Canadians helping Canadians

Community leader steps in to help raise funds for town devastated by train accident

A local fundraiser for the small town of Lac-Mégantic in Quebec is being planned for September.

Over 30 buildings and much of Lac-Mégantic’s downtown core was destroyed July 6 when a train carrying crude oil derailed and caused several explosions and fires.

Forty-two people were confirmed dead after the accident and five were still missing when the search for bodies was finally called off last Thursday, Aug. 1.

“It was an absolutely devastating event for the small town,” said Kenny Podmore, Sidney’s Town Crier and a member of the Town’s council.

“We could only hope that if something as devastating happened in Sidney, which it could with the airport right here, that others would come to our aid.

“That’s why I decided to organize a fundraiser.”

The fundraiser Podmore is organizing is set for Sunday, Sept. 1 at Beacon Park and will include refreshments, music by Mufaro, Old Black Rum and others and face painting by Panorama.

“It’s going to be a great family event and everything that day will be by donation. All the proceeds will go to help the people touched by the tragedy in Lac-Mégantic,” said Podmore.

He added that he’s been in touch with Lac-Mégantic’s mayor and will arrange the transfer of all funds raised on Sept. 1 so she can place them where the town needs it most, likely with victims and families.

“The devastating train crash in the beautiful community of Lac-Mégantic easily hits home,” said Sidney Mayor Larry Cross.

“The community is of a similar size to Sidney and it’s my experience that such communities tend to be tight-knit. When something like this happens it really does affect every individual in the community. Our hearts go out to them, but we want to do more than simply send condolences,” he continued, stressing that he hopes residents will come out and support the fundraiser like they have with similar events organized by Podmore in the past.

The fundraiser, dubbed Canadians Helping Canadians, will run from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 1 at Beacon Park. For more information or to get involved with volunteering or donating to the cause, contact Kenny Podmore at kennycrier@shaw.ca.