Dysart gets mixed marks on exchange

By Chad Ingram

Published Aug. 22

The following are brief reports of items discussed during an Aug. 21 meeting of Dysart et al council.

Dysart et al township received mixed feedback from a team from Georgian Bay township who visited the community through First Impression Communities Exchange a program facilitated through the Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs.
Lynn Racicot communications and economic development officer for Georgian Bay told councillors there was some confusion on the part of participants differentiating Haliburton Village Haliburton County and Dysart et al township from one another.
In general the team found a lack of signage in the community including directional signage boundary signage and signage denoting the location of educational institutions long-term care homes etc.
“However the welcome signage for Haliburton Village was considered inviting” Racicot said.
In general the village itself scored well with nine out of 10 participants viewing it favourably.
Head Lake Park free Wi-Fi floral decorations general cleanliness and more types of businesses than expected help lead to this favourable verdict.

There was unfavourable feedback regarding public washrooms – particularly those in Head Lake Park – as well as a lack of night life and indoor entertainment.
Three eateries visited by the team received average marks for food and service and it was recommended that businesses in the township undergo customer service workshops.
Participants also found the township to have an uninviting and outdated online presence and a lack of branding identity.
More crosswalks and bicycles lanes were other recommendations. Racicot noted that while the area is promoted as a cycling destination it seems to lack cycling infrastructure creating a disconnect between presented and real recreational activities.
Internet connectivity throughout the township seasonal employment and youth attraction and retention were identified as other challenges.
“I think a lot of those things we know” said Reeve Murray Fearrey. “When we put up signage we get feedback that there’s sign pollution.”
Fearrey pointed out that the upper-tier of Haliburton County is technically responsible for branding and chief administrative officer Tamara Wilbee suggested that perhaps the township should be using the county’s Haliburton Highlands branding as opposed to the Dysart name more frequently when promoting events.
A team from Dysart et al will also be visiting Georgian Bay township and providing feedback to officials there.

Residents in the Eagle Lake area are asking the township do something about a house containing many cats they say is creating an unsanitary situation in their neighbourhood.
Delegate Sandra Grove representing a number of neighbours told council she estimates there are more than 20 cats living in the house and that when the windows of the home are open the odour is so bad that residents are unable to enjoy their properties.
“We have been forced out of our yards” Grove said adding the home owner also disposes of cat litter is his backyard.
While Councillor Walt McKechnie has paid visits to the homeowner informing him he needs to deal with the cat situation “he doesn’t seem to listen to that” said Reeve Murray Fearrey.
“The humane society won’t do anything the health unit won’t do anything” Fearrey added.
The township will send the resident a registered letter informing him he has two weeks to make changes to make the property more sanitary.
After that council plans to pass a bylaw to deal with the situation under which the resident would be fined on a daily basis for being in contravention of the bylaw.
“You shouldn’t have to put up with it” Fearrey told assembled residents. Grove said the homeowner has had as many as 37 cats on his property in the past.

Storm the Trent an adventure race that has taken place in the Kawarthas for the past 16 years will come to Haliburton in 2018.
The race which involves paddling cycling and running and in 2017 attracted 600 participants will be centred in Glebe Park.
Participants will park in the public lot near Head Lake Park and in the parking lot at the arena.
“It’s the kind of thing we want to see happen here” said Reeve Murray Fearrey. “We have the natural attributes.”
Organizers plan to host the race in Haliburton for at least three years.