Construction values for Dysart et al hit record high

Building permits valued at almost $100 million in 2021

The following are news briefs from the Municipality of Dysart et al regular council meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 8, held virtually.

By Stephen Petrick

Dysart et al issued 607 building permits in 2021, representing a construction value of just over $98 million dollars, a never-before-seen figure in its annual building permit activity report. It’s a sign that money is being spent in the municipality and the economy is poised to grow.
“People are spending money here and it’s not a bad thing,” said Dysart chief building official Karl Korpela, while delivering the report to councillors.
Mayor Andrea Roberts was excited with the news.
“I can’t believe it’s just shy of the $100 million mark,” she said. “That’s incredible.”
Korpela said the amount of spending is partly due to increased costs to construction in general. However, he said people are building “substantially bigger cottages.”
He said typically a few above average cottages are built in the municipality each year, but this year there were several.

Between 2017 and 2020, the building permit value was in the $50 million range each year. The number of permits was highest in 2018, when there were 524 builds. The report also showed that there were 116 new dwellings built in 2021. Thirty-two were classified as primary residences and 84 were seasonal residences.
One month into 2022, it appears as though construction is not slowing down. Twenty permits were issued in January, for a total value of just over $4.7 million. Eleven of those permits were for major residential properties.

Landfill sites to be monitored after incidences of vandalism
Dysart et al council heard last week that there’s evidence of trespassers at the Haliburton and Harcourt landfills. The two landfills “have been experiencing after-hours illegal trespassing, scavenging and vandalism,” said John Watson, Dysart et al’s environmental manager.
His report showed a picture of a pylon that had seemingly been thrown through a now-broken window in a shed at the Harcourt site.
Council approved spending $3,100 to put up security cameras at the two sites. The money had already been budgeted for in the 2022 budget.
“Seems like the way of the world,” Mayor Andrea Roberts said. “That’s what we have to do to protect our assets.”
Dysart’s landfills continue to be well used. Another report from the public works department delivered at the Feb. 8 meeting showed that in 2021 Dysart’s five waste management sites recorded 203,937 vehicles, compared to 198,635 vehicles in 2020. This represents a three per cent increase in vehicle traffic.
Also, in 2021, Dysart hauled 7,204.41 metric tonnes of waste materials (including recycling, household hazardous waste, and garbage), compared to 7,213.66 metric tonnes in 2020. This represents a 0.16 per cent decrease in metric tonnes managed.
There was a five per cent decrease in Blue Box (recycling) materials hauled, a five per cent decrease in construction and demolition waste hauled, but a 39 per cent increase in the amount of garbage hauled.

Head Lake Rotary Park expected to be busy this summer 
Dysart et al’s recreation, parks and events department is gearing up for a normal summer, as it’s now focusing on the return of the Haliburton County Farmers’ Market and special events to take place at Head Lake Rotary Park.
Council heard the department plans to have vendors set up booths on both sides of Head Lake Park on Farmers’ Market days in 2022, which will help with traffic flow and to accommodate more vendors.
Also, council has directed staff to come up with a new fee structure for groups looking to use Head Lake Rotary Park for special events. At issue is the cost council should charge for the use of washrooms, as councillors want to ensure rentals do not drain tax revenues.
Council also approved the Haliburton Highlanders Time Traveller’s the use of the park for their Cruise Nights this summer.
These Cruise Night events are a showcase of classic cars. They take place on Thursday nights in the summer, usually from June to September, weather permitting, and providing it doesn’t interfere with other town events.
The Time Travellers had been asked to set up at different locations in the past, due to concerns about ruining the grass, but council agreed they could return to the park after events manager Andrea Mueller pleaded on their behalf and said the group’s members, which numbers 96, don’t drive their cars roughly on the grass. 

Museum reopens
The Haliburton Highlands Museum re-opened on Feb. 1 after being shut down for January, to curb the spread of COVID.
“We are already seeing visitors returning and we anticipate a busy remainder of the winter,” wrote museum director Kate Butler in a report to Dysart et al council. “Work also continues on the ongoing care and conservation of the museum’s ever-growing collection.”
Butler wrote that the museum may be able to offer March Break programming. The museum is also expecting a busy summer, but Butler wrote that the museum may not have a summer student, which may impact the amount of programming it can offer. 
The Museum is located at 66 Museum Road.
Butler, excitedly, said that 2022 is expected to be the first year in two years that things are “normal” at the museum.