Latest posts by Dryden Observer (see all)
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It has been almost 20 years since the Town of Dryden merged with the Township of Barclay to create the City of Dryden but sometimes it’s easy to forget.
When you drive in from the east the Welcome to Dryden sign does not appear until you are in the middle of the amalgamated city.
Former Barclay, now East Dryden, residents have seen their lives change since amalgamation; the Barclay school closure, the closure of the Barclay Hall, closing of the ball diamonds, all big changes to a community who used to feel a real fellowship.
Eric Lundmark has lived on Meadows Road for forty-four years and he has seen the changes first hand.
“We really felt part of a community, now that is completely gone,” said Lundmark. “We’ve lost our own little community. We don’t interact as neighbours as much as we used to, I know that’s for sure. Barclay, we’d go to the ball field, we’d all be together, we’d be coaching and cheering the children on and we were playing against Dryden so there was a community pride involved in that. Same with the school but now that of course has all dissipated, there’s none of that. It’s sad because you lose that community feeling and that good community togetherness feeling which I think is really important to the fabric of the country really.”
Lundmark remembers when Barclay council approved the decision to amalgamate without input from the community. He says he knows it came down from Toronto to amalgamate communities across the province but there was a strong feeling in Barclay against it.
Like many other East Dryden residents he wants to see more done in the area. He says streetlights are needed on roads like his to improve safety, particularly for students getting to and from the school bus; in the winter months those roads are already dark when kids get home.
“I haven’t seen any improvements,” continues Lundmark. “One of the things that has bothered me over the years is there’s certain things that when council passes new legislation regarding the city of Dryden it’s broken down into urban Dryden and not encompassing the whole Dryden. Rural Dryden is looked at as being still Barclay so far as funding goes. For certain things we seem to be on the outside looking in, even though we’re part of the city now and all our taxes go into hopefully one pot.”
East Dryden resident Bryan McDonald has voiced similar concerns and has offered ideas on how to improve East Dryden to make it feel like part of the city.
He suggested a new boat launch in a letter he wrote to council; construction of one was started on Davis Point Road prior to amalgamation.
“I wrote another letter to council not long ago giving them suggestions to at least make this section of town feel like part of the city,” said McDonald.
“If you get some extra money for infrastructure, new development why can’t you finish off a couple projects that were started by Barclay? That’s basically where I’m coming from; I’m not seeing anything being spent out this way. Of course Sandy Beach Road was a major thoroughfare through East Dryden and it’s basically falling into the ditch and that’s going to take a lot of money to fix that up, that’s a special project, these other ones I don’t think are going to take a whole lot of money.”