Big Things on Lake Fanshawe

Jeff Wilmore

Big Things on Lake Fanshawe
By Jeff Willmore

It is a beautiful summer here in our little corner of this fair Dominion. The soaring temperatures and soft breezes have me thinking of things like cold beer and hammocks. However, dear reader, relaxation is not in the cards for your Maintenance department, big things are happening this summer on the sultry shores of mighty Lake Fanshawe, and I’m not talking about the mosquitoes.

Let me tell you. First, let’s talk about some of my favorite things, things that are now completed, done and I don’t have to worry about them any more. Our renovated washrooms are now behind us, the final touches completed back in June. The fire-code improvements to the Miller Barn are now done and the barn has never looked better or been more functional for event use. A little further down this list, but just as important are the new concrete floors in both the Miller Drive-shed and the Sawmill lean-too. These two projects represent the rewards of a strong community partnership with the Construction Craft Worker’s Training center, and the hard work and vision of our own Mike Anderson.

We also at this time have other projects that are well underway and nearing completion. While I push paper and walk around the site feigning expertise and gesturing in a dramatic fashion, others, who have real skills, are hard at work getting things done. Incredibly dedicated volunteers, Jack and John are carrying out interior and exterior restoration work on the Caverhill Farmhouse. So far they have completed most of the exterior repairs and have now moved to the interior with patching, painting and interior installations in the summer kitchen. They have the whole building to themselves for the season and they are doing great things up there. Further to this, before the summer is out, we have a painting contractor ready to complete the exterior painting. The icing on the cake you might say that will end a multi-year project.

Another a long-term project, ongoing this summer, and in the final phase, is the restoration of Fanshawe School, S.S. #19. Your maintenance crew is carrying out this work with Martin and Mike working together towards an early autumn completion. This work will include repairs to soffit and eaves, minor repairs to windows and then exterior painting of all woodwork.

There are a few other minor and middling projects that have been completed so far this summer or are ongoing, but to keep the editor happy I had better get to the big one. I am talking of course about the new Spriet Family Visitor Centre. For many years now this thing has been on the radar, like a ghost ship, registering blips now and then, only to fade, drifting in the sea of funding vagaries and minor set-backs, but always re-appearing closer than before. Well, now it’s upon us, funds are secured and work is underway, ‘shovels in the ground’ as they say. The excavation was completed weeks back now, and as I write we have a foundation in place. Masonry work and steel structure will probably be under way by the time you read this column. This project marks years of slow and steady progress in the re-shaping of Fanshawe Pioneer Village and it is great to see the building finally happening.

It is all quite exciting and I often do a little shovel-leaning and watch the daily progress. While engaged in this important ‘supervisory’ work I have noticed that our local swallow population is now using the security fence as a perch to swoop down over the grass and catch flying insects. This incredibly astute observation tells me the local fauna has already decided that our new building is going to be just fine next to the shores of mighty Lake Fanshawe.