The top 10
By Chad Ingram
As has become an end-of-year tradition around here, these are the top 10 news stories of 2015 for the western half of Haliburton County.
1o. Solar projects
With an intake window for the province's feed-in-tariff program open, Minden Hills and Algonquin Highlands were inundated with requests for municipal support as companies sought to gain points for their projects, the most extreme of which was a proposed 300-acre solar farm in Minden Hills.
9. Health hub
Spearheaded by the Dorset Community Partnership, the Dorset Community Health Hub opens, offering the services of a nurse practitioner. Some 3,000 residents in the area are without a family physician.
8. EMS base
Years in the making, Haliburton County opens its new EMS base along Highway 35 in Minden. The facility is expected to reduce response times and means the municipality will no longer have to lease space for its Minden ambulances.
The Ministry of Environment's approval of a field-spreading facility less than a kilometre from homes on Maple Lake enrages residents and has Algonquin Highlands council, which had no say in the process, pushing for its zoning regulations to be recognized by the province.
6. OPP billing
The first year of a five-year phase-in of the province's new OPP billing formula wallops Haliburton County's lower-tier townships, with councils passing the cost directly to taxpayers through property tax increases. Collectively, the county's OPP bill will double from approximately $3 million to approximately $6 million during the phase-in.
5. Plane lands on 35
Like something straight from a movie script, when his plane loses power mid-flight, a Maple Lake cottager lands the Cessna on Highway 35 near the Frost Centre to the awe of motorists.
4.Pan Am Games
The world's best paddlers descend on the Minden Wild Water Preserve, which was the white-water venue for the 2015 Toronto Pan Am/Parapan Games.
3. Pritchard House/Gelert hall
Minden Hills council knocks down longtime landmarks Pritchard House and the Gelert hall. Both buildings had been closed to the public for years, contained asbestos and mold and had accessibility issues. Nostalgic Minden residents express lament on social media.
2. Orillia Power
After Minden Hills residents stage a large Facebook protest, Minden Hills council turns down a proposal from the Orillia Power Corporation, which owns the plant at Minden Lake, to construct another power generation station, this one along the Minden Wild Water Preserve. The corporation owns property in the area, but would have required the use of municipally controlled shoreline road allowances for the project.
1. Kennedy convictions
Four years after he was killed just outside Minden, three of the four GTA men charged in the murder of 21-year-old Ryan Kennedy are convicted on various charges.