This isn’t meant to cover everything that happened in the past year, but as we end the decade a short review of some recent changes and happenings in Wingham.
There continues to be a shortage of workers in the area. Wescast, Britespan and down the road, Gaylea in Teeswater, have all been vocal in the difficulty in finding workers locally. This is compounded by the fact that there’s a shortage of homes to purchase and rental properties in the area for workers who would relocate to our area. Wescast currently has approximately a dozen workers who have migrated from Pakistan. If you see these fellows out and about, make them feel welcome as it’s a big transition for them. Not only are the industries having issues finding employees, but several small businesses are in the same boat.
On the housing side, North Huron Council is taking steps to try to get some development moving. The Hutton Heights property south of Wingham has begun environmental studies with the intention of a housing development on the property. Also, the A2A property at the East end of Charles Street has some new leadership in their development plans. Although, not shortterm solutions, the long term is looking strong. Real estate sales for established housing seem to be moving extremely quickly with homes for sale on the market for only a short time.
Josephine Street has seen some new business activity. I won’t mention names here for fear of missing someone, but a successful “In It To Win It” contest was run which has resulted in a new business opening. Two new developments at the south end of town have had the population speculating for several months now. Regardless of the businesses that will operate out of them, they’re adding to tax base, which is never a bad thing.
This year saw the end of the Wingham Police force, which had significant input for going to OPP, both pro and con. The jury is still out on this one, but to date, there’s been a solid OPP police presence in town. Another item which has the population opinion split is the future of the Howson Dam. Years of truck traffic took a big toll on the structure and motor traffic across it was eliminated several years ago. However, as the concrete continues to crumble there’s a debate on the viability of repairing or replacing the dam to recreate the pond area that used to see activity for boating and water skiing. Having the dam in place not only affects Wingham, but may have effects on farmland upriver. One more item currently getting input is the possibility of moving the Museum from the old post office on Josephine Street to the former train station. A Committee of Council has been established to look into this as well as one to look into the dam options.
Wingham remains a strong, vibrant town with something for everyone. Minor sports thrive, there’s a wide variety of athletic and fitness options for people to be involved in and several volunteer groups looking for assistance. The Wingham Community Connectors, established through the Alice Munro Library, will be hosting a volunteer fair in April of 2020 where groups can show what they’re all about and hopefully attract new members. The Farmer’s Market continues in the summer months, along with the Musical Muskrat Festival and Silver Stick hockey tournaments annually. The Wingham Golf and Curling Club is going strong, thanks to strong volunteer support and is hosting 3 high level bonspiels from November 2019 through to spring of 2020 which bring many people from out of the area. Another venue bringing people to town is the renovated Town Hall Theatre. The theatre saw a larger than expected number of events in 2019 and already has multiple bookings for 2020.
As we head into the new year we wish you all the very best for a healthy, happy and prosperous 2020.