This webpage is managed by the Hensall StreetScape and Infrastructure Improvement Committee (HSIIC).
The Hensall Streetscape and Infrastructure Improvement Committee (HSIIC) is a volunteer group of concerned and interested residents of Hensall. The goal of this organization is to identify areas of Hensall that need improvement and to then advocate for addressing the areas of concern. It is the goal of HSIIC to work with the Municipality of Bluewater, other interested residents, and business people in Hensall, in order to improve the visual appeal of the village and improve the quality of life for its residents and business owners.
Media Release October 11, 2016
Hensall Group Continues to Advocate for Village Improvements
(Hensall) A concerned group of Hensall residents continue to meet each month with the goal of advocating for infrastructure improvements and streetscape upgrades in the village. The Hensall Streetscape and Infrastructure Improvement Committee (HSIIC) continues to work with the Municipality of Bluewater in a variety of ways. As well, the group has plans to engage local businesses in the future.
In 2015, the Municipality of Bluewater held public meetings to provide an opportunity for local residents to express their thoughts about living in Bluewater. At the meeting in Hensall, local residents expressed general satisfaction about living in the village, noting its friendly atmosphere, affordable housing stock, and location. Many improvements to the village were noted, citing the parkette, building upgrades, Heritage Hall, among many others.
However, residents also expressed concern about the conditions of roads and sidewalks, downtown buildings, municipal parking lots and other areas. Since that time, the Hensall Streetscape and Infrastructure Improvement Committee (HSIIC) has met monthly. Additional concerns noted during this time include trees being cut down in the village and not replaced with new plantings. The municipality has indicated that a tree planting plan will soon be in place to address this issue. The HSIIC has met with the municipality to identify others areas that need attention.
Kyle Pratt, Chief Administrative Officer of the Municipality of Bluewater states, “It is always great to see citizens taking pride in their community. Community volunteersim is important. The energy and commitment of community volunteers is one of our most valuable resources.
The Jennie Smillie Memorial Parkette was the topic of a recent HSIIC meeting. The group expressed that this parkette is a great asset to the village and has a positive effect on the downtown area. Visually, it is appealing and user friendly. However, it was thought that a “green screen” hedge running east and west to the rear of the parkette would improve visual appeal as it blocks out the alley to the north. Liz Sangster of the Dr. Jennie Smillie Robertson Memorial Parkette Committee, states, “This parkette is a great example of the community working together. The municipality, business owners, private citizens and service groups really came together from the beginning to honour Dr. Smillie and make this park possible. We welcome the Hensall Streetscape and Infrastructure Improvement Committee’s help in the installation of a hedge across the back of the park. The hedge will add beauty and a natural habitat to downtown.“
For its first project, the HSIIC has approved the installation of such a hedge and the municipality has agreed to facilitate the project.Liz Sangster and Chuck Mallette, HSIIC Chair, recently met with Facilities Manager Kevin Geoffrey to finalize plans for the hedge planting. In addition, there are plans to install pole banners to beautify the downtown area. Other ideas have included walking trails for the promotion of a healthy and active lifestyle. In addition, the group will be exploring setting up a work party to clean up certain areas that need attention. The group discusses these and other goals and concerns at monthly meeting. Miranda Burgess, a committee member and Health Promoter for the Grand Bend Area Community Helath Centre, notes, “Various community-based factors influence people’s health and wellbeing. This group (HSIIC) is a great way to advocate for and achieve changes we want to see in our community. People working together to make these community improvements are dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for people living and working in this area.”
“We know that residents have concerns about the appearance of many areas of Hensall,” Chuck Mallette notes, “but we are working with the municipality to express our concerns and trying to find ways to address them. It’s a slow process but we feel we’re in the for the long haul.”
The municipality has also been helpful in rectifying safety issues in the village. For example, at the committee’s request, the municipality has been instrumental in the removal of a derelict loading ramp in the village, which was in poor condition and presented an extreme safety hazzard.
Marnie Hill, Bluewater Coucil Representative, Hensall Ward, said, “The HSIIC and the Municipality of Bluewater have happily agreed to work together, keeping the lines of communication open in order to maintain and promote a healthy, active, and vibrant community.”
HSIIC welcomes new members who are interested in helping their community. The group meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month at 7:00 PM at Hensall United Church.
Kevin Geoffrey, Facilities Manager, Chuck Mallette HSIIC Chair, and Liz Sangster of the Jennie Smillie Parkette Committee, discuss plans to plant a hedge along the north edge of the parkette in downtown Hensall.