County council stamped its approval on a proposed 18-unit apartment complex for downtown Haliburton Aug. 16.

Dysart et al has already given Hot Pond Enterprises Inc. the go-ahead to build at the corner of Maple Avenue and Victoria Street, across the highway from SIRCH Community Services.

The project has been on the books for some time now, with The Highlander last writing about it on July 30, 2021.

This week, County council was dealing with an official plan (OP) amendment, from commercial areas to urban residential areas. Dysart passed its OP amendment at an April 25, 2023 meeting.

In his report, director of planning Steve Stone said, “each building will contain two, one-bedroom suites, two, two-bedroom suites, and two, three-bedroom suites. Two of the suites in each building will be offered as affordable units, while the remaining will be offered at market value.”

He added the development is to be constructed in three phases, with each building being considered a phase. The northernmost building will be constructed first as phase one, and the middle and southernmost buildings will comprise phase two and phase three.

Hot Pond Enterprises corporation president Richard Carson appeared on Zoom during the meeting and said, “I think this project … is an example of how we have an opportunity to lift up the services in Haliburton, in the town itself, for our residents.” 

He added the four lots had been vacant for at least 15 years and their proposal was a solution for a “huge” need for rental housing in the town. “Not condominiums, but housing for families, seniors, professionals working in our community.” 

Stone noted the apartments will be hooked up to town sewer and the developer will have to sink three new wells for water. There will be a new entrance from Victoria Street.

Stone said all technical studies had gone to Dysart et al, and been peer reviewed. The only outstanding piece is Dysart must still do a zoning bylaw amendment. It will address thing such as setbacks, parking spaces, and building height. A holding provision will also be added for other planning approvals, such as site plan control and a drinking water agreement.

In circulating the plan to agencies and the public, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit commented the location, “will enable residents to use active transportation to access essential services, recreation and participate in the community.”

The health unit added it hopes the municipality will collect cash in lieu of park land to pay for improved active transportation infrastructure in this area.

The health unit further noted the apartments will see more walkers in the area, with some key destinations across the road, such as a Chinese restaurant, the SIRCH Bistro, Fleming CREW, County Social Services and St. Anthony’s Catholic Church.

“A pedestrian crossover is strongly recommended at this location to facilitate safer crossing for residents… a crosswalk was requested at this location several years ago after an individual was struck and killed by a driver,” the health unit said. They want to ensure accessibility and want the developer to consider bike racks for the apartments.

Stone said the build fits nicely with municipal housing policies, as one-third will be affordable housing.

“The development will be located within Haliburton village, which is a service centre containing medical, professional, personal and social services, education, retail commercial and employment opportunities. The central location within the village and proximity to the retail core will also afford occupants of the buildings with opportunities for walking and biking.”