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Strathroy-Caradoc’s Sleepy Hollow Railway has been selected by a television program aired by TV Ontario (TVO) that will assist in the relocation of the miniature railroad to the Fair Grounds Recreation Complex.
Council learned on April 7 that Strathroy-Caradoc was selected as one of 10 communities to participate in season three of the TVO television series “Giver”, produced by Sinking Ship Entertainment. Sinking Ship Entertainment will also contribute $10,000 to help pay for the estimated $22,500 cost of the relocation. Strathroy-Caradoc was one of over 200 communities from across Ontario that applied to be involved in the “Giver” program.
The miniature railway’s move from its current location in Alexandra Park is being made mainly because of flooding issues in the park which caused major damage and disruption the summer of 2013.
A report presented to council last month noted that after volunteers spent a great deal of time repairing and replacing old railroad ties, and installing new signs at park entrances and at the footbridge leading to the miniature railway, the work was washed away by a devastating flood in late summer. Municipal staff consulted with the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority, which confirmed that the frequency and severity of floods at the site have increased over the years, and could continue to increase in future years based on recent weather patterns. The Fair Grounds Recreation Complex is located on higher ground where flooding is not an issue, and will be enhanced this summer by the opening of the new outdoor aquatic park, accompanying playground and other recreational facilities.
The production team has confirmed the weekend of May 23-25 for filming of the project. The intent is to develop a plan of action for municipal staff and volunteers involved in the work and have the majority of the railway track laid in its new location by mid-May, with a small section of track left for children to complete during the filming of the episode. The “Giver” production team will work with the children to design and build elements that will enhance the play value of the railway.
The overall cost of the relocation is anticipated at about $22,500, with $10,000 coming from TVO, $7,500 from the local Progress Through Partnership committee, and $5,000 from the recreation department budget.