By Chad Ingram

Well it’s 2020. The future is now even though there are noflying cars or robot maids or anything which frankly feels like a bitof a ripoff.

We do have TikTok though. Whatever that is.

In Haliburton County and specifically in Minden Hills thisyear will see the completion of the township’s arena project. Theproject appears to be ahead of schedule – apparently heading towardcompletion in June instead of the fall – which is nice but it would benicer still if it was completed at or below the budgeted cost. Welearned in December that the $12.5-million project had a projectedoverrun of $70000 and the builders came to council asking for andreceiving an additional $250000 in contingency.

The township hasreceived some grant funding notably $150000 from the Ontario TrilliumFoundation that will pay for some “value-added” items at the newfacility. Some more successful grant applications toward the projectwould be a very welcome sight in 2020. Last year the township wasunsuccessful in an application for a $1-million grant and a grant ofthat size or a combination of grants in that order of financialmagnitude would be a promising scenario for a project with such animmense price tag. Remember it’s being paid for mostly through a 30-year debenture; the township’s taxpayers are paying for this facility forthe next three decades. It would be nice also to see the project’sfundraising group make some substantial headway on its goal of$750000.

At the upper tier level the County of Haliburton has released a request for proposals for a service delivery and governance review forthe county and its four lower-tier municipalities. Warden Liz Danielsenhas noted that while there is an appetite for amalgamation among anumber of county residents there is no evidence that a single-tiergovernment would result in any substantial financial savings. Theopposite is also true. There’s no evidence that it wouldn’t.

What isevident and one need not be a consultant to see it is that inherent in the county’s current governance structure are a number ofinconsistencies inefficiencies and redundancies. One building and bylaw department for the entire county is merely logical. A united anduniform approach to waste disposal and diversion only makes sense.

The review’s recommendations should form the basis for theblueprint for a new model of governance which will make 2020 a big year for the county.

Oh and flying cars. Someone please get on that.