24: Healthy Communities involve a partnership

Eden & Birnie

On another day trip we found two examples of healthy communties - right next door to each other.

On a drive from Neepawa, north on Highway #5 you will pass signs indicating the villages of Eden and Birnie. Both are facing the pressures of declining population, with the challenges relating to abandonned buildings and a non-existent commercial base. But each of these villages have taken steps to make the best of the situation.

In Eden a space that, in some communities, might well have been the site of vacant and tumbling buildings, is home to a heritage display.

Churches have been closing in small towns for decades now, but someone converted this one into to a residence,  in effect, saving it.

The overall impression is one of a pleasant place, well cared for.

In nearby Birnie, the centre of the village has been turned into park and decorated with wood sclptures by a local artist.

This bit of individuality says a lot about the people who live here.

In both sites, you can see the efforts that have been made to remove unsighty buildings and maintain vacant areas.

Once again I'll emphasize that it comes down to people and leadership.  It also helps if the citizens and local government, in this case the Municpality of Rosedale, are on the same page. For a property owner who takes a caring and responsible attitude to the place,  it would be discouraging if the municipality didn't support those efforts. On drive trhough these two villages, a visitor gets the distinct impression that someone cares.