By Chad Ingram
Minden will be featured on an episodeof CBC documentary series Still Standing which explores andcelebrates small towns throughout Canada.
Minden Hills council held a specialmeeting via online conferencing platform Zoom on June 18 and heard apresentation from story producer Shayla Howell and executive producerAnne Francis.
“We'd very much like to come and filman episode of our show in Minden this summer” Howell toldcouncillors adding that was subject to everything being safe andlegal with regard to precautions around the ongoing COVID-19outbreak.
The show features actor/comedian JohnnyHarris going into small communities meeting residents and seeingwhat makes those towns tick.
“The premise of the show is tocelebrate small towns in Canada” Howell said adding that whileonce most Canadians lived in rural communities now the vast majorityreside in urban centres. “If everyone has moved to the city what'severyone doing in these small communities?”
In the case of Minden Howell said itwas news stories about severe flooding and the community's responseto it that caught producers' attention. Minden Hills declared statesof emergency due to severe flooding on the Gull River in 2013 2017and 2019 respectively.
“The other universally true item wehave found is that communities come together” Howell said.
There have been some 70 episodes of theshow with Wilberforce featured in a previous episode.
Howell said the show's staff workclosely with community members and municipal representativesthroughout the production process.
“We have written permission for everysingle frame you see in that show” she said. The plan is to filmfrom July 15 through 21 with the episode airing about a year later.While normally an episode concludes with Harris doing a comedy setfor community members about his experience in their town because ofthe COVID-19 crisis at this time a live comedy show is not planned.However Francis said the hope is to cycle back and do that comedyset at a later time if restrictions allow. Each episode of the showreaches roughly a million people Howell said.
Councillors were quick and unanimous inapproving the filming.
“I don't see any downside to this”said Deputy Mayor Lisa Schell. “ . . . I very much look forward tothis experience.”
“I almost declared a conflict ofinterest because I love this show” said Councillor Pam Sayne.
“What I can say is we're allterrifically excited to go forward with this” said Mayor BrentDevolin.