Room to grow

By Jenn Watt

Published Aug. 7 2018

During the next three months you should be hearing from candidates in the municipal election looking for your vote.

Election Day is Oct. 22 – a time when we get to choose the councils that will determine how Haliburton County and the municipalities within it are run.

Expect your candidates to seek your vote. They should be asking your opinion curious about where you stand on issues and willing to listen. They also need to have their own ideas and plans.

With indications coming from the province that we’re headed into an era of austerity our municipal representatives will need to be creative and dedicated to delivering the services we need.

Keeping the status quo isn’t enough.

Things in the county are good. There has been considerable effort put into promoting the Haliburton Highlands as a tourism destination. Investments have been made to improve infrastructure. Attention has been given to protecting our lakes. Our councillors have done good work to enhance the Highlands in many ways over the years.

But our county still has room to grow. And this is where the election comes in.

We’ve got labour issues. There aren’t enough young people coming to the county and setting up business. For the businesses already here the working population isn’t matching what they need in a workforce. Skilled tradespeople are needed. Young people are needed. The service industry is having a hard time finding teenagers to take on summer jobs. (The high school population has dropped significantly in the last decade.)

We’ve got transportation issues. There is no public transit system which disproportionately disadvantages youth seniors and those with low incomes. As was mentioned at the preview presentation of the youth hub last week it’s great for Haliburton teenagers and young adults but what about those in Minden? Rides can be arranged but wouldn’t it be great to have a functioning transportation system to get them back and forth?

We’ve got housing issues. Particularly for those the local housing advocates call the “missing middle” – people who can’t get subsidized housing but can’t afford what’s available on the market. Earlier this year the Minden Hills Housing Task Force released stats showing small units were in high demand and that there is relatively little rental stock to choose from.

Then there are the issues of short-term rentals shoreline preservation climate change planning bylaw enforcement new firefighter training requirements internet/cell coverage gaps the list goes on.

How do your candidates rate on these topics? Before you vote you need to know.

Keep an eye on the pages of this paper as we roll out our election coverage. Check out the all candidates meetings coming up in September (dates to be announced) and chat with your candidates one on one. Call them up. Send them an email. Make sure you’re informed.