The federal and provincial governments will spend approximately $3 million towards municipal infrastructure improvements, including the Rail Trail, Rotary Beach and the Kinark Outdoor Centre (KOC).

Officials announced the funding April 29, which will be used to rehabilitate and add to the facilities. The upper government dollars include approximately $1.1 million for the Kinark Outdoor Centre, $657,700 for better accessibility at four other Minden facilities, $219,990 to rehabilitate Rotary Beach Park and $196,616 towards the County Rail Trail.

KOC program director Jane Isbister said the organization had waited since 2018 for the grant funding to come through. The centre provides recreational and therapeutic programs for children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

“This is fantastic news for the kids. It’s a great investment in our program,” Isbister said. “We’re thrilled about it.”

The projects came due to applications through the Community, Culture and Recreation steam of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP).

Mayor Andrea Roberts said Dysart made its applications more than a year ago and MPP Laurie Scott said the province decided on what it would fund last fall, before awaiting approval for federal dollars.

“These projects will enhance our communities by so much,” MP Jamie Schmale said. “It was a slog, but we got there.”

Warden Liz Danielsen thanked Scott and Schmale for championing the proposals.

“The residents of Haliburton County have had, and continue to experience some difficult times,” Danielsen said. “It’s really heartening to get some welcome and good news about projects being approved for all of our residents to enjoy in the future.”

The initiatives will also require municipal contributions. Minden will spend $396,930 on the Kinark Outdoor Centre, with improvements including increased accessibility, extending the service life of the dining hall and creating a new dorm. The municipality will also provide $239,230 towards improvements at other facilities, including the Minden Library and Cultural Centre, the Lochlin Community Centre, the Irondale Community Centre and the Minden Curling Club building.

Meanwhile, Dysart will contribute $80,010 towards Rotary Beach Park, including repairs on sports courts, a new play structure, a bike rack and an off-leash dog park. The project will also add a Wi-Fi network.

“The upgrades to this area of Head lake park will be appreciated by so many residents and visitors alike,” Roberts said. “Our parks and outdoor facilities are more important than ever.”

The County will spend $71,509 towards the Rail Trail, which will add a granular overlay to 30 kilometres, 15 benches, 500 metres of barrier and informational signage.

Isbister said KOC hopes to complete construction over a three-year term. She said it is difficult for the organization to make infrastructure improvements and this funding will go a long way.

“The needs of our families and our visitors are changing,” she said. “To be able to build a new dorm is super exciting to be able to meet the needs of our target audience.”

Projects in Kawartha Lakes and Brock also received funding, with a combined cost of $12 million for eight different initiatives across all three jurisdictions.

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