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Fenelon stores try to hang on as construction to go past mid-June

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Construction has already created lineups to The Beer Store. Photo: Geoff Coleman.

Downtown Fenelon Falls can anticipate traffic interruptions right to the beginning of summer as the village accepts short-term pain for long term gain.

The major construction project on Colborne Street will go beyond the original deadline of the Victoria Day long weekend in May. The sewer improvement, traffic calming, and beautification project was originally scheduled to suspend operations then and resume after Labour Day.

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Kawartha Winter Festival on the horizon for 2022

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Kawartha Winter Festival on the horizon for 2022

When Dave Robinson thinks of the Nordic nations and their people, he thinks of winter done right with lots of enjoyment of the season. The potential to replicate that in Canada – and specifically Kawartha Lakes – has been on his mind now that he has permission from city council to launch a winter festival here.

As Snowshoe Canada president and a local cottager, Robinson was recently successful in obtaining a resolution from city council to pursue the concept of developing an annual winter festival in Kawartha Lakes starting as early as late 2022.

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Dunn provides off-road vehicles task force update to council

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Councillor Pat Dunn, who serves as chair of the Off-Road Vehicles Task Force, was asked by Mayor Andy Letham to provide council with an update on the work of the task force at the recent council meeting.

The task force has been asked by council to look at the issues surrounding off-road vehicles accessing municipally owned roads, and what roads, if any, should be opened to the off-road vehicle community.

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Urban design award won by city staff member for Logie Park

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Logie Park continues to impress. Mayor Andy Letham reported that the Ontario Parks Association has recognized city staffer Jenn Johnson for her role in helping spearhead the innovative park’s re-development.

Johnson was feted with an Urban Design Award by the provincial association who look at parks and park design right across Ontario.

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Local firefighter questions flood preparedness decision by city

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Local firefighter questions flood preparedness decision by city
Flooding seen in the Burnt River area in 2019. Photo: Geoff Coleman.

There are few guarantees in life, but once the weather turns warm in Kawartha Lakes, flooding, particularly in the north of the city, is all but a guarantee. For decades, volunteer firefighters went door-to-door from Burnt River to Cameron Lake warning of impending flooding and helping convey to residents the best way to prepare for the wall of water produced by spring melt in Algonquin Park.

For the last two springs, the Kawartha Lakes Fire Rescue has apparently discontinued this paid-duty program of personally warning residents of impending flooding, and long-time volunteer firefighter Mark Lowell believes this is a bad decision.

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City to remove parking meters in Bobcaygeon  

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“They confuse the tourists. They are unsightly. They need to go.” Photo: Jess Topfer.

Council voted unanimously to remove the nine remaining parking meters from the downtown core in Bobcaygeon, and local councillor Kathleen Seymour-Fagan couldn’t be happier.

“The meters have not worked in years,” Seymour-Fagan said. “They confuse the tourists. They are unsightly. They need to go.”

Aaron Sloan, manager of by-law for the city, presented three different options to council: removing the meters by May of 2021 after engaging the Bobcaygeon Chamber of Commerce and other downtown stakeholders, removing the meters without public consultation, or repairing/replacing the meters.

Sloan told council that since 2015 ideas around parking in the city has completely changed, beginning with the removal of all parking meters in Lindsay. Sloan reminded council that Bobcaygeon is the last location left in the city with meters. Sloan also pointed out that the meters in Bobcaygeon are almost two decades old and their internal components are obsolete and becoming difficult to acquire. Repairs have already been priced at over $9,000, and considering that the meters generate less than $1,000 a year in income, the investment for the city in repairing the units seems unwise.

Seymour-Fagan told fellow councillors that downtown businesses in Bobcaygeon have grown tired of providing change to tourists and answering endless questions about the non-functioning meters and how people can make them work.

Sloan suggested to council the option that would see the removal of the parking meters after community consultation no later than May 2021. That option was selected and meters are expected to be removed before the Victoria day long weekend.

City supports two year trial program for urban chicken coops

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Urban dwellers in Kawartha Lakes who have an interest in raising their own chickens for meat and eggs will soon be getting their opportunity.

Council has approved a recommendation from bylaw enforcement to re-write the existing rules that prohibit this activity and implement a two-year trial program that will license 50 different urban sites across the city. At the end of the two-year pilot, bylaw enforcement will compile data and report to the city about the viability of extending and expanding the program.

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Olde Gaol Museum board says funding needed to hire staff or museum can’t open

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Peterborough County provides $645,000 just to cover their museum staffing costs while the museum in Minden receives $63,000 from Haliburton County.

The volunteer board responsible for the Olde Gaol Museum presented to council  a stark future for the city’s largest tourist attraction if it can’t get city funding soon.

Jane Gregory-Gill, a director of the Victoria County Historical Society, told councillors that if $132,000 for the hiring of two full-time staff is not forthcoming from the city, the museum will not be able to re-open for the 2021 tourist season. Currently, there are no salaried positions at the museum.

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Local man excited about possibility of outdoor rinks for hockey, skating

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Allen Irvine grew up in Lindsay playing hockey every opportunity he could. Now, years later with children of his own, Irvine would like to see Kawartha Lakes expand the options for children to get out and play a game of shinny by considering the construction of an outdoor ice rink for community use during the winter months.

“I have played hockey my whole life,” Irvine said. “I have kids of my own now and there is nowhere to play hockey outside in Kawartha Lakes. With this new (COVID) world we are living in I think the rink would be well used and it is something we should do.”

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Council looks at multiple full-sized outdoor rinks for future

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After three months of budget preparation and discussions, council finally had a chance to talk about other key issues, such as outdoor rinks and downtown reconstruction in Fenelon Falls and Lindsay.

Petition for outdoor rinks 

Lindsay resident Al Irvine presented a petition to council with over 700 signatures supporting the creation of at least one full sized outdoor hockey rink in Kawartha Lakes.

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