By Chad Ingram
Published Dec. 24 2018
Residents of Harcourt Park are hoping the Municipality of Dysart et al will provide them with some financial assistance as the private community seeks to replace a bridge within its boundaries.
Harcourt Park contains 18 lakes and is home to about 550 families some seasonal and some year-round. Residents pay fees that are used to cover a variety of expenses including four-season road maintenance. It maintains 45 kilometres of roads at a cost of approximately $150000 to $175000 a year.
A bridge within the community needs to be replaced by 2020 according to an engineering study conducted in 2014. Called the Straggle Narrows Bridge it’s an important piece of infrastructure for the community. It was constructed in 1960 and updated in 1980. The plan is to replace it with a pre-engineered steel structure with the project estimated to cost $200000 to $350000.
“It’s essential this bridge because it connects both the east side and west side of Harcourt Park” Harcourt Park Inc. president Greg Weeks told Dysart et al councillors during a presentation at their Dec. 17 meeting.
Harcourt Park residents still pay taxes to the Municipality of Dysart to the tune of about $900000 a year and Weeks and other members of the park’s executive told councillors they would appreciate any level of financial assistance council might be willing to contribute toward the project.
Their presentation also highlighted how the park eases the burden on municipal services by providing a number of services for itself. A brush recycling program for example reduces the use of municipal landfills.
Councillors acknowledged that Harcourt Park presents a unique circumstance.
“I’ll turn it over to questions but definitely it will go to budget” said Mayor Andrea Roberts referring to council deliberations for the township’s 2019 budget. “It is a unique situation.”
Deputy Mayor Pat Kennedy wanted to know if the park corporation had been building any financial reserves for the project.
“We’re trying to be proactive about it” Weeks said indicating that some money was being set aside.
Kennedy also wondered what liability the township may incur if it became a funder in the project and wondered if township staff would be able to be part of bridge inspections and the request for proposals process which seemed like it was unlikely to be the case.