By Mike Anderson
The Sutton Legion has a new fence thanks to Sutton District High School students.
The grade 11 and 12 students are enrolled in the school’s Exploring Opportunities Program (EOP), which provides hands-on training in small engine repair, green industries and construction.
Thirteen students, supervised by EOP instructors, built the 6×6 fence and gate over six weeks with approximately $10,000 of lumber and materials donated through Home Depot Canada’s Orange Door Project, which provides grants for at-risk youth.
Georgina Trades Training Inc (GTTI), located on Baseline Rd, secured the grant, hired a program coordinator, and provided a workshop to pre-assemble the fence panels and gate.
“It was a great opportunity to provide training to youth and to give them real-life experiential learning,” said Ashley Walker, GTTI’s executive director.
“By doing this project for the Legion, they got to contribute to their community, and it’s something they can see, tell people about, and be proud of.”
The original fence, several decades old, blew down in a wind storm and was replaced by temporary fencing provided by the Town.
According to Peter Leach, first vice-chair responsible for building maintenance, the Legion contributed $7,300 from the insurance claim, plus an extra $2,000 for materials.
“We knew we needed a new fence, but we didn’t have the money,” Leach said.
“We’re saving at least $10,000, and probably much more, if you add the cost of labour,” he said.
“We wouldn’t have been able to do what we are doing if we had to pay for the labour and because of the price of lumber these days.”
“We’re also getting a better fence because we could only afford 4×4 posts. Now, we are getting 6x6s.”
Leach is hopeful the EOP students, GTTI and Home Depot Canada can team up again to help with other repairs needed at the Legion.
“We’ll get them to do it, if they can do it. We might need new picnic tables and benches in the future. There are all kinds of things. There’s always work to be done here. Because a lot of this stuff is 40 to 50 years old.”
Owen McDonald, 16, one of the EOP students, said building the fence has been a great experience.
“It’s good to help local people, and it’s a good opportunity to learn new skills,” he said.
“I didn’t realize how precise it had to be. Putting the posts into the ground and getting them lined up properly.”
McDonald said the project has him thinking about a potential career in the skilled trades.
“I’d rather do this than sit in class all day. I like being outside and doing hands-on work.”
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