By Jenn Watt
Published Feb. 12 2019
The following are brief reports of items discussed at the Haliburton Business Improvement Area annual general meeting on Tuesday Feb. 5 at Dysart et al council chambers.
One of the “founding fathers” of the BIA was honoured at the meeting as this year’s BIA VIP.
Andy Glecoff of V&S Department Store in Haliburton was surprised to be given the second annual award.
He was credited for his work on improving the appearance of the downtown particularly through the façade project and in advocating to have hydro lines buried on the main street.
“Also way back 12 or 15 years ago this gentleman looked into getting the darn hydro lines buried underground” said BIA chairman Luke Schell. “… It was so expensive that we obviously couldn’t afford to do it. … Then when the opportunity came along and Hydro [One] came along and said ‘we’re going to put these giant poles up or we’re going to put your lines underground which one do you want?’ We already had been a bit educated about that because of this gentleman. He was a large factor in that part of our downtown improvement. That was a massive one.”
Schell said that Glecoff still attends meetings adding his wisdom and sense of humour. He praised his “work work work ethic” and thanked him for his many years of commitment to Haliburton.
As he accepted the award Glecoff named a few more accomplishments from the early days of the BIA including downtown benches garbage bins road signs on each corner with logos from the merchants who paid for them.
He said it wasn’t just him but the whole community that worked toward the positive changes.
“We had a lot of fun. We had a lot of fun doing all of that” he said.
Luke Schell reviewed the success es of the past year. They included Midnight Madness (run by the Haliburton Echo with support from the BIA) street decorations Colourfest Santa Claus Parade (run by the Lions Club and sponsored by BIA) Ladies Shopping Night the downtown sculpture project and new street banners by artist Susan Hay.
The sculpture project is a collaboration between the BIA and the Haliburton Sculpture Forest with between five and six sculptures to be installed in May and taken out in October. BIA member Dale Walker asked whether more sculptures could be added to the main street.
Schell said it was an affordability issue. The BIA has budgeted $4500 this year for the project.
Newly elected mayor Andrea Roberts gave an address to the BIA and said she could relate to many of the issues facing small business as a former business owner herself. She also was a member of the BIA committee when she held the councillor’s seat.
She said council was going into budget deliberations beginning on Feb. 14.
“Some of the challenges that we have facing us are fairly obvious … asset management the rising costs of equipment and the rising costs of construction road construction. We just had a truck tender go out and it came in at $30000 more than anticipated [because of the] U.S. dollar and the price of steel. We have to be anticipating that” she said.
Climate change will also require more planning. “It’s here and we have to be planning for it” she said.
She highlighted new development planned for town including a retirement facility proposed for Sunnyside Street and the new Home Hardware underway on County Road 21.
On June 7 Haliburton will be the host of a Teeny Tiny Summit a one-day economic development conference at Medeba. “It’s called Big Ideas Come From Small Places and our subtheme is Unlocking the Potential of Youth” Roberts said.
“It’s all about engaging the youth and … what municipalities staff and councillors can do to to create an atmosphere where youth want to stay” she said.
Mayor Andrea Roberts told the group that this winter the wooden stairs leading from the Head Lake parking lot up to Highland Street were closed due to disrepair.
“They have to be replaced. They’re cordoned off for the winter” she said.
The municipality’s budget would allow the stairs to be replaced at half the width but she said there was another option that council would be considering.
“To close them off entirely and build a cement proper raised sidewalk that goes down to the town dock … you’d either come around from the caboose or you’d come from where the town lot is down across from Baked and Battered and walk up a dedicated sidewalk” she said.
She told the BIA to think about those options and weigh in if they had input.
Patrick Kennedy deputy mayor said he wanted to look at what climate change is doing to streets and roads. He said Dysart et al staff had informed him that they were low on road sand which is exceedingly rare.
“So we’re going to have to be investing a substantial amount of money in raising our winter sand stocks” he said.
Dysart uses very little salt on roads he said although Haliburton County does use it for the roads it takes care of.
“Lots of confusion out there about who’s using what” Kennedy said adding that when temperatures have been -30C the sand won’t stick to roads.
Some tricky intersections in town presented a puzzle for roads crews he said joking that the corner of Highland and Cedar might need heated streets.
“It’s a challenge … we all hear the complaints” he said.
He mentioned several other initiatives including a proposed investment in docks the rental of paddleboards at Head Lake and improvements in the park.
Infrastructure grants have come in for mats that go to the waterfront for people with baby carriages or those using mobility devices to allow them access to the water.
“As more people come [with] more expectations the more we need to do” he said pledging his help and support for the BIA.
Plaques were given out to businesses for their window decorating.
Think Spring: First – JanKnit’s Studio and Sewing Centre; second – Bank of Montreal; third – Walkers Home Hardware
Canada Day: First – The Kosy Korner; second – Lockside Trading Company; third – BMO
Colourfest: First – The Maple Tap & Grill; second – JanKnit’s Studio and Sewing Centre; third – Dawson Gray Accounting