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Heritage-inspired, accessible benches coming to Wellington

By Sharon Harrison
For those folks thinking a few more seating options might be a good idea for Wellington’s streetscape, two benches will be coming next spring, with potentially a few more later on.

Details of a public bench initiative for Wellington Main Street were shared with the Accessibility Advisory Committee Monday evening.

The project, a request by local residents, is intended to bring a few more places for people to sit and rest when walking in the village in the form of heritage-designed benches, the first such project for the Wellington Community Association Beautification Committee (one of four committees of the WCA).

In their deputation, two committee members Lisa Reddick and Peta Hall, outlined the project. Hall explained how the idea came from a well-attended WCA workshop last April entitled ‘Vision for our Village’.

“One of the strong messages we received from the attendees was that they wanted more benches on the Main Street of Wellington,” Hall said. “Often, people would walk from one end to the other, or carry groceries, and it’s a long walk if there are no benches to rest on.”

The design of the benches will be based (with kind permission granted) on the heritage garden pale blue benches found in the Wellington Heritage Museum garden, where the original design has been adapted to meet AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) requirements.

“The benches at the museum are based on the Wellington historic benches that appeared in many old family farms around Wellington,” Hall described.

The deputants bought a mock-up of the side portion of the bench, as well as an image, and noted construction will be 100 per cent AODA compliant.

“The back is deeper, and the seat is longer, which are all the requirements from the accessibility requirements form we received.”

“Each of the benches that we will be making will be designed by a County artist to depict the spirit of the village,” she added.

There is currently a call out to all Prince Edward County artists, where artists’ design submissions must be received by Dec. 15 – and to date, they have received 12.

Up to half a dozen benches are anticipated to be installed within the village in the next few years, with permission currently granted at two separate locations (neither of which are on municipal property), with installation to commence spring 2024.

The locations of the first two benches are in front of the legion (under a tree), and in front of the chocolate shop (beside the bank) on a little piece of grass.

Each bench, made of spruce, will have a plaque inlaid acknowledging the heritage design of the bench, the artist’s name and sponsorship information.

Committee member and councillor Roy Pennell said he liked the style and the design of the bench, and suggested having in-memoriam benches of Wellington residents who have passed on.

Hall said they have sponsorship for the first two benches, but going forward, they could have memorial benches.

“So the plaque at the back will say that it is a heritage bench from the Wellington museum, it’ll have the artist’s name, and it will have ‘In memory of’, so we can absolutely do exactly that.”

“What a positive project,” noted councillor Kate MacNaughton, acting as meeting chair.

MacNaughton asked whether there were thoughts about public lands in the future, and while Hall said she didn’t know, she said future benches would likely be on private property, not on municipal lands.

“We want to have one going toward the beach, and another one on the other side of the road going toward Wellington on the Lake,” Hall confirmed.

“We are so pleased how well received this project has been received, both within the village of Wellington and by the community,” she enthused.

“Thanks to community enthusiasm, community assistance and strong community financial support, we are able to install two benches, rather than the initially planned single bench – and we are very excited about that!”

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  1. Nigel J. Sivel says:

    Just wondering who is building the benches? Thanks

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