BIA investing in downtown sculpture project
By Jenn Watt
Published Feb. 20, 2018
The Business Improvement Area membership gave enthusiastic support to a project that would bring five sculptures to downtown Haliburton as early as this summer.
The idea was brought forward by Jim Blake, curator of the Haliburton Sculpture Forest, who asked the group to support a request for $5,000 to go to creating concrete bases for the sculptures along with brochures, a website and interactive map.
The initiative is a partnership with the Elora Sculpture Project, which was created by that town’s BIA to put art into the downtown.
Each year a new batch of sculptures is chosen to be installed.
“They now have about 20 sculptures that they have in Elora and Fergus,” Blake said during his presentation at the annual general meeting of the Haliburton BIA on Feb. 15 at council chambers.
While the BIA creates the space for the art, the artist is responsible for bringing and installing the work, which stays up for six months before the artist takes it down again.
Artists can sell their sculptures after that time, if they choose.
“Here’s an opportunity for us to actually have sculptures in the downtown area of Haliburton. Something which will make it distinct from other small villages and we get to have a changing exhibit every year,” Blake said.
Marilyn Frost, who was in the audience for the meeting, asked whether community groups or local businesses could sponsor sculptures.
Blake said that in Elora they pay the artists a small sum and that is done through sponsorship, which includes the sponsor’s name on the plaque that accompanies the work.
He recommended that Haliburton start with five sculptures and suggested that as long as all other permissions from the appropriate authorities were obtained, it could happen this summer.
The membership voted in favour of the proposal.
Jim Frost named BIA VIP
Active community volunteer Jim Frost was honoured as the first recipient of the BIA VIP award at the AGM. Frost, who was surprised with the award, was chosen for his work in making the village a better place, BIA chair Luke Schell said.
“We’re all aware of the absolutely tireless effort and good nature of this person,” he said in his introduction.
Frost can be found at most town functions, typically in his Lions Club attire, alongside his wife and fellow community booster Marilyn.
The Santa Claus parade is one of Frost’s passions and this year was highlighted as one of the best by Schell during his opening remarks.
other awards were given out at the AGM:
The Beauty of Spring Window Decorating
1st Place – Hankook E Korean Cuisine
2nd Place – Floyd Hall Insurance
3rd Place – Castle Antiques
Canada Day Window Decorating
1st place – Dawson Gray Accounting
2nd place – Kosy Korner
3rd Place – Walker’s Home Hardware
Paint the Town Red Window Decorating
1st Place – Pet Valu
2nd place – Country Pickins
3rd place – JoAnne Sharpley Source for Sports
Other notes from the meeting
The membership passed the 2018 budget, which was about the same as last year, Schell told the group. $5,000 was moved from reserves in anticipation of the sculpture project and the annual levy from members is the same as last year at $47,600. The flower budget is $9,500, which includes purchase of the plants and maintenance throughout the summer. Colourfest receives $4,800, decorations $3,600, administration $6,450. The total budget is $52,600 for the year. Financial statements from 2017 were not ready at the meeting.
The last year was successful for the BIA, Schell told the group. Among the highlights: an updated website, a $25,000 donation to the skatepark, the “best ever” Santa Claus Parade, Midnight Madness street party, fall decorations, Colourfest, shop local initiatives and window decorating contest.
Concerns raised during the meeting included what will be done with the empty lot when the skatepark moves from beside the library on Maple Avenue to beside the arena. Schell also brought up the space that will be left when Home Hardware moves from the corner of Maple and Highland to their location on County Road 21.
Dysart Mayor Murray Fearrey gave a short speech in which he thanked the BIA for their contribution to the skatepark, which should be complete this spring. He said growth in assessments was four per cent, which is among the highest in Ontario.
Fearrey was asked about the money coming through the provincial downtown revitalization program. He said that most small towns were receiving $41,000 and in Haliburton the money would be used for improving walkways in Head Lake Park and to the school, banners on the main street and replacing paving stones on York.