Dysart et al, ward 1: Tom Bailey

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Qualifications 

Tom Bailey graduated with a degree in business and communications from the University of Ottawa. After working in sales for several years, he opened his own construction and carpentry business in Haliburton County in 2021. “After living here for a year, and getting to know a lot of local people and talking about the big local issues and concerns, it made sense to run. A lot of people expressed to me that having some young blood in office would be really nice… I figured this would be a good way to get involved and help ensure Haliburton remains an awesome place to raise a young family.” 

Amalgamation 

“I’m indifferent. I think it has its pros and cons. Each township has its own quirks. But I do think there are a lot of ways that things can be systemized and efficiencies can be created.” 

Health

“I’ve had no bad experiences. I’ve been to the ER twice over the past year or so and was treated very well,” Bailey said. “If you live here and you’re going to have children, you pretty much have to go to Peterborough to deliver a baby. It would be nice for young families to have that comfort level, knowing if they’re going to be delivering a baby, they don’t have to drive an hour and a half, as you don’t know what could happen in that time.” 

Housing 

Bailey said addressing the lack of available and affordable housing in Dysart et al was one of his main priorities. “If you’re looking for a short-term rental in the area, your options are extremely limited, and those that are available are very expensive. That makes it very difficult to attract someone to come work here, because the cost of living is so high. An obvious solution is eliminating a lot of the red tape [for] getting building permits for multi-unit dwellings or basement apartments.” Bailey said the township needed to take an active role in identifying areas where condos and apartment buildings could be built, and work to bring developers to the community. He said he was “generally in favour” of Harburn Holdings’ proposed development on Grass Lake. 

Poverty 

“The most logical fix, to me, is creating more jobs in the area… There’s a lot of factors that would prevent people from opening a new business or staying in business in this region. The municipality needs to [address that]. Property taxes are substantially higher here than in other locations. Maybe by providing an incentive to have a reduction on that for the first X number of years in business would help get the ball rolling, and help the business set their feet firmly on the ground.” 

Shoreline preservation bylaw 

“I think the bylaw is a little bit extreme. As a cottager before, I am 100 per cent in support of maintaining lake health and ensuring properties are not being clear cut. With that being said… it seems like it was rushed to approval. I think it should be revisited to find a balance between people having autonomy over their property, but also within reason where they’re not doing something completely crazy.” 

Short-term rentals 

Bailey said he’s in favour of maintaining short-term rentals in Haliburton County. “They represent a huge opportunity for the local economy. I think it would be a really bad decision to eliminate short-term rentals. I don’t think implementing regulations and bylaws is feasible or a good use of municipal time.” 

Transportation

 “I think something could be done with specific routes and some solid planning. I’d say the whole township needs kind of an overview plan, for transportation, housing, all of its issues. If you have a bus that runs from Haliburton to Minden, and you have plans for housing along the side of County Road 21, then that would make complete sense. If you’re going to put housing 20 minutes off one of the main roads, then [a bus route] is not going to make much sense.”

 Vision for the future 

“I think just attracting more young families and creating opportunities for young families, while also maintaining a quality place to live in retirement. Circling back here, but a community centre would be huge – the construction would bring a lot of jobs, and then the opportunities a new building would provide. I’m a big hockey fan and seeing the Huskies have a great first year was great. Their games became a real social event. I’d love to see more of that, just local attractions for people to get involved with.” 

Dysart et al 

“Sustainable growth and development are my top priorities. I think Haliburton has a lot to offer, but there are some areas where there’s a lot of room for improvement,” Bailey said. “Providing a lot of programs and opportunities for kids is a major factor for me too. My wife takes our little boy to Bracebridge for swimming lessons. It’s about an hour and a half drive each way, so that’s not ideal. It would be great to see something like a community centre, with a pool, here in the township. That would be great for young families, but also the older population too.” 

Tom Bailey the candidate 

“I grew up cottaging on Little Boshkung Lake, so I’ve spent pretty much every summer of my life in the area. Haliburton County became like a second home to me. My main priority is to ensure Haliburton remains a beautiful place, that people want to come, visit and live in.”