/Community improvement

Community improvement


By Chad Ingram

summer, the Township of Minden Hills embarked upon the creation of a
community improvement plan, and that process is now at a phase of public
input, the township encouraging residents to take an online survey and
provide feedback. Taking the survey is a short but worthwhile exercise.
institution of a community improvement plan allows a municipality to
provide private property owners financial incentives for improvements to
their properties, the idea being these aesthetic enhancements improve
the economic development viability of the community. A local government
giving money to private enterprise is something normally prohibited
through the Municipal Act, but a section in the Planning Act allows
municipalities to create such a framework through the establishment of a
community improvement plan. Such plans entail the delineation of a
physical area within which business- and homeowners can apply for access
to grants and loans. 
the case of Minden Hills, the recommended geographic area includes
Minden’s downtown core and the immediately abutting neighbourhoods,
which makes sense. 
is a gem, just one in need of some polishing. Minden has a lot of
things working in its favour. The Gull River, while sometimes our foe
during the spring freshet, is, the rest of the year, a shimmering asset
flowing through the heart of the downtown. It is not only picturesque,
but a venue for leisurely recreation. Last year’s inaugural operating
season for Minden River Run, allowing customers to float from Rotary
Park into the downtown, added another layer of buzz to the village’s
busy summer vibes. Riverwalk, the boardwalk connecting Invergordon
Avenue to the cultural centre, the cultural centre itself – all assets. 


include the perennial challenge of keeping all of the main drag’s
storefronts full. There is an ebb and flow to this, but Minden’s main
strip virtually always has some vacancy, and no vacancy is the goal.
Aesthetic improvements resulting from a community improvement plan, as
well as access to its financial incentives, should in theory attract new
business owners to the downtown core, as well as help existing business
owners spruce up their buildings. Another hindrance comes in the form
of two notable eyesores in the downtown: a former tavern and a former
theatre. Two of Minden’s flagships in their glory days, these properties
now sit as vacant and dilapidated ghosts, both for sale and both
waiting to be reborn. The redevelopment of these highly visible
commercial properties will be key to making downtown Minden feel whole
plan will also draw upon aspects of the  2014 Minden Village
Redevelopment Master Plan. The council of the day got started on some of
that work – new sidewalks, the blue gateway signage located at village
entry points on Bobcaygeon Road and Water Street – but certainly more
highly visible signage along Highway 35 is required to awaken passersby
to the fact there is an entire village with a whack of great businesses
located just off the highway. 
the meantime, residents have a chance to contribute to the work by
taking the township’s survey. It’s half a dozen questions long, takes
just a few minutes and can be found at https://mindenhills.ca/