Council says no to second boat race

By Chad Ingram

Published May 30 2017

Dysart et al council is giving the red light to a second weekend of power boat racing on Head Lake.

Members of the Ontario Power Boat Racing Association (OPBRA) visited councillors during their May 23 meeting to make the request.

A new organization OPBRA is an off-shoot of the Toronto Outboard Racing Club (TORC) the club that started hosting races out of Head Lake Park a few summers ago.

“Since that time boat racing has grown. It’s actually grown immensely” association president Jason Famme told councillors. “We can’t get through a day on time.”

OPBRA focuses on drag racing – racing in a straight line – while TORC operates mostly stock outboard competitions.

“We’re an open class” Famme said. “We’ll bring in any boat that would want to race with us but we’ll focus mainly on drags.”

Association secretary/treasurer Ted Biglow stressed the economic stimulation the village of Haliburton could experience from another weekend of boat racing.

“You’re all here for a reason as I would assume part of that reason is to make sure the town succeeds economically” said Biglow who added that along with races the weekend could also include attractions in the park such as a display of vintage boats. “Even from an outsider’s perspective you want to see something that’s just different.”

Dysart et al Reeve Murray Fearrey asked how many decibels of noise would be created by the boats.

Members were upfront that the races would be loud but stressed they would be about 30 seconds in length with about a minute break in between each race.

“It’s quick and it stops” Famme said. “It’s quick and it stops.”

There seemed to be little interest on behalf of council.

“I just don’t think personally I could support another boat race in town” said Deputy-reeve Andrea Roberts. “It takes over.”

Roberts noted the event would mean another weekend where residents are blocked from using the public dock at Head Lake and said that at this point nearly every weekend during the summertime sees a busy event in the village.

“There are a lot of residents and people in town who just want to come into the grocery store” she said.

The TORC races have been controversial in the community some residents excited about the wave of spectators and others displeased about the growl of boat motors.