More types of off-road vehicles permitted on county roadways

By Chad Ingram

The following are brief reports of items discussed during a Sept. 9 Haliburton County committee-of-the-whole meeting.

More types of off-road vehicles will be permitted on roads owned by Haliburton County.
As county public works director Craig Douglas explained to councillors, the province has granted permission for municipalities to allow additional types of such vehicles on their roadways. ATVs, two-ups, side-by-sides and UTV are already permitted on county roads. “They’ve added two new vehicles – the extreme, or Argos – they have six or eight wheels – and off-road motorcycles,” Douglas said.

Algonquin Highlands council had passed a resolution the week before permitting the additional vehicle types on its municipal roads.
“My biggest concern is just that we’re consistent among the five municipalities [the county and its four lower tiers] so it’s just a little easier to know what the rules are,” Douglas said.
“There’s been a lot of confusion about this, specific classifications of what vehicles are and are not, and that’s helpful [information] to ourselves and the public in this matter,” said Minden Hills Mayor Brent Devolin, who added he’d be advocating that Minden Hills council pass the same resolution. “At this point, people have to break the law to get from one trail to the next one.”

Reallocating funds for culverts

There are number of county-owned culverts that need replacing, and the county will reallocate funds from elsewhere in its roads budget to get a head start on some of the work scheduled for 2021.
“In 2021, we have a challenge, we have a lot of culverts in the county that need replacing,” Douglas told councillors. “So staff feel the only solution, really, is to contract out some of the culvert replacements.”

Douglas said the county had some money from a number of 2020 capital projects that had come in under budget.
“On average, we’re coming in well under budget,” he said, explaining he wanted to reallocate $130,000 for the replacement of culverts on Livingstone Lake Road, getting that work underway this fall. The request was supported by councillors.

Hawk Lake bridge replacement

Replacement of the Hawk Lake Road bridge was scheduled to get underway as of Monday, Sept. 14, meaning some area residents who normally travel the road will need to use Braeloch Road as a detour.

Constructed in 1925, the bridge is approaching a century in age and has a number of issues including that it is currently weight-restricted, needs its barriers replaced, and that its deck is quite low, and at certain times of year, close to the surface of the Kennisis River, which it spans. The river, which connects the Hawk Lakes to Halls Lake, is part of the feeder system for the Trent Severn Waterway.

The federal government is funding half of the $1.25-million project, with the province providing $412,500 and the county $212,500. The county’s portion is coming from reserves, money that had initially been allotted for the bridge replacement in 2019.