By Chris Pickup

Haldimand County staff has been tasked with chewing on a funding request for a local history project that could have ramifications in the future.

Graeme Bachiu of Windecker Road Films was before council in committee last week to ask for a $5,000 grant to help finance a 6-part documentary TV series his company is producing in 2020.

“The Black Settlers of Canfield” will explore the stories of the descendants of the black settlers who arrived in Canfield via the underground railroad and found a new home of inclusivity, diversity and respect, says Bachiu.

He has partnered in research with local resident Sylvia Weaver who has given many talks on the subject and was instrumental in the establishment of the black settlement marker in Canfield. Heritage Haldimand supports the project, and has already donated $300.

The project will be broadcast via Bell’s Fibe TV1 streaming service in the fall of 2020 which unfortunately is not available in this area. However Bachiu has promised to provide free “hard” copies of the final project to every Haldimand library and the county archives.

In addition, the county will be promoted in each episode and has the potential to reach a motivated, urban audience with its positive message about the quality of life in Haldimand, Bachiu says.

Councillor Bernie Corbett noted Canfield has a rich history, and this project would be a benefit to the community. “Black history is important to these people, and they will travel if they know they can find family history here.”

Councillor John Metcalfe also felt it was a worthwhile project.

But… “It’s a possible rabbit hole in raising expectations,” CAO Craig Manley noted (of this kind of request). “We need a staff report re funding options. It’s taxpayers’ money.”

The report should be before council in the new year.