By Chad Ingram
Well, it’s 2020. The future is now, even though there are no flying cars or robot maids or anything, which frankly, feels like a bit of a ripoff.
We do have TikTok, though. Whatever that is.
In Haliburton County, and specifically in Minden Hills, this year will see the completion of the township’s arena project. The project appears to be ahead of schedule – apparently heading toward completion in June instead of the fall – which is nice, but it would be nicer still if it was completed at or below the budgeted cost. We learned in December that the $12.5-million project had a projected overrun of $70,000, and the builders came to council asking for and receiving an additional $250,000 in contingency.
The township has received some grant funding, notably $150,000 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation that will pay for some “value-added” items at the new facility. Some more successful grant applications toward the project would be a very welcome sight in 2020. Last year the township was unsuccessful in an application for a $1-million grant, and a grant of that size, or a combination of grants in that order of financial magnitude, would be a promising scenario for a project with such an immense price tag. Remember it’s being paid for mostly through a 30-year debenture; the township’s taxpayers are paying for this facility for the next three decades. It would be nice also to see the project’s fundraising group make some substantial headway on its goal of $750,000.
At the upper tier level, the County of Haliburton has released a request for proposals for a service delivery and governance review for the county and its four lower-tier municipalities. Warden Liz Danielsen has noted that while there is an appetite for amalgamation among a number of county residents, there is no evidence that a single-tier government would result in any substantial financial savings. The opposite is also true. There’s no evidence that it wouldn’t.
What is evident, and one need not be a consultant to see it, is that inherent in the county’s current governance structure are a number of inconsistencies, inefficiencies and redundancies. One building and bylaw department for the entire county is merely logical. A united and uniform approach to waste disposal and diversion only makes sense.
The review’s recommendations should form the basis for the blueprint for a new model of governance, which will make 2020 a big year for the county.
Oh, and flying cars. Someone please get on that.