The County of Haliburton is asking Minden Hills council for a zoning bylaw amendment at the daycare it owns at 16 Prentice St. in Minden, which is run by Compass Early Learning and Care.

County planner Charlsey White spoke at the Dec. 12 council meeting.

In a report to the meeting, the township’s planner, Ian Clendening acknowledged the centre is in a residential neighbourhood. He said the ask was to change the zoning to the site-specific Community Facility Exception Five to formally permit the daycare, allow reductions in yard setbacks and parking requirements.

The plan is for a 958-square foot addition to the existing 2,249.7-square foot structure.

“The proposed addition would allow for an increase in capacity to a total of 49 children, an increase of 23 spaces, and would require 11 employees,” Clendening said in his report.

Clendening said there had been public consultation and “to date, issues raised through the public consultation process include parking, drainage and noise.”

White said dedicated parking spaces would be included for the first time, and there would be a small on-site retention and drainage pond. She added they would be doing the routine maintenance, such as grass cutting and winter snow removal.

Resident Bob Wood spoke during the public meeting portion. He complained about children screaming, that parents park “willy nilly all over the place” and drainage is insufficient. He suggested the County and township should consider a daycare at Archie Stouffer Elementary School not in a residential neighbourhood populated by seniors.

However, a representative of Compass Early Learning and Care, Kinga Baricz, said it’s a daycare, so there’s going to be noise. She added there are almost 100 families on a waiting list for care.

“We need more daycares than maybe shutting down,” she said. She added some parents can’t work because they can’t find daycare with only two licensed establishments in the County.

Council received the report as information.

Splitting CAO and treasurer roles

The Township of Minden Hills will be looking for a new CAO this year after current CAO/treasurer Lorrie Blanchard recommended last month that the roles be split.

Blanchard confirmed the information with The Highlander this week. She said doing both jobs was “insanely, ridiculously busy” due in large part to the township’s growth and provincial government requirements.

She said when she took on the roles about five years ago, the workload was manageable but she’s now putting in a lot of overtime.

She said she wants to be director of finance only.

She said it’s what she has been trained to do. She is a qualified CPA. She added it is what she most enjoys doing professionally.

“It’s my happy place.”

She will keep doing her existing job until a CAO is hired. “I’m very excited for it. I think it is really good for the municipality,” she said.

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