Haliburton will get core upgrade – lipstick on a pig?

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Ah yes this is Skyline Park. Which ahem is waaaaaaay up there above Haliburton and the perfect location for a reservoir. No tower necessary and a gravity fall from this height would lower lift station costs vis-a-vis town water. But this of course is just spitz and giggles stuff. Until Dysart gets a plan that includes core development themes? It all just pie, the the night sky.

Haliburton needs to upgrade to town water in order to attract new business

By Terrance Gavan – Editor

The Haliburton Echo reports that the province of Ontario will be kicking in some money for some much needed improvements to the downtown core of Haliburton.

“Rick Johnson, Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock MPP, announced July 12 that the core of Haliburton’s downtown will be refurbished to help satisfy growing needs and boost the economy,” the Echo reports.

“This revitalization will include improving roads and curbs, bringing in new vehicle and pedestrian lighting, along with interlocking brick sidewalks and updated drainage, buried communication utilities and electrical support.

“I’m extremely pleased to make the announcement today, it’s going to be great for the downtown. I know we’ve been talking about this for a couple of years,” said Johnson.

“The hydro poles will be removed, and sleek black poles with LED lights will be put in place. The improvements will take place on Highland Street and the area around the intersection at Maple Avenue, a few feet up Cedar Avenue and ending just past the Haliburton Echo office.”

The total cost of the project is $1,695,030 and the municipality will pop in third, or approximately $565,010.

We like this of course. Nice get.

But if this is supposed to revitalize Haliburton it’s going in the wrong direction.

Downtown improvements?

Lipstick on the proverbial pig.

These are improvements destined to improve the outer skin. The major stumbling block to progress in Haliburton is a lack of water.

Ironic isn’t it. We sit on a lake, transected by a river, and we are missing a major part of a necessary infrastructure.

To wit: Town water. I’m not sure why Haliburton has ignored such an integral part of the development paradigm. I do know that I worked in the Town of Stonewall for four years as a reporter and I covered council during the water wars.

Yes the mayor and council mandated town water and the subsequent hike in the mill rate; and it was met with stonewalling- yes that’s a pun – on all fronts. But in the end, the infrastructure led to Stonewall’s growth. For a time during my tenure there, Stonewall was the fastest growing community in the nation.

Without that expensive upgrade to the suburban reaches of that growing town? That wouldn’t have been possible.

Bottom line?

Haliburton needs water not lights. Pipe not poles.

Oh I know. I only got here in 2002. But I’m an intelligent guy and I’ve worked and lived in a lot of small Canadian towns and villages.

Haliburton has no mayor and no town council. We’ve got an arm’s length municipality with a municipal council and all of those tiny rural outports have their own agendas and none of them – I guarantee – include a costly infrastructure project for Haliburton.

A concensus would have to be reached across this very diverse municipality that what’s good for Haliburton is also great for this municipality in general. And I don’t see that happening. Territorial imperatives will trump Haliburton’s needs every time. The money would have to come from Dysart and its tax base. That’s not going to happen.

My take? Haliburton is large enough to incorporate, divest itself from the rural meanderings of the Dysart et al cabal. Haliburton needs a young mayor, a young council and a vision for the future. Dysart et al and its constituents and cottagers could care less whether Haliburton gets a reliable water supply. And unfortunately without that important ingredient any future development is stymied.

In truth this should have been built in to the municipal paradigm about five decades ago. Right now, respect to Reeve Murray Fearrey et al, this council seems glued to an imperative of status quo. Inertia is the order of the day. And no one seems to care. There’s a word for this gentle and myopic refusal to face the future. Moribundity.

Can you imagine a municipality the size of Dysart, where not one driven soul  is invigorated enough to run against an incumbent Reeve? That speaks to me. It says that no one cares. And that’s just sad.

The optics are all wrong. I mean the Divine Right of Kings was generally derailed back in the 17th century.

Lights, sidewalks, buried cables?

A stunning polka dot bikini on a 50s era mannequin.

Times change.  Haliburton must too.

Like Barack Obama just said: “Rip off the band aid. Eat our peas.”

Cos knuckleheads? Water – ironically – is the answer.

The question?

How do we grow Haliburton into a coveted destination for business and development?

While we’re ripping up the downtown?

Let’s lay some pipe.

gav@pardontheeruption.com twitter.com/terrancegavan[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]