Highlands East potential site for affordable housing
By Angelica Ingram
Affordable housing organization Places for People is looking for its next project and has the municipality of Highlands East on its radar.
Two of the organization’s board members, John Rogers and Max Ward, made a presentation to Highlands East councillors at their Sept. 14 meeting, giving a brief overview of Places for People and how their housing model works.
To date, the agency has acquired three existing homes in the county, located in Haliburton Village, Minden and Carnarvon, and renovated them, turning them into rental units.
The units have then been rented out to candidates selected by the organization.
“Three of our former tenants are now proud owners of their own home,” said Rogers.
The board member said the organization is in a very strong financial position at the present time and is looking ahead to its next project.
“You saw that out of the three projects we have none of them are in Highlands East at the present time,” said Rogers. “We are now wanting to focus on Highlands East as the next project we’re involved in.”
Rogers and Ward asked councillors for their assistance in finding a suitable location for a housing project.
“We would welcome any suggestions you folks might have,” said Rogers. “You have great connections in the community.”
Rogers said the organizations prefers the location not be too isolated, allowing the tenants to walk to amenities and employment.
Reeve Dave Burton suggested the organization work with the municipality’s housing and grants committee.
Councillor Cec Ryall asked what type of size and configuration would be preferred.
“A duplex is usually what we want,” said Rogers, adding a mix of two or three bedrooms is typically what’s desired.
The following are brief reports of items discussed during the Sept. 14 meeting of Highlands East council.
GeoTour No. 1
Organizers of the Highlands East GeoTour are over the moon with the success of their initiative, which was recently given the title of No. 1 tour in Canada and fifth in the world.
Committee members Mary Barker and Joanne Vanier presented a report to councillors on the tour’s success thus far, saying it has been going really well.
“Our GeoTour is going phenomenal,” said Vanier.
Debuted this May, the GeoTour has 100 caches set up throughout the municipality and to date the sites have been visited more than 8,000 times.
Along with doing the tour, visitors are spending money within the area at accommodators, eateries and more, said the committee members.
The committee has plans for the future of the tour, and will soon be scouting out new locations for caches.
“We want to keep the momentum going so we need to plan ahead,” she said. “We need to keep putting more caches out there.”
The committee members told councillors they would like to see an information booth in the area to help visitors coming to the area.
“We really feel like we need some kind of information desk,” said Vanier.
Barker said a booklet has been created, as well as a map of the caches.
“The designation Geocaching Capital of Canada is a valuable tourism promotions tool for Highlands East,” wrote the committee in their report to council.
“The geocaching committee has great ideas for expanding that tourism potential.”
In order to expand, the committee would like to fall under the umbrella of the municipality, to assist with applying for grant funding.
Councillors passed a resolution designating the geocaching committee a committee of council.
Fire calls high this year
The fire department of Highlands East has seen its call numbers go up steadily this year.
Fire chief Bill Wingrove reported to council that to date the department had received 205 calls this year, compared to 163 calls this time last year.
For the month of August there was 35 calls.
“It’s just over a call a day,” said Wingrove, who added the numbers are the highest they’ve been in 10 years.
The majority of calls across all six stations are medical, according to Wingrove.
Purchases for medical centre
Councillors authorized an agreement with the Bancroft Family Health Team to allow for the purchase of medical equipment to be used by the nurse practitioner at the medical centre in Wilberforce.
The equipment includes an exam light, thermometer and medical cart. Money to pay for the items will be taken from the medical centre rent account.
The nurse practitioner will begin working at the medical centre as of Sept. 23, said chief administrative officer and treasurer Sharon Stoughton-Craig.
Patients do not need to have a Highlands East address to be eligible to sign on for the nurse practitioner, she said.