Letter: The Old School’s possibilities are endless if one puts one’s mind to it

The power to imagine the positive is a win-win

To the Expositor:

Imagine a community where everyone’s opinion was equal in weight, where opinions that mattered included taxpayers, residents, even tourists. Imagine a community where all residents were heard when providing input into expenditures and plans. This would mean that their opinions were acknowledged and valued. This would be an amazing thing. 

Then imagine a fantastic realization where compassionate people in a community with a single mission work with a council and develop a plan for an historic site where it is a win-win situation for all. Where some parties swallow a little bit of pride, set aside their egos and just decide to do the right thing. What a media splash that would be.

Imagine this as a future media release: ‘Municipality of Central Manitoulin agrees to relinquish financial responsibility for 100-year-old building to locally incorporated group passionate about the heritage of this building. Together they will work together to best facilitate the transition of ownership. Local council and committee members agree to assist where and when possible. Both groups are excited about the new possibilities open for discussion.’

Fast forward. The Old School house currently houses six new businesses in the town of Mindemoya which include a full bakery and coffee house, a lawyer’s office, and an engineering firm. A portion of the building is available for tourists to view and appreciate both the historical value of the building itself and the historical items kept within. Special attention has been paid to encourage tourism and business within the municipality as these are items identified in their 2016 Central Manitoulin Official Plan.  

Some thought the building no longer had value, but once co-operation prevailed the sky was the limit, the old building has proved and reproved its worth. ‘Friends of Mindemoya Old School,’ a successful charitable organization continues to improve the building as a viable business centre and a tourist destination for Central Manitoulin. All businesses within the building report that they are thriving and are thrilled to be in such a beautiful building with such heritage value. ‘Friends of the Old School’ thank the municipality for their reconsideration of demolition as it has proven to be a co-operative effort and a complete success.

We did it, together. 

Although the present reality of the Old Mindemoya School House is tenuous the power to imagine the positive might just be the win-win for everyone. 

Alison McAllister

Spring Bay