Dysart et al unveiled a vision for Head Lake Park Oct. 20 with a proposed master plan that would add a variety of new features.

Peterborough-based architectural firm Basterfield and Associates was hired to oversee the plan’s creation and revealed its draft to a group of municipal officials and stakeholders Oct. 20. The plan envisions a massive transformation of the park and proposes additions such as a splash pad, off-leash dog park, a new northern bridge and pathway improvements.

A wide range of community representatives offered feedback, including members of the local Rotary Club, Lions Club, the snowmobile association and the Haliburton County Farmers Market. Landscape architect Brian Basterfield said he was glad to hear from a range of sources.

“You can’t get a good design solution unless you get everybody at the table,” Basterfield said. “We’re pretty darn close to something that can be truly a master plan that speaks to the future opportunities.”

The plan also proposes a new walkaway around the stage area, a large central green area, a library park plaza, an expanded playground, a reconstructed water feature replacing the fountain and new tree planting.

Basterfield said this is a long-term plan that could take 10-20 years to fully implement but would allow the municipality to take advantage of grant opportunities as they come.


“We’re all going to be much poorer at the end of this COVID response in terms of government funds,” he said. “It’s not to say things can’t continue to move forward in a very staged process.”

“It will be up for council to decide the priorities and what gets done.” Mayor Andrea Roberts said. “Unless you want your taxes to go sky high, we’ll never get this all done at once.”

Attendees made several suggestions to adjust the plan, such as a new dock on the north end of the park and adding fruit trees. Group representatives also raised questions to ensure the new features would not hamper the park’s ability to accommodate their regular activities.

Additions like the splash pad, proposed for the north end of the park near Rotary Beach, will take further technical work before coming into being.

“This needs to be viewed as a blueprint for moving forward with ideas and locations,” Basterfield said. “There would be a whole series of design exercises attached to establishing a splash pad.”

Basterfield said they will adjust the plan based on feedback before presenting it to council for final approval, likely in December.

“I really want to thank the stakeholders for your interest and dedication in helping make sure this project is right for our community now and in the future,” Deputy Mayor Patrick Kennedy said. “Lots of exciting things to come.”

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