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Giant Mudcat Still Alive

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Giant Mudcat Still Alive




February 27, 2008

KAREN BEST / dunnvillechronicle.com



A tourist attraction that may become recognized by Guiness World Records is still in its spawning stage for now.


According to Jack Hooghiem, the Giant Mudcat statue project is alive and momentum exists to bring the project to fruition.


Haldimand County Coun. Lorne Boyko is awaiting the unveiling of the giant fish statue that will be 15 metres (50 feet) long and eight metres (27 feet) high. "This could be our claim to fame in the Guiness Book of Records," he says hoping the fish will draw in the predicted 10,000 tourists a year.


The statue will be a representation of a channel catfish which can grow longer than 48 centimetres and is known as the grand daddies of the mudcat, he adds.


The only thing standing in the way of a Dunnville world record is a location.


"We're waiting for council to make a decision on 106 Main," said Hooghiem, who is chair of the Big Mudcat committee. "We have no position on what to do with the building but if that location becomes available we would like to put it there. If it is not knocked down or moved, we will enter into discussions about Thompson Creek Park."


Council has offered Thompson Creek to the group, said Boyko. This county owned park is located on Highway 3 at the Dunnville's western gateway and has ample parking and other amenities may be developed there, he added.


After listening to varied opinions about the statue for more than a year, Boyko found that this park was the most acceptable location for most people. "They can live with it in that location. I think that's the place," he said.


If the statue is erected at Wingfield Park, parking will congested Main Street and downtown, creating a negative impact on the core, he noted. In his opinion, Boyko believed it was better to promote downtown businesses on a sign located near the big fish statue in Thompson Creek Park.


"I'm not buying that you have to put this or anything else in the downtown in order to capitalize on it," he said.


Service club support remains in place. The Dunnville Kinsmen club has already donated $5,000 and has committed to another $2,500, said club president Dave Welch. "We will commit whatever is necessary no matter where that (statue) will be," he stated at a service club dinner.


Meanwhile another community group hoped to see the Braund House at 106 Main Street in Wingfield Park preserved where it stands and converted into a tourism centre, artisan market and museum for exhibiting agricultural, Dutch and First Nations artifacts.


Late last year, the Dunnville Culture and Heritage Foundation submitted to council a business plan for operations and preservation of the Braund House, named after its original owner tin smith William Braund.


Council members are awaiting a staff report reviewing the business plan. Even though demolition costs are listed in this year's capital budget, they are on hold pending the outcome of the report.

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