Community members suggested everything from splash pads to improved drainage as things that should be part of the future vision of Head Lake Park.

Dysart et al hosted a consultation session Oct. 23 to gather feedback for a Head Lake Park master plan. Council members, municipal staff and community members gathered to talk about the park, what they value in it and how the public space could be improved.

Mayor Andrea Roberts said it is a plan that needs community involvement.

“We can’t do this alone. We can’t do this by councillors,” Roberts said. “I love the conversation because it was a friendly conversation. It was done with respect because we are passionate about the park. It’s our public place … the anchor of the Village of Haliburton.”

Peterborough-based architectural firm Basterfield and Associates is overseeing the plan’s creation and consultation. Landscape architect Brian Basterfield said the goal of the plan is to provide both recommendations for the new washroom and visitor centre proposed by the Rotary Club of Haliburton, as well as long-term recommendations for other changes to the park.

“This is a chance to do some visioning for the park,” he said. “That park plan has to work for the community.”

Community members brought up many ideas, including creating a splash pad, adding more shaded areas or picnic shelters, improving washrooms and better signage.

But the most common issue brought up was the park’s drainage issues, creating problems like wet pathways. Basterfield said there are materials that could be used to help control settlement and address the park’s drainage issues, despite the sawdust embedded in its ground. Although that cannot necessarily be a feature of the plan, he said drainage issues could be noted.

“Although it seems like a massive effort to maybe change the way the park grades, it might be one of those things that has to get looked at with some capital funding,” Basterfield said. “Everything gets better if the drainage is better.”

Basterfield said the firm would gather the feedback and consider it as part of a preliminary plan which would be shared with the municipality. The product will then be refined into a master plan.

He added not everything suggested could be added given funding considerations. But the plan should help with funding applications, he said.

Roberts said it will take time to implement the plan but it is something the municipality will strive for.

“Without a plan, you’re just putting out those little fires or fixing this little thing over here, and not looking at the big picture,” she said.

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