4Cs thanks supporters
January 20, 2015
In December, the 4Cs had the privilege of distributing toys and more than 200 Christmas food vouchers to our community. This, and our regular monthly distribution of food, would not be possible without the generosity of so many. As we look back over the last couple of months, we simply say a big “thank you” to a long list of campaigns and supporters including: Fill-the-Truck, Terror on Wonderland Road, Zombie Walk, Fill-the-Cruiser, Moose FM Radiothon, Home Builders (toy drive), our local grocery stores, schools, businesses, clubs, individual donors and our volunteers. Thanks too to everyone who donates or shops at the Lily (which supports the food bank). It is difficult to adequately express our gratitude to the wonderful caring community we have the privilege of living in and that responds so generously to meet the needs at our food bank. Again, thank you!
Board Chair, 4Cs
Dysart roads done right
January 13, 2015
It would seem that with so much discussion recently about the state of our local winter roads, one should give credit where credit is due. I have lived in the Village of Haliburton for the past 15 years and am so very impressed with the snow removal work (roads and sidewalks) of the roads department of Dysart. These people should be offering clinics on how to do the job in an efficient and timely manner! We’re very fortunate to have pros like them looking after things.
McConnells thank community
January 6, 2015
Although we were devastated by the fire that destroyed our home and pets in West Guilford on Dec. 10, we were overwhelmed by the love and support of our community. The bravery demonstrated by Barry Miscio and Joe Voicey when they entered our smoke-filled house to rescue Darlene was exemplary. We will always be grateful to the Haliburton and Algonquin Highlands fire departments, our neighbours Theresa and Darren Johnston for taking Darlene into their home to wait for the ambulance, to Derwyn Barry and his workers who dragged our vehicles to safety, to all who donated money, clothing and food, to Sandy Stevens who organized the support and set up the trust fund. We also thank our pastor Rev Bev and Pat Hicks and our church family Northland Faith Church for their prayers and support. We also appreciated the efforts of Ed and Doreen Hodgins, Darlene’s parents, for taking us into their home. It will take a while to get our lives back on track, but with the community support and prayers we have received we are in great shape. I came to Haliburton 42 years ago. At that time I told my friends in Peterborough I was only planning to stay five years, and would be returning to civilization. Boy was I wrong. I am truly humbled. In the 1970s there was a slogan “Haliburton is for Lovers.” Regardless of whether truth or fiction, I do know for certain that there is a lot of love in Haliburton.
Dr. Jenn Morrow saved my dog’s life
January 6, 2015
Wednesday night my nine-year-old standard poodle Toby bloated. Gastric dilation and volvulus syndrome (also known as bloat or torsion) is a life threatening condition not uncommon in large and deep chested dogs where the stomach twists, often times involving or threatening other organs. Bloat has a high mortality rate if not attended to with great speed and skill. I am writing to thank Dr. Morrow and Emily Thackeray for their time and energy that went into Toby’s surgery. I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart for their kindness and compassion in working to save Toby, but also for the care and kindness they showed to me during a very stressful time. In saving Toby’s life, Dr. Morrow gave me a lifetimes worth of Christmas miracles. The entire staff of the Minden Animal Hospital over the past days of recovery have been kind, generous, helpful, and always willing to lend a hug. They have been professional, courteous, and I could not imagine finding a better care team anywhere in the world!
Revelations on the cat problem
January 6, 2015
No domestic animal should be abandoned to fend for itself. Why do some people feel they can treat cats as disposable? Whether they are feral or abandoned domestic cats, they are all homeless. Society and local governments are overdue to take responsibility to do something about this situation. Keith Stata in Kinmount and many other volunteers have been using their own money to help homeless cats. These volunteers deserve the support of local township governments to assist them is dealing with the issue. We are extremely grateful that Highlands East has a program with a budget for the spay/neuter of homeless cats and a shelter for them. There is nothing like this in other townships of Haliburton County, or in any of the other counties in Ontario where we have spoken to animal rescue volunteers. Without the help of Highlands East township we would not have been able to rescue all of the cats we have helped in recent years. Our previous councillor, Steve Kauffeldt, has left us with plans for improvements to the shipping container shelter that will greatly reduce the costs of operating it. Steve did wonderful work with regard to the cat’s issues and is a true friend to homeless cats.
Highlands East Cat Rescue Volunteer
Full time/part-time/caring citizens
January 6, 2015
As a full time firefighter with some 30 years of service and a life long cottager I have sat many a day or night on my dock and watched our local first responders driving along Hwy #118 to assist someone in our local community in their time of need. Despite our cottage being closed up now for the winter season, I still stay connected to Haliburton by receiving the Echo each week. Fire is tragic to anyone whom has been directly impacted by it. Fire is fast moving, and can strike at any time to anybody. Fire has no “favourites”. When it does strike in our community we rely on our local volunteer firefighters or “volies” as we often refer to them, to come to our aid. And that they do. Unfortunately there has been much tragedy this past year in the Haliburton area. From multiple serious car accidents, the Haliburton Feed Company fire in November, and now the Dunloe Farm fire in December. I am compelled to write to say a special “thank you” to Chief Maughan and the Dysart firefighters for your continued efforts to assist when needed. You have my utmost respect for the job you do. Remember there is a reason why these firefighters are called “volies”. They do this not for money, but because they care about their community and are watching out for our neighbours. But I would be remiss if I did not mention the true heroic efforts of four individuals within our community. Chris Dobbins and Bharat Bhaga for their efforts on Dec 13 in relation to an overturned vehicle, and of course Barry Miscio and Joe Voicey in their actions at the Dunloe fire on Dec 10. These men do not get paid for what they did, they do not even have the luxury of PPE (personal protective equipment). There actions DID save lives. They are heroes in every sense of the word. If I ever see any of these fine gents in town, I will tip my hat to each of them. A job very well done indeed. So to all you “volies” – thank you. Full time or part time, fire does not distinguish who is responding. I have luckily never needed our local fire service. I hope I never do. But should I, my family, or my neighbours need them I know they will be well served. Once again thank you to all our volies. Stay safe.
Acting District Chief Toronto Fire Services
No favourites in Highlands East
January 6, 2015
It’s too bad that some folks who live in Ward 3 of Highlands East have nothing better to do than try to keep the old Gooderham/Wilberforce jealousy alive; people in Wards 1, 2 and 4 do not seem to have any antipathy toward other communities. There are some reasons why the community of Wilberforce appears to have gotten ahead of Gooderham: (1) many years ago someone in Wilberforce pursued the founding of the Red Cross Outpost, now due to the diligent work of Wilberforce folks, it is a historic site. Apparently no one in Gooderham thought about such an advancement back then; (2) also in that era Fred Agnew (who married a niece of Gooderham’s Alice Hunter) bought a store in Wilberforce and look at what the latest generation of Agnews have made of it! The Agnew family also bought the store in Gooderham that is now Gooderham Food Mart, and Ross Agnew and his wife Victoria moved to Gooderham and ran that store for many years. Vicki was an R.N. and was a great benefit to this community and Ross also played a role in the community serving as Glamorgan representative on the Haliburton County Board of Education. Gooderham benefited from the Agnew-of-Wilberforce expertise. (3) In the 1950s the people in Wilberforce built an arena with the blessing of Monmouth council – Gooderham residents used that arena for hockey, figure-skating and pleasure skating the same as Wilberforce residents but when Monmouth Council asked for financial help to maintain the arena Glamorgan council always gave them short shrift. The industrious people of Wilberforce also organized a citizens’ fire department which ran without municipal support until provincial legislation required that it be a part of the municipal operation. In the 1950s Gary Agnew was elected reeve in Monmouth and started a political momentum that carried through to the amalgamation. Glamorgan/Gooderham, on the other hand, sputtered along on the premise that “what was good enough for grandfather is good enough for all future generations” until Vicki Agnew changed that perspective when she successfully ran for reeve in 1966 and Gooderham has benefited from good leadership and good administrative support since that time. Geography also has a bearing on the development of the two communities – “downtown” Gooderham is in a flood-plain, Wilberforce is on a sand flat – also a portion of Wilberforce is in Cardiff Township, a factor that was only relevant before amalgamation. There have been a few other things that caused a ruckus from time to time, particularly when sports were involved but it’s time to join the 21st century and put the 20th century angst behind us. I occasionally browse the Internet for changes to provincial legislation as it pertains to municipalities so I am aware that the role of councils has changed dramatically over the last few years. I monitor the municipality’s website quite frequently and find absolutely no favouritism towards Wilberforce (or any other community) by Highlands East council.
Resident Ward 3
Grateful during power outage
January 6, 2015
I was one of the several hundreds of people who spent Christmas Day without power. That 18-hour period made me very grateful. Grateful for the mild temperatures outside. Grateful to have people in my life who don’t think twice about offering up their homes or cooking Christmas dinner unexpectedly. Grateful to realize that many Hydro One workers were missing their own Christmas dinners to ensure that I would have heat. And late Christmas night, after a personal call from Hydro One to let me know my power was back on, grateful to drive home to a warm, brightly lit house!
College making process
December 23, 2014
To the Editor, It’s important to correct the multiple inaccuracies in regard to the Ontario College of Trades (the College) that appeared in Shane Sisson’s Dec. 16 letter to the editor. In just over a year, the Ontario College of Trades (the College) has made significant progress as a new self-regulatory body mandated to oversee and modernize skilled trades in Ontario and protect the public interest. For the first time in Ontario, there are enforcement officers checking to ensure that the person who fixes your brakes or wires your home is actually qualified to do the job. The College has already made great progress in updating training standards for trades to ensure that our apprentices have the best training possible. A new website www.earnwhileyoulearn.ca has been developed to encourage youth to explore the skilled trades a first-choice career option. The College has also been working tirelessly to build relationships with industry, local Chambers of Commerce, businesses and skilled trades professionals across the province. Also, during our first year, the College facilitated the first independent, open and transparent review of all 33 journeyperson to apprentice ratios. As a result of this open process that included industry involvement, 14 ratios were reduced, and now all but one ratio begins at 1:1. Finally, our membership fees were set following a comprehensive consultation with industry and are the lowest yearly membership fee of any of the professional regulatory bodies in Ontario. In order to ensure that the College is able to fulfill its mandate to protect the public interest, it is important that facts be communicated clearly and accurately to the public.
CEO and Registrar, Ontario College of Trades
Kids learn cooking, life skills
December 23, 2014
The John Howard Society of Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton has been running the Towards a Healthy Future: Cooking and Life Skills program and we have been welcomed at J.D. Hodgson Elementary School for the last six weeks. This program is geared for children ages eight to 12. We have taught the children basic cooking skills, kitchen safety and basic life skills. We would like to thank J.D. Hodgson Elementary school for allowing us to run our program in their school. We also would like to extend our thanks to all of our sponsors including Todd’s Independent Grocer, Haliburton Foodland, 4Cs Food Bank and Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit.
Jessica Noble Program Facilitator
Hydro One issues persist
December 23, 2014
Last week, the Auditor General of Ontario released her annual report revealing what many have known all along – that people in Ontario are paying billions of dollars extra for electricity because of a flawed smart meter program and the above-market rates the province pays to most power generators. We thought it couldn’t get any worse than when the Liberals wasted a billion dollars on the gas plants scandal; however this government actually doubled down and wasted another two billion dollars on smart meters that do not work. In addition to the financial costs, the Auditor General found that smart meters have done little to reduce peak energy use, which was the intent of the program in the first place. This news comes on the heels of a year-long battle between Hydro One and Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock customers who have been victimized by a flawed and mismanaged billing system and a total disregard for customer service. The report also found that ratepayers will pay $50 billion between 2006 and 2015 in Global Adjustment Charges, on their electricity bills. This charge is intended to cover the gap between the heavily subsidized prices paid green energy. Sixty per cent of that can be traced to wind and solar power generators and the actual market price. Every homeowner in Ontario has paid and will continue to pay $1,000 a year in Global Adjustment Charges. By 2015, each Ontario household will have handed over $10,000 in hidden taxes because of this governments complete mishandling of the energy file. When you see these numbers, it really is no wonder why our hydro bills are at record highs. This report validates what I have been hearing from my constituents for several years. The tragic part of this whole fiasco is the devastating human cost attached to this government’s mismanagement. Spiralling hydro bills are forcing some families to choose between keeping the lights on and putting food on the table. This problem becomes even more severe during the cold months of winter. All of this could be redirected to schools, to hospitals, to those with disabilities, to paying down our debt, but instead, all that money goes to pay for this government’s mismanagement and scandals. Premier Wynne claims to welcome accountability – well it is time she finally start showing some respect to Ontario taxpayers. I continue to urge constituents to contact my office with any Hydro One billing issues they may have.
MPP Laurie Scott
Good Samaritan saves the day
December 16, 2014
Having lived in Haliburton County for five years now, I thought I was prepared for the winters we experience. After all, not long after I arrived (three weeks to be exact) we got the great snow storm of 2009. You remember the one, when Minden declared a state of emergency and a certain reporter I know was trapped in his home for three days. So imagine my shock when the snow that fell this past Wednesday sent my car into a tizzy. Yes it’s true, I don’t have four-wheel drive. But surely my Volkswagen can handle these few centimetres, OK maybe more than a few centimetres, of snow. My day began with a drive to Stanhope, which was lengthened due to the highway being closed because of an accident. Although my arrival was uneventful, it was only downhill from there. Because let’s face it, there was no way my car was going uphill. A few attempts at hills on Airport Road followed. Then is was time to get trapped in the driveway of an interview subject. At this point I would like to send sincere thanks to Bryan Teasdale for his shovelling expertise and help in getting me out of the driveway and back on the Barry Line. You showed great patience and a kind, generous spirit! Another scary trip on the roads was followed by what I thought would be the end of my day, arriving to my final destination: the Haliburton Echo office. Was I wrong! A quick turn from Highland Street to Cedar Avenue proved to be a mountainous effort, one my little red car was not up for. I tried and I tried, but it would not go up. So there I was, stuck at the stop sign with nowhere to go. And then he came. A saviour if you will. A good Samaritan! A man in a truck with a plow cruised right on next to me and removed the snow from the street. And when he realized this still wasn’t enough for my German car he squeezed by me once again and parked in the middle of a very busy intersection to direct traffic and let me back up out of a pickle. A near death experience was quickly becoming a Canadian winter episode. And boy was I happy about that! So thank you Dave Freeman, the man with the plow. Thank you for stopping to help me and for getting me out of a sticky situation. I cannot thank you enough for taking time out of your schedule and coming to my rescue. It’s nice to know that not only is Haliburton filled with shovels and plows, but friendly faces willing to use them for others.
Revelations on the cat problem
December 16, 2014
One cold winter night in February 1961, a car slowed and stopped at our gate and went on. A few moments later a small frightened kitten turned up at our door, meowing and then shivering in the cold. Want one or not we had another cat! Fast forward 53 years, and nothing has changed. If anything, things have gotten worse. In our throw-away generation, living creatures are callously discarded by irresponsible pet owners, like so much garbage. In a conversation in Minden a lady was stressed to report a friend had called, and said she had become tired of her cat of three years and dumped it downtown! Revelation #1, domestic cats abandoned by owners rarely survive without intervention, most starve, or freeze to death, are killed by predators, cars, or homeowners who don’t want them around. Revelation #2, feral cats: they don’t fall from the sky and are not delivered by storks! These are the wild offspring of domestic cats who do survive and are wild. You see them everywhere wandering the streets in towns, hunkering down under buildings trying to find protection from the cold, or little kittens killed on the highway, or licking spilled coffee from the snow trying to find something to eat to survive. Minden has 40 or 50+. In Bobcaygeon the estimates are 300+, Lindsay‚ don’t ask, and in Kinmount I think they are all living at my place. Frankly I believe these estimates are the tip of the iceberg, as they don’t reflect the ones dumped at farms or areas where they are not so obvious. Revelation #3, shooting ferals won’t solve the problem unless you also plan on shooting the stupid people who are responsible for dropping them in the first place! We seem to have money for everything, including turtle crossings, so it is time the local municipal governments get their collective asses together and entered the 21st century and started to deal with the cat problem. This is a problem created by taxpayers so their money needs to be taken to deal with it. If I had my way instead of requiring people to license pets, I think we should license people to acquire animals in the first place. Revelation #4 pet ownership is not a right, it is a privilege. If you can’t afford to look after a pet, and are not prepared to make it a lifetime commitment, then you shouldn’t acquire a pet, period. Seems to me I got that speech from my mother when I wanted my first puppy, back in 1951! Dream on, on that idea! Many areas have moved to license cats, the money is then used to provide free spay and neuter clinics. Many areas have moved to provide shelter for ferals, then trap spray and neuter them, releasing them into their new habitat. Many areas have moved to pass bylaws, outlining the minimum requirements of acceptable pet care. A plywood dog house, with no flap and no hay and a dog on a three foot chain, with a frozen bowl of water, does not meet acceptable standards! Many areas have moved to provide fines for abandonment of animals when the perpetrator can be identified. Humane Societies rely wholly on donations to deal with the flood of abandoned cats. It’s time the municipal governments started to give them money to assist, since this problem is caused by their ratepayers. As it now stands everyday citizens are being forced to step in and try to help while the local governments do nothing. It is time for change, if you agree with me let’s talk. Let’s make 2015 the year local Governments finally get their collective asses together and do something constructive to work to help solve the problem.
Keith W. Stata, Kinmount
It’s not all about Toronto
December 16, 2014
As the president of the Haliburton County Home Builders’ Association, I hear often from local small business owners involved in the construction and renovation industry that they struggle to find and hire young people interested in pursuing the skilled trades as a career. And instead of government doing something positive about this – they merely set up a new bureaucracy that gets in the way of encouraging young people from joining our industry. The Ontario College of Trades was supposedly created to elevate the status of tradespeople in the province. Unfortunately, it has not lived up to its promise. Its leadership talks down to industry. There is a lack of transparency in how it operates and it is unaccountable in its decisions. The result is that Ontario is still left with the highest journeyperson-to-apprentice ratios in all of Canada. This ratio makes it more difficult for employers to hire young apprentices and therefore makes it more difficult for young people to find work. OCOT now enforces these high ratio requirements with a full enforcement division. In order to pay for this new bureaucracy, tradespeople across Ontario now must pay $120 annually to OCOT in order to continue working legally in Ontario. This fee was created with little justification for exactly what the money would be used towards or a real explanation by OCOT on how they are promoting the trades. People working in the trades are becoming really frustrated. This frustration towards OCOT came up during the provincial election. The Tories said they would abolish it and the Liberals said they would review OCOT. Last month the Liberal Government appointed Tony Dean, the former head of the Ontario Public Service, to lead a review. Although the review is in its early stages, we have yet to see the complete details on how the review will proceed, let alone the outcomes that might result from the review. At the very least, the review needs to visit areas outside of Toronto, so that tradespeople that pay into OCOT from all across Ontario, not just Toronto, have a voice in its future. People working in the skilled trades deserve better. A full review of OCOT, visiting urban, rural and northern areas in Ontario is a good place to start.
Shane Sisson President HCHBA
Village Donuts owner thanks community for support
December 9, 2014
Early in life I was taught that it is important to give credit where credit is due. As an employer and business owner the realization of the truth in this lesson became clear. After closing the shop I had time to think about all of the happenings in the past few months and need to again give credit and express how grateful I truly am. Angelica and Mark, staff reporters from The Haliburton County Echo and The Highlander, your articles in response to Village Court Donuts closing were perfect. Thank you for your accuracy and truth as well as your time. Hugh, I could not be dealing with the business closure without your continued support and guidance. To the donut shop staff: please realize I could not have done it without you and wish you all the best in any future endeavours. Carl, I am thankful for your kind words, advice and the Facebook post, which was responsible for a big part of the generosity and flood of love, kindness and support that helped me through what proved to be a very hard week. Adam, Ryan and Johnny, the clean out of the restaurant would have been impossible without your help, I am very thankful for all of your time and efforts. Jim and Bernice, you are my angels! To my parents, thank you and I love you. I couldn’t have done any of it without you. Lastly, once again thank you to each and every customer who showed me their support over the years. You have become the best friends and family anyone could ever ask for. In the weeks prior to the close whether through moral support, expression of understanding or pure generosity, the love I received will have impact on me for the rest of my life. Thank you,
Highlands East more than just Wilberforce
December 9, 2014
To the Editor, Elated isn’t the word I would use when reading the Echo article the Food Centre is to be located in Wilberforce. Does anyone have any idea as to the cost to build a walk in refrigerator and freezer and hydro costs to keep them functioning daily? I certainly do! Does anyone know the cost of a generator, and insulation required – I certainly do! What is wrong with an energy efficient chest freezer and refrigerator? The funding is just a tip of the iceberg and who is going to pay for ongoing costs – I certainly do not want to. This facility will be an addition to the Lloyd Watson Community Centre so how are taxpayers going to know what the exact cost is going to be to run this facility? Will it have its own hydro meter? Most people in Gooderham who use food banks go to Haliburton. Project co-ordinator John Teljeur made reference this project would create a food hub in the hamlet. How nice for Wilberforce however Highlands East is made up of more than the hamlet of Wilberforce. How nice of Burton to reference getting the “community” involved and get them to help him. Does it sound like sour grapes on my part? Perhaps. However other wards within Highlands East and the councillors who represent them seem to direct their attention to benefiting Wilberforce at the sacrifice of other wards, that can’t get even simple requests undertaken. In the ivory municipal tower, council decides who gets what and this system will continue for another four years. I am sure people in Wilberforce will condone my comments. I am not mocking those who need food banks as desperate times mean desperate measures.
Newspapers make it happen
December 2, 2014
I was recently reading a study done by Newspapers Canada (2011) to help them understand the differences between rural and urban markets (Newspapers Work: Shopping Habits of Rural and Urban Canadians). Rural markets were defined as those with populations of 10,000 and under. Urban markets were those with populations of over 100,000. Rural Canada is home to seven million people! Newspapers reach rural neighborhoods that, in some cases, cannot be reached successfully with any other media. The study showed that rural Canadians rely on newspapers as key sources for information on many sectors (grocers, financial services, hardware/home improvement, home electronics, health care products and services, travel and more). Consumers had indicated that newspaper ads were perceived to be current, credible and relevant. This should not be news to us here in Haliburton County. We all rely on our local newspapers to report relevant local events, information and stories. We know the individuals who write the columns and report the news. We sit next to the editors and publishers in the coffee shop. We consider them one of us. We count on the newspapers to advertise our services and jobs, to reflect our rural values and ideals, to present various sides of any issue. SIRCH has been very blessed to have the support of the local newspapers in our Gifts from the Heart campaign (and frankly in every fundraising effort and new program we undertake). Much of the success of our campaign can be laid at the door of the local newspapers, and their dedicated staff. On behalf of all of us at SIRCH (staff and volunteers) I want to say a heartfelt and sincere thank you!
Gena Robertson Executive Director SIRCH Community Services
All votes not created equal
November 25, 2014
Your articles/editorial on Nov. 18 following up to the recent municipal election offered some insights on voter turnout. As you noted overall voter turnout varied to some degree by ward. However I believe you missed a major cause of the variance by ward. Across Dysart the turnout by permanent residents ran in the 60 to 70 per cent range in each ward and the turnout by seasonal residents was in the 30 to 40per cent range in each ward. The relative proportion of seasonal to permanent residents varies by ward. The very low turnout by seasonal residents is puzzling and disturbing, especially when measured against the scale of their contribution to our property tax base. Some suggest a lack of feeling connected to the community is the primary reason. Certainly that is a likely factor and with our new council officially taking office at the beginning of December, this seems like a good time to urge its members to develop a plan of action to improve the situation. Getting seasonal residents better connected to our community can do much more that improve voter turnout come the next election. Significant benefits will accrue to local businesses and not for profits when the seasonal residents see Dysart as more than a place where their cottage and dock happen to be located. Most importantly, the seasonal residents stand to benefit from experiencing first-hand the sense of belonging and engagement that come from being part of a small but very active community. On top of that they will have fun at the numerous interesting events and activities! Unfortunately, there is no quick fix and this will require a long term and sustained commitment. Beyond the challenge of finding approaches to better connect with seasonal residents our new council should tackle an issue those preceding it failed to act on. It is even possible that the failure of past Dysart councils to ensure representation by population in establishing ward boundaries for Dysart and the very low turnout in recent municipal elections by seasonal residents are in fact related. What message are our elected leaders sending when their behaviour demonstrates they don’t believe every vote is of equal importance? Representation by population was one of the guiding principles on which our country was founded. Students in grade school learn of the importance of the concept in their history classes. Around the world most democracies operate based on the approach that all votes are equal, or at least approximately so given variations in population growth rates. Most residents likely believe that no matter where they live in Dysart each voter carries an equal weight in electing our local council. Unfortunately due to inaction by previous councils that has not been the case for the past few municipal elections. Some wards have an actual voter count that is well more than double that of others. In last month’s election Ward 1 had 1,568 eligible voters while Ward 2 had 3,855! Ward 4 was also too large at 3,478 while Ward 3 had only 1,952 eligible voters. The numbers were similar in 2010. What this means is that voters from West Guilford, Kennisis Lake and Donald, among others, and their surrounding areas carry less than half the weight of a vote from the village of Haliburton when it comes to electing a local councillor. When I inquired about this I was told that previous councils had discussed the matter. Obviously they felt no need to act. Hopefully that general disregard for such a basic principle of democracy will not continue. Shifting ward boundaries is not complex and simply depends on our council deciding to act in a fashion consistent with the democratic concepts practised elsewhere. Certainly both our federal and provincial governments have done a much better job in the face of far more difficult geographic and constitutional limitations. Could it be that members of our previous councils just didn’t want to stir up voter engagement by discussing new ward boundaries? After all some political pundits claim that a low voter turnout is generally good for the incumbents and that a high turnout creates a greater likelihood newcomers will be elected. We can’t enter the minds of those we elect so we can only judge our leaders by their actions. Leaders who by example demonstrate a high regard for such critical concepts as representation by population are likely to find voters who reciprocate by taking their responsibility to vote a little more seriously. A failure to act sends a different message to voters all across Dysart. In the months to come I will share some additional thoughts on steps that should be taken to improve voter turnout. There is much that can be done.
John D. Smith Kennisis Lake
Does the story sound familiar?
November 18, 2014
In response to recent disclosures of violence against women and the daily media stories following Ghomeshi’s departure from the CBC, the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre reaches out to those affected by sexual violence in the four counties of the City of Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton, Northumberland and Peterborough. We know that you are likely to hear many interpretations of this situation in your community and in the media. What we’ve heard reflects experiences of sexual and physical violence and a power dynamic that does not allow for choice or consent. We are also aware of survivor-victims’ fear of reprisal for sharing their stories. In the recent cases, many of the women chose not to file police complaints and the reasons given for not coming forward publicly include the fear that they would be sued or would be the object of Internet retaliation. Many survivors do not report due to stigma, embarrassment, self-blame, a fear of not being believed, and concern for repercussions in their personal relationships – particularly when the offender is a friend, family member, acquaintance or co-worker. Acquaintances, friends, dates or relatives are more likely to use tricks, verbal pressure, threats, negative consequences, or victim-blaming rhetoric during episodes of sexual coercion. This inevitably impacts upon a victim’s ability to react, resist or report what happened. With these realities in mind, the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre reaches out to survivors of sexual violence, reaches out to their support people, and to anyone who may find themselves as a bystander in situations of sexual violence. If something has happened to you, there are people who will believe and support you. You can talk to a trusted friend, family member, or contact a sexual assault centre support line. You can call our crisis support line at 1-866-298-7778 at any time. If you are considering reporting, we can help you think through your options. If you are not considering reporting, that’s ok too. All calls are free and confidential. You may also choose to call your local women’s shelter and they too will believe and support you. Each area in the region also has the support of Victim’s Services and they too can be contacted if you wish. What can you do? You can be an ally to the person who is victimized, instead of the aggressors. You can support and believe your friend without needing the details. You can offer to attend with them should they choose to reach out to our centre, a Women’s Shelter, and/or Victim Services. You can speak up, or step in. You can ask for help from others if you are not sure what to do, and then step in together. The Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre recognizes the impact of sexual violence on women in Ontario. We believe that education and information goes a long way toward the prevention of violence. Together, we will make a difference.
Sonya Vellenga, MSW,RSW Executive Director Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre
Town Christmas tree a community affair
November 18, 2014
By the time you read this the town Christmas tree will have been erected in the town square. We must thank Tom and Pat Marshall of “Marshall Meadow” in Maple Lake for generously donating this beautiful tree. This is the fourth year they have donated a tree for the Village of Haliburton and it has become a wonderful tradition. We must also thank Lyle Stamp for his kind help in bringing it to town and helping to install it. Anthony and Juliane vanLieshout have been most hospitable in allowing it to be on their property and providing the hydro for the attractive lights. The lights have been hung by Miles Maughan and members of the Dysart Fire Department. Thanks folks! When you see them in town give them your own warm thank-you. There will be a tree lighting ceremony and carol sing at 6 p.m. before the parade. We hope you’ll enjoy the tree during the Christmas season.
Jim Frost Parade and Tree Coordinator Haliburton BIA and Haliburton and District Lions Club
Oil companies gouging us
November 11, 2014
I have a few issues I would like to address at this time. First of all is the price of gas and oil. The price per barrel has fallen but the price at the pump has not. I believe the oil companies are gouging us out of money. This is very evident between here and southern Ontario. The price of furnace oil is especially hard-hitting because of the lack of high-paying jobs and fixed incomes. My second issue is the high price of hydro. I have been on a long and hard trek to try and get hydro prices back to an affordable level with very little success. On the news was a report stating hydro is going up again on Nov. 1. I wrote letters to federal MP Barry Devolin, only to be told this is a provincial matter and to write Laurie Scott. I did and got little satisfaction, so I wrote to Dean Del Mastro, who told me this is a provincial matter and should contact Jeff Leal, with no response at all, only to find out that he is in Hydro One’s pocket and supports the increases. My question is are federal MPs not residents of Ontario and does this not affect them as well and can they use their political status to help the very voters that voted them into office? The third issue is that municipal government should be fighting for us in this way as well. I was absent from the meeting in Gooderham for the councillors running in the election. One issue introduced at the meeting was about selling municipal buildings. If they sell these buildings that does not mean we will get a reduction in taxes. They were talking about closing the municipal building in the Gooderham at one time. That would have closed the post office, library and municipal office as well. We in Gooderham don’t want to lose much more than we already lost. Gooderham Horseshoe Days, which was a fun weekend of games, music and a dance for our community to enjoy. We also lost our public school. I also just heard that Canada Post is eliminating home delivery. I would like to know if this is going to reduce the price of postage.
Donald Van Der Hazel Gooderham
Local politics: where ideas go to die
November 11, 2014
Well not exactly, but they are certainly smothered or discounted. The dominant concern locally, if not provincially and nationally is affordability. When we have seven separate races for representation we can have seven representatives of the major concern. There is the problem. If we had used my Dysart Big Choice Ballot in this most recent municipal election Fearrey and Janis Parker may both have been elected to municipal council. That is how I pitched it. A voter could decide that both Fearrey and Parker had important but different things to say and rank them one and two. Other candidates would follow three through seven in the ranking. A significant number of people did just that in my little exercise. I discovered, however, that I didn’t have the time or the opportunities to describe the ballot to many. I only collected 24 and four of those were spoiled, not the 100 I had hoped to get. Well there you are. This idea of electoral reform however will re-occur because the provincial Liberals seem ready to go ahead with reform of the Municipal Act to allow ranked ballots. An editorial in the Toronto Star of Wednesday, Oct. 29 suggested that. They only proposed a half measure which would have no effect in our local elections, a ranked ballot but not a multi-member constituency. My Big Ballot envisaged one seven member constituency for Dysart, a much wider horizon than we now use. I wonder how the swimming pool initiative will fare with a council quite similar to the last one. Will it die?
Jim Milne Haliburton
Prove credit is deserved
November 11, 2014
Elections are over and we can critique, congratulate or complain, that is, if you voted of course. The outcome in Highlands East isn’t what I would have liked to see. The race for reeve was disappointing. Steve Cosentino is a well educated professional individual and his vast working knowledge and expertise would have been an asset to our municipality. He has a public speaking manner that well surpasses what exists and with his class and integrity does not require sarcasm to get his point across. I know he would have ensured equal benefit for every ward, something we have not seen in the last four years. During campaign meetings we heard how much work has to be done over the next four years. Now the proof is in the pudding and we will see what transpires. For the walking trail that meanders alongside the Burnt River in Gooderham, when will upgrades be undertaken and supported by our Ward 3 Councillor Cec Ryall? He supported the new library in Wilberforce so let’s see if he will support something within the ward he is supposed to represent. Would also be nice to see the grass growing on the tennis court removed. One wants credit for something then prove it is deserved. These are not major repairs but do encompass some manual work. The next four years will either bring value or disappointment depending on the ward in which you live, a temperament that unfortunately currently exists.
Beverly MacDuff Gooderham
Thank you for your support
November 11, 2014
Dear family, friends and community members:
The family of the late James (Jimmy) O’Neill would like to thank you all for your support and thoughtful words during our most difficult time. Special thank you to Dr. Bottum, the nurses and staff at Haliburton hospital and Monk’s Funeral Home for your insight and compassion, your presence was a great comfort to the family. It warmed our hearts to see so many of you who knew Jimmy and who took the time and travelled so far to attend the funeral. We have all been touched, humbled and had our faith renewed by the out pouring of such compassion, strength, heartfelt generosity shown by all of you and the community we live in. Jimmy’s passing has left a void that cannot be filled, and no one can ever take his place, but he will always be remembered in our thoughts, in our prayers and in our memories.
Kim, Shyanna, Carter, Jake and Micayla, Randy, Claudette and Ryan O’Neill
Thank you, Mr. Bramham
November 4, 2014
We are writing to thank Mr. Bramham at Green Mantle Mineral Farm for an awesome, fun, and educational field trip. We appreciate that Mr. Bramham shared his time and expertise to teach us about the special area we live in. We found minerals like fluorite, calcite, appetite, and flororichterite. We are lucky to have someone like Mr. Bramham in our community to teach us about rocks and minerals.
Sincerely 4/5 class”
Why NOT a zombie walk?
October 29, 2014
RE: Why a Zombie Walk?
As a newcomer to Haliburton, I found the idea of a zombie walk to be entertaining and a great way to get the community interacting together. That is one of the things I appreciate about Haliburton. Therefore I found this letter irksome. People dressing in costumes does not detract from the rugged beautiful scenery, the flourishing arts community or the neighbours who help each other. In fact, I think it shows a flare for the creative, and that this area is engaging and dynamic. The Zombie Walk being in fact, a walk, includes physical activity. So while the participants may be dressed as “rotting corpses,” they are still promoting activity and healthfulness. Not only that, but the event is raising donations for the food bank, food which the organizers have requested be healthy and nutritious. Just because an idea is popular does not mean it is without value. It means, in this case, that more donations may be raised for a good cause because it appeals to a broader audience. Maybe instead of dampening the fun, more thought could be put into how to encourage more events that raise awareness for such an important cause. Disease ridden corpses or not.
Thankful for more activities
October 29, 2014
Kudos to Andrea Mueller for the great activity programmes she has initiated in Dysart et al this year. She has attempted to involve all segments of the population from little children to seniors like me. We have needed more activity programs in this community for a long time, and thanks to Andrea more of us are a healthier. Hopefully the new council will see the value of her role and continue to provide these programs through her leadership.
Keep up the good work, Andrea.
Use carbon monoxide detectors
October 29, 2014
With the passage of Ontario’s new CO law – The Hawkins-Gignac Act – the Haliburton Fire Department is relieved, knowing that Haliburton County citizens are now much less likely to experience the types of tragedy that can result from exposure to “the silent killer.” In 2008 John Gignac lost his niece Laurie, her husband Richard and their children Cassie and Jordan to carbon monoxide poisoning. The vent leading from their gas fireplace was clogged so the deadly gas seeped back into their home. They didn’t know they were in danger because CO gas is colourless, odourless and tasteless. And they did not have a carbon monoxide alarm. But something good has come from something so tragic. This new law makes carbon monoxide alarms mandatory in all homes that have a risk of carbon monoxide. Now, no matter the age of a home, if it has oil, propane or gas burning appliances, furnace or water heater, a wood or gas fireplace, or an attached garage it must have working carbon monoxide alarms installed near sleeping areas. Also, CO alarms are required by law to be replaced within the timeframe indicated in the manufacturer’s instructions and/or on the label on the unit. Protect your family. Install a CO alarm today. Two helpful websites to visit for more information are www.endthesilence.ca and www.safeathome.ca.
Miles Maughan, Fire Chief
Haliburton Fire Department
Promote the beauty, not zombies
October 29, 2014
Re: Helen Brown’s letter of Oct.14 and Haliburton’s zombie walk
Yes, Helen, I believe there are others thinking “why a zombie walk in Haliburton?” Count me as one of them and no doubt there are others who were completely baffled when we first heard about the existence of zombie walks, never mind their appeal. Describing it as you did, “ people made up to look like rotting corpses” paints the picture so well and again raises the question why? Why people want to participate as well as why others want to be spectators is beyond me.I too don’t understand with all the beauty Haliburton County is famous for, and that we appreciate, why we would want to promote and support such ugly images. Perhaps just another example of people feeling they have to be in favour of something because it seems to be popular. Maybe we should try maintaining a sense of uniqueness instead.
Paddlers say thanks
October 21, 2014
The Haliburton Highlands Paddlers, part of the Haliburton County Community Co-operative, would like to thank Jane MacNab for initiating this venture; Patient News for allowing us to use their docks and grounds; Timber Mart for donating the anchors that kept our boat securely moored all summer; RPM for their friendly advice, the use of their boat launch and allowing us to store our equipment on site; Into the Blue Bakery for purchasing our steering oar; our volunteer coaches Janine Papadopoulos and Scotty Bird; the founding members who provided the start up funds to get this venture off the ground; and all our dedicated and enthusiastic paddlers!
Haliburton Highlands Paddlers
Canvassing should be allowed
October 21, 2014
I write to convey my sincere apologies to municipal candidate Tammy Donaldson for being denied the right to canvass in Harcourt Park where my family has a cottage. Ms. Donaldson has the right under the Elections Act to canvass where voters and ratepayers reside. The intent of the act is quite clear, regardless of whatever specious arguments are made to the contrary. How could it be otherwise? Cottagers are ratepayers. We should meet the candidates and hear their intentions for spending our tax dollars. My thanks to Mrs. Donaldson for the fact that she tried to do the right thing. Her concern is absolutely valid. I urge all local residents to get out and vote. Otherwise, you’ll be in the exact same position as the poor Irish of the 18th century: ruled by the agents of absentee landlords. Make democracy work for you. Vote local!
Kathy Woodcock Harcourt Park
Councillors deserve another term
October 21, 2014
We thought it prudent to write a letter in support of the existing municipal council here in Highlands East. During the last year or so we have been working with the local council on the Plein Air Arts Festival and the Cultural Planning Project. We admit to being prejudiced. As people who have recently found ourselves working with municipal councils across Ontario, the Maritimes and in England, we believe that our municipal council is one of the most supportive we have come across. This group of local politicians that are in office now, especially Dave Burton and Steve Kauffeldt, are true blue hands on, supportive leaders. They are invested thoroughly in this community. They live and breathe it, and they are very easy to work with. But it would be a shame to lose any of our local council at this very crucial time in our county. We encourage all of you who live here to put them back into office.
Victoria Ward and Gary Blundell
Harcourt Park responds
October 21, 2014
Response from Harcourt Park Inc. to Tammy Donaldson’s letter to the editor Oct. 16.
You have published the letter from Ms. Donaldson which has inaccuracies we would like clarified with the readers, our fellow community members. There is nothing in the Municipal Elections Act to ensure that candidates have access to electors for the purpose of canvassing. The law governing such access is found in the other legislation such as the Residential Tenancies Act, the Condominium Act or the Cooperative Corporations Act. However, information from Dysart as well as Municipal Affairs, which is responsible for municipal elections, indicates that these acts do not apply to Harcourt Park’s structure. Ms. Donaldson’s letter to the Echo had stated, “I sought the advice of Dysart’s official contact who oversees the election. I was informed that Municipal Affairs (MA) has no jurisdiction over HP because HP does not fit within any of their categories. The official conveyed that the MA said it was a ‘complicated situation.’ I was told that council would have to seek legal advice and it was too late to add it to their agenda. Therefore, the official suggested my only option was to abide by HP bylaws.” Harcourt Park is not in violation of any legislation. Harcourt Park Inc. (HPI) has been a member of this community for many years. It is private property. Since inception, its bylaws have been specific with respect to soliciting and canvassing of any sort and they have never been found to be in contravention of any legislation related to elections. HPI’s bylaws govern the Park’s operations and cannot be ignored or changed without due diligence and process. The Park’s operations and bylaws are overseen by a board of directors elected by its members through a democratic process each year. The board cannot change bylaws without member agreement during the annual general meeting in the spring. The board is not at liberty to pick and choose which bylaws to enforce, discard or change without going through its due process. We request Ms. Donaldson respect the municipality’s position and also respect Harcourt Park’s governing processes until it has had time to perform its due diligence. We thank Ms. Donaldson for highlighting an important issue for the Park should the Municipal Elections Act be revised. In the meanwhile, the board has placed this issue on the agenda for review. In reference to Ms. Donaldson being invited in by members, this has always been the privilege of members to do so on their own property. The leaseholder cannot authorize access to another leaseholder’s property. We ask that Ms. Donaldson respect each member’s private property rights until this matter has had a chance to be addressed. Ms. Donaldson has claimed that her opponent is in some way the “candidate of the HPI board.” This is incorrect. There have been no communications between the board and Ms. Donaldson’s opponent to encourage his candidacy or otherwise. The board has adopted a neutral position. It does not endorse or promote any particular candidate. All candidates have the same opportunity. With respect to allegations that HPI has been unfair during this election process, the board can confirm that it has held all candidates to the same standards as each other. The Park’s internal communications have been used to remind voters to get informed, get on the voting list, and vote on time without suggesting a preference for any one candidate. Harcourt Park wishes each candidate well in the coming elections. Harcourt Park has had a long history as being part of the fabric of the local community. Our members have deep roots and strong relationships in the community. The board and our members value and treasure these relationships. Our values are in providing stewardship for and preserving the unspoiled environment we live in.
The Board of Directors Harcourt Park Inc.
Building the next farmers
October 21, 2014
In response to the Oct. 14 front page “Building the Economy …”, pg. 4 “Fill the truck…” and pg. 6 “Embracing local …”, real support is needed now for a true economy of local food to be sustainable. Years back the farm community was asked to give ideas that would improve the local food economy. Rather than another group, creating another hub, the farmers asked for support in building an abattoir. Matt Wesley a young farmer, is right on with the need for growing our local industry by building an abattoir for the processing of local livestock. Garden produce is growing by leaps and bounds in pots and back yards, as well as acres of food. The next step is an economic model that supports the livelihood of young farmers. If local food is going to grow sustainable there must be an investment in the farm and the community infrastructure for fair trade prices. The county is doing well with volunteerism on the poverty food process of donations. We need to get away from the verbal compost by non-farmers and give support for real compost from farmers. Now is the time to invest in the local food with community supported agriculture, cooperatively investing in safe healthy food processing for the future. Let’s truly build the next generation of farmers with real action not just words.
Farmer Jean S. Tyler
Letter: Democracy main election issue in Ward 3: candidate
October 16, 2014
I am running for Ward 3 councillor in Dysart et al. Our ward faces a unique situation in that 55 per cent of voters in Ward 3 are in Harcourt Park Inc (HP) and 45 per cent of voters cottage or live in the village of Harcourt or around six main lakes. The issue is that for countless years, as a result of HP carrying 55 per cent of the Ward 3 vote, a representative of the HP board has been consistently elected as the Ward 3 councillor. Consequently, a line of separation has been created between HP and the rest of the ward. I perceive this line needs to be eliminated for Ward 3 to attain equal and fair representation across the entire ward, and to gain a presence and be heard in council at the county level. According to their website, HP is a cottaging corporation made up of 18 lakes and 600 surveyed properties that are individually leased and not owned. These lands are considered private property. I have been told by the HP president that their bylaws do not permit solicitation by businesses or charitable organizations. However, I perceive the electoral process is a very different scenario. Last weekend, in an effort to create a level playing field for all Ward 3 candidates, several Harcourt Park members gave me their permission to enter the park and to canvass. This is the job of both a candidate and an elected councillor. Since then, the HP board president has advised me, and all other Ward 3 candidates, that we are not permitted to canvass in the park. What kind of representative would I be if I simply accepted their position, folded up my tent and went home? HP has not provided me with any legislation supporting their position. If such legislation exists, I highly doubt the intention of such legislation is to deny election candidates access to 55 per cent of the ward, or to deny 55 per cent of voters access to their candidates. Furthermore, the HP president has told me that their bylaws deny the access of election candidates into HP. The board has not shown me any evidence of bylaws that specifically state that election candidates are prohibited, because apparently these bylaws are only for park members. By not permitting candidates to canvass inside the park, HP members are denied the opportunity to communicate with candidates, to become informed and educated, and candidates are unable to receive valuable input from HP members. I sought the advice of Dysart’s official contact who oversees the election. I was informed that Municipal Affairs (MA) has no jurisdiction over HP because HP does not fit within any of their categories. The official conveyed that the MA said it was a “complicated situation.” I was told that council would have to seek legal advice and it was too late to add it to their agenda. Therefore, the official suggested my only option was to abide by HP bylaws. In particular, HP would enforce bylaw 49, The Right to Quiet Enjoyment, which is about members and guests not being nuisances or damaging property. That’s just laughable. So election candidates are deemed a nuisance? I am sympathetic to HP members, who, in leasing a property within the park, have agreed to a structure whereby most people do not want to be bothered by door-to-door canvassers and salespeople. In fact, I perceive it’s unlikely that most park members are even aware that the implication and implementation of these bylaws by the board(s) during an election continues to provide an unfair advantage to the park’s candidate and override the democratic process. Until the board of Harcourt Park Inc. proves to me, to all other candidates, and to the voters of Ward 3, that they have the power and authority to not allow election candidates freedom of speech within HP, I will continue my campaign throughout all of Ward 3. Other candidates have campaigned in HP during this election without reprisal. Would the HP board really charge an election candidate with trespassing, or only the one that threatens the election of their HP member? I encourage all Ward 3 candidates to stand up for democracy and meet the voters of HP. Seriously, why have we all allowed the enforcement of HP bylaws by a few to supersede the democratic process? The matter before us is now far beyond an access issue, it’s also a human rights issue. Come on HP board – have the guts to allow the voters within your membership to access, in person, the information of all candidates from within your secured grounds, and thereby informatively and freely choose their candidate for Ward 3 councillor. It’s time for a change.
Tammy Donaldson, Ward 3 Candidate Dysart et al
Why a zombie walk?
October 16, 2014
OK, I can’t be the only person thinking, “why are we having a zombie walk in Haliburton”? Did we run out of good ideas for attracting tourists? Haliburton spends time and money thinking about, debating, and marketing the way we want to be seen as a community. We hear thoughts like a community of caring volunteers, neighbours who help each other, a flourishing arts community, rugged beautiful scenery, a playground for athletes. There is a movement to make Haliburton a healthier community, to promote active living. We know this county is the perfect venue for swimming, boating and all water sports, cycling, hiking, golf, skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, skating, hockey, and more. Why then are we choosing to have a bunch of people made up like rotting corpses carrying deadly viruses take over the centre of town? How does this advertise any of the values or images we want to promote? Sure, this may bring in a few extra tourists for one day, but any horrible event can draw a crowd. That doesn’t mean the town is better for it. I for one will be avoiding town like the plague that day…pun intended!
No thanks, Steve
October 16, 2014
Who can forget the time John Tory ran in Haliburton? The Liberals won the riding the first time in a long time. John Tory and Steve Cosentino have a great deal in common. Neither has ever won an election nor served as an elected official in any capacity. I am suspicious of amateurs with all the answers. “No thanks” to Steve in Highlands East.
Rabies clinic appreciated by many
October 16, 2014
A big thank you to Dr. Laurie Brown of Haliburton Veterinary Services, her assistant, all the volunteers and the Haliburton fire department For hosting the low cost rabies clinic. Job well done and much appreciated by many.
Chuck Slade Sr. West Guilford
100 votes experiment
October 16, 2014
Regarding ‘Shaking up the vote’ in the Echo of Oct. 7. Thank you for the favourable analysis of my Dysart Big Choice Ballot for October 2014. I hope to get at least 100 ballots completed by Oct. 27, but I don’t think I can complete the experiment. I have to explain the idea to more than 100 people at some length because some decline to take part. Without help the time is too short. Here is a simple story to explain what is involved. It is set in an English boys’ school run by Thomas Wright Hill in 1821. Hill was a very progressive thinker. He want to create a committee of students at his school to make the rules for good order and to enforce them. He called for students to step forward who might wish to be on the committee. Many more came forward than the five he felt he needed so he asked the rest of the students to stand beside those candidates they favoured. A number of very different groups formed but the students soon realized who were the most popular leaders and most likely to be selected. Some drifted away to smaller groups when they realized their first choice was certain to win. Then the very small groups noted that few had reinforced their small numbers, whereupon they dissolved and joined different larger groups. Soon there were five groups of about the same number with a few indecisive or disgruntled ones left on the edges. The leaders became the committee and their supporters stood beside them. That is the single transferable vote in action. That is what I hoped to demonstrate with my Big Choice Ballot. Of course, it requires the electorate in Dysart to think outside the box, that is outside the various ward boxes and those of reeve and deputy reeve. Perhaps that’s too much to ask. Or can we just think outside the reeve and deputy reeve boxes?
Library building worth the cost
October 7, 2014
I understand there are concerns about the cost of the new Highlands East library branch in Wilberforce. The old library had become unusable for many people and inaccessible for some, also mould was an issue. Libraries are not luxuries, they are necessities. The books, as we know provide hours of enjoyment for old and young. They also provide resources for students to do projects and write essays. Which brings me to another concern in Highlands East. Poverty is of great concern to the community. A library can be a major piece in promoting literacy. Literacy as we know is an integral part of the education of our youth. Beginning with pre-schoolers, the library allows them access to books that they may not otherwise have. Books have become prohibitively expensive for many families, but they can borrow a book from the library. Reading is a tool that everyone needs to have, in order to do just about anything. Education is a way to pull oneself out of poverty. Education provides opportunities for employment in many and varied areas. The library is an important part of the community, providing enjoyment for young and old and support for the education of our youth. In my books the library is worth it.
Patricia Russell Wilberforce
Parker my pick for reeve
October 7, 2014
I enthusiastically believe Janis Parker can and will make a difference as reeve of Dysart et al! Janis Parker can take us to the next level and help us keep up with the changing times. Janis Parker’s dedication to Dysart has been proven with her past and present contributions. She served us well as Ward 4 councillor and her tremendous energy in volunteer work year round is almost unlimited! In looking out for the people in need Janis was a driving force behind raising money to deliver over one million dollars in urgent dental care with the Volunteer Dental Outreach Program. Janis has the energy, ideas, dedication, generosity and the courage to make it happen! Vote Janis Parker. Vote for the future!
Patricia Bertram West Guilford
Burton has done a good job
September 30, 2014
I have finished reading the articles about Mr. Cosentino who has thrown his hat in the ring to run against Reeve Burton. Is it just me or is it arrogant presumption, to think that you can be in a position of responsibility such as Reeve of a municipality, from a distance, part time, and with no previous experience? Because Mr. Cosentino has visited every small town in Ontario (really?) doesn’t mean that he knows how they operate. Visit is the operative word. He says he has read, many of us can do that (shocker) and he has a degree. Many of us have those too. Even Justin Trudeau has one and I can’t see that it’s doing him much good. Mr. Cosentino has been coming here since he was five, and as a five year old I’m sure he had his finger on the pulse of the community. He says he wants to have the municipality run in a democratic fashion. We thought it was a democracy! Did it not occur to him that, no one chose to run against Reeve Burton because, we were happy with what he has accomplished, and know that he will continue to do a great job in his next term?
Patricia Russell Wilberforce
Construction bliss and local business
September 30, 2014
My husband, Doug Tedford, is a double amputee in a wheelchair and had to go to Dr. Butera’s office for dental work. We were reminded of the construction of the sidewalks and the parking lot was closed but it would be looked after. We arrived in the parking lot across the street and David Bampford and a crew were waiting for us. Erica, Dr. Butera’s receptionist had made this happen. The crew wheeled Doug across the street, stopped the traffic and carried him and the wheelchair over the holes in the road, up the ramp and into the office. When the dental work was done they were there again to see that we were safely to the parked car. I was overwhelmed by Fowler Construction that they would do this. The care, compassion and understanding under the circumstances was over the top. It brought me to tears. Another example of such a caring community we live in even during construction. Hats off to Fowler and Dr. Butera’s office.
Pool or no pool?
September 30, 2014
Lately I have been hearing from several Haliburton parents about the need for a pool in the township. Swimming is a recreation, swimming is a basic safety skill and the ability to swim can be a great source of fitness for anyone; all ages. How can Haliburton offer lessons if there is no pool? How can Haliburton build a pool with no resources? I have a short-term solution which may demonstrate to council how much of an interest and need there really is. It’s an idea; a seed. Moving toward a solution. My idea is to engage the use of the Pinestone pool one full day a week for lessons. Or two half days. This could be a charitable donation by Pinestone or a fee under contract to the town. Parents would be required to pay a small fee to subsidize whatever Pinestone charges and of course swim instructors. It’s just an idea. I think it could work. I expect the response to this program will demonstrate to council this is a true need. Then a pool could be built on land the town already owns or can acquire locally. If this doesn’t work, maybe a pool lottery could raise money for a pool? Or full recreation centre? I’d love to see any responses to this idea in the next Echo.
Delma Williamson Haliburton
Parker would improve economy
September 23, 2014
Oct. 27, 2014 will find the voters of Ontario heading to the polls, to elect or re-elect their community representatives. Some will vote for change. In Dysart et al, those who live here year round or on a semi permanent basis will have a choice for the first time, in a long while to vote for a new Reeve. Our current reeve, Murray Fearrey, was acclaimed in 2006 and 2010. This year he is being challenged for the top job. Well known full-time resident, business owner and committed volunteer, Janis Parker has stepped up to the plate and is asking Dysart et al constituents to vote for change. A cottager for many years, Janis has chosen to live where she works. In a community that depends on the tax base of small businesses, in a variable business climate, Janis uses innovation, social media and one stop shopping in order to keep her businesses running and surviving an economic downturn, all the while employing local residents! Improving our economy, protecting our environment, alleviating poverty and building affordable housing are priorities for Janis. Her innovative business plans will strengthen our local economy, increase the tax base and reduce dependence on taxes paid by cottage owners. Janis has a vested interest in Dysart and she is determined to see our community reach its full potential. She cannot do this without the support of Dysart et al residents. The same old, same old is no longer acceptable in our area. I am voting for change.
An invitation to local shoppers
September 23, 2014
There is a mistaken impression that overall it costs more to buy locally. It can cost more, but usually it does not. May I give you three examples where I have saved significantly by shopping in Haliburton? I needed a new sound system. Don and Ryan at The Source put together what they knew would be most appropriate for me – a system that delivered singularly clear sound. I could have bought one from Bay/Bloor in Toronto, but Don and Ryan provided a system of equal quality, tailored to my living space, my musical preferences and at sale prices. They saved me a lot of money and everything is easily identifiable in case of theft. When I travel, Linda Coneybeare at TravelPlus saves me two-fold. First and most importantly, all the reservations are guaranteed. I don’t have to worry when I arrive at the airport or the hotel. Usually, I find one of the best rooms awaiting me, even though I am travelling on a budget. Linda takes care of the frustrating little details and makes my travel as effortless as it can be. Also there is Master’s Books. Kathy Stouffer is one of the best independent booksellers in Ontario. The store is a gem! Kathy has a huge stock, but she also serves her customers well. She tirelessly searches for and finds even the most obscure titles, including those outside her Christian focus. Her prices are more than fair, and there are lots of bargains. I invite readers of The Echo to express their appreciation of other local business people who have well met their needs. Let’s encourage the best in us all.
Wayne Cooper West Guilford
Recycling in Highlands East Ward 3
September 16, 2014
It is great to see that Cecil Ryall, candidate for Councillor in Ward 3 of Highlands East, is in favour of recycling. He is reusing his signs from the 2011 campaign including the slogan of “if it don’t work – fix it.” It leads one to believe he does not feel that the present council has achieved this goal in its present term of office.
Doug Bates Highlands East
Knowles gets my vote
September 16, 2014
I have carefully listened to and read about the three candidates running for the position of Ward 2 councillor. What I have taken from the interviews is that Dysart requires a candidate with successful council experience, with many years of business knowledge and one who is ready to roll up his sleeves and jump right in to get the job done. Derek Knowles understands the workings of the municipal government from previous experience. He played a major role in the development and site location of the Haliburton library and was involved in the streetscaping of Highland and York streets. These two projects are huge accomplishments for the community. I have had personal experience with Derek when he was a councillor previously and have always found him helpful. He always returned my calls and was willing to listen to my concerns and would even come out to meet with me. The experience is there! As such I believe that Derek Knowles is the best candidate for the position of Ward 2 councillor.
Phil Wiseman Long Lake
Generosity of Camp Wanakita
September 16, 2014
That’s wonderful news that Camp Wanakita is getting funding for new canoes! They are truly a deserving group and great bunch of people. Wanakita ski trails are included as part of the Haliburton Nordic Ski Club pass, so I’ve been there with friends to ski their unique and beautiful trails in the winter. They have been kind enough to allow us to use one of their cabins where we could leave our gear and eat our lunch in warmth and comfort — free of charge! The staff could not be kinder or more helpful. And don’t get me started on their annual Strawberry Social! Just a great place all round.
Requiem for a healer
September 9, 2014
Requiem for a healer
On Saturday, Aug. 16, approximately 100 people gathered at the Wilberforce cottage of Dr. David and Linda Fiddler in Haliburton County to pay homage to Dave and memorialize his recent passing. Friends, colleagues and family joined in a celebratory barbecue in his honour. As a colleague of many years, I wanted to share just a few memories of why Dave was a remarkable physician, leader and a true healer. Born in Hamilton, Dave graduated at the top of his class from medical school in Chicago, before completing a residency in internal medicine at the prestigious and world-renowned Cleveland Clinic. There, he was honoured as “Resident of the Year.” From 1987 to 1992, he practiced medicine in Drumheller, Alberta, before accepting a position as Lindsay’s first full time emergency physician. Dave established himself quickly as a clever and industrious doctor, with a penchant for diagnosing complex medical problems. In 1995, due to an acute loss of physicians, the Minden Hospital closed its doors. Dr. Fiddler responded without any prompting and recruited eight physicians to ensure that the hospital could continue to provide service to the community. He handpicked his recruits, and at one time, years later, five of the eight physicians working at the Minden site had either been chiefs of emergency medicine in the past at their own hospitals, or were current chiefs. One had been the president of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians. They came from Lindsay, Barrie and Peterborough, where they all had full time positions. The culture in the Minden emergency room (ER) was astounding. It was a testimonial to teamwork and the dedication of the staff that worked and lived in their community. The physicians aggressively pursued medical advocacy of behalf of their patients. Imagine a workplace where everyone shares the same values, and works synergistically and harmoniously in the common interests of their patients — that was Minden and it modeled its leader, Dr. David Fiddler. The hospital would not have been able to re-open without Dave’s single-minded recruiting effort. But there was more to follow. One year, in the tight fiscal environment of the mid ’90s, the president and chief executive officer of Minden Hospital Mr. Foster Loucks, went to Dr. Fiddler and asked if the ER physicians working there would accept a 18 per cent pay cut. Imagine! Dave came to each of us individually and asked us to agree. The community and hospital needed it, he said, and it was the right thing to do for the citizens. And so we did it. It certainly helped that we held Mr. Loucks in high esteem, but it would never have happened without the total respect we held for Dave. Dave thanked us, and said he was sure it would work out in the end. Within a short time, the government commissioned a report on small rural hospital emergency rooms, and thereafter, hospitals were no longer required to fund ER physicians’ salaries from their operating budgets. And yes, Dave was right – we did return to our former level of funding. Dave’s thoughtfulness in patient care defined “patient-centred” and the “patient experience,” years before those terms became entrenched in the vernacular of the new health-care quality agenda. He never saw class, age, gender, ethnicity, education, creed or colour in his patients. Everyone got the same excellent care. It endeared him to all. He made those of us who worked around him better people, and held us all accountable for our actions. Respect and dignity permeated all that he did. When he struggled to get the right care for the acute patient at the right time, and was meeting the resource roadblocks that health care can create at times, he often lamented, “If people would just look after the patient first, everything else would look after itself.” Dave was diagnosed with a fatal illness in 2009. As with everything, he met his disease with equanimity and immense courage and with Linda and his family at his side. Despite many surgeries over the ensuing years, following recovery, he always went back to work. Medicine was what he loved to do. On Feb. 18, 2014, he worked his last shift in Minden Hospital. I spoke with him that evening, and he acknowledged that he was suffering. I gently probed and asked if perhaps, it was time for him to stop working. He said, “It helps me deal with this thing.” I could hardly finish our conversation. Those gathered in the rain in Wilberforce on Aug. 16 knew him as a remarkable physician and friend with a great intellect and extraordinary sense of humour. When we speak of him, it is in quiet tones and always for short periods of time, lest the inexorable grief of the thought of his loss seeps into our hearts, and leaves us unable to speak. We can do no better than a furtive glance and nod of the head to acknowledge our sorrow for our prematurely departed colleague – a leader and true healer. Dr. David Fiddler died peacefully in the palliative ward at the Ross Memorial Hospital in Lindsay on March 18, 2014.
Dr. Bert Lauwers
Naqvi sorely mistaken on county issues
September 9, 2014
RE: Naqvi defends OPP billing model
After reading Yasir Naqvi’s claim that the revised OPP billing model is fair, I can clearly see why that is not the case. Mr. Naqvi has absolutely no idea of what life is like in county of Haliburton or what is fair. He stated, “like other municipal services, such as water and garbage collection, policing is a year round service for both people and property.” He is obviously ignorant to the facts that: there is no municipal garbage collection in Haliburton county, municipal water is not provided to properties in the county, except to a limited degree in the core of the villages of Minden and Cardiff, people (ie. seasonal residents) do not require police services during the six to eight months that they are not in the county, properties (that are snow-bound and not accessible to thieves or police) do not require police services in the winter season. Naqvi probably heard what was said by the delegation from Haliburton, but he was definitely not listening to what they were saying. How else could he try to justify the unfair OPP billing model with such false claims? Why did Premier Wynne leave this important decision on the OPP billing model in the hands of someone who does not have a clear grasp of reality? Does this disillusioned MPP also not understand the significance of a decimal point and think that the $3,200,000 cost increase is really only $3.20?
Naqvi defends new OPP billing model
September 2, 2014
The development of the OPP’s new billing was guided by three principles: fairness for all municipalities, equitable distribution of policing costs among all communities served by the OPP, and easy to understand bills so municipalities like Haliburton know exactly the types of calls for service they are paying for – allowing them to better direct crime prevention resources to save money and keep their communities safe. The old model, unfortunately, was none of those things. It was introduced almost 17 years ago and had not been updated since. It was a system that resulted in similar municipalities paying vastly different amounts for police service. In fact, some municipalities were paying less than $10 a year per household while others were paying more than $800. We heard from municipalities who knew it was not fair, and we were told by the Auditor General that the current model was not fair, that the bills were unclear, and that it needed to change. The new model is more fair, more transparent and more equitable – eliminating the huge differences municipalities were paying for policing by more equitably redistributing costs and provides municipalities with data so they can better understand the types of calls in their community and direct crime prevention strategies. The process of developing the new model did not happen overnight. It was more than two years in the making and is a testament to the real action that can be achieved through constructive feedback and dialogue. The government held consultation sessions with 229 municipalities, received advice from the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) OPP Billing Steering Committee, and I personally met with Haliburton County representatives in May and again in July to discuss the billing model. The new model reflects the feedback and input we received from Haliburton County and others. It now includes industrial and commercial properties in the new formula. Including a seasonal property discount, however, would go against the principle of fairness at the heart of the new billing model and like other municipal services, such as water and garbage collection, policing is a year round service for both people and property. We have worked hard with our municipal and policing partners to develop a new OPP model. It is a fair approach. It is responsive approach. It is an equitable approach. And it is a transparent and responsible approach.
Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services
Democracy alive and well in Haliburton
September 2, 2014
I’m sure we all recognize how vibrant our elections have become in the Haliburton Highlands. We should be proud that there are so many well-contested races and some great candidates for many of the offices being contested. I congratulate all the candidates who are so willing to put their names on the ballot. The races for reeve, deputy-reeve and ward councillors, particularly in Dysart et al and Minden Hills, are particularly exciting. Isn’t it a great sign of a healthy community that we have such great citizens willing to give their best for us.
Jim Frost Haliburton
Pool would require ongoing funds
September 2, 2014
I would love a new community recreational centre including a pool. I have some concerns. What would be the initial capital budget for the facility? Supposing that such a figure can be funded (that is another issue), how, once you have started, do you ensure it comes in on budget? It is a fact that many capital projects do not come in on budget and for many reasons. The goal is often missed by 50 to 100 per cent. Once on the hook the municipality cannot stop. It is a real trap. This also affects the funding program. Where would the capital for overruns come from? Where is the best location? Suppose it is built. Now the ongoing maintenance and running costs have to be looked to. Without exhausting all that would be involved this would include: – maintenance (usually five to 10 per cent annually of the capital cost either paid in each year or set aside in fund) – a manager (becoming a municipal employee with all benefits) – maintenance staff (again municipal employees) – operating staff (again municipal employees) – meeting all provincial operating procedures and protocols and the required record keeping and reporting – increased municipal liability insurance costs How do we pay for this? Will user fees cover it? Will there be an increase in taxes by special levy? It is not covered in the normal taxes as they are based on MPAC assessment value of the properties in the township and a recreation centre with a pool does not increase the assessed value of your home, cottage or commercial property. Will the operation costs of such a facility cover itself in fees to those who use the same? What would the fees have to be? How many continuing users will there have to be? Will they pay the fees? Will those users be continuous over the life of the facility? When the facility is outdated how do we fund a renewal? Would private enterprise build this? I think not. There is no guarantee of profit nor even a break even return. Why then should a municipality proceed? The gamble is far too great. I’m from Missouri. “Show me’’. It starts with “P”, it rhymes with “T” and it stands for ‘’trouble’’ right here in the ‘’River City’’ of Haliburton.
David M. Bishop Haliburton
Nothing fair about billing model
August 26, 2014
To Yasir Naqvi, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services,
There’s nothing fair about your “fairness, equity and transparency” plan to raise property taxes. Speaking only about Highlands East, I’m taking into consideration the population, the poverty, the low crime rate, the average age in the community, the few year-round residences and the almost invisible police presence – all say that your method of “fairness” is greatly flawed. As a permanent resident for the past six years, my property taxes have more than doubled, my pension has remained the same, and I’m getting no more service for my buck. Your method of “fairness” increases my taxes and gives me nothing in return – in your mind, that is fair! As to your cost per call, that’s BS. You forgot that the mandate of the police is to serve and protect. A portion of our tax dollars pay for the police to be on the job 24/7 no matter if he or she is sitting in the office or on the road patrol. Making an emergency call is part of the job. As noted in my previous letter, just about every other business is downsizing and cutting cost by trimming the fat in order to stay afloat. Running the police department is no different. Start by trimming the fat, by keeping police vehicles a little longer, stop buying expensive ATVs, snowmobiles, boats, beefed up fast cars and other expensive toys. Only then you can justify increases and only to the communities where police services have increased. This you can truly call a “fairness, equity and transparency” plan.
Brad Bradshaw Tory Hill
Time to leave OPP out of policing
August 26, 2014
I would suggest to our local government officials that this change made by this Provincial Government is substantive and thus allows our local government to look at other options. One option is return to a police force for the county/towns that we can control and leave the OPP out of local policing. I believe that $3.3 million is enough to do this with. We should not just give in to provincial downloading caused by an inept provincial government.
Voice support for county pool
August 26, 2014
I support Lynda Shadbolt’s very positive views in “Bring it on” in the Aug. 12 Echo. I too am grateful for the tremendously successful ventures that have evolved due to the creative vision, money, skills, and persistence of a few dedicated individuals. To her examples of the Northern Lights Pavilion, the libraries, and Fleming College, I’d like to add the Folk Society, Haliburton Forest, the Sculpture Forest and our farmers’ markets. The tremendous success the two markets are currently experiencing is the result of a small number of people passionate about making local food more accessible. At one of the many local food meetings from 2007 to 2009 one of the participants voiced the desire to “take a leap of faith”; instead of spending more time, money, and energy on further analysis and research, the group took some risks and opened the first market a couple of months later at Robertson’s Marina in Haliburton. Over the years, changes have occurred and now thanks to Dysart council and a very committed market board, the market in Haliburton village has a fabulous location which has helped foster their achievements. It is time for the Dysart council to show the same support for the building of a pool/recreation centre complex. Thanks to Gay Bell and the dedicated pool committee, thorough research has been done. I’ve attended a presentation to council and read several pool committee reports with well documented evidence. They have discovered other small Ontario communities that have successfully built and maintained a comparable, economically sustainable structure. They have plans to make it accessible to all ages and income levels. Supporters of the pool have expressed varied reasons for a local pool/recreation centre . . . the main ones being a place to maintain good health and have recreation for current residents. I also believe that this complex would be an added incentive to keep our present population and attract new families to our county. I’d like to share two experiences that strengthen my opinion that our community will benefit from having this facility. During my 25 years teaching in Minden and Haliburton, I learned that a huge number of young people did not know how to swim; not all families can afford to live on lakes or have the time, energy, and transportation to take their children to the few safe and open beaches we have or to the pool in Bracebridge for lessons. It seems that too many children and their parents are boating and snowmobiling on our lakes without the essential ability to save themselves from drowning. For a few years I’ve been fortunate to swim at the Pinestone Resort, the only pool available in our county. Although I am currently healthy enough to participate in many forms of exercise, I’ve regularly shared the pool with physically challenged seniors for whom this was the only type of exercise they could do. The current fee for an individual monthly pool membership is $75 . . . $30 more than the rate supported by hundreds of locals completing the recent pool survey. I urge others who want this pool to let our local politicians know we want them to take a leap of faith and make this vision a reality.
Sharon Harrison, Ingoldsby
Plenty of garlic ready for Garlic Fest
August 19, 2014
Re: Tough year for garlic growers My main concern is the title of the article. As a result there has been questions about shortage of garlic for sale. People have been asking is there going to be any garlic this year at the fest? My answer is yes, definitely! Yes, the growers have faced a challenge this year. But in spite of the challenges (longer winter, heavy snow, late spring, heavy rains, not as much sun) garlic has survived and in many instances growers are reporting fantastic yields. It has not been “tough” for all our growers, the way the title implied. Some growers are still facing challenges, but they are working on solutions. I would like to clarify about the leek moth laying their eggs in the garlic bulb. This is incorrect. The eggs are laid on the plant itself. More information on the leek moth and nematodes that attack the garlic will be available at the information centre at the Garlic Fest, Saturday, Aug. 23 in Stanhope.
Sheila Robb President, Haliburton County Garlic Growers Association
A flawed OPP model
August 19, 2014
Dear Premier Wynn:
We were very disappointed to see your announcement last week that you have decided to go ahead with the flawed OPP billing model, which will increase our tax levels significantly in one of the poorest parts of the province. Residents in our area repeatedly asked your government to consider fairer models. We also asked you to act on the Auditor-General’s recommendation that you take steps to curtail the escalating costs of policing. It appears that you have done neither. The planned phase-in of the increases is an acknowledgement that this will hit people in our area very hard. Now that you have adopted a model which counts seasonal residences equally with permanent residences, we trust that you will apply this broadly to all provincial funding decisions. If you think that this is a fair approach, we expect to see a commensurate increase in allocation of funding for health care and education and other provincial programs to our region. This is one more very strong indication that your Liberal government does not understand or is not interested in addressing the concerns and issues of the residents of Haliburton County.
Tayce Wakefield Little Kennisis Lake
Lead by example
August 19, 2014
Constantly being reminded to reuse, recycle, reduce, it astounds me the Municipality of Highlands East would enclose glossy form pamphlets with our final tax bill notices. Nowhere on either pamphlet are the words “on recycled paper or recyclable.” I hate to criticize costs incurred for such elaborate enclosures, however sure it is at the taxpayers’ expense. If fiscal restraint is supposed to be a priority for Highlands East council it is not being demonstrated and leading by example does not exist.
Beverly MacDuff Gooderham
Leadership and vision – fond hope!
August 12, 2014
“Pool group presses council” – Echo, page 1, July 29, 2014. Well it’s election season and we might hope, but we won’t succeed given the way we elect our councils. In Dysart the reeve and deputy reeve positions are contested separately and both winners likely share the same vision, such as it is, low taxes prominently. Few grasp that we must pay for what we value. The other councillor positions are entirely separate in the various wards, in addition to being restricted locally winners also likely share the prominent value. Considering Dysart’s sister municipality, Minden Hills, an additional position is elected for the whole municipality but again all three positions reeve, deputy reeve and councillor-at-large are entirely separate from each other. Curiously the old Anson Hindon and Minden entity elects two people but only with X’s so the elector can’t really discriminate between the two. Doesn’t the free market teach that a wide choice and the opportunity to value those choices carefully with dollars and cents leads to progress? Restricting the choice between reeve, deputy reeve and various ward councillors tends to the opposite as does the use of an X rather than a number to more accurately value the choices. Good luck to the County Swimming Pool Initiative but sadly their campaign won’t find a champion with leadership and vision in this electoral environment.
Memories of Kennisis Lake
August 12, 2014
I read with interest the letter from Greg McMaster as my sister Karen and I have great memories of working at the centre at Kennisis Lake. I will list some things of interest from living at Kennisis Lake. 1. It was 21 miles from CIBC Haliburton to the centre. 2. Nearest telephone was Silver Valley, but emergency calls could be done from the radio phone at the mill. To access the mill from centre you walked up the boardwalk to the mill from East Kennisis Drive. 3. Lots were being sold on East Kennisis Lake Drive by Jim Cooper who taught me how to make a milkshake while I was working at the restaurant or was it a sundae? Not certain. 4. The bridge between Little Kennisis and Big Kennisis was not built. (Note: this was built when property was sold to the developers called Kennissis Lake Development Limited the spelling was an error of my late boss Donald J. Finn, which the staff teased Donald over the years about.) 5. While we stayed at Kennisis Lake over the summer one of the cottagers was Arthur Hailey who wrote Airport and Hotel and sold his cottage to Dr. Montgomery’s family. One of the guests who came to Hailey cottage was Pierre Berton. Dr. Mongomery’s daughter married Trevor Eyton, who graduated with my late boss Donald J. Finn from Osgoode. I might add that Trevor Eyton was the last person appointed to the Senate that gave us GST by Brian Mulroney. 6. Many parties were held on the beach of the property once owned by Gary F. Vasey on Kennisis Lake. 7. It was interesting to work with Stuart Baker at the centre ride into school on Monday morning calling him Stuart, which was not allowed in his class. Karen and I learned it was easy to call him sir when we started to say Stuart. 8. The hall at the centre was used for church and dances and this hall has long gone, but not the memories. 9. Charlie the cook and Dorothy Baker’s mom baked bread, tarts, etc., which the cottagers loved to purchase. 10. When I started working for Donald J. Finn one of my jobs were the sales on Big and Little Kennisis Lake and Restone Lake by the companies Kennissis Lake Development Limited and Redkenn Development Limited so over the years I still stayed part of the developent of Kennisis Lake. In the Seventies a lot on Kennisis Lake was between $2,500 to $3,500, but that was a good price as remember it is along the road to Kennisis Lake and Restone Lake and many of the cottagers on these lakes have been on the lake since the Fifties. 11. The first development was sold by a company managed by James Dunn a solicitor from Peterborough and Peterborough Lumber Company. 12. A chap that worked for Esso and had a cottage on the lake was responsible for Stuart to get pumps at the lake for boats. His name has escaped me, but his daughter was a great swimmer. I’d love to have a reunion with friends from the old days at Kennisis Lake.
Julia Roberts (Burke)
Signs for seniors?
August 12, 2014
Re: Signage for Maple and Victoria Street
The big question is will we ever get the pedestrian crossing sign at Maple and Victoria streets? We’re slowing down for turtles, what about seniors?
Doreen Robertson and Ev Stata Parklane residents
Paved shoulders a no brainer
August 12, 2014
Kudos to Doug Ray, Sue Shikazi and the Haliburton Cycling Coalition for yet again bringing attention to the need for cycling lanes on county roads to the county council. My question is, why are we even still talking about this? It’s a no brainer. We have seen a huge increase in the number of cyclists in Haliburton over the past 10 or 15 years. A very significant impact on tourism. And still our community leaders don’t want to improve infrastructure to promote this activity. A prime example this week with the recent resurfacing of a section of CR 21 between Minden and Ingoldsby with no added pavement right of the white line. For those who don’t know, the Highway Traffic Act considers bicycles to be vehicles, and yes, they are required to abide by the same rules as any other vehicle. But as such, they are entitled to use an entire lane. For obvious safety reasons, they primarily stick close to the shoulders. Road bikes simply cannot ride on gravel shoulders. How many accidents and near misses is it going to take to get the local councils on board with the rest of the country? I have cycled many miles on Haliburton roads. In my experience I have seen many considerate drivers in Haliburton who slow down and give lots of room to cyclists and I thank them for their courtesy. However, occasionally a driver passes by, oblivious to the fact that there is a person at the edge of the pavement. To them I say “wake up and slow down, an incident will cost you a lot more lost time than showing some courtesy on your way”. To Haliburton County I say, if you want to improve tourism, show some willingness to spend money on infrastructure to attract tourists.
Phonebook clutter frustrates
August 5, 2014
You have made a mess here on my cottage road. Phonebooks are littering the ditches and driveways and they look terrible. Please do not deliver phone books to seasonal residents who may not find them until they have become soggy and ruined. Please do not deliver phonebooks to vacant lots and roads without telephone service. Please do not deliver a phone book to my house. It goes straight into the recycle bin. Like many of your customers, I haven’t used a phone book in years. It is ironic that the ad on the back of the phone book describes much of my recent experience with your company… an uphill battle.
Can we afford a pool?
August 5, 2014
Re: “Pool group presses council,” Echo, July 29
After reading your article which was great, I have a couple of questions. I am all in favour of a community swimming pool but this has been talked about since at least 1974 and before. The Minden arena (community centre), was looked at by the Minden Rotary Club and Kinsmen and municipality way back then. Brian Sisson was asked to get info on the subject. Brian did get info and the cost of maintaining and staffing this facility was going to be way more than the community could afford. Has this changed? How much would it cost a year to provide maintenance, staff (lifeguards) and servicing of this facility? What did the 1,600 persons advise they would be willing to pay per year for the use of this facility? It is mentioned to construct a recreation complex and if you look at the Minden Community Centre the complex is already there except the pool and additional construction. Should this be put to a public vote again throughout the county? I would like to see the figures printed for the cost of a similar facility in Petrolia, Bracebridge, Huntsville and Gravenhurst. How many people are we losing to other areas because we don’t have a community pool? We have thousands of lakes and ask the seasonal people how they feel when they are already paying for services they never get the benefit of. Perhaps we should pool our resources toward Pinestone or another private business to upgrade their facilities and users could sign a promissory note to use their facility and help cover or completely cover the maintenance and staffing costs. It is all right for Bates to say we can’t keep coming up with why nots, but what part is he paying and as we are already classed as a poverty stricken area and a great percentage are on pensions, seniors as well as the needy on other pensions and Ontario Works benefits, where will the money come from after the construction grants, etc.? I would also like to know what the property tax hike would be to facilitate this project on an ongoing basis. Good idea but maybe better in a private situation, with user fees paying for it. Money will do the talking and with all other municipal costs county and otherwise I don’t think as a public project we can saddle the future taxpayers with this commitment, do you?
Richard (Dick) Schell
Paving the way for cyclists
August 5, 2014
RE: County considers paved shoulders for cyclists
I commend the members of Haliburton County council for planning to include paved shoulders in its future road projects. This will add to the existing paved shoulders that have been completed on County Roads 1, 2, 21, 121 and 648. The recommendations presented by the roads director reflect not only the input from the Haliburton Highlands Cycling Coalition, but also those goals stated in the Haliburton County Cycling Master Plan (2008). The development of the plan included extensive community and stakeholder consultation, and the recommendations for paved shoulders were determined using criteria that included average daily traffic volume, proximity to villages and other destinations, importance for connectivity and current/potential use for cycling. The plan was accepted by council and incorporated into the county official plan when it was amended in 2010. As was indicated in the article, paved shoulders have multiple benefits. They provide safe space for cycling and walking, as well as improve safety for drivers by providing space for evasive manoeuvres. According to the Grey County roads department, paved shoulders also extend asphalt life by reducing edge breakdown, and over a period of 15 years, are less costly to install and maintain than gravel shoulders. Many other rural areas in Ontario already recognize the benefits of paving shoulders and cycling. Counties such as Lennox and Addington, Grey, and the District of Muskoka are investing to improve roads, encourage cycling activity and promote themselves as cycling destinations. As a community, we are also doing great work on cycling and active transportation that is recognized provincially, nationally and internationally. We are showing what’s possible when many partners and stakeholders work collaboratively towards a common goal: a healthy, active community that includes walking and cycling. Council is to be saluted for continuing to pave the way forward in this regard!
Haliburton Highlands Cycling Coalition Chair, Communities in Action Committee
Health Promoter, HKPR District Health Unit
Benefits of a public pool
August 5, 2014
I read with great interest your article about the group pressing council to get on with initiating a pool and recreation complex for local residents. Our summer is spent in Haliburton and we spend several days a month here in the winter. My husband would love to move here full time, but I’m not so keen because there is no pool. I swim three days a week when we are in Toronto, as the key exercise I need to keep my body moving. I would love to have a local Haliburton pool membership, so I could keep fit. It is hard to believe that we in Haliburton don’t have a pool so that young Haliburtonians can learn to swim. Surrounded by water, it must be frustrating for them to have no place to learn, and more importantly dangerous for them to not know how to swim. Haliburton has a great community with lots of exciting things happening: theatre, music, art, golf, skiing, hockey, curling. Seniors volunteer in every area of the community, but there is no “wave of action” for a pool and rec centre that would help their health either. I note from the article that Councillor Andrea Roberts is struggling with the rec centre’s forecasted breakeven number of 1,600 members. Which part of the YMCA research does she not believe that conservatively estimated a maximum of 2,200 members (from just the full-time residents) would be willing to pay a defined membership? The survey didn’t even ask most of the (large) taxpayers: the seasonal residents like me. I would pay a yearly membership, and I am sure many other seasonal residents would. It might even encourage them (and me) to take the leap and become full time, to further support the community with their volunteer work. As Ms. Shikaze of the HKPR District Health Unit said in her letter, save $11 in health related services for every $1 spent on recreation! We need a council with vision to see the wisdom of a pool/rec centre. It is “penny wise and pound foolish” to pretend this is not a priority. To all candidates running for election Oct. 27, I remind you that we the taxpayers vote, and will vote for people of vision prepared to take leadership.
Rosalie Cowan, Grass Lake and Toronto
Recreation cornerstone to healthy communities
July 29, 2014
Municipal recreation programs and opportunities are a cornerstone of an inclusive, healthy, active community. The municipality of Dysart et al is to be commended for securing funding for a pilot recreation program, and for hiring a recreation coordinator, Andrea Mueller, who has been offering a wide range of free and inexpensive programs for people of all ages. That these programs have been well-attended shows an interest in and demand for affordable recreation activities. A lack of access to recreation is a serious public health issues. We know that there are rising rates of preventable chronic diseases (e.g. heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes) in Ontario and in our county. We also know that regular daily physical activity reduces risk, but that many children, youth and adults are not active enough to get these health benefits. Many people also face barriers to accessing recreation, such as user fees, transportation and equipment costs. In addition, the way our communities are designed can either help or hinder our ability to be active. Further to the points made in your editorial, there are many ways that recreation benefits everyone in the community. For every dollar invested in recreation, savings of up to $11 can be made on a broad range of health care programs and services, by increasing physical activity and its health benefits. Recreation has important social benefits such as building social skills, self-esteem and resilience. Participating in recreation programs is also associated with reducing rates of criminal activity and antisocial behaviour, reducing use of medical specialists, and increasing exit of parents from social assistance. From a municipal perspective, investing in recreation makes sense. Encouraging walking and cycling benefits residents and also supports tourism activity. Having a range of recreation opportunities contributes to quality of life – a key factor in attracting and retaining residents and businesses. It’s clear that municipalities have an important role to play in providing affordable recreation opportunities. The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) supports the recommendations of the Policy Framework for Affordable Access to Recreation for Ontarians, and states, “AMO is supporting what many Ontarians identify as one of the highest valued services delivered by municipalities: recreation.” I agree with your call to our elected and soon-to-be-elected officials to recognize the need for coordinated municipal recreation programs, and to support on-going investments in recreation so that our municipalities are healthy, active communities for people of all ages and abilities to live, work, learn and play.
Sue Shikaze, health promoter HKPR District Health Unit
Memories of Kennisis Lake
July 29, 2014
The McMaster family bought a lot and cottage on the South Shore of Kennisis Lake, in the first development in 1956. Logging was still underway at the west end of the lake, but the local entrepreneurs knew it was coming to an end, and arrangements were made with Hay and Company, with rights to all the land around the lake, to develop cottage lots on the South Shore. Bill Curry was central to this, along with Haliburton realtors Hayward and Jones. My dad bought our lot, Plan 3 Lot 8, for less than $2,000. On the South Shore, plan 1 went along the shore from the marina to the beaver dam; plan 2 was the first point road; plan 3 was the next point; plan 4 was the next point road. Our neighbours Carson and Gloria Kosatz remarked that the island in our bay (helping to shelter Bullfrog Bay), was “a nice island” and the real estate guy said “you can have it for $15”! The marina, then known as Curry’s Landing, consisted of a gas pump and a dock, downhill from the Mill. The mill workers, boys from West Guilford and Haliburton, drove the road every day for their shift from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Earlier the road at the bottom of Moose Hill was a log bridge. You could hear the mill whistle every weekday, at 8 a.m., noon and 5 p.m., all down the lake. When I was little, logging was finishing up, in the little bay just past the Blueberry Islands. There is a steep flat rock there, just inside the bay, and they would drag the logs there with horses and roll them into the lake and make log booms. We found a horse’s jaw and food caches (dugouts) there later. I remember sitting on the shore with binoculars watching Bill Curry, with his newly-made wooden barge and 50-HP out-board, very big at the time, at full throttle, spewing exhaust, slowly heading down the lake to the mill with one of the last log booms, sitting in a lawn chair, smoking a cigar and drinking a beer, on a beautiful summer day. Curry’s Landing also had an enclosure, with straw, for ice blocks, cut from the lake during winter for sale for ice boxes for food in summer, covered in straw, and oil-barrel dog houses for the hunting hounds for the fall hunt. We have an old hunting map of defined areas and distress signals south of the lake, and we discovered various hunting cabins around the the lake, used by locals in the fall season. There was no electricity at first, and all dirt roads. I remember seeing the first satellite “Sputnik” while my dad changed a flat tire on the straight stretch past West Guilford. We would go to town (Haliburton) to shop, and I remember Bill Curry standing on the sidewalk in front of the bank, paying his various employees/contractors with cash from a huge wad of bills, in his green workclothes, suspenders and a big fat cigar. His family owned Plan 1 Lot 1 on the point across from the Marina. My family explored the undeveloped lake. In the bay at the north-west corner of Little Kennisis, a huge dead old-growth tree survived up a little stream, and the ospreys nested there. In the spring you could see the babies in the nest, and then later they would fly in circles over that little bay, squawking. Further east down Little Kennisis, there was a major hunting camp, with cooking utensils in old log cabins (now a Lodge for the Haliburton Forest, who kept one of the old buildings). On the west end of Kennisis, up a path from another camp (now developed), overgrown and a possible site where Ojibway Joe Kennisis lived, we found old rusted-out beaver traps beside a little stream. The marina was then run by Stuart and Dorothy Baker. I have a postcard, an aerial shot of the marina at low water with boat waves coming in from outside the bay. Stuart reported that the snow had been shovelled from our cottage roof (c. 1959). Dorothy was the postmaster, and Karen Burke the assistant, in the post office in the back of the first store. Stuart taught at the now-closed school in Haliburton and tragically died. The restaurant had the classic round stools, short-order meals, and the cook who worked at the mill and made fresh bread on order. There was also an old-style juke box and once a year a guy would come to replace records, and you could buy the old 45s, with a hole punched in them. I have Chuck Berry’s No Particular Place to Go from that. In the 1960s, the young people and new developers started to take over, with an uneasy co-existence. We had beach parties on the north shore, Little Kennisis by Wolf Lake, Cabin Island and the dam. They developed the East Shore, Little Kennisis and the North Shore, all the way to the dam, with roads. Cabin Island was “R” Island, owned by squatters’ rights by mysterious owners, who came up rarely. I also remember the Aquacar, which could float, and came up in the 1960s. It was the first and only time you would ever see a car on the Gull Rock, by Cabin Island! The next owners of the marina were the Everitts (Wilf, Marg, Larry and Debbie). They expanded the business and they also worked with the young people. Dances were held in the boathouse, with turntables and old-style records. By the late 60s there were live rock bands from Oshawa, and when we didn’t go to the competing dances at Medley’s Bowling in Carnarvon, we had a lot of good parties at Kennisis Lake!
Greg McMaster Kennisis Lake
Irony in OPP billing argument
July 23, 2014
The current proposal for the OPP billing model is certainly not reasonable as it greatly distorts Haliburton’s real needs, portending obviously highly disproportionate costs and likely little, if any, increased benefits. A more balanced formula needs to be found. (Why an OPP officer in Haliburton is required to be paid at least the same as an officer in Toronto is a serious question for another day.) However, what I find ironic or perhaps unintentionally hypocritical is the “do as I say, not as I do” rhetoric of the local politicians to the provincial government exemplified by Reeve Fearrey’s comment: “It isn’t fair to lump seasonal residences with permanent residences.” Really? Isn’t that exactly what local governments do for their own funding formula all of the time? Seasonal residences through annual (not seasonal) property taxes still ending up paying for year-round services that they do not use including a major one – education – that they are unable to benefit from at all. Sixty per cent are forever subsidizing the other 40 per cent yet in that case no one is saying that “it isn’t fair”. Perhaps the county reps may wish to reconsider their argument.
Garry Lamourie Minden Hills
An 85th to remember
July 23, 2014
I would like to thank everyone who attended my surprise 85th birthday celebration. It was a surprise and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing friends and so many relatives. The grandchildren were absolutely spectacular. Big hugs to all and a very deep thank you to my children – they outdid themselves. Bless all of you.
Oct. 27 an election or coronation?
July 23, 2014
Check the websites for the four Haliburton municipalities, the unofficial list of candidates for the municipal elections of Monday, Oct. 27. Highlands East may not have an election. All five incumbents are candidates, but no one is running against them. The incumbent reeve of Algonquin Highlands has not declared and no one has yet stepped forward in her place. The three wards have candidates but no one is contesting a position. In the larger municipalities, Minden Hills first, two of the seven positions on council only are contested, the reeve and deputy-reeve’s positions. In Dysart et al., only three of the seven positions are currently being contested. The reeve’s position, acclaimed in 2006 and 2010, still lacks a candidate. So how healthy is democracy at the local level? Following rebellions, exile and bloodshed in 1840, “Durham wrote that municipal institutions of local self government are the foundations of Anglo Saxon freedom and civilization,” from page 27, Local Government in Canada, Tindal and Tindal, 2009. If you ignore the quaint 19th century racism, was Durham otherwise right? Here’s another quote from the same book, page 19, “a municipal government’s obligation to engage its citizens in democratic governance is far more important than its obligation to manage the services delegated to it by the provincial government.” What is going on in Haliburton? Has everyone gone to the beach this summer, and to Toronto or Florida in the winter?
A true community booster
July 22, 2014
Janet Trull’s well-written July 2 article on Len Salvatori was a truly deserved and informative piece. Len has been a strong community booster and servant through the many years that I have known him. As a trustee in the Seventies and Eighties I was well aware of his important contribution to education in this county and throughout the province. His insights were well considered and his leadership was effective and appreciated. In Haliburton he was/is everywhere from Rotary, Scouts, minor hockey and and of course the daily coffee klatch(Liars’ Club) and, for me, showing up at my dock on Drag Lake with a story or two to tell. What was most striking to me was that he always treated people with kindness, warmth and honesty, to say nothing of his sense of humour. Len and his family have made a wonderful contribution to Haliburton. He is the kind of person who makes a community happen. Haliburton is much the richer for all that he has readily and willingly done. Thank you for the story, and thanks to Lenny for who he is, and what he has done.
Grant MacDonald Drag Lake
Volunteers make rec plan work
July 22, 2014
I am writing to thank all of the volunteers and the behind the scenes helpers that have made the programs I offer a success. Without the extra hands some of the programs would not be the same. Over the past 10 months I have been offering programs as the municipal recreation pilot project coordinator. These programs and my position have been made possible through a grant the Municipality of Dysart et al received from the Ontario Sport, Recreation and Communities Fund. The list of volunteers and supporters is long and extensive, but I would like each and every individual who has helped out along the way to know that I appreciate their help and I am grateful for all of their hard work. Recently, I had parents helping coach ball hockey teams and Sue Shikaze volunteered her time to lead a six-week learn to run clinic. The amount of support and time that people contribute in this community never ceases to amaze me.
Inviting youth to the environmental battle
July 15, 2014
I recently attended a talk by Maude Barlow in Minden. The room was filled to capacity. No surprise: Maude is a captivating speaker and seeker of environmental justice for both humans and the planet. But something was missing. I looked around the room and scanned the attendees. No offence but all white-grey-haired listeners. The missing link….the youth of our nation. We definitely need to encourage our youth to get involved. Cottage associations and local associations that do battle for the environment seem to be dominated by the older generation: we the ones who perhaps caused the occurring damage. Our youth should be invited and encouraged to particiapte. The environment — water, air, land — is their future. If all generations contribute in some small way, we will accomplish a great new force of environmental awareness. We must gently, and sometimes not so gently, push the education of private citizens and fight mass governmental and industrial disregard of the environment. Only then we will secure the future of the land, water and air for all generations to come. Who better to fight for that goal than the future generation! Thank you for listening. Youth, do you hear me?
Barbara Szita-Knight Lake Steward- Esson Lake
A life well lived
July 15, 2014
Re: Town Dock, July 2, 2014 I have known Lenny Salvatori for 75 years. We became friends at the old Haliburton Public School where we shared a double desk. As I recall, our teachers were Ms. Smith (Sept.-Dec.) and Ena Dart (my aunt). There are few people like Lenny, who has given more to their community in such a variety of ways. In high school he drove a bus for fellow students to get back and forth every day from Eagle Lake and Guilford. During the 1940s his contemporaries would go to the famous Golden Slipper Dance Hall, and afterwards to Albert and Wilda LaRue’s restaurant. As usual, Lenny was waiting on tables because he was needed to help out there. His life, so well lived, might be expressed best by King George VI, who once wrote, “The highest of distinctions is service to others.”
Happy birthday, Dysart
July 15, 2014
In response to letters regarding this subject, allow me to point out a few facts from my book Fragments of a Dream, specifically from pages 45,76 and 119. In 1864, 27 pioneers settled in Dysart Township. In 1865, the Haliburton road, linking the Bobcaygeon Colonization Road with the settlement,reached the projected Village of Haliburton. On June 20, 1865, a petition from Dr. Peake and 50 others to establish the Township of Dysart as a separate municipality was rejected, because there were fewer than 50 residents on Dysart’s assessment rolls. On January 1867, six months before Confederation, the Municipality of Dysart et al was created. We therefore celebrate, in 2014, 150 years of the settlement of Dysart and in 2017, 150 years of the Municipality and its Village.
Olympic meet and greet
July 15, 2014
Everyone watched the Olympics with great interest and pride and watching the Paralympics the athletes competing were amazing. Blind skiers with a guide, some with five to seven per cent sight coming down the slope at nearly 100 miles an hour. Our cross-country skiers with a guide were wonderful. The hockey team was another one. They were all amazing. What came to mind as I watched the courage of these athletes: if we had that little sight, would we be at the top of a hill ready to go down it? Or if we were missing a leg, would we be playing hockey? It takes a special kind of person to fight through all the things they had to. To bring even more coverage to the games, if both Olympic athletes from each of the games go to know one another, and TV coverage of that get-together, I think everyone would benefit from the coverage of those meetings and saw the support for each other. If the Olympic panel would maybe consider this idea, I think it would be even more amazing.
Letter served its purpose
July 8, 2014
I would like to thank the folks who submitted letters to the editor in response to my own letter to the editor a few weeks ago entitled “Get Your Priorities Straight, Haliburton.” I thought that even during a time of a hotly contested provincial election my letter might generate a response or two, and I am delighted that it did. Letters to the editor are a great forum for stimulating thinking and discussion, and that was the underlying intent of mine. That makes good food for thought going forward, and usually for the development of better strategies and solutions. I believe that the bigger picture subject of future development for Haliburton County deserves some serious thinking. Obviously, others do too. The key point is that it be the right kind of development – one that is consistent with Haliburton’s business and marketing strategy, and one which plays to its strengths and distinguishing offerings! I would also like to thank those folks (many of whom I did not know) who telephoned their appreciation for putting forth this particular viewpoint. It seems that more than a few people concur with it. Whether a viewpoint resonates or gets people’s backs up, only good can come out of it when people care enough to voice an opinion, or respond to one. A purpose is indeed served.
Don Ross Grass Lake
Businesses to the rescue
July 8, 2014
At the expense of sounding like a broken record I must once again extol our local businesses. After June 30’s heavy rainstorm we found ourselves at the bottom of a very steep driveway with washouts there and in our parking lot. Once again a local business cheerfully came to our rescue before lunch on July 1. Thank you TMS Service for your prompt and excellent repair job. Thanks Mitch from a couple of old retired seniors for helping us stay safely in our own home.
Joan and Don Cameron
Lights a reasonable concern
June 24, 2014
I had read the earlier letter complaining about the light pollution on Grass Lake with some sympathy and then the letter of Ed Burke printed on June 10 with total puzzlement. Mr. Burke unfortunately and completely misses the point by a mile (1.6 km for the younger set) and then goes wildly off on a bizarre tangent towards some absurd conclusions about milking goats and closing down the Tim Hortons in town. The important issue raised is not at all about opposing progress (and progress in any case is not just unbridled change but positive reasonable growth). It is simply about creeping uncontrolled commercialization. All municipalities regulate commercial land use through codes or bylaws so that inappropriate growth or activities do not unduly interfere with or even negate other or more preferred land uses. No one would dispute that factories should not be allowed in residential areas nor fast food franchises in provincial parks nor dangerous or polluting industries near populated areas, nor, on a lesser scale, ear-splitting music from the neighbourhood pub at 2 a.m. Commercialization has had to be taught to co-exist, not dominate nor destroy. The sign lighting issue on Grass Lake is simply one of inappropriate commercial use in a residential/recreational area of Haliburton whose local economy is without doubt driven primarily around nature and the outdoors. The appreciation and enjoyment of the natural outdoors are what draw most people to the Highlands, whether occasional visitors or the more regular seasonal residents, all of whom willingly contribute their many dollars while here and support the majority of Haliburton businesses and families that depend heavily on those same dollars. The recent bylaw restricting the use of fireworks (excessive light and noise) to certain holiday weekends is a perfect example of controlling activity that is neither appropriate to, nor respectful of, residents (both permanent and seasonal), particularly those near water, whose primary, perhaps only, reason to be here is enjoyment of the unspoiled natural outdoors. Bright signs near lakes, like that growing plague of roadside billboards, unnecessary disrespect and ultimately degrade our shrinking natural environment and people’s enjoyment of it. The people on Grass Lake have every reason to be upset, as should we all about what we are starting to let happen all around us.
Garry Lamourie Minden Hills
Shopping local pays off
June 24, 2014
This week I found yet another great reason to support our local business. I am house bound right now following knee surgery and discovered Foodland would do my shopping for me. I phoned in a fairly extensive list of groceries and they soon called back with the amount. My friend took along my cheque, picked them up and my cupboards are once again stocked. What a wonderful service, thank you Haliburton Foodland. By the way, if you do not have someone to pick them up for you they will help you arrange delivery-how good is that? Once again a local business to our rescue-thanks for being there when we need you.
Joan Cameron Haliburton
Are citizens now customers?
June 17, 2014
Customers or citizens, there is a difference. I was offended to notice a “customer service feedback form” from Elections Ontario in the polling station where I went to vote. I am more than a customer there. I have had difficulty as a citizen trying to engage people in political conversations at too many temples of commerce such as the liquor store and the parking lot of the Minden Home Hardware. I note the “no soliciting” signs outside my local grocery stores. I did, however, make use of the forms when I encountered about four students outside a polling station at the Bracebridge Recreation Centre on June 12. The centre is attached to the local high school and the students were at the coffee shop which is part of the recreation centre. I discovered that the students were of age to vote but didn’t know where or how to do it. They had not received voter ID cards and this is what I advised them to protest with Elections Ontario. Here was an example of the difficulties students face when first trying to vote. One went in to the poll and found he did not have the right ID without the voter card. All right, the students have some responsibility in this, but so do their parents, the school and/or the civics class and finally, maybe especially, Elections Ontario. Incredibly all failed. I suggested they contact a political party campaign office but they decided to speak to their principal and went off with the “customer service” forms. O Canada, what has voting come to mean here?
Jim Milne Haliburton
Everyone should cast a ballot
June 17, 2014
I feel very disappointed with the recent Ontario provincial election. The fact that only 51 per cent of our population exercised their privilege to vote is very upsetting. I cannot help but think of all of the men, women and children who died to give us the freedom to vote and yet 49 per cent of our voting population threw the gift away! My first question to anyone who complains about a piece of legislation that passes in our legislature in the next four years will be: “Did you vote in the last election?” Maybe the Australians have a better idea – they fine anyone who does not vote!
Haliburton County is founded on change
June 17, 2014 The recent letter complaining about the Tim Hortons sign in Haliburton being visible from the lakefront cottage which had been in the family’s hands for some decades, is only more of the NIMBY thing that centres on “me” at the expense of everything else. All those who feel that cottage country should remain a wilderness devoid of progress for the pleasure of summer visitors have obviously forgotten the history of the area. Bears and wildlife were once the only inhabitants of this area for some 50,000 years, before we came. Today they are shot as a nuisance should they intrude on our presence. The Aboriginal people hunted, fished, lived and died here for thousands of years, but they were driven out when the Europeans came, and the area was clear cut by the lumber industry. Now the lumber industry has faded over the last 50 or so years, and new temporary residents prowl the land around the lakes. Time moves on, things change, and they will change again. In the grand scheme of things one Tim Hortons sign doesn’t count for much. I think perhaps we attach too much self importance to our existence, which is unpredictable, and temporary at best.
Keith Stata Kinmount
Community support heartwarming to O’Neills
June 10, 2014
When the going gets tough the tough get going, and that’s just what we did. When the Fighting Irish learned that one of their own was battling cancer (Burkitt’s Lymphoma) they rallied.
The O’Neill family aka the Fighting Irish was one of six teams participating in the Jim O’Neill benefit baseball tournament and dance. The hard work of many hands made this fundraiser a resounding success. The response came from family, friends and most importantly our entire community that stretched from Welland to Cobourg to West Guilford and everywhere in between. There was no hesitation we were all in. “It was awesome to have all of my family to come up and participate in the tournament we are all baseball fans and love playing the game. It also meant a lot to my family to see the community come out and participate as well.”
To say the least this chain reaction was overwhelming, heartwarming but not totally unexpected. In times of need our small communities have stepped up to the plate and given very generously from the heart. The connection we have is strong, unbreakable, and immeasurable and gives you the hope that anything is possible. “Words can’t really express what my family and friends have done for Kim and I and the kids, it’s been very hard for everyone. I know I haven’t been very easy to get along with at times.”
Jim O’Neill lives in Eagle Lake with his partner Kim and their three children Carter, 13, Jacob 12, and Mikayla who is 10. Kim has another daughter Shyanna Smith who will be 18 in August. Jim works at Holden Truss.
Jim and Kim, who have been together for the past 16 years, were speechless and humbled with the outpouring of generosity and it brought all of us to tears as we witnessed their thank you speech at the dance.
Jim started chemotherapy in late October 2013 until the middle of April this year and then radiation treatments for the month of May. Jim will have another CT scan on June 13 to see how the cancer has reacted to his treatments. Depending on the results of the scan the doctors will decide what the next steps will be in his treatment.
The fighting Irish won’t go down without a fight.
Nature of the economy
June 10, 2014
Don Ross complains about light pollution coming from Haliburton’s Tim Hortons. He kindly points to the attractions the county has to offer and urges local people to capitalize on heritage and the beauty of the area and is not keen on the presence of “corporate Canada” in this rugged and scenic area.
Mr. Ross and other cottage chums must be aware that this is the poorest county in Ontario. Many jobs in the area are seasonal and those aimed at serving tourists are generally low paying. Tim Hortons may be year round but is still a low wage employer. Sadly young people graduate from high school here and then the majority leave for big city employment.
Haliburton County is a big piece of real estate and there is enough land that does not centre on much desired lake front property that is available for industrial use.
The county currently concentrates on marketing the area as a tourist destination but needs a strategy to seek out business and an industrial commissioner to head such a search. Tourists and summer residents are aware of the scenic attractions here and will still come to the Highlands as an alternative to over populated Muskoka and too far away Bancroft.
Lately there has been criticism of councils and officials who are not fully focused on attracting business. The chance for 15 welcome jobs went down the drain in the Benoir Lake area because both permanent and seasonal residents intimidated the Dysart council into denying a reputable company the space to set up shop.
Algonquin Highlands is not known as a welcoming location for business.
Heatline in its elegant plant buildings on the edge of Stanhope Airport has had its troubles with local officials. This multi-million dollar sales high-tech firm needs a dry stand pipe to bring water from the nearby river in order to satisfy insurance requirements. The council so far will not provide this safety feature nor will it introduce “three phase” power necessary for commercial hydro requirements.
Over in Peterborough they have a thriving airport with an experienced manager and a growing employment base. By contrast while Algonquin Highlands is finally going ahead with airport improvements, it had a top notch airport manger who was let go, presumably because he had trouble working under the very strict supervision imposed by council.
Industry can coexist with tourists and seasonal dwellers here but needs to be welcomed for the employment that will result from its presence.
At a time when municipal elections are in the offing, taxpayers should feel free to quiz candidates for office on their plans to grow the fragile economic base of the county.
As for Mr. Ross, can anyone help with his night light pollution? Maybe the offender, Tim Hortons, will rejig their lighting display to help him out?
Michael Barnes Haliburton
People will always oppose progress in Haliburton
June 10, 2014
Re: letter, “Get your priorities straight,” June 3 Echo
A couple of dozen generations ago folks milked goats within sight of Toronto City Hall. Back then, with all the influx of immigrants from far and distant lands, there were locals, those well-fed, much-moneyed gentry, belly-aching about change and progress, blind to opportunities these folks brought to our young country. Imagine: foreigners disturbing our quiet bliss what with their babbling alien tongues selling, trading, bartering every variety of goods and doing the enterprising, free trade things.
And so we have our own Grass Lake Committee. Folks belly-aching how we’re becoming so city-like how they cannot stand the lights. How they’ve been coming here for generations enjoying nothing but agreeable visual vistas and the haunting call of loons. How they come here and make demands, how they want hospitals and the city-like comforts. Probably – very likely – the same kinds of complaints those locals of early Toronto blathered about….
Well, I’ve got to say this: What planet are you from? We’ve been having blatant commercialism since the first settlers came to this country. We’ve also had pollution of a beautiful pastures, total destruction of the forests and environment. It’s been “clear-cut the timber and put up a parking lot” everywhere! And you come along and don’t want people employed, you want to take but not give, you’d rather let people suffer so you can be green and serene and have a clear view of the lake. What hypocrisy!
Solution? Up-root every commercialistic enterprise? Turn back the clock? We could rebuild the five sawmills on Head Lake with their accompanying lumber piles and logs. Bring back our coal burning railroad. We could have unregulated food and drink again in places like our restaurants, grocery stores, the butcher shop. We could have the dairy, complete with cows in the pasture where Halbiem Court exists today. We could have 100-foot stands of timber everywhere which were clear cut by the lumber barons. Our men could go back to working in the bush with ax, horse and oxen every day in the winter at $2 a day including Sundays. Survival, not pollution, could be our lexicon.
As long as we live under a free enterprise system, there is no easy solution. Our ecosystem, our very quality of life seems destined to be incrementally destroyed. But we make demands; we want things. So, trees are clear-cut and never brought back from the development or parking lot into which they become. If we don’t like it – and there’s no requirement that we must – we can always move to Cuba or some other worker’s paradise where there is no free enterprise; the Moon, perhaps.
What can we do? We could petition to have all commercial enterprises kicked out of the county. Not just Tim Hortons but Subway too, Home Hardware together with Canadian Tire. Once again, we’d have a quieter scene with no lights; everything could be as it was! Course, a lot of people would be out of work. Perhaps they could learn to milk goats.
Ed Burke Minden
Volunteers, community thanked for help
May 27, 2014
On behalf of Sears Haliburton we would like to say thank you for the overwhelming support we received from the community this past Saturday in our effort to raise funds to help our local Food for Kids program. We were deeply touched by the amount of people from all over the county who came out to contribute to this great cause, whether by providing raffle items, making a monetary donation or by graciously donating their time and effort to make the event a great success. We would also like to thank all of our staff and all of the volunteers for all of their hard work. Without them the event would not have been so successful. Once again, we are so lucky to call this place home. Thanks for a great day!
Adrian and Wendy Vargas Haliburton
Thank you HCSA
May 20, 2014
I wanted to take a moment to extend a hearty congratulations to you and your leadership team at the HCSA!
What an incredible job the Club performed this past season. Frankly,
I’ve noticed the past couple seasons our trails have been getting better
and better. Your attention to consistent, regular and early grooming
has not gone unnoticed. Haliburton is not just a good place to
snowmobile – it is a great place to ride! This winter we had some pretty
cool guests join us and ride HCSA trails – not the least of which was
Arctic Cat founder, Vice President and bona fide industry legend, Roger
Skime from Thief River Falls, Minnesota. I’ll never forget the
experience of having him ride here with us or one of his comments after
we had covered the Peterson Eat to the Miskwabi intersection: “Man! This
is what real snowmobiling is all about!” Nice!
Our team here would also like to let you know the “Gelert Trail” from
Minden to the Rail Trail is likely the most-viewed motorized
recreational trail in North America. This trail is used for
approximately 70 per cent of Snowtrax Television’s and DirtTrax
Television’s Test Rides annually. The two shows now have an
international audience, including broadcast in Northern Europe) of over
11 million viewers. If you watch the shows regularly, you’ll see shots
on the trail. As well, Supertrax Magazine and DirtTrax Magazine both use
the trail for many photo-shoots every year.
Haliburton County and its hospitality businesses owe the HCSA a great
debt of gratitude. The HCSA is the reason – not a reason for tourists
to come here in the winter. Yes, we have a ski hill and it is important,
however the largest number of people who are in the county throughout
the winter consuming food, accommodation and other services are
overwhelmingly snowmobilers. Snowmobilers are tourists and Haliburton
needs more than just cottagers, we need the economic impact of tourists,
particularly in the winter.
I have the opportunity to travel the snowbelts of the world and I can tell you this for sure – Haliburton County is internationally known for motorized recreation – particularly snowmobile recreation. Some in the county might cringe at this reality. Others, who know how attractive motorized recreationists are from an economic impact standpoint, know better. Let me conclude by saying this – if there is an award for providing world-class recreation that carries millions of dollars of economic impact with is, then I nominate the Haliburton County Snowmobile Association this year! I sincerely hope you get the recognition you so richly deserve.
Ontario Provincial Police Billing Reform
May 20, 2014
RE: Ontario Provincial Police Billing Reform, A letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne
I write as a solicitor in Haliburton County for over 37 years and as a property owner here for that length of time, to express not only my concerns on behalf of myself, but also on behalf of my clients and the negative impact the drastic increase in costs for police services will have on the value of properties in Haliburton County, and the ability of the majority of citizens who happen to be landowners to remain as such.
I am writing because the new model which allows a drastic reduction for some areas and a drastic increase for other areas is not only inequitable but also inappropriate given the concept of equalization across the province for severely poverty-stricken areas, of which Haliburton is one.
It is my understanding that in 2015, the increases will fold out with a 36 per cent increase in taxes to property owners in Algonquin Highlands, 33 per cent in Dysart et al, 25 per cent in Highlands East and 20 per cent in Minden Hills.
Other areas of the province have a reduction in the amount they are paying for police services.
I have been a supporter of the Liberal party during all my years of voting and am afraid that this is one very bad mistake being made, which will certainly reflect in my support of the party in the future.
Please consider withdrawing this proposal and take the time to consult further with the County representatives as well as provincial representatives so that a more equitable model based upon user pay may be found that recognizes the need for all Ontarians to have proper police services but at the same point in time, recognizes the fact that certain areas of the province are drastically impoverished and cannot be left with a massive increase in the tax burden. In effect, the changes are now going to reflect a dramatic increase in taxes for one of the poorest counties in Ontario, i.e.: Haliburton County, as we have little or no source of revenue other than tax base, minimal employment which is mostly minimum wage and little or no support over the years from the province for many specialized needs.
I appreciate your consideration and remain,
Raymond G. Selbie
May 13, 2014
To the one whose breath birthed mine so I could inhale wind and exhale fear. Whose vision sharpened my sight, dangling a leaf above my crib as I reached and reached and reached, beyond the green sky of her eyes. Whose voice was the first melody I ever heard, dropping into my ears, that formed a nest for the gentle bird. Whose hands awakened my own to explore the beauty hidden in the world. The hills of her breasts were the first things I touched, drenching my fingers in the waterfall of her hair, as her moss-coloured eyes smiled down at me. I gazed up at her beauty before I saw the sun, crawled along her trunk, clinging to her limbs, before I peeled a scrap of skin off a birch tree. She chided me that day, as I clutched the crumpled scrap of birch in my fist. Asked me how I would feel if somebody peeled a strip off me? Oh Mummy, don’t be silly, I stared up into the green puddles of her eyes, where I saw tiny suns reflected in their centres. Her hands pried me away from the scabs that always erupted on my calves and knees each summer, that I picked at and peeled until they bled. She washed the trickles of blood away then kissed the pink skin and whispered into my ear, “Leave it be, Chivi. Let it heal.” The rawness of her breath as she rasped and gasped her last breaths until Silence swathed. Her lungs, bathing them in the darkness that cradled her before she was born. Sometimes I still pick at the scabs of the past. I don’t let them heal. I still feel the leaf dangling above my head, reaching up for the twigs of her fingers, the branches of her arms, the sky of her eyes that canopies me now, as I walk through the sculpture trail, the granite and marble and stone statues consoling me, the tall tall trees swaying above me, as I reach out to touch the trunk of a birch, my fingers grazing her skin. Mummy. My breath cradling her, releasing her into the wind, that propels me forth toward my next step, my next journey, my next home. Every breath I take, as I wander through this forest, takes my breath away. Because of her. Mummy. A mantra I chant when I feel alone. The world answers me as I listen to her Breath sighing in the trees, slinking through the spaces between the leaves, the sky of her eyes glinting down at me, as I stumble through the world, breath by breathtaking breath.
Poem by Sylvia Kalenda
We don’t get who we vote for
May 13, 2014
Re: “Johnson and Scott face off again,” Echo page 1, May 6. Oh good, another chance to choose the ventriloquist’s dummy! Federally or provincially that’s the best we can do. We can choose the dummy but not the ventriloquist. Yes, let’s have leaders’ debates, at least we have a chance to compare them unfiltered by the media but until we can vote directly for one, his/her party and policies this is going to be a frustrating exercise. And we could end as before with some party (2011 Ontario election) grabbing less that 50 per cent of the seats with less than 38 per cent of the vote and presuming to govern as though it were a legitimate government. Or worse, we could have a party winning less than 40 per cent of the vote and more than 50 per cent of the seats (the 2011 federal election) entirely convinced it had a right to govern without respect for the opposition.
Jim Milne Haliburton
Where does the money go
April 22, 2014
To the Editor, There comes a time when you feel you have lived too long. I remember when Hydro in the early ’70s was going door to door trying to talk people into putting in electric heat as a cheap, safe, alternative to oil. Two decades later they were paying you to get rid of electric heat and go for some other alternative. Certainly gives you cause for concern that anyone down there knows what they are doing. Especially when you consider the NIMBYs in Oakville and Mississauga, who need hydro but wanted the plant built in Sarnia instead of their own back yard, have put us on the hook for a billion or so. Frankly, this should be on their hydro bill not mine. So sitting here looking at my hydro bill, which has hit $1,800 a month the past four months and wondering where all the money is going, I decided to try an experiment. I have a cat house (yes, I said cat house) for strays to stay in during the winter. This is a whopping six feet by 12 feet. Yes folks, 72 square feet. It has a six-foot ceiling divided into two stories (cats are not as tall as people). The floors, walls, and ceiling are fully insulated, it has finished interior surfaces and siding. The windows are low E thermal glass. The doors are insulated, and have double barrier seals to keep out the cold. The cat doors are sealed and insulated to keep the residents from holding them open. Heat is provided by one 1,000-watt Dimplex high efficiency baseboard heater, and the digital thermostat is set at 60ºF. Light consists of three 7.5-watt LED lamps. Now that you have wrapped your head around all that, consider for a moment I hooked it to a 200 amp hydro service with nothing else on it. I had a hydro bill for one month of $131.22. I think this speaks for itself. People think I am nuts, but I think the folks at Hydro One are one up on me!
Keith W. Stata Kinmount
Deer feeding causes accidents on area highways
April 8, 2014
On April 2, my wife and I were involved in a collision with a deer on Highway 118 between Haliburton and Loon Lake. While we are fine, our car sustained several thousand dollars worth of damage and the deer languished a long time before dying. That injured and bleeding animal somehow dragged itself into the bush where the investigating OPP officer was unable to get close enough to end its suffering with a pistol.
No doubt wolves will have found that deer by now.
The next day we came upon a lady with a small car who had just hit a deer west of the Loon Lake Road. The lady was fine, her car was badly damaged, and the deer died at the side of the road.
Both of these accidents happened near homes of people who are known winter deer feeders and where deer have to cross main highways to get to the food.
Two deer killed in two days and thousands of dollars of damages done to cars.
And there have been similar accidents in these places before!
There’s something wrong here!
Despite a harsh winter, the MNR advises that the deer herd in this area is in good health. There is absolutely no need to feed the deer and they can survive quite well in the bush.
While deer are beautiful animals and are fascinating to watch, those are not reasons to entice them to a feeding area near one’s home and in so doing force them to cross main highways, where accidents can happen.
As an aside, and while this article is not to address concerns over rising policing costs in Haliburton County; there are now police officers driving our highways and investigating vehicle collisions with deer. Something totally unnecessary if people would just stop feeding the deer and think about what they are really doing.
Since educational programs using our local media have been ineffective at stopping people feeding the deer; since people don’t seem to want to stop feeding the deer; and since the problem is growing, perhaps it’s time our elected politicians get involved in solving this unfortunate problem.
Pat and Mike Grinnell Loon Lake
We need businesses like Armatec
April 1, 2014
I have three children, all born and raised in Haliburton County. When it was time to leave the nest where did they go? My daughter Racheal lives in St. Catharines along with 20 or more of her school mates. Same goes for Shane in Belleville and Aaron in Peterborough. Why are all our children going to the cities? Because of the lack of full-time year-round jobs in our county. The cottagers over the past 50 years have petitioned our governments to almost abolish the logging industry out of the area. Same goes for the mines and anything else that might cause noise, etc. on their much deserved holidays away from their boring jobs in the noisy cities. Cottagers today don’t realize that without these former businesses we wouldn’t enjoy the good highways we now have compared to 50 years ago. Most of the lakes they now enjoy were inaccessible until the logging companies started to put roads into them in order to get the timber out. Now we have Armatec that wanted to bring much needed jobs into the county. So it’s only five or maybe 15. If those jobs were available a few years ago maybe one of my children might still be living here where they would have bought a home and be raising their young family now and paying taxes etc. We read that school enrollment is declining because our young people are moving away to find jobs. The county now comprises more seniors than young families. If this trend keeps going, soon we will only have cottagers and seniors. As most businesses know they can’t keep afloat on weekend business and a few year round seniors. How noisy can Armatec be to the noise we put up with from cottagers? I live on County Road 503. Every Friday afternoon and evening cottage traffic just flies by going to their much loved cottages. Same goes for Sunday as they return to the cities. At times the noise is unbearable from the car and motorcycle traffic, plus the exhaust fumes and blaring stereo systems. I also live across from the I.B.O. Rail Trail, during the warm months we put up with the noise of ATVs and cross country dirt bikes. In the winter months it’s the constant noise of snowmobiles racing on the trail. Step outside and the stink of raw gasoline will almost take your breath away on any given weekend. I’m not against the cottagers or the year round seniors that have moved up from the city, I’m against the way they want to rule our way of life and ability to have a desent year round paying job for our selves and our children and the future of the county. I don’t care what industry wants to move to Haliburton County, if they bring jobs and our children can stay here then we need them along with their tax base. We have enough safe guards in each municipality, plus the county to ward off businesses from operating within a certain distance of a water source, homes etc. So let Armatec set up business here, we need them more than they need us.
Don Outram Tory Hill
Way to go, Dysart council
April 1, 2014
Way to go Dysart council! You’re another step down the road to the total stagnation of the local year-round economy. Congratulations! There’s still 40 or 50 people out there looking and desperately needing a good, full-time, year round job (such as Armatec’s) that you haven’t got on welfare yet. Don’t give up, I’m sure there will be more opportunities for jobs you can turn down coming along soon, total stagnation is in sight!
P.S. The inmates truly are running the asylum.
A picture worth more than a thousand words
April 1, 2014
As many Haliburtions may know there was a theft/vandalism incident that occurred at eight cottages on Sugar Island, on Gull Lake this past week. Our family cottage of 62 years (that my father built) burned to the ground. At this time no clear determination has been made as to the cause of the fire, which precludes anyone from commenting with certainty. But given the vandalism and dint of probability, it seems entirely likely vandalism was involved. OPP PC Krista Potter, and her investigative partner have been very supportive (as have others in the ranks) to my siblings and their family as the OPP move through the investigative stages. I’ve every confidence they will do all that they can. As the saying goes “a picture is worth a thousand words”. I’d say more than a thousand, wouldn’t you? More to the point, as a strong advocate for changing the current OPP billing reform, it’s curious how events seem to occur as opportunity to reflect on ones proximal views. No doubt it is not lost on anyone, that losing a family legacy has given me pause to unearth some real world and very poignant perspectives on the good work that is confronting the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services regarding the OPP billing reform which negatively affects the policing services in many of Ontario’s rural communities. For me, it is about decency for the Ministry of Community Services and Correctional Services who hold the ultimate responsibility, to recognize that there are real people who depend on the OPP for services in their communities. That depend on those empowered in the Ministry and within the OPP Commissioner’s circle “to not just talk-the-talk, or dance a party-political-line, in a pretense to walk-the-walk”. Because that is exactly what has been going on. We as municipalities need real world decisions made for real challenges. Decisions that will allow communities, that depend on the OPP services, (as provisionally bound under the Police Act) that are cost effective and support the front line work of our OPP officers. We need a reform that: • renews faith that good practical thinking and analysis are the cornerstones of a solid foundation; • under publicly elected local scrutiny, the reform provides certainty that a fiscally accountable administration is at the helm; • truly imparts that in it’s duties – we have a Ministry, and a core OPP Commissioner administration that reflects a genuine understanding that every dollar granted, spent and billed, (to assist local municipalities) will make the connection between rural needs, spend and crime. The current “broad sweeping, bill by residence” OPP billing reformation as currently created to “keep it simple and transparent” that still does not have the bones that will effectively support responsible fiscal tracking between local cost, local service needs and local performance, is absolutely unacceptable. Yasir Naqvi is now the new Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, replacing Madeleine Meilleur. Good news perhaps. However, given how far-down-the-pike this whole billing reform is … I would assume nothing has changed except I’m generously granting Minister Nagvi some faith that good reasoning will apply and that the OPP billing reform will be shelved, and rethought entirely.
David Douglas Haliburton
Louder things than Armatec
March 18, 2014
To the seasonal and permanent residents of the Benoir Lake area: It seems that everyone has forgotten that when Benoir Lake development was booming Martin’s Mill was also BOOMING 24 hours a day. What could Armatec possibly do on their proposed site that would equal the noise that was created by the mill with saws, chippers, de-barkers and loaders running 24 hours a day echoing down the lake? Have you forgotten about the 24-hour truck traffic on the Elephant Lake Road and Peterson Road bringing raw materials in and taking finished product out? I have no idea what Armatec could possibly do that would create that much traffic. In those days there were not the noise restrictions on trucks that there are now; you could hear a fully loaded log or lumber truck coming for miles. Do any of you realize that the road improvements done to the Elephant Lake Road and Peterson were done because there was an industry that warranted it? I can remember when both were just winding trails through the bush barely wide enough to pass two vehicles on. Would any of you want to drive that to your cottage every weekend with your fancy SUVs with boats, jet skis or snowmobiles in tow? Next time you spout about the noise from “no more than 30” test explosions per year, think about that box of fireworks you bring to the cottage and set off at all hours of the day and night and sometimes into the wee hours of the morning. What effect do you think that has on the sleeping wildlife? Have you ever taken time to notice the reaction from your family dog during a barrage of fireworks? I know in Gooderham after a weekend of fireworks there are usually one or two notices posted for missing pets that have run off due to the noise. What about your boats and jet skis? Do you not think they have an effect on the fish from the noise and the nesting birds from the wake you create? Has anyone even bothered to ask what the “hours of operation” would be should Armatec be allowed to go ahead with their project? I am quite certain they would not be setting off their “test explosions” at 2 a.m. on a Sunday morning as fireworks are in my area. The “not in my back yard syndrome” has to stop. The permanent residents in Haliburton County need industrial growth to create jobs for those of us who have not yet reached retirement age or can’t afford to only be here to play and relax. While the thought of five to 15 jobs may sound like small potatoes to some, if each of those jobs supported an average family of four that could be up to 60 people benefitting from the project, not taking into account the contractors who would be required to build the facilities. It used to be that sawmills were built and mines were developed and communities grew around them, no one was concerned with noise because noise meant work. Most of those industries have died in our area and our towns are slowly dying because of it. Not all work can be accomplished working on a computer from the quiet of a cubical. What significance does a petition “with close to a thousand signatures from all over the world” have in this matter? A petition should only carry any validity if signed by people who could be affected, addresses should be included and any without an interest should be stricken from the petition. How could someone on the other side of the world possibly be affected by this project? The people who are against “development” need to step back and take a look at what affect their own activities are having on the environment and their neighbours, I know I am tired of the noise pollution from fireworks at 2 a.m.
Doug Bates Gooderham
Armatec opponents should snap up property
April 16, 2014
I see the Armatec property is now up for sale. Way to go, Dysart council! I expect they, or the Benoir Lake Hooligans Society will snap it up, as they must do everything they can to make sure that somebody else doesn’t buy it and create some good-paying year-round long-term jobs. Like I said: for sure, the inmates are running the asylum.
Kicking off #OPPMayDay
April 29, 2014
Dear Premier Wynne;
I have been privileged to cottage in the Haliburton Highlands for many years. As you are aware, there is a terrific ground swell occurring in this region opposing the proposed OPP billing model. It is not as though any of us lack the understanding and insight into how big a challenge it must be to balance policing and services to such a large area but what frightens me is the lack of imagination to come up with a sustainable solution rather than defaulting to hitting the taxpayer (once again) as the solution. Why not implement a plan to create an entirely new revenue stream to deliver the funds needed to properly and sustainably support a long term policing plan? Examples of what this might look like might be, but are not limited to the following; – Create a visitor’s centre in the area similar to the (but smaller scale) “en route” model along Hwy 401. The Ontario government would benefit from rent collection, jobs would be created which increase tax base, taxes collected on goods sold to visitors, etc. This initiative would encourage bus loads of visitors to spend locally versus taking their free ride through the scenic drives without shelling out a dime. – Issue a toll to tour bus companies to compensate for increased pressure on policing and safety on roads – Institute a tax to tourists that is collected at resorts/motels/provincial parks as a new revenue stream similar to that already in place in Toronto As you can see there are many ways to generate revenue to make up the short fall to your policing budget in a sustainable way. By considering a new approach it is also possible to create opportunity, economic development and benefits to all without negatively impacting the resident’s household budget. So why not get out of the box and form a new plan instead of defaulting to the old school programming of hitting up the tax payers? Why not carve a new path that makes everyone happy? This could be a true Wynne-Wynne situation for all!
Beautify communities don’t contaminate them
April 22, 2014
Unfortunately the billion dollar military budgets around the world make it difficult to fund projects that beautify communities rather than contaminate them. We can change that by asking our politicians to put more money into tourism and community businesses and to pursue diplomacy rather than war. Very few people in small communities can afford million dollar price tags. Until we put more pressure on politicians for community businesses to be supported on a much larger scale and take this money from our military budget, businesses that contaminate and contribute to war will continue to have the upper edge. Let’s hope in Haliburton County that we can stay with our vision and make it work. The alternative of allowing industry in that contaminates our land is not a very good option.
Darlene Buckingham Tory Hill
March 11, 2014
I have been a longtime resident of the township of Dysart and through my 70-some years, I felt I had gained some insight into the thoughts of the residents. Recently in the media of the township there have been articles about two “industries” that apparently would like to locate in the area. They both involve the use of land for a specific purpose and both apparently require some implementation of land use zoning changes. On the one hand there is the proposal of Armatec to construct a testing site on a 2,300-acre parcel and the proposed methods of such testing. All effects of this proposal can be physically demonstrated. In addition some job creation will be involved. Notwithstanding there has been an immediate, negative and angry response to this proposal. On the other hand, there is a proposal to create or establish a “medical marijuana facility” to which I see only quiet, but positive acceptance notwithstanding that I perceive such a name as an oxymoron. Apparently with this proposal there is also the possibility of minimal job creation. I do not know if the real effects of a medical marijuana grow-op can be demonstrated. One business proposal is directed toward opting into life and the other I submit is directed to opting out of life. But that is just me saying that. Maybe everyone should really get the facts about each proposal and make decisions that do not assist the public being defrauded of true costs, values and benefits. There is smoke from explosive devices and it is blown and dissipates into the air. There is smoke from the other proposal but it is blown differently. I feel like a confused dinosaur.
David M. Bishop Haliburton
Haliburton Rotary helps Dorset Community Garden
April 29, 2014
Last spring, the Haliburton Rotary Club donated $500 worth of topsoil, including delivery, to the Dorset Community Garden at Portico on Highway 35. That’s a lot of soil: two giant mounds of dark, fertile magic. They filled up our empty raised beds, grew the town scores of beans, zucchini, winter squash and potatoes. After those vegetables were harvested, garlic was tucked into the soil for the winter. The mound of left-over soil is just now emerging from the snow, soon ready to fill new beds and grow more vegetables. Soil is a wonderful gift that just keeps giving and giving. The Dorset Community Gardens provides space for 15 families to grow vegetables. It is a meeting place, where gardeners share seeds, vegetables, flowers and tips on gardening; where clients of local businesses meet; and where families eat wood-fired pizza at the picnic tables. Everyone enjoys and marvels at the beautiful gardens that have spruced up the town. It is a lively, cheerful and welcoming place. Many thanks to Rotary for contributing so generously to the Dorset Community Garden with their gift of soil from which so much goodness is sprouting.
Elizabeth Johnson Director of the Dorset Community Garden
Armatec in best interest of county
March 18, 2014
It became abundantly clear, at least to me, after Monday night’s zoning committee meeting at the Haliburton Legion, that the present Dysart township council is not the least bit interested in three things for sure: (1) Job creation for the benefit of township taxpayers (2) Doing everything they can to help save the lives of Canadian soldiers in combat (3) A significant increase in tax revenue for municipal coffers. I’m having trouble getting my head around this. The zoning committee had a chance to accommodate Armatec’s request. Armatec guaranteed at the meeting five to 15 jobs for the area’s local population (how many jobs were lost in Harcourt when Martin’s Mill shut down?) not including construction jobs and spin-offs (hotel, meals, supplies, etc.) once underway. Dysart’s planning committee voted (unanimously) to recommend to full council that council not approve this zoning change thus killing these five to 15 jobs locally, possibly saving some lives and I guess they don’t need the tax revenue either. In later conversation with one of these planning committee members (and councillor) he indicated there was some 1,500 people opposed (99 per cent not even local and only a handful in favour). How many go to a meeting to oppose something they are in favour of? The people opposed to this lost any shred of their credibility after their rude, ignorant, juvenile and hooligan behaviour at the information meeting held in Harcourt last week. They used every tactic they could, including lies, gross exaggerations and worse in an attempt to bully the town council into turning this down when in fact, they haven’t a clue, really, what they are talking about. As I said at the meeting, this township council’s model of the “local population being allowed to make a living as long as nobody can hear or see us” is clearly unsustainable and has been for some time. It is at best grossly unfair to present and future generations of young Haliburtonians who have to face the future having to (1) go away to find work (2) take a menial low-paying seasonal job (3) go on welfare. The business being proposed for this site is exactly what any rural township could want. It is a clean, safe, environmentally friendly facility whose industry is regulated to death by all three levels of government, including the RCMP. It’s creating new jobs, spending money locally and supporting the community. Armatec have committed themselves to do their best to address all concerns. Regardless if the opinion of the Benoir Lake Et-al Hooligan Society’s standing committee in charge of rude, ignorant and juvenile behaviour, it is in the best interest of the whole township for township council to approve this application. It is a no brainer. Jobs, saving lives, and tax revenue. The time has long gone by where this council and preceding councils have been bullied into turning down these types of permanent, good paying, long term, fulltime jobs for any reason. The net effect of this is that they have, at best, caused a total stagnation of the local year round economy, the emptying of the community of most of our young people forced to find work elsewhere, and at worst, running the long term future economy, for everyone in the township. I, for one, am sick to death of this mentality, council: I urge you, try something new, radical and off the wall here. Vote to create jobs for a change. Let the opponents of this take it to the Ontario Municipal Board. Let them pay the costs. All it will take is for the OMB to hear the tape of the Harcourt meeting and it will be a done deal for Armatec.
P.S. It’s getting very close and has been for some time to the inmates running the asylum. This has to stop.
Armatec environmentally friendly
March 18, 2014
I attended the meeting on March 3 discussing the proposal for Armatec to build a military testing site on 2,300 acres on the shores of Benoir Lake. Councillor Steve Pogue said he had contacted the reeve in Shannon, Que., where the Armatec testing site is and the reeve spoke highly of the company. A small bit of research shows that one of the largest class action lawsuits in North America seeking compensation from the Department of National Defence for damages suffered by releasing a known carcinogen into the water supply was filed by over 2,500 residents of Shannon, Que. Armatec says that they will not cause contamination but they are located in an area that is already contaminated and performing military tests. This is the age-old story of a company coming to town promising jobs at the expense of the environment and people who live there. We have issues with jobs now but what if we stood by the vision of Haliburton Highlands as a tourist destination and a place to live and grow. Military testing does not mix with this vision and the short term gains will be at the expense to future development of the area. I know that Armatec says they will not harm the environment but how many times have we heard this story and the environment is indeed harmed. Bombs are toxic. That’s the plain and simple truth. Tourism and military testing cannot exist side by side. What do we choose for the future?
Darlene Buckingham Wilberforce
Say no to Armatec
February 25, 2014
There are many natural wonders to see in the world and Halliburton County is very fortunate to be the home of some fantastic scenery. It proudly portrays itself as a tourist and cottage area with outstanding scenery and yet on Monday, March 3 the council of Dysart et al will hold a public meeting to consider proposed amendments to the official plan and to its zoning bylaws to permit the development of lands for a testing and research area for survivability of military grade armoured vehicles. As per their definition they will be testing systems designed to protect armoured vehicles and their occupants against threats posed by land mines and other weapons. I fully appreciate the Armatec Survivability Corporation’s concerned efforts to deliver capabilities that may save the lives of men and women in a battlefield however I do not believe such a large scale industrial research and development facility fits in with the rural environment of Haliburton County. I firmly believe this project has a high potential for negative impact on several criteria. The first being the negative impact on adjacent lands. Seventy-five acres of the land contained within the proposed development are adjacent to the provincially significant Baptiste-Elephant Lake Wetlands, a prized piece of unspoilt beauty that the county should be very proud to have. Dysart et al’s official plan indicates a clear desire for the protection of wetlands. I have deep concerns regarding the proposed changes and sincerely feel the nature of the use of the land could potentially have incalculable risk to the wetlands. It cannot be emphasized enough how important these wetlands are to people, the animal world and the environment. The wetlands is not the only contentious issue. The nature of the proposed use of the lands will also have a very negative impact on the natural habitat to a variety of species – birds, moose, wolves, deer, bears etc. that live within the confines of the area. Algonquin Provincial Park, where their mandate is to help preserve, protect and restore the ecological richness and native biodiversity of the area, is just across the road (260 metres) from the area concerned. The proximity of full time and seasonal home owners (500 metres from Benoir Lake) is very disturbing. These people have built their homes in Haliburton because of their love for the natural beauty of the area. They should not be subjected to 60 small scaled survivability tests, 30 full scale survivability tests and 120 mobility tests per year where armoured vehicles weighing from two to 50 tonnes run through an obstacle course for up to several hours a day. There may be even more than these proposed tests as Armatec has already indicated they cannot share or use CF bases in Ontario because of the frequency they require to perform their tests. Given Armatec has a reputation for using a holistic approach toward its research, investigating all aspects for survivability and protection of military grade armoured vehicles such as the LAVIII, I have concerns regarding noise and its affect on local residents and wildlife. They indicate the noise impact would be like dull thudding sounds rather than the sharp sound of a rifle. During the mobility tests the noise would be comparable to a medium sized tractor. These noise disturbances could prove very unsettling to those living in such close proximity to the testing sites. An increase in noise is itself disruptive and can cause panic episodes, stress, sleep disturbance and headaches, especially in a rural area where there is an expectation of quiet. Air quality is another concern. Armatec has admitted there will be additional amounts of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide released into the air. Public safety comes into play on a number of fronts. I have concerns regarding the transportation of explosives through the neighbouring communities while en route to the site and the safe storage of magazines on the designated site. Further to this I am concerned the entire area will not be fenced off providing clear demarcation lines for unannounced visitors, human or animal, who might inadvertently wander into a test area. Tourism value is another concern. The proposed site is very near the south entrance to Algonquin Park. There are local businesses that count on tourists visiting this area. I do not believe the sounds of blasting will enhance the local tourist economy at nearby resorts, campground, horse riding establishment, etc. Aesthetics is another concern. The sight of large transport trucks hauling vehicles and military vehicles will not be very welcoming. Vehicular traffic patterns will definitely change causing increased volumes of vehicles and safety risks on local roads. There is a possibility of five to 15 jobs, however, the criteria for some of the jobs requires specialized training therefore narrowing the playing field for those eligible for the positions. Persons from outside the area may be required to fill many of the positions. The 10 acre parcel of land zoned to accommodate the proposed primary research and testing area is in the vicinity of a crumbling stone fence that was built in the late 1870s when the Mason Farm, an agricultural depot for the logging industry, was in existence. The fence was made from thousands of rocks that were hand cleared from the land so the rugged ground could be plowed. Many of our forefathers were there handling those stones. I recommend everyone to keep in mind the ability to enjoy a non-industrial natural experience is a very large part of Haliburton’s economy. Large industrial proposals such as the one proposed for the Benoir Lake area is not part of the desired experience. As the official plan states “recreation and tourism are and will continue to be the area’s most significant industry”. In Armatec’s value statement they indicate holding themselves accountable to do what is right. I believe we all need to hold ourselves accountable to do what we feel is right and in the best interest of the Benoir Lake area. Given the cumulative potential environmental, economic, health and safety and negative community impacts from this proposal we need to speak up and say no to the proposed official plan amendments and zoning bylaw amendments on the lands belonging to Mason, Sanayel and 1725629 Ontario Inc. in the northeast corner of the township of Harcourt.
By Valerie Smith
Thanks for a lovely birthday
May 6, 2014
The open house celebration for my 90th birthday at the Wilberforce Legion was a pleasant surprise. Thanks to all my family and friends for a special day and to those who drove long distances to attend. A very special thank you to the Ladies Auxiliary of Legion Branch 624 for their hard work providing a wonderful lunch and for decorating the room for the occasion.
Overwhelming support for Highlands Little Theatre
April 15, 2014
On behalf of Highland Little Theatre, we thank all of those who supported, participated and energized the presentation of You Can’t Take It With You. HLT has been overwhelmed by the incredible positive response to assist in this production. Most importantly, we thank our patrons who took some of their valuable time to come and participate in community theatre in the Highlands these past few days. The enthusiastic audiences energized the cast and we sincerely hope you had as fun a time as we had presenting it. This has been the first step in the renewal process of Highlands Little Theatre. Community theatre is alive in the Highlands and the community should take a moment to pat themselves on the back for contributing to this step. Stay tuned for more as we continue on this journey. We will be announcing our annual general meeting soon and we would love anyone who wishes to contribute in any capacity to attend.
John Neving President, HLT
Found scarf brings warm feeling
March 25, 2014
Congratulations to the people of Haliburton! On March 2 I left my scarf at the Kosy Korner. On March 17 I went back and there it was hanging on the coat rack! What a wonderful place to live with so many honest and friendly people.
Ted Koehler Haliburton
Dysart should support military company in Harcourt
February 18, 2014
I am writing to voice my opinion regarding the proposed development of a technical test facility by Armatec within Haliburton County. I personally think that this is an excellent initiative by Armatec and that it should be supported. Armatec tests and designs ballistic protection systems for armoured vehicles, several of which are used by the Canadian Forces. Having listened to my son who completed two combat tours in Afghanistan and his friends which he served with, the greatest killer of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan were IEDs. Canada lost 161 of her sons and daughters in Afghanistan, a great number who were killed by IEDs and roadside bombs. If companies such as Armatec can develop a system which will save lives, I completely support them. As a county, if we can support companies such as Armatec to save the lives of our sons and daughters, then I say we need to back them. Armatec has proposed to construct a test facility in Harcourt which will employ several trades persons in the local area. Further they have indicated that there would be between five and 15 fulltime jobs created at their facility. Again, I see this as a win for the county where currently we have a 22 per cent unemployment rate and our young people are having to leave the county in search of work. As a test facility, the trials and evaluations conducted by Armatec will require monitoring from the various clients. This will result in a spinoff for the hotels and restaurants in the area. Yet again another win for the county! While there has been some concern addressed by some people regarding noise and potential impact, rest assured that any future development requires environmental impact assessments as well as seismic surveys before construction can begin. Companies such as Armatec are federally governed with regards to the type and nature of explosions which they may conduct. This involves not only the explosive yield but the noise levels which result. As they indicate they will be running 20 to 30 tests per year. This would be well below the number of explosions conducted by the upgrading of major roads in the county or the blasting for foundations for homes. I support the initiative of Armatec as it will bring badly needed jobs into the community and possibly save lives.
William E. Beatty, Drag Lake
Pond hockey needs transparency
May 6, 2014
I totally agree with the editor’s comments with respect to funds not being given to the organizers of Canadian National Pond Hockey. These funds would be used to help pay the expenses for the event. Carol Moffatt has rightfully asked what a lot of us have wondered, what will the organizers of pond hockey contribute back to community groups? Neil Lumsden has been giving us figures about hundreds of people coming to Haliburton, thousands upon thousands of dollars being spent in Haliburton County. This is how his event gives back to the community? Yet hockey tournament organizers from Silver Sticks, Coby Islanders and Homebuilders also have people coming here and spending money in Haliburton. In the end, they directly contribute funds back to the community groups. I don’t remember these organizers asking for expense funding! Neil Lumsden presented his report to county council by requesting only some of the expenses be divulged. As a “not for profit” organization, you can’t just pick and choose which expenses you will divulge. All those financial facts have to be available to the public. By not being totally transparent what are we led to believe? Why are some figures being hidden? Registration for the tournament was $600 per team. At approximately 170 registered teams, this grosses the organizers over $100,000. Are we informed about what other funds from other sources contribute to this event? You mean to tell me that somewhere in that amount there isn’t any start up funding? We hear community groups were allowed to participate and raise money yet they were told what they were allowed to sell. Also, how much of those sales went back to Canadian National Pond Hockey? Two years ago when the Canadian National Pond Hockey organizers were looking for a new home, this community welcomed the event with open arms by donating hundreds of hours to help make it a success and thereby considerably lowering costs for the organizers and the company. When county tax dollars are being used to improve the quality of life in our community by repairing and improving roads, sidewalks, sewers and snow removal, I don’t have a problem with that. But, when tax dollars might be used to help make money for an outside private enterprise, I take issue with this idea. Now, Neil Lumsden has approached county council and it appears that Canadian National Pond Hockey might be looking for a new home if council refuses the $75,000 for this event. If that type of “cavalier attitude” is the approach of Canadian National Pond Hockey organizers to our councillors and this community, then let me say “there’s the door, don’t let it hit you on the way out!”
Andy Chvedukas Haliburton Lake
Waiting for a follow-up
April 15, 2014
I would like to comment on the article “Building dept. problems persist in Highlands East.” It appears that the article is based on information from 2008 and I am wondering why it is coming to light now. Mr. Nemeczek and Mr. Betram allude to “ongoing frustrations” but do not provide any detail. Ms. Blenich needs to research this allegation in depth to better provide a clearer picture as to what prompted this sudden attack. I also find it inappropriate that the secretary of a non-profit association (Haliburton County Home Builders Association) is commenting on the subject. The president of the association should be the one to comment, but has shown better judgement. Furthermore, the municipal administrator says that no issues have arisen. Are we to believe the head of a municipal corporation or the secretary of a non-profit association? If there were indeed issues, the association should be asking that the complainants direct their concerns to the municipality. Clearly they are not doing this. There certainly is more to the story that Mr. Nemeczek and Mr. Bertram are not telling us and I look forward to a follow-up to this story.
L. Lewis Harcourt Park
Where there’s a will, there’s a way
March 11, 2014
I was once told we will never get a pool-recreation centre because the different municipalities can’t agree. It was mentioned in your article people can’t afford firewood so why a pool/rec centre. I am well aware we are the poorest community in all of Ontario and have been so for awhile. We also have one of the largest volunteer based communities and help each other out: ie community kitchens, Fuel for Warmth, food banks, Food Crusade, etc. Look how everyone banded together after the flood. I often find myself trying to make ends meet. This is a money issue the municipalities don’t want. Let’s not always dwell on the negative. You can’t float to the top if you think you’re weighted to the bottom. My parents always said where there’s a will there’s a way! This pool-rec centre has done their homework. Good job. Here’s to a positive, active, healthy future. We all deserve a pool/rec centre.
Cathy McIlmurray Haliburton
Not in my backyard
March 4, 2014
There seems to be a disturbing trend in NIMBYism. The newspaper account of the public meeting re Armatec, sounds quite familiar to accounts of the Sumac Ridge Wind Farm public meetings, and the gas plants, etc. Rude, bullying, intimidating behaviour by opponents. This is after all a democratic country, and if opponents don’t want to meet in a civil manner, then perhaps proponents shouldn’t need to be bothered meeting at all. Worse yet in the case of the wind farms this unacceptable behaviour was extended to farmers whose property the turbines were to be built on. Most opposition these days, to anything, whether it is quarries or whatever, tends to push the playground thing, and deny any activity that might provide year round employment to an area that desperately needs it. All of this puntuated by not in my backyard. Given what the company proposes I really question that its presence will actually bring about Armageddon as opponents claim. One letter mentions one of the points of the wind farm oppositon, bird kills, completely disregarding the slaughter of migrating birds by the tall buildings in Toronto, which continue to be built right in a major migratory route. As to the rest I wonder how many of the opponents are guilty of creating unnecessary noise by running a leaf blower, (especially early Sunday morning like my neighbour) or a chainsaw, the nasty nailing of roof shingles, ruining a tranquil Sunday with gunfire, setting off noisy fireworks, having a noisy party, blasting a foundation for a new cottage, roaring down a country road in the middle of the night, or having dogs that incessantly bark when outside, or setting a brush or grass fire and smoking out the neighbours, or possibly roaring around on an ATV, dirt bike, or snowmobile? All too often today some people think it is perfectly fine to do what they want with their property, but don’t extend the same courtesy to others with regards to their land. Just thinking out loud?
Keith W. Stata Kinmount
Pond hockey: questions still unanswered?
February 25, 2014
In spite of John Teljeur’s very well written sales pitch for the Canadian National Pond Hockey Championships (CNPHC) in last week’s Echo, in my view some specific, significant questions still remain. So allow me to make my own sales pitch to the municipal representatives within this county and urge them to ask appropriate questions when CNPHC makes its final report to county council, so they can make an informed decision as to whether CNPHC deserves further financial support from Haliburton County’s public coffers and public relations support in general. Dear councillors, you could start with these specific questions. Did CNPHC indeed take in approximately $120,000 in revenue from team registrations in each of the past two years? How much additional financial revenue by way of sponsorships did CNPHC receive? How much money did CNPHC have to pay out in actual expenses to run the tournament in each of the last two years? What were these expenses, specifically? That is, what specific equipment, services, supplies, other expenses, etc. comprised the expense outlay? What services specifically did J Core and/or Neil Lumsden provide and how much were they paid for those services? CNPHC claims that “what they raise here stays here.” Specifically, how much money does indeed stay here and where exactly does it stay in Haliburton County? I believe CNPHC has claimed they purchased some equipment for clearing outdoor ice that can be used by other groups in the county. Forgive me if I am mistaken, but on Frost Festival weekend I noticed people shovelling off the rinks on Head Lake by hand. Finally, let me say how unfortunate it is that John Teljeur has viewed my letter as a personal attack on him. His close friends have reminded me, and I know myself, just how much John cares about this community and how much energy and personal time he puts into making Haliburton County a better place. As I have indicated to John, I submitted my first letter solely motivated by a sense of civic duty and the knowledge that many, many citizens in this county want to hear specific answers to the questions I have posited above. So, one final question for you, John. It appears you and you alone are passionate about defending CNPHC’s actions and motivations. I did not see Neil Lumsden’s name nor the names of any other CNPHC organizers as signatories to your letter last week. If you and your CNPHC colleagues wish to win the citizens of this county over to your cause you need to provide specific answers to the questions we are asking. And if CNPHC is looking for ways to make a really significant contribution back to the community I have at least two great ideas. How about getting behind the renewed initiative to bring a swimming pool/recreation centre to the community? Or, how about getting behind the new initiative Dysart is looking at to provide recreation and physical fitness activities for the youth and children of the community? Come to the meeting on March 6 at Fleming College to find out more.
By Walter Tose
If pond hockey benefits businesses, they should foot the bill
May 6, 2014
I was dismayed but not entirely surprised to read that Neil Lumsden is seeking an ongoing commitment of $25,000 per year to keep the pond hockey tournament in Haliburton. This sense of entitlement to have taxpayers fund business activity has become all too common. See automobile industry, wind farms, etc. for examples. The discouraging aspect of the story is that our county councillors did not immediately reject the request and thereby send a strong message to the others. Based on the real estate ads it is clear quite a number of people have spent well over the estimated $385,000 in local spending that comes from the pond hockey tournament building a home in Haliburton in recent years. Many did so with local labour and material purchased from businesses in the community. Based on Mr. Lumsden’s approach, I guess those who buy locally should apply for a grant from taxpayers rather than paying for a building permit. What a crazy world that would be! I have no objection to a few of our tax dollars providing “seed money” to unique opportunities to grow our local economy. Pond hockey qualified for $10,000 two years ago – not going forward. Mr. Lumsden’s approach actually contributes to higher taxes. I am happy to pay fair taxes for efficiently delivered services such as schools, roads and landfill sites. If pond hockey, or other similar ventures, actually benefit businesses in the community then those business owners should make a sound investment and provide the requested funding. I suspect most would say their margins don’t justify the investment but as business owners they should make that call. This approach will leave us all with a little more disposable income to spend locally or contribute to the causes that we individually believe are important. Councillors thinking of supporting this and similar requests should recognize their decision to perpetuate a dependence on taxpayers will provide terrific fodder for a strong candidate seeking to replace them in the elections this October.
John D. Smith Kennisis Lake
Put your money where your mouth is
April 15, 2014
Regarding the article “Armatec property for sale.” Now that the property is back on the market for a measly $1.8 million. This is the perfect opportunity for all those so vocally opposed to the Armatec Proposal, to band together, put their money where their mouth is and buy the property, before someone else does, then proposes something else they don’t like!
Keith Stata Kinmount
Help for survivors of sexual assault
March 18, 2014
An open letter to our community,
In response to recent cases of sexual violence reported on by the CBC, the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail, the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre reaches out to you and shares that there are people in your community who will support you. You can talk to a trusted friend, family member, or contact a sexual assault centre support line. You can call us at 1-866-298-7778. All calls are free and confidential. In response to the discussion surrounding the term “rape culture” we ask that you consider what this means to you. Emilie Buchwald, author of Transforming a Rape Culture describes it as “a complex set of beliefs that encourage male sexual aggression and supports violence against women … (making it) seem so normal.” This set of beliefs is found every day in the images and language we use. When you hear sexually aggressive conversations or jokes about rape, how do you respond? When you see T-shirts that read “keep calm and rape a lot,” how do you respond? There are things you can do: join the conversation and question the “normal.”
Sonya Vellenga Executive Director Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre www.kawarthasexualassaultcentre.com
Further development is necessary
March 4, 2014
Re: Feb. 25 editorial: On civility
I’m not a user of Facebook so forward to you these thoughts. Further research and development is unfortunately necessary to cope with today’s ugly, growing use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), today’s land mines, by the cowardly bottom feeders who engage in terrorism. It’s also unfortunate that a site is required to conduct defence testing. Has the Armatec company tried to find a site either within one of the existing military properties, or appropriately annexed adjacent to one of them (governments do expropriate certain properties, for example, the local Stanhope Airport)? The military, and all of us, have need for defensive solutions to cope with this modern day scourge and locating within, or adjacent to, an area already familiar with the sounds and noise of military related explosions could be a more appropriate solution rather than invading the otherwise peaceful environments enjoyed by communities of people our military protect.
How about #HydroOneMayDay?
May 6, 2014
We have been asked to flood the “powers that be” with our disdain over the OPP billing reform. Why not do the same to Hydro One for their method of billing? I have called Hydro One to try to get them to explain why the bottom half of my bill is higher than the actual amount of electricity I use. After listening to percentage numbers, basic service fee, smart meter fee, distribution costs, transmission network fees, .00719 times x? formulas, etc. it was too much for my tired old brain and I gave up! The delivery charge, regulatory charge, debt retirement charge, and HST are all based on your kWh usage. Why? That means I am paying for my usage five times! I am on electric heat so my smart meter time of use does not work for me as my heat is on during on-peak rates, and lower or off during off-peak rates. I use the off-peak times as much as possible for household tasks to try to lower my costs. The cost of the meter is 79 cents a month and it is not yet implemented in every home! Why is the debt retirement cost not a fixed amount for everyone? I am to pay $44.41 this month to retire their debt that I did not cause! Why am I paying more as it fluctuates with my kWH usage? I phoned the Ministry of Finance for Ontario to ask when the debt retirement was to be removed from the bill. Answer was “intends to be taken off anytime after Dec. 31, 2015 to 2020, probably 2018”! They are going to remove the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit which is the small credit we receive on our bill, in 2015 I believe. In the early ’70s Ontario Hydro convinced home owners that electric heat was the cheapest method for heating your home. And it was then! My parents, whose home we bought, converted totally to electric heat. Changing to other fuel sources is no longer an option. I contacted other fuel sources and they charge to fill up your tank, plus tax! They do not have charges like those on the bottom half of our hydro bills based on kWH usage. Why is Hydro One allowed to bill us again and again based on our usage? Am I the only one upset out there? The irony of it all is Hydro One has several hydro poles going through my wooded back lot bringing electricity to my lake. I should be charging them yearly for this right of way!
Lois Rigney Minden Hills
April 16, 2014
It was interesting to note that your paper indicated that 1,750 acres of land that was the subject of the Armatec controversy is back on the market. This is the opportunity for the cottagers and others that were in opposition to Armatec’s proposed use of these lands to protect their environment. Instead of waiting for “someone with environmental attitudes” toward the land to come along and buy it, the people who want it protected for the benefit and value protection of their existing ownership and enjoyment should step up to the plate. Self help begins at home. I won’t hold my breath on this idea though.
David M. Bishop Haliburton
Strong finish at Yukon Quest
February 25, 2014
We have just returned from a wonderful trip to the Yukon, a place of breathtaking beauty and, at times, breathtaking cold. By happy coincidence, we were able to experience a bit of the Yukon Quest and, in fact, meet Hank DeBruin and his wife Tanya. Darren Lum’s recent article was very well written and descriptive but no words can completely convey the bravery and tenacity of the mushers and their dogs in facing some of the most arduous conditions on earth. Even seasoned veterans failed to finish for various reasons but Hank persevered and actually gained positions in the latter stages of the race. In the Yukon, Haliburton is well known through Hank. He is well known and respected and local people frequently referred to his Haliburton connection. Haliburton should be very proud of Hank, Tanya and Winterdance. Congratulations, Hank, on your strong finish in the 2014 Yukon Quest.
By Margaret and David Brisbin
Hardware store brings back memories
May 6, 2014
Last week in these pages readers learned that Haliburton Home Hardware is to be sold to Jerry Walker, a local businessman. Jerry Walker will want to make changes but for the time being there will be a Home Hardware store on the main street of Haliburton village. With the retirement of Ray Langdon, a family business spanning 50 years and three generations comes to an end. “It’s only a matter of time before we sell the property as well,” said 77-year-old Marian Langdon adding, “We’re a family of travellers and managing property ties us down.” Ray Langdon plans a little adventure travel himself. The extended Langdon family moved to Haliburton 50 years ago May 1. Haliburton village was a very different place back then and the move coincided with mud season in the Highlands. In 1964 few downtown parking lots were paved and you were wise to wear your boots to town. The elder Langdon, Harold had been to the county many years before. He came to visit Alfred Langdon, an uncle and cabinetmaker who moved to Minden in 1908 to establish himself as a boat builder. “Harold remembered vividly the raw beauty of the area and going out on the Gull River in one of his uncle’s boats,” recalls Ken Langdon. The early years of operating the hardware store were touch and go but the county’s lakes were being developed and the business flourished. The business expanded over the years and it’s now bursting at the seams. Coincidentally, Home Hardware Stores Ltd. marked 50 years in business on April 4. Home Hardware Stores is a 100 per cent Canadian owned and operated cooperative of independent dealers. From humble beginnings it now includes close to 1,100 stores throughout Canada. “We weren’t in at the beginning but joined Home Hardware when they expanded to our region in 1978,” said Ken Langdon. The Langdon family owe a huge debt of thanks to all their loyal customers and staff. Home Hardware is about service and service is delivered by a dedicated and knowledgeable staff. “We’ve had some of the best and we want them to know they’re valued,” said Ray Langdon. Customers, current and former staff are invited to drop by the hardware store on Highland Street between 1 to 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 22. Clippings and photos dating back 100 years will be on display from Marian’s collection and from the collection of the Haliburton Highlands Museum. If you have any photos to share please bring them. Refreshments will be served. All are welcome to celebrate this milestone with the Langdon family.
Ken, Marian, Raymond, Carolyn and Isa (Elizabeth) Langdon Haliburton
ER staff remember Dr. Fiddler
March 25, 2014
In his death as in his life, the passing of our beloved Dr. David Fiddler has brought the staff of the Minden ER together. We find ourselves drawn together to share memories and reminisce. Through tears and laughter we reflect on the life of a truly unique man whom we all loved and adored. While we each have our own experiences with Dave, we are reminded about the many contributions he has made to our hospital, community and individually. It takes us back to the beginning when Dave and his identical twin brother, Dr. Doug Fiddler cottaged in the area. The twins had become familiar with Minden Hospital as children. With the threat of Minden ER closing in 1995, sentimental attachments drew Dave and Doug back. Physicians from Lindsay and Barrie followed their lead on a mission to save the hospital of their youth. What started off as a three-month mission has continued to the present hospital almost 20 years later. Through all the early trials and tribulations, the reduced hours and threats of closure, we stand strong today with 24 hour service, thanks in large part to Dr. David Fiddler. Physicians from Lindsay, Barrie and Peterborough make up our current coalition. First and foremost, none of this would have been possible without the unyielding strength and support of Dave’s wife Linda. Were it not for the love of his life’s willingness to share Dave with our community, Minden ER would never have survived. Dave spent so many days in our ER each month, Linda jokingly referred to us as “his second wives.” This wonderful family man’s children, Rachael, Dennis, Graham, Gavin and Kate shared their dad willingly, allowing him to accomplish so much here. Sitting together as a family, remembering our Dave, we found common ground on so many things. Mostly, we recalled his character or that he was a character. Yes, he was most certainly a gifted physician, of this there was no question. He was a brilliant, consummate professional and a wise mentor. Always teaching, encouraging and inspiring; his tenacity and passionate work ethic preceded him, and when you worked with Dave you went home knowing that as a team you had done your best. Being such a positive person, he made you feel good when you were down. When the craziness of the ER almost got the better of us, his sense of humour pushed the limits, making us better and stronger. When sadness, loss and grief encapsulated the department, Dave’s kind support shone through the darkness for patients and their families. That said, no one was safe from his passion for a prank. If you weren’t the subject of it you were enlisted as a co-conspirator. His gags could go as far as hitting three hospitals on April Fool’s Day at the same time, involving EMS and OPP; or they could be as simple as a prescription for no dishes or house work for a week. Even when giving a youngster a lesson his good hearted nature managed to get them wondering in earnest when he asked ”what five things did you do for your mom today”. These are the moments we will remember from a man we will never forget. Dave had a heart like no other, and it has been an honour and privilege to have worked with him, know him, love him. As the news spreads through our community we are invariably asked “was it the one who had cows or the one who liked cars?” “Was he Lindsay or Barrie?” It is these questions that remind us that the “Fiddlers” didn’t just care for our community they shared with our community and now together we are left to share this loss. Sadly the cows in Lindsay have lost their farmer. As much as we are saddened by his leaving, and as hard as we find these days, we will carry on. Not only will we survive, we will flourish, we will work together, support each other and our community because that is what we do. Dave, you will be forever in our hearts. All our love,
Your Minden Family Minden ER staff
Let’s welcome Armatec
March 4, 2014
I remember a time when all there was present in the Harcourt area was farms and a large industrial lumber mill called Martin’s Lumber. This mill involved large machinery, bulldozers, drying kilns and logging trucks coming in and out all day. I could only imagine the extent of the noise at that time. This even included an airstrip, with planes taking off and landing. During this time, the water quality was being tested and found to be in fine condition. With the existence of all of this industrial operation came the cottagers. They came, they came and more came. These cottagers also came with docks, boats, jetskis, quad runners, and running water with toilets with improper septic systems. Now the water quality was tested again, failing miserably. The water was so bad that they put a freeze on development in the entire York River Waterway. Everyone is complaining about the pollution, and the effect it will have on their quality of life. There is no evidence that any Armatec facility has ever been detrimental to the environment, and the quality of life? Where was the worry about that when the lumber mill was running? The facility itself will be far away from any actual home or campsite, well hidden in the middle of the acreage they are purchasing. If there’s a problem with how close it will come to other homes, why not set up a zoning bylaw that states it has to stay a certain distance from all currently owned properties, instead of outright denying them the land? No one seems to think of the good here, of the income it will bring, and jobs that it will create. This is a $2 million property that has sat for a great deal of time, turning down offers from mining companies and others that would destroy the land completely. Now that there is an offer from a company that would be far less intrusive than what has been around in the past, people want to say no. If that continues to be the case, pull together the money and purchase it yourselves. The cottagers shouldn’t burden the current owners just because they won’t take the time to research what’s happening, and instead they blindly fight it. This time instead of driving away what we’re looking for, which is jobs and tax base for the local economy, let’s welcome with open arms this great prospect for our community.
Lumsden should make request to business reps
May 6, 2014
The pond hockey tournament is a wonderful annual event for Haliburton. And it’s good to hear from J-Core’s Neil Lumsden that it’s “driving business.” He says that the amount spent “equates to nearly $385,000 spent in the county during two weekends.” That’s very exciting for our businesses. But since that’s where he thinks the money’s going, he’s making his $25,000 demand (and that’s what it is) per year to the wrong people. He should be talking to the Chamber of Commerce. He should be talking to the accommodations and restaurant people and any other businesses who are reaping the rewards. Not the taxpayer! You’re right, Ms. Watt, in your editorial when you say that if it’s going to cost Haliburton County $75,000 for the next three years, we (the taxpayers) will have to pass.
Jack Bush Haliburton
Holden family extends gratitude
April 1, 2014
After being with a company for almost 24 years you would think you’ve been through just about everything, but that’s really not the case. On the evening of March 20 I received a call from my mother saying “The plant is on fire!” As I turned onto Industrial Park Road and got closer to the plant, I could see the office and shop’s roofs were blazing. The Dysart fire department were already on the scene attacking the fire from both sides of the building. Employees had also arrived and had started moving vehicles, lumber and stock away from the building. I honestly thought we would lose the entire plant so we worked at trying to save as much as possible before that happened. By the time we had moved as much as we could out of the way, I noticed that more firefighters, trucks and equipment had arrived. I recognized firefighters from Minden Hills and Algonquin Highlands. All we could do was watch what seemed to be a hopeless situation, become an all-out effort to save the rest of the plant. All three fire departments worked together, and as a result, were able to save two-thirds of the building and a substantial amount of equipment and stock. I cannot fully express my gratitude to the fire services of Haliburton County. Dysart arrived within a few short minutes of the 911 call and I believe they are the biggest single reason we still have the plant today. As well, without the additional support of Minden Hills and Algonquin Highfire departments the outcome may not have been as successful as it was. I would like to say thank you to all the firefighters for helping us when it mattered the most. A special thanks to Miles Maughan and Don Stephenson who assisted with the investigation and were very helpful with all my questions, both during the fire and after. I would like to thank Ray Gervais and his son Ray, George Mathers, Nathan Petrini, Gary Burtch and Ed Davis for coming and offering help during the fire. I would also like to thank Irene Merritt from Rodco Enterprises and Charles and Maureen Mcaleaney from The Great Haliburton Feed Co. I believe they were the first calls to 911 and my family to alert us of the fire. As well thank you to Hudson Henderson Insurance, Darryl and Steve have been very supportive during this time. We have set up a temporary office and hope to be operational in about a month; in the meantime we have another company assisting us with filling production orders so we can continue service to our customers. At this time we are busy planning the rebuild and expect to come out of this set back stronger than before. So a sincere thank you from the Holden Family and all the employees at Holden Truss to all those involved in helping us during this time of crisis as well as the community for its strong support.
Kirk Holden Haliburton
Pool would create new athletes
March 11, 2014
Alleluia! The market demand feasibility study regarding an indoor pool and recreation centre has confirmed what I have advocated for many years. We not only need but can maintain a recreation centre and pool in this area. I will concede that roads and infrastructure are necessary and ongoing, they will always be, but it is time that council and our community move into the 21st century. The benefits to our children and senior citizens, physically, mentally and health wise would be immeasurable and long lasting. As an aside, we all shared the pride of a Haliburton son as an Olympic hockey player. He did not get there alone. Would we be less elated if a future summer Olympic swimmer or gymnast stood on the podium and acknowledged their start in Haliburton?
M. Joan Irish Haliburton
Algonquin Park’s Apocalypse Now
February 25, 2014
Re: Toronto Star’s Feb. 19 article, “Tank testing coming to cottage country”
At first I chuckled and thought it a joke. Then when this absurd story was actually reality based I was simply flabbergasted. Oh, come on! Tank testing coming to cottage country? What? I proceeded to peruse through the Toronto Star article written by Marco Chown Oved. An article that made my heart sink like a lead Zeppelin. It addressed the implausible purchase of 2,300 acres of land adjacent to Algonquin Park and cottages along Benoir Lake for purposes of testing tanks. The article noted explosions and terrain-pounding tests from these behemoth mobile fortresses of aggression. Really? Although these words may seem self-serving, as I have just recently purchased a property on Benoir Lake, they may also be words a majority of Canadians can hopefully relate to and possibly support. Would many people want such a facility near their abode? I think not. My wife and I purchased this place for retirement. We are not the chosen few with money to burn. We are a typical couple working in the metropolis gridlock who found an affordable country home for our golden years. A place near Algonquin Park that we thought was sacred ground – true Canadiana: lakes, forest, wildlife … tanks? Oved’s article noted that Armatec Survivability, a London-based tank-armour manufacturer is attempting to purchase this large parcel of land. When visiting their website, I found a company Q and A that propagate their agenda concerning environmental and residential impact. OK – I understand this private company purchasing property. It’s all about the bottom line: profits, funding, etc. What I don’t understand is government. This is near Algonquin Park and lakeside cottages. Sorry, but municipal zoning for “armour tank testing” near said areas? LOL (this is the first time I truly believe the acronym is appropriate). We don’t need municipal amendments or rezoning to accommodate big company purchases. We need government and environmental ministries to regulate the obvious when it comes to areas near nature parks. We need government and environmental ministries to protect taxpayers who purchase properties around our lakes to live the Canadian dream. Armatec Survivability is a manufacturer of armour upgrades for U.S. and Canadian tanks and armoured vehicles. This is a necessary evil in many ways and a support to our troops. However, why on God’s green earth (pun intended) would you put such a facility in this location? Is this not what we fight for? I wish to protect what the Algonquin Park area is meant to be – a natural environment. That is why the residents around Benoir Lake (just south of Algonquin Park) purchased properties. Such a facility anywhere near the proposed area is preposterous. I hope these solo words become a choir in protest. Please help with support and guidance.
By Jeff Young
Library branches are our town squares
May 6, 2014
Let me confess up front that I have loved the Haliburton library system for decades. No trip to town is complete without a visit. It is the closest thing to a four-season town square that we have. This is where the residents, long-time, newbies, permanent and seasonal, cross paths; where we meet and talk and get to know about other lives. Everyone is welcome, and it doesn’t cost a red cent to spend time here. So why do we need all the branches? It’s a big county with a widely spread population, more who deal with tight budgets than not. To have a library close is to have access to your community and, via the Internet, to the world. An Internet connection runs about $500 a year, so I’m grateful that it is available to me at the library. This letter is being written on the Word program at the library. I have downloaded email attachments into Adobe and printed them, at the library. I recently completed an e-review that required Acrobat, at the library. All of these programs cost money to own and upgrade so, again, I’m grateful they are available at the library. While having fewer branches would save the cost of travel for a small number of staff, it would also increase the travel costs and time required for the hundreds of people who use the branches.
Anne-Marie Borthwick Haliburton
Pond hockey request too much
May 6, 2014
In these times of financial hardship for the County of Haliburton and the individual municipalities dealing with the rising cost of policing and repair of roads after this harsh winter, how can Mr. Lumsden even think of asking for $25,000 to support the pond hockey tournament in Haliburton? Then tell the county council members if they don’t get the money the event can’t happen. Fine, kiss it goodbye and let it go somewhere else if someone wants to fund it. Perhaps that is why it ended up in Haliburton in the first place, nobody else wanted the financial burden. Mr. Lumsden has to realize that when asking for county money it is coming from taxpayers in the whole county, not just the Haliburton area from which some, not all, businesses reap some benefits. I have not seen any spinoff business in Gooderham, Tory Hill, Wilberforce, Harcourt, Highland Grove or Cardiff in the Municipality of Highlands East from the event. If an event of this size cannot be self sufficient and support itself then there is something wrong with the way it is being managed and it should not fall onto the taxpayers of the county to keep it going. Ask the Haliburton area business that actually benefit from the event to come up with your $25,000 and see what reaction you get from them. Of the stated “$385,000 spent in the county during two weekends” is there $25,000 coming back to the county funds to take the burden off us taxpayers for OUR support? I think not. I am a strong supporter of any event that can bring money into any of our communities but they must be self supportive and not place a cost on the taxpayers. It does not make financial sense to spend taxpayers’ money and get nothing in return for the most of us. We need roads and policing before we need people freezing their butts off playing hockey on a lake. All events such as this and the small summer fairs that used to take place in most of the communities cannot be self supportive these days, people just don’t have extra money to spend after paying their living expenses. Just my thoughts, you can either agree or disagree, doesn’t matter to me.
Doug Bates Gooderham
Council needs to look out for working people
April 22, 2014
A tawdry tale has developed over the past while originating in the mysterious east of Haliburton County. If one of the national dailies had locked on to the story, the lead would have been something like this. “Municipal council in poorest county in Ontario nixes five to 15 well paying jobs after caving in to minority interest lakeside group.” Dysart et al council appears to show it is not interested in jobs or local development. Instead tourism is touted as the economic engine for the area yet the unemployed know most jobs in that segment are low paying and often seasonal. In this election year, ratepayers will no doubt question candidates as to their stand on job creation and support for new business in the municipality. Local people will no doubt wonder how a small but vocal group in the Benoir Lake area could have their wishes accommodated contrary to the needs of all people in the area. At the county level note is being taken of the possible population growth over the next few years. With the apparent current attitude of council, it appears Dysart will only snag retirees as newcomers, not those in the world of work. The folks who turned thumbs down on Armatec have a lot to answer for.
Michael Barnes Haliburton
Pond hockey championships not about profits
February 18, 2014
Re: What does not-for-profit mean?
The Canadian National Pond Hockey Championships was registered as a not-for-profit event for two reasons: 1) to be transparent to our community – what we raise here, stays here. 2) Allow us to apply for grants for equipment to run and improve the event (tents, ATVs, Zamboni, sweepers) and decrease overall costs. What does this mean? The money we raise through local sponsors, advertising and programs goes to the operating expenses of this event (fuel, equipment rentals or purchases, etc.). It does not go to salaries or wages. It is important to note the equipment the CNPHC acquired and is hoping to acquire this year will be available to our community partners. For the 2014 event, the County of Haliburton had two representatives on our committee: one representing the county and one representing tourism facilities. Both participated in the planning of the event. We fully intend to provide a full recap of the event to county council once the report is complete. To insinuate that the local municipality and/or the county are not involved and have no oversight is completely inaccurate. The CNPHC brings awareness; marketing dollars and sponsors; raises funds and adds economic impact. Players stayed in resorts, motels and rented cottages all over Haliburton County. They also went into stores and restaurants in the town and area. We are very proud of what has been accomplished with this event and the volunteers who helped to make this happen. They willingly give of their time because they believe, as many of us do, this is a good thing for the community of Haliburton County. An event this size takes a full year and a lot of resources to plan. None of this would be possible without the support, resources, co-ordination and expertise that Neil Lumsden and his group bring to the event. To suggest that Neil Lumsden and/or myself are “charging back” to the county or other community stakeholders for what we do for the event is ridiculous. I have never received nor asked for any compensation for organizing this event. To suggest otherwise is very disappointing and without foundation. As a community event, we are here to answer your questions. Next time just ask.
John Teljeur Volunteer Co-chair and Community Organizer Canadian National Pond Hockey Championships
March 25, 2014
Re: Lawsuit costs Highlands East $42K
It’s really sad that one has to go through the freedom of information request to get public information from the municipality. I always thought everything our elected officials do, especially financially, with our money is supposed to be an open book policy for every taxpayer to review at his or her request. Why do they hide the numbers? So much for transparency!
Heat sources wasted
February 18, 2014
There is something disconnected in our society when you read about people having to choose between firewood and food, the day after seeing a large tree being burned as garbage at the Tory Hill landfill.
Barb Schofield Wilberforce
History influences pronunciation
February 18, 2014
Re: How to pronounce Kennisis.
As I understand it, the lake was named after a chief called Keniss and so if it was his lake, it would Kennis’s lake, which has ended up as Kennisis. I can’t be sure of the spelling of his name, but it may be in Nila Reynold’s book. Old timers I know call it Ken-ees. The same happened here in Stanhope when Daniel Buck’s timber slide was known casually as Buck’s Slide and ended up with the road being Buckslide.
Tony Aymong The Island at Boskung (which isn’t an island and isn’t on the lake)
Sense of security lost with new technology
April 22, 2014
When I was a child of 12, I took my passbook to the bank to deposit my gifts of money and later on, cheques. A friendly teller completed the transactions without the aid of a calculator or technology, dating and initialing each line. I understood exactly where I stood financially. Woe-betide the teller, if he or she was out so much as one penny at the end of the day. They were required to stay until their cash and books balanced perfectly. This meant recording each transaction by hand, knowing their customers and remembering every detail of the day. Politicians and civil servants would do well to make note of this efficiency. It was a foolproof system of checks and balances. Accountability was the order of the day. There was no need of “transparency.” It was there in black and white for me to see. With the advent of the “electronic era” computers, cellphones, instant lightning-speed accessibility and viruses, the safeguards have been lost. Individuals have lost the security of knowing that their personal, private transactions and conversations have been kept just that: personal, private, confidential and safe. Not just their transactions but also their lives. The government has recently been informing us that they will no longer be issuing cheques. “They” will be depositing monies electronically. No rationale or justification has been forthcoming regarding this pronouncement. One might presume that this is yet another cost-cutting measure, but what is the cost of privacy and accountability? With today’s alarming headline re: “Heart Bleed” security breeches, which have, ostensibly, comprised millions of people, their tax returns, their accounts, transactions and business worldwide for at least the last two-and-a-half years. This decision by the government does not inspire confidence, nor does it assure or ensure security. Julian Assange and Edward Snowdon are just two known individuals who have recently and definitely demonstrated on many fronts just how vulnerable we all are, how invasive electronic hacking has become and indeed how very little personal privacy any of us has left. Our lives have become transparent as opposed to the actions and accountability of those in power, who have been entrusted with safeguarding and protecting our hard-earned rights, freedoms and civil liberties. Checks and balances no longer appear to exist. Recent events, at all levels of government graphically illustrate how fiscally unaccountable and irresponsible many of those in power have become. It is one thing for a private citizen to request or give consent for automatic deposits of government monies to be made into one’s personal bank account. It is quite another matter to be informed or told that the government will be making automatic deposits and will be having access to one’s personal private accounts, because the government will no longer be issuing cheques. Who made this decision? When and where was it made? Was it brought up and debated in the House of Commons? Was this decision passed into law? When? When is this government decision to be implemented? How is it to be implemented? Why are we being informed of the government’s decision on ATM screens which are operated by banking institutions? Are banks still independent businesses? What has happened to freedom of choice? Who is speaking up and challenging this decision on behalf of Canadians? This whole scenario feels decidedly Orwellian – Big Brother is watching! Do we still live in a democracy? Perhaps government officials, policy makers and civil servants need to be reminded that they are employed by us. It is our tax dollars that pay their salaries and fund every decision and program that they initiate and adminster. We are not insignificant pawns to be dictated to or marginalized in and by their decision-making processes. Countless Canadians are already disadvantaged, disenfranchised, dissatisfied and poorly represented. Not everyone is “electronic.” Not everyone has, uses, or is capable of using some, any or all of the current technology available. That gap widens daily. It is an enormous presumption by the government that all citizens have and use electronic or wireless technology. How will the needs of non-electronic individuals be addressed and accommodated? Perhaps we should keep the cheques – an accountable paper trail – and maintain a semblance of checks and balances for all Canadians.
Cheryl Cohoon Wilberforce
With great dismay
April 1, 2014
It is with great dismay that I heard on the radio and read in the Echo that Dysart council voted unanimously to defeat the proposed Armatec development. While the proposed industry has no direct effect on my “property values” it does affect the economy of the Municipality of Dysart et al and the county as a whole. I guess it is the old scenario of the “squeaky wheel gets the grease”. There have been public meetings and a meeting with the development committee. How many people in favour of something show up for these meeting expecting their voice to be heard? Those who roar and stomp the loudest get recognition and the other comments go by the wayside. I do not know what the cottage population is on Benoir Lake but I am sure it is a small fraction of the population of Dysart that might benefit from an industry coming in and creating jobs. I wonder if this were not an “election year” if council would have voted differently, shame on all of you for not looking out for the good of your municipality and the good of the county as a whole. I am sure you don’t want to vote in favour of something that might cost you a precious vote. I hope Armatec takes this to the Ontario Municipal Board and gets approval and make you all re-think your decision. If Murray Fearry had not opted out of the vote due to conflict of interest there likely would have been at least one vote in favour for the better of the municipality and county.
Doug Bates Gooderham
Local heroes save family memories
April 8, 2014
Living in a rural community has its multitude of challenges as well as stunningly beautiful characteristics. And those of us that choose to live here all agree it is for the lifestyle that we are here.
On Friday, March 28 our old, much loved farmhouse had what everyone fears- a house fire. And following this fire the outpouring of love from the community and the support we have been given has been nothing less than beautiful.
I do not want to minimize the incredibly giving nature of our friends and neighbours, however, I write this letter to shout out to one specific group of quiet unsung heroes here in our community. Our volunteer firefighters. From the time of the 911 call our Dysart firefighters arrived on scene within 10 minutes (and I understand that this is outstanding).
Fire Chief Miles Maughan and firefighter Steve Coumbs arrived minutes earlier. Immediately these men and women set to the task of trying to control a stubborn fire caught in between our walls and attic – under a steel roof.
This team of heroes never once gave up trying to reach a difficult to reach fire. They worked tirelessly and quickly, making decisions that saved so many of our most precious contents: family pictures, children’s artwork. As they ran towards me with these items they asked what I wanted saved and ran back in to get my grandmother’s wedding rings and a picture of my now deceased father and I sharing our dance at my wedding.
Their efforts saved our house from becoming what our insurance adjustor described as “ashes” as he tipped his hat to this team’s phenomenal efforts.
Some of these firefighters I know personally, most I know to greet as a shared resident in our beautiful community. But for the rest of my life I will simply refer to them as our heroes. Our family can make a home again – of this I am sure – and as I hang each picture on the wall or catch the sparkle of my grandmother’s wedding rings I will always think of each of you.
It is you who make living in a small rural community the lifestyle of choice for both myself and my family – and the next time we have a girls’ night we will be sure to reminisce about all of the men in uniform who came to our last one.
With heart in hand, we are forever thankful.
Nancy Brownsberger, Jon, Alexander and William Petrie
Pool wouldn’t burden taxpayers
March 18, 2014
I wish to thank Chad Ingram for his article on the county swimming pool committee presentation to county council. However, several crucial points were not reported. The Petrolia facility does have a deficit but they have fewer members (1,200) and thus less revenue than we are envisioning even at the lower 1,600 membership level. There are several reasons for lower membership numbers in Petrolia that include a population of 5,528, a small catchment area, competition with larger centres and they do not have the large seasonal resident population that we enjoy. We believe that our operating expenses should be similar to theirs ($711,000), but with approximately $180,000 in extra revenue from memberships. The conclusions found in the market demand feasibility study indicate that we will be successful in operating our proposed facility with no financial burden on the taxpayer.
Gary McKnight Treasurer Haliburton County Swimming Pool Initiative
Let cooler heads prevail
March 18, 2014
If the reporting in the local newspapers of the statements and apparent attitudes of the persons in opposition to the Armatec land use proposal are correct, I am in shock. The statements of “harm” that would occur appear to have no proof or background basis. To me, they appear purely emotional. The invectives and vitriolic expressions of almost hate is, to me, reminiscent of trying to integrate the school systems of the southern United States in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
In that foray people also used their children to defend the status quo. Surely council in its March 24 meeting and review of this application will stay above the fray of this one- sided, uninformed, emotional and self-interested attitude and make a decision guided by fact, reason, planning principles and the whole “community” that it represents.
David M. Bishop Haliburton
How will future food producers be educated?
March 25, 2014
Forces and events outside of Haliburton County that bring to light the concepts of local food are only talk, not actions. The recent announcement of University of Guelph closing the campuses of Alfred and Kemptville (KCAT) colleges is a sad continuation showing society’s leaders have no respect for people who work the land with their hands. This is like the death of the canary in the coal mine. What will you as an individual do to make our food system alive and well? Many people want to see our local farmers’ market expand with more products such as eggs and dairy products. This is legally not possible because of the massive amounts of intertwined rules and regulations often established by bureaucrats or interest groups in the guise of market stability and consumer health protection. It is sad that farmers are criminalized for providing food that consumers consciously seek out. Local food grown using organic methods is the expanding sector of agriculture. The closing of the Kemptville campus, a pillar of agriculture in eastern Ontario, exposes the extreme vulnerability and the lack of respect local food is afforded by senior government politicians and academics. Society’s resources committed to creative thinking have not been applied to agriculture. An example of a local system destroyed is our federal government with the closure of the prison farm system. This articulates clearly that federal politicians do not respect the skill of people who work with their hands on the land. Where will the people who grow food be educated? If you do not have a multi-level degree there is no respect nor thought to be consulted in community plans. Regretfully, over generations the province of Ontario has given University of Guelph a monopoly on agricultural education. They have not been educated on the growing sector of organics. News reports cite reduced enrollment as justification for closure. Where will our future local food producers be educated? How will you support those who grow local food for your table today?
Godfrey Tyler Waverley Brook Farm KCAT Class of 1980
Letter leaves questions
March 25, 2014
Re: “Armatec environmentally friendly” letter to the editor, March 18
In this letter to the editor the author writes, “a small bit of research shows that one of the largest class action lawsuits in North America is seeking compensation from the Department of National Defence.” It is my understanding that Armatec is a private company with contracts with the Department of National Defence. Are they named in the lawsuit as well? She also states that “they [Armatec] are located in an area that is already contaminated.” Did Armatec contaminate the area or are they able to make use of “an area that is already contaminated”? In reading the “site description” it states, “There is a steep ridge of land that runs in a north-south direction along the western boundary of the property. This ridge is significant in that it separates the proposed research and testing site from the cottages on Benoir Lake.” The proposed site is not “on the shores of Benoir Lake.” In doing a “small bit of research” it is easy to come to the wrong conclusions and thus add fuel to the fire for those opposed and who have not researched the proposal. Just my thoughts.
Doug Bates Gooderham
Generosity keeps Red Wolves moving
March 18, 2014
The Red Wolves, athletes of Special Olympics Ontario, would like to thank all of the businesses and individuals who donated amazing items and experiences (ie. bike, golf and ski passes) for their fundraiser. The loonie auction, country auction and silent auction raised money that will used for uniforms, equipment, fees and transportation costs related to various activities. Your generosity ensures the continuation of all the programs. “To give without any reward, or any notice, has a special quality of its own.” – Anne Morrow Lindberg
Judith Fisher and Leona Carter Red Wolves volunteers