Usage up at Dorset Recreation Centre
By Chad Ingram
The following are brief reports of items discussed during a Nov. 21 meeting of Algonquin Highlands council.
The number of visitors and membership sales at the Dorset Recreation Centre is up from this time last year.
According to a report from parks, rec and trails director Chris Card, the facility saw 994 users during October – doing everything from visiting the fitness room to using public access computers to playing pickleball – versus 834 users during the same month in 2018.
“When you look at the facility uses, the majority of that is going to the fitness room,” Card said. After renovations, new equipment was installed at the site earlier this year. There were 106 membership sales for the rec centre in October, compared to 19 during October of 2018. Card told councillors he believed this spike was directly associated with the new fitness room. Card also told council that the transition of the former Haliburton County Public Library branch space at the centre into a community hub space was complete, and that staff were looking at dates to host an official opening.
Trails revenue up
A report from parks, rec and trails director Chris Card indicated there was a huge increase in revenue from the township’s water trails system during the month of October from the same time period last year. While revenue for October of 2018 was just less than $2,400, revenue for October of 2019 was nearly $6,850, an increase of 187 per cent. Revenues to date for the year included in the report were more than $316,000, up from just less than $290,000 in 2018, an increase of nine per cent.
Decreasing plastic consumption
The township’s environment and stewardship committee continues to work on the creation of a plastics reduction strategy for the township and councillors discussed ways of reducing the use of single-use plastics, including the possibility of water refill stations in commonly used public spaces, including at the Dorset Recreation Centre. Department heads will also be looking at ways to reduce plastic consumption within their departments.
Landfill closure plan
Councillors accepted the closure plan for the Hawk Lake landfill, a lengthy document prepared by consulting firm Cambium Inc. The landfill is nearly at capacity and scheduled to be closed in 2021. While councillors discussed the possibility of converting the property to a transfer station, with other municipal landfills not far away, they voted earlier this year for a full closure of the site.
“My only comment would be around the public notification,” said Mayor Carol Moffatt, “and just, given our past experiences and we know there’s still some angst around the closure, that we maybe reach out a little more for informing the public exactly what’s happening and when.”
In October, councillors were visited by members of the Halls and Hawk Property Owners’ Association, requesting that council revisit its decision to forgo a transfer station and informing councillors they didn’t believe there’d been enough consultation with property owners prior to the closure decision.