Don’t undo the County’s good work

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The County of Haliburton will meet Nov. 22 to select its warden for the next year. Current warden Liz Danielsen has done the job the past four years.

It will be interesting to see – with so many new faces on this council – whether Danielsen will run and retain her seat or whether someone else is jockeying for the top job.

Along with Danielsen, the others returning to the council table are Highlands East mayor Dave Burton and deputy mayor Cec Ryall as well as Minden Hills deputy mayor Lisa Schell. That is four of eight. 

The newcomers are Dysart et al mayor Murray Fearrey, a past warden, deputy mayor Walt McKechnie and new Minden Hills mayor Bob Carter. We are expecting Algonquin Highlands, which elects its deputy mayor from among its ranks, to select ward three councillor Jennifer Dailloux.

While I often criticize County council on these op ed pages, I do so in my role as watchdog. When I look back upon the volume of work this council has done in the past four years – particularly amid a global pandemic – I have to concede there have been some major advances. Three files in particular stand out for me.

The shoreline preservation bylaw. The short-term rental bylaw. The services delivery review. We’ve written extensively about the shoreline preservation bylaw. Despite the hyperbole out there, it is a good piece of legislation. It is designed to crack down on big developers doing egregious things to our shorelines. 

It is not worried about small development on your cottage property. Despite that stated fact, lobbyists would have people believe otherwise. We urge the new members of County council to read the actual final document and come on board. We also encourage the lower-tier councils to endorse it.

Dysart’s failure to do so is a slap in the face to the work of County council.

The short-term rental final bylaw is likely to come before the Nov. 9 council meeting although we expect the outgoing council will not pass it. However, they have well laid the table for the incoming council. This is not contentious. The new council should proceed with the file so it is in place to begin the registration process for the spring.

The service delivery review must also continue. Some good work has been done on this file. The fact that the public could go to any township for household hazardous waste days is a small example of greater efficiency for taxpayers. We will also be interested to see what Cambium Inc. comes up with in terms of a Countywide landfill system. I would actually urge the incoming council to take this file as far as it can go.

 It is time for one planning, building and bylaw department, for example. Further, in four years’ time, it would be good for this council to have fully examined whether or not it is time for one tier of government in Haliburton County.

happen are dropping the shoreline preservation bylaw, and its years of hard work, not proceeding with short-term rental registration and licensing, and backing off of the services delivery review. Rest assured; we will be watching.