Is Haliburton really open for business?

To the Editor

My wife and I have followed the proposed repurposing of Lakeside Golf Course to a music festival park with much interest. We bought our lakefront home here nearly 20 years ago and have recently made Haliburton our permanent home.   We love the beauty of our lake and surrounding area as well as the great times we share with family and friends.

We manage our business from “The Cottage” and are ardent supporters of local businesses but we are sometimes surprised by how little the town of Haliburton has progressed in nearly 20 years. Small businesses including local resorts services and retailers have struggled or failed to survive.

Employment opportunities for young people seem limited to minimum wage positions.

The challenges we face in attracting heath care professionals is no secret. Resistance to progress seems pervasive throughout our community … “cottagers” and “locals” alike.  It sometimes seems as though Haliburton is resisting change of any kind.

Communities are like people.   We must evolve change and most importantly progress with the world around us.   Standing still is not an option – we will be left behind. There will always be challenges with any growth opportunity (environmental noise traffic waste management emergency medical care) but it should be the job of our elected officials to solve these challenges not reject them outright. Good things are starting to happen with the BIA and new ownership at Pinestone.

Opportunities like the one presented to our community come along rarely. This is not heavy industry. Heavy metal bands will not be invading us every weekend. This is a cultural endeavour that could deliver desperately needed economic growth to Haliburton with a relatively small footprint. I’m not suggesting we rush blindly into this.

Due diligence is the order of the day.   But in the end our elected officials must answer the question “Is Haliburton really open for business?” Rejecting this opportunity will almost certainly say “no” to business real estate sports health care and cultural interests who may otherwise have chosen Haliburton for their enterprises.

Michael Peirce