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Editorial: Herculean effort sees old mill project moving forward

Dreams can come true, and the Brick Mill Heritage Society has proven it yet again.
brick mill
The old brick flour mill is part of local history in Yorkton and dedicated volunteers saved it from being demolished. (File Photo)

YORKTON - There are of course old adages about what hard work and dedication can achieve and all of those would be quite appropriate in describing past and current members of the Brick Mill Heritage Society.

It was years ago now a group of Yorkton citizens banded together and approached City Council about saving the old brick flour mill.

At the time the building and site was little more than an eyesore, and frankly it seemed the only reasonable option for the city was a bulldozer.

While that seems like a harsh vision from the perspective of today, at the time it was a city-owned property with zero sale value, and no vision for what it might become, so if the Council of the day was thinking it was time to call in a demolition crew they can hardly be faulted.

But, then up-stepped a lucky band of mill supporters. They wanted a chance to save the structure – to save a key element of the city’s past.

It seemed a bit like a fool’s dream at the time, but Council had little to lose in giving the group a chance. If they defied the odds and made the mill into something it was a win for the city.

If they failed – well there would always be a bulldozer to call.

Off went the group with a vitality and energy that was truly amazing. They accomplished things most thought unlikely at best, and probably impossible.

The site was cleaned up. Features added. It became a place tourists were encouraged to visit rather than an eyesore to be avoided.

So why not dream bigger?

That was the view of the Heritage Society at least. They envisioned building an interpretive centre to add to the telling of the mill’s history, and create a gathering spot for the community.

The project was expected to cost a shade over $1 million, an amount that again seemed impossible for a small group to raise.

And, then the costs jumped past $2 million.

It couldn’t happen – could it?

Well, the Interpretive Station at the brick mill is moving forward with construction expected to begin within a few weeks, so the answer is yes it could happen.

The decision of the Brick Mill Heritage Society to initiate the build after receiving a $500,000 grant from Government of Canada’s Department of Canadian Heritage through the Legacy Fund component of the Building Communities through Arts and Heritage program. Imagine half a million from a federal government to a project in Yorkton the riding of a Conservative MP.

Terry Tyson, Chair, of the project’s capital campaign said the money means $1.8 million has been raised to-date out of a goal of $2.2 million, and the build can begin.

Dreams can come true, and the Brick Mill Heritage Society has proven it yet again. What they have achieved has defied the odds and created something to last for our city. Thank you.