The future operation of the Blockhouse was the subject of correspondence between the Merrickville and District Historical Society [MDHS] and the Village of Merrickville-Wolford recently and was on the agenda for this week’s Council meeting.
The Society is seeking a “recognized legal framework” in which both parties could be sure of their respective rights and responsibilities regarding the Blockhouse. Having a definite lease or memorandum of understanding in place would make finding insurance coverage easier and give more strength to funding applications the MDHS would make in relation to the Blockhouse operations.
The failure by the Village to hold timely meetings with the MDHS may mean that there will be no opportunity to apply for Summer students under the Youth Canada Work program, which has previously provided the MDHS with two students to work at the Blockhouse. This, and other concerns of the MDHS, require further meetings with the Village, and it is hoped that the establishment of a Heritage Advisory Committee will facilitate such conversations in future.
In the meantime, however, the question of municipal funding support for the Society is one which becomes urgent, as budget negotiations proceed. The Society expressed a hope that the usual funding for the Blockhouse program will be available for this coming season.
The President of the MDHS, Ann Martin, expressed the Society’s concern, stating that: “It would indeed be a shame if the Blockhouse Museum situated in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, which, according to the Strategic Plan, provides this community with a major competitive advantage, could not be operated in the summer of 2020″.