By Chad Ingram
The following are brief reports of items discussed during a Jan. 22 meeting of Haliburton County council.
Dysart et al Mayor Andrea Roberts was chosen by her colleagues as deputy warden of Haliburton County for 2020.
While such positions are not often contested within county council in a somewhat novel process for councillors they voted by secret ballot for either Roberts or Highlands East Mayor Dave Burton both of whom had expressed interest in holding the position for the year. The role created by county council in 2017 was designed to assist the warden who is the head of county council. Councillors agreed that in recent years the warden position has evolved to entail more work including provincial-level advocacy activities through organizations such as the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus. The deputy warden assists the warden in her or his duties acting as a replacement when necessary.
Burton was deputy warden for 2019 to Warden Liz Danielsen who was acclaimed again by colleagues as warden for 2020.
The County of Haliburton will write to the Minister of Tourism Culture and Sport and the Minister of Transportation requesting that the province reconsider or phase-in a large price-hike for its Tourism-Oriented Destination Signage program. TODS signs are the blue ones spotted along provincial roadways directing motorists to tourism-themed businesses or municipal attractions. The price increase is more than double with signs that previously cost $300 per year costing $800 per year beginning in 2020.
A survey conducted by the county’s tourism department to which 40 businesses or municipal entities responded indicated that while nearly 60 per cent of them had participated in the TODS program in 2019 fewer than 45 per cent said they intended to participate in the program in 2020 and more than 40 per cent of those who indicated they wouldn’t be participating indicated the reason was the increase in price.
The county’s submission mentions specifically the hardship the change will bring to local businesses.
The county has applied for and received modernization funding from the province in the form of a $150000 grant that will be pay for the service delivery and governance review the county is undertaking.
The study will look at the delivery of services in particular which tier is best suited to deliver which service opportunities for consolidation of services etc. and may also lead to recommendations to change the local governance structure itself such as the possibility of an amalgamated single-tier government. The county has released the request for proposals for the project and a short list of candidates is to make presentations to county council on Feb. 12 and county councillors are to select a consultant on Feb. 26. The project is to be concluded by June 12 under the guidelines of the provincial funding.