Editorial - Old mill needs a future

When it comes to Yorkton’s history it is naturally tied closely to the agriculture of the area.

That is seen from the community’s earliest days in the old brick mill that is familiar to most residents.

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The mill has not been operational for years now, and fell into some decay because of the inactivity.

Thankfully, some in the city still saw value in the disused mill, and a society was developed with initially the very basic goal of fundraising enough dollars to preserve the mill before it was past the point of saving.

The work already done on the site is what needed to happen to preserve the building, and with that goal accomplished the Society is beginning to look toward the future, and what that might hold for the old mill.

And, there should be a future for the mill because it is today a rather unique glimpse at both the city and province’s past.

Once flour mills were the hub of the community they were in, as farmers dropped off their grain and people picked up the flour they needed for their baking.

Today though, there are only a few left standing as testament to that connection between agriculture and community in the early days of western settlement.

Only one brick mill remains standing – the one in Yorkton.

The Society believes there is an opportunity to do something on the site, but what should it be?

To answer that all important question, to create a community vision of what the mill could and should be, the Society is holding a series of public meetings seeking ideas, thoughts, and a vision for the mill.

The first of these meetings was held last week, and by the turn out there are many who share a desire to see the mill continue to be an important part of our community moving forward.

The relative rarity of the mill is one of the opportunities for Yorkton, because instead of being important to just Yorkton itself it becomes a site that’s unique provincially, being both the oldest mill and the only one made of brick in the province.

Larry Pearen with the Yorkton Brick Mill Heritage Society said that the meeting showed that there is lots of interest in the community, a positive sign for the mill’s future as they work out ideas for the next step down the road.

That is where the community needs to play a role. We need to crystal ball and daydream about just what the old mill might become with some TLC and funding. We have another meeting June 13, and a third later in the year, to help inspire ideas as the society looks for a direction for the site. They are in the brainstorming phase, and they are looking for any idea someone might have. The June meeting will focus on establishing goals and developing a strategic plan, looking at the mill from a business perspective, hopefully one that again establishes the mill as an integral part of our community

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