Committee makes accessibility recommendations for AH
By Chad Ingram
Published Sept. 28, 2017
The following are brief reports of items discussed during a Sept. 21 meeting of Algonquin Highlands council.
Councillors heard recommendations for an age-friendly master plan for the township from members of Aging Well Haliburton County.
The recommendations, based on online survey, as well as visits to seniors’ residences and information luncheons, include but are not limited to improved transportation, housing and access to health services, as well as social aspects, such as increasing civic participation.
“The housing piece was looking at a greater mix of housing,” said Angela Andrews, a health promoter with the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit.
Andrews added that, “the term ‘affordable’ came up in relation to many of these priorities.”
Another recommendation is that a housing committee be struck at the county level, to ensure that a housing strategy for the municipality is being enacted.
There is a joint housing board for the City of Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton County, but not a devoted housing committee for the latter.
The report also includes recommendations for public spaces, such as prudent snow removal, benches and rest spaces, keeping areas free of trip hazards, and the addition of yellow lines to the edges of stairs, so they are more easily visible.
While the committee’s work may focus on seniors, really, it’s about accessibility for everyone.
“Really, everybody’s aging, it’s not just seniors,” Andrews said.
Other suggestions were the addition of ramps and handrails at local businesses, or doorbells to request assistance.
“It doesn’t always have to be expensive,” Andrews said of improvement businesses could make.
“We’ll definitely keep the recommendations in mind,” said Mayor Carol Moffatt.
New plans for ice pad
Residents in Dorset would like to see a new, concrete pad installed at the outdoor ice rink located on a park property jointly owned by Algonquin Highlands and Lake of Bays townships.
“We believe that having the rink on a concrete pad would greatly decrease the maintenance cost and time spent, as well as provide a year-round space for physical activities outside,” read correspondence from residents Lee Ross and Karla McKay. “It could be used for much more than ice skating and hockey.”
Some ideas include yoga, zumba, basketball and pickle ball, as well as farmers’/craft markets.
“We have the support of the Dorset Community Partnership Fund and would be applying for grants (both provincial and federal) to help fund the project,” the correspondence continues. “As well, we have a number of potential fundraising efforts in mind.”
Ross was in council chambers last week and also told councillors the group could provide volunteers for ice flooding, etc.
“There’s no question that something needs to be done with the rink, I think we would all agree on that,” said Mayor Carol Moffatt.
Moffatt was concerned, however, about potential conflict between activities taking place within the Dorset Recreation Centre and duplicate activities at the pad.
“Is it the intent to move them outside in the summer, or create another set of activities that would essentially conflict with what’s happening?” she asked.
Ross said the idea would be to take equipment for activities such as pickle ball outside.
Councillors agreed that there would need to be a discussion with the township’s parks, rec and trails director about the use of equipment and the logistics of that, and Moffatt said that insurance and liability are always concerns for the township.
Councillors also said that some of the suggested activities – markets, for example – may be better suited for the nearby timber-frame pavilion.