Dysart et al residents filled council chambers on the afternoon of Saturday Nov. 30 for a town hall meeting with Mayor Andrea Roberts and Deputy Mayor Pat Kennedy.
After some opening remarks from Roberts and Kennedy the bulk of the nearly two-hour meeting was an opportunity for residents to ask questions and share ideas with the municipality’s two top politicians. Everything from landfills and recycling to traffic and stop signs to tourism promotion was on their minds.
The municipality’s landfill along Industrial Park Road is reaching capacity and is to be converted to a transfer station by the end of 2020. A number of residents’ questions pertained to issues of landfill waste diversion and recycling.
With markets for recyclables collapsing and with American states that have traditionally taken waste from Ontario municipalities entertaining the discontinuation of that practice within a number of years Kennedy said challenges around waste disposal were far-reaching.
“We’re staring at 2028 right down the barrel here” Kennedy said. “2028 if New York State and Michigan decide not to take any more of Ontario’s refuse we’re done the landfills are full in Ontario. If they continue to take the 30 per cent they’re taking now we’re still done at 2032. So this is not a Dysart problem this is a 444 municipalities of Ontario problem and we need direction [from the province].”
Roberts pointed out that to help divert waste from landfill the Municipality of Dysart et al has been selling composters and digesters at a rate of cost recovery from the municipal office.
“If anybody wants to buy a composter or a digester they can contact the municipality” she said adding that greater guidance and assistance for municipalities when it comes to issues of waste diversion would be required from the provincial government.
One resident asked if the municipality was considering the installation of charging stations for electric vehicles.
“There’s a huge change coming in the way people are going to be coming to Haliburton and that’s electric vehicles” he said. “ . . . If you were to have something the vehicles would be directed to Haliburton because of the navigation systems they have.”
Kennedy said it’s something he’s been looking into.
“There are no grants currently right now for them” he said. “There was previously.”
Kennedy noted there is a grant funding application period coming up for infrastructure with the parameters fairly wide open.
“So that’s something we may look at here” Kennedy said adding he thought suitable locations for car charging stations would be in the parking lot near the municipal building and in the parking lot at Head Lake Park.
Kennedy said there is a spectrum of charging stations available and that essentially the longer they take to charge the less costly they are. “I think the sort of price we got was around $16000 for one that does it in a couple of hours three hours. There’s quite a variety” he said.
“We did price them actually last year just roughly” Roberts said adding the models that take a whole night to charge a vehicle were fairly inexpensive the type of model Kennedy was talking about was still quite costly for Dysart et al with no grant assistance and that quick-charge units are expensive at about $40000 apiece. “So it is definitely on both our radars” Roberts said.
At the conclusion of the meeting residents showed their appreciation with applause Roberts said she was pleased about how it had gone and the plan was to hold such town hall meetings twice a year likely once in the spring and once in the winter. Saturday’s meeting was the first time Roberts and Kennedy had hosted such an event. Town hall meetings in Haliburton County have traditionally been rare occurrences. Dysart et al Ward 4 Councillor John Smith also held a town hall meeting earlier this year in West Guilford.