrown in before the grand reveal.

Unexpected surprises are almost always part of every episode. Sometimes it’s mould other times it’s a leaky roof or bad plumbing.
That’s the risk you take when purchasing a building and the older it is the bigger the risk.
When the former Victoria Street School went up for sale a number of years ago a sense of worry crept over the community.
A large brick building oozing with decades of history the school was for many a landmark in the community.

Many feared for its future myself included but understood that taking it over required a huge risk. It required bravery.
Last week a new chapter for the building began and brave partnerships were celebrated.
Taken over by Community Living Haliburton County the building has undergone extensive renovations over the past few years making it more functional accessible and welcoming.
Featuring office space classrooms dance studios a community garden and more the building has been given new life.
In addition to Community Living the facility is now also home to Kawartha-Haliburton Children’s Aid Society truly making it a hub of social service agencies serving the area.
The partnership is a natural fit and good news for the village as it strengthens both agencies moving forward.

During an open house celebration last week Community Living’s executive director Teresa Jordan spoke about the first time she heard from the board of directors about their vision for the Victoria Street School and how it could work for their organization.
Speaking earnestly Jordan said it was a vision she wasn’t sure she was ready to take on.
However the executive director embarked on a solo mission to Haliburton to take a look and she told those in attendance last week “I could instantly see the vision.”
I applaud that board for their vision as should the community at large and commend the Kawartha-Haliburton Children’s Aid Society for also taking a leap of faith.

Trillium Lakelands District School Board director of education Larry Hope said it best when he said it’s not just schools that are community hubs but many facilities can fill that void.
Once a place of education now a place offering assistance the legacy of a community hub lives on at the Victoria Street School.