Dysart et al, ward 1: Pat Casey

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Listen to the full interview, click here.

Qualifications

“My grandson will be the eighth generation on our property. The Caseys have been in Haliburton County since 1867… We have a long history, centuries of looking out for and being in Haliburton,” Casey said. “I own Total Site Services, Casey’s Water Well and Geothermal and Green Haven Estates and Developments – being in business a long time, dealing with people, challenging personalities and complex issues, I feel has set me up well so that I can be an effective councillor.” 

Amalgamation 

“I’d stay away from it for now. We’ve seen amalgamations in different townships and communities, like the City of Kawartha Lakes, and it was a trainwreck. That community is still scarred over the whole thing,” Casey said. Health Casey believes a lot of people, especially healthcare workers, are still burnt out from the pandemic, which is feeding into the staffing issues at HHHS. Regarding the potential amalgamation of the two hospital sites in Haliburton County, Casey said he was on the fence. “If we were to go to a single facility, how would that work? Where would it go? Would the province give us more [funds] to operate? I think this deserves a few more questions and definitely more answers before I can say yes or no on either side.” 

Housing 

“There are different levels – yes, we need housing for families… we also need housing for our retired people. Townhomes and condos would work. If we could get people set up, especially entry-level or mid-range, then they can focus on moving up. When our seniors move into a retirement-type spot, that opens a house for the kids looking to start out. It’s all a cycle.” He also believes tiny homes are a “great idea”. Casey says he is pro-development “when it makes sense” and indicated he would be in favour of Harburn Holdings’ proposed development on Grass Lake. 

Poverty

 “In terms of a County-wide solution, I don’t believe in handouts.” He believes more needs to be done to prepare youth for the realities of life, and to make sure they’re aware of the opportunities that currently exist in the working world. “If we’re able to facilitate partnerships between the high school and Fleming, to get training programs in place, that helps get them into the system and started on the path of life. I think that’s a grassroots approach we can take to try and ease the problems we’re seeing around poverty.” 

Shoreline preservation bylaw 

“I struggle with the shoreline bylaw, because there’s already measures in place [to protect lake health]. We already have a tree cutting bylaw, and it’s already policed,” Casey said. “There seems to be a steady erosion of civil liberties. If I buy a piece of property, as long as I’m not starting a meth lab, or making chemicals on it, clear-cutting or pouring concrete from one end to the other on the lake, I don’t see the problem if I want to trim [my shoreline] out so that it looks awesome. I want to see a bit of the lake. If I want to put a fire pit down there, that’s great. Maybe hire some landscapers to help bring the value of the property up. When you’ve got to start going through a permitting process for all of that… that’s a problem for me.” 

Short-term rentals 

“You’ve heard the story a hundred times where somebody comes up into an Airbnb and the place has turned into a rodeo, where there’s lots of noise and drinking and partying… Nobody wants that,” Casey said. He owns a seasonal property in Trent Lakes, a municipality that has recently started regulating short-term rentals. “They have a three-strike rule and give you an outline of what you’re allowed to do and what you’re not allowed to do,” he said, noting that would be his preferred route should short-term rentals be regulated in Haliburton County. 

Transportation

 “A County-wide, or even a municipality wide transportation system is a tall order. In Dysart, we have the Dymo bus and that’s definitely a necessity that has to be maintained, but in terms of transportation for the general public, it’ll be a stretch to make that work with all the other overhead problems the town has,” Casey said. “If a private enterprise came along and found a way to do it, then hats off to them. I would support that.” 

Vision for the future 

Casey said he wants to make sure Dysart takes a well-rounded approach to programming moving forward, with options for all age levels. “Activities for our retirees and our kids are important,” he said. Casey would also like to see some investment in downtown Haliburton. 

Pat Casey the candidate

“We’ve done a lot in the community, in terms of business and such. There’s an opportunity to have a fresh set of eyes with some good ideas… I have a little more time on my hands now, the kids are starting to do their own thing and the businesses are stabilized, so I have the time,” Casey said. He noted there are several issues he wants to focus on, chief among them eliminating red tape and finding efficiencies where the four lower-tier governments in Haliburton County can work on certain files and issues together.