HCDC loans $4.4 million to community
By Chad Ingram
Published Oct. 20, 2016
During the 2015/16 fiscal year, the Haliburton County Development Corporation distributed some $4.4 million worth of loans in the community, helping to create or maintain 167 jobs.
Those were some of the figures delivered at HCDC’s 31st annual general meeting, held Oct. 12 at Carnarvon’s Rhubarb restaurant.
“Very often we take your vision . . . and we get behind it and we try to help in any little way we can,” HCDC board chairman Andrew Hodgson said as he addressed the room.
The corporation received 90 loan applications for the past fiscal year, two that were declined and 11 of which were withdrawn, leaving 77 that were approved.
HCDC’s average loan size is $39,000.
Seven of those loans were in Algonquin Highlands, 41 in Dysart et al, 25 in Minden Hills, one in Highlands East, while three were given out in other areas.
Some business development projects included McFadden’s Meat Market, Skye Cycle and BeBe Bartoons.
Along with loans and grants for community innovation projects, HCDC also continues to operate the Creative Business Incubator, located in the former Dysart library in Haliburton Village. The incubator is currently home to digital media companies Sticks and Stones Productions and Digital Reno Agency, as well as the headquarters for SPARC – the Symposium for Performing Arts in Rural Communities.
According to HCDC, in the past year the incubator has provided 6.5 full-time jobs, three seasonal jobs and five, part-time, contract positions.
HCDC is funded through the federal government and also leverages its investment income.
Executive director Andy Campbell said the Internet is changing the nature of entrepreneurship and investing, but that HCDC still has an important role to play.
“There will be a lot of changes out there, but in our community, it’s about working with people and those relationships,” Campbell said.
Since its inception in 1986, HCDC has dispersed nearly 1,800 loans totalling more than $72 million. It has earned nearly $14 million in interest and carries a loan loss rate of about four per cent.
The meeting’s guest speaker was Grant Roughley of the North Frontenac Telephone Company, which is currently constructing a fibre optic network for businesses in downtown Haliburton. The project is Phase 1 of the company’s plan to potentially outfit the entire village with broadband, high-speed Internet.
“Each phase has to be analyzed in terms of the business model,” Roughley said.
The company is hoping to construct a similar network in Minden.
Editor’s note: North Frontenac Telephone Company is 50 per cent owned by London Publishing Corporation. London Publishing Corporation shares the same ownership as White Pine Media, which in turn owns the Minden Times and Haliburton Echo.