"Creative ideas" needed to prevent declining arena numbers

The following are brief reports of items discussed at the Dec. 6 meeting of Highlands East council.

Ice rentals at the Keith Tallman Memorial Arena have decreased over the past few years according to a report submitted by Jim Alden property supervisor. In 2013 ice was rented for 44 hours in October and 53 hours in November. In 2017 ice was rented for 30 hours in October and 45 hours in November.

“You can see the numbers dropping for this year 2017” said Alden. “Although December could be back up as it was in 2016 as we’ve promoted the ice for birthday party rentals and have already had quite a few bookings for that … Hopefully they’ll keep coming.”

“Due to this decline creative ways to encourage continued usage is necessary” reads the report. “Encourage our residents to stay active while promoting our arena is an opportunity to think outside the normal usages and foster creative opportunities to engage residents. Years ago the arena was rarely used for birthday parties due to hockey rentals dominating the operational hours. Now opening the arena to the public for children’s birthday party events is a first step in coming up with new and creative ways to see the facility remain a fundamental gathering place in the community.”

The birthday party rental initiative has been well-received by parents according to the report. Kids can skate or play non-competitive hockey on the ice for an hour then use the lobby for additional birthday celebrations planned by parents such as cake or gift opening. The 30 minutes of additional lobby use is available at no charge.

“I think renting it for the parties and the private use is brilliant I think it’s a really good thing to do and we should gun that” said Councillor Joan Barton.

Barton said that additionally the Ontario Sport and Recreation Communities fund assists in funding programming in sports facilities and that potentially area skating groups and other arena users might partner with the municipality to apply for the grant to further use the arena.

“This is a way we could offer skating programming and coaching programming in our arena at virtually I read the grant as 90 per cent funding for programming” she said. “I mean for 10 per cent we could be offering skating coaching increased hockey coaching that kind of thing. It’s dangling in front of us.”

Councillors agreed to ask staff to discuss with arena users the possibility of partnering to apply for the funding.

Promo video needs $2K from Highlands East

Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce manager Autumn Wilson is requesting $2000 from Highlands East to help fund a promotional video to help strengthen the county’s workforce by showcasing the lifestyle of living in Haliburton County and owning a business here. Wilson said she is occasionally approached by business owners looking to move to the area and the video would help “send a great snapshot of what it looks like to live here.”

Councillor Cec Ryall said economic development was an important issue for the business owners who want more traffic to the door and the municipality.

The video set to be produced by Positive Media will include footage from all four municipalities. The total ask from the county and lower-tier municipal councils for the project is $10000.

HEFD pays out for fire insurance claims

Mayor Dave Burton asked acting fire chief Chris Baughman about how to prevent damage to pumpers in the future after Station 4 Pumper 401 had a pump failure due to freezing while out at its annual safety inspection. Baughman said it is policy to have it be drained but potentially some water remained in the tank and seeped into the pump.

“It is our policy to have them drained before we take them out for service” said Baughman.

“It just seems odd it would freeze” said Burton.

“I don’t have an answer of why the water was in the pump” said Baughman who said the insurance company had investigated with the garage as well to determine any fault in the failure and Baughman didn’t believe there was any result from the investigation.

The insurance appraisal for the repair before tax is $28801. The Highlands East Fire Department is responsible to pay the deductible which is $5737. HEFD will also pay the deductible on an insurance claim for a fire boat damaged in February. The total replacement cost of the boat and engine before tax is $17088.

Volvo sold

Roads superintendent Earl Covert said the surplus 2004 Volvo with dump sander body plow and wing that the municipality had been looking to sell prior to winter had been sold on the Kijiji classifieds website for $20000.

Discussing defibrillators at area schools

Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) is looking to partner with Highlands East to purchase and install defibrillators in Wilberforce and Cardiff elementary schools.

The cost of the defibrillator is $2650 plus HST.

“Our thoughts are that these buildings are being used on a regular basis by the communities in which they are located and a partnership between the township and the board makes sense” wrote Susan Kirkpatrick executive assistant with the TLDSB.

According to a report from Shannon Hunter the request was also delivered to the county and discussion will be on the county agenda in February 2018.

“The [TLDSB] had mentioned in their email that perhaps grant money may be available” noted Hunter in her report. “There is currently no funding/grant money applications for items as these and for 2018 it is unknown at this time.”

Extending Tory Hill landfill

Environmental supervisor Stewart Hurd said the life expectancy of Tory Hill landfill could be expanded from seven years to 10 years with continued transferring of garbage bins from Glamorgan landfill to Bicroft landfill rather than Tory Hill landfill.

“The main reason behind that is we’re about seven years life expectancy now and there will be some choices we’ll have to make in regards to getting a further expansion” he said at the council meeting. “There could be significant costs incurred.” Hurd said one quote he had received was over $250000.

“Intention is to continue with this moving forward at an additional cost of approximately $100 per load which will be reflected in the 2018 budget upon approval” reads his report.

Recycling compaction units at Tory Hill landfill are in full production as of Dec. 2.

Garbutt contract approved

Hurd also recommended Garbutt Enterprises be approved for another household garbage/recycling contract for the Cardiff town site in 2018.

“In 2015 the municipality entered into a formal agreement for the 2016 calendar year with Garbutt Enterprises regarding the household garbage/recycling contract for the Cardiff town site which extended into the 2017 calendar year at a rate of $3180 per month per taxes” reads Hurd’s report. The analysis in the report reads: “Inadequate time remaining in the current calendar year to complete a full [request for proposal] (RFP) process prior to 2018. All prior and current services provided by Garbutts have been more than satisfactory.”

According to Hurd Garbutt Enterprises provided a verbal quote that included a 10 to 15 per cent increase for 2018 “in order to cover an increase in wages and fuel/haulage costs.”

Hurd also recommended that council approve a complete RFP process for the 2019 calendar year.