Residents of Dysart et al are closer to having a new visitor centre and washrooms in Head Lake Park after council, on Tuesday, decided where they’d like to see the new infrastructure put.

In consultation with the Rotary Club of Haliburton, which is putting money towards the new building, they chose the area where people now enter and exit onto York Street between the Rails End Gallery and the caboose.

A report to council by recreation program co-ordinator Andrea Mueller said, “this area will be large enough to receive and accommodate visitor centre, washroom and possible small seasonal food service activities associated with the new building.”

In addition, she said a new pedestrian plaza entrance to the park, with benches and bike racks, is recommended. There’s talk of some permanent interpretive panels about the history of the old mill, banner poles and a park map.

It is further recommended there be a driving lane to access the main parking lot across from Baked and Battered.

“With approval of the new building location and proposed site plan, the Rotary Club may advance the building and site designs to a construction-ready level,” the report said.

Approval will also allow the refinement and completion of the park master plan that Dysart has contracted Basterfield and Associates to do.

As reported in the May 30, 2019 Highlander, Rotary has so far committed up to $75,000 for the washrooms and welcome centre.

Coun. John Smith did query the driving lane but fire chief Mike Iles said it was needed to provide EMS coverage of the park.

Mayor Andrea Roberts asked if they’d need a well and CAO Tamara Wilbee said they were investigating whether to drill a well or draw water from the lake and treat it.

Roberts said in addition to the welcome centre, there would be seven washrooms.

“It’s very exciting,” she said, noting that people out walking or grocery shopping rate public washrooms as a number one requirement.

She added staff and councillors have asked Basterfield and Associates to break the overall park master plan into phases at it will be done over time.

Wilbee said there’d be another meeting with stakeholders about the overall plan in March.

Deputy Mayor Patrick Kennedy said park users would also be disrupted this summer. For example, the farmers market is moving to the other side of the park. However, he said while it will take time to do it all, “I’m really excited about this project.”

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