The Haliburton Highlands Outdoors Association (HHOA) faced challenging circumstances at the end of last year getting the equipment for its fish hatchery operational.

The non-profit’s first pump failed Oct. 12 and they had to use a provincial grant and a donation from the Haliburton Highlands Resource Centre to do emergency repairs. But in the process of doing that, the HHOA discovered its second well had gone nearly dry, requiring another fix.

With funds stretched by the pandemic, the HHOA could not easily afford it – president Dan Smith said they were prepared to get a bank loan. But several businesses came to the association’s aid with in-kind donations to get a well and pump installed free of charge – an approximate $21,995 value, according to Smith.

“It’s fantastic,” he said. “The way all the stakeholders involved with this, the way they chipped in and co-operated with each other and us at the hatchery.”

The donations began when Smith approached Haliburton Artesian Well Drillers about the situation. The company agreed to drill a new well to address water flow issues – free of charge. They did so Dec. 22.


“They were in need,” owner Jacob Woodward said of why he wanted to support. “The other thing is, it’s a pretty awesome service that they provide for the community.”

Other businesses followed suit. Kyle Smith Aardvark Drilling subsequently helped get suppliers to donate. Wellmaster Pipe and Supply Inc and Rideau Supply donated materials. Finally, The Pump Shop agreed to provide the excavation work and power supply to connect the new well to the hatchery.

Sunbelt Rentals donated an excavator to use for the project. The businesses finished the project Jan. 14.

“It was pretty impressive,” Woodward said, adding it was the first time he had been involved in an initiative like this. “We all worked really well together.”

Smith said it made a big difference to the HHOA’s financial picture, especially given the pandemic.

“Our fundraising operations have really been cut back,” Smith said. “We are sitting in shape today, so we can pay all our bills.”

Smith said the project was vital to ensure enough water flow in the hatchery and have enough capacity to add more tanks as its fish population grows. He said he was touched by the generosity of local businesses.

“This is something we’ve seen from this community,” Smith said. “Everybody pulls together when it’s needed.”

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