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Letham will not stand for a third term as mayor

in Municipal by
Letham will not stand for a third term as mayor

Kawartha Lakes Mayor Andy Letham will not be running for a third term.

He informed council at their regularly scheduled April 20 meeting of his decision.  “I will not be running in the next election,” Letham told council. “We have accomplished much together as a team and we have much more to do. Let’s keep going.”

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Hope Lee retires: City’s progressive housing stance a reflection of Lee’s leadership

in Community/Municipal/Social Issues by

It was always a little bit personal for Hope Lee. After 34 years with the city’s housing division, Hope Lee retires in May. She traces her a career path back to her childhood, a time when she lived in public housing in Lindsay for several years.

When Lee was living in a single parent family in one of the very units that the city still owns, Zita Devan, founder of A Place Called Home, the city’s homeless shelter, set Lee on the path she’d stay on for more than three decades. Devan helped get Lee a work placement in what was then the Victoria Haliburton Housing Authority in 1986 through a Fleming College program. Lee was hired full time in 1987.

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Debt primer: Understanding the city’s debt load

in Municipal by
The $135 million debt is split into five buckets.

With the next municipal election less than two years away and potential candidates already starting to think about running, it is likely that the municipal debt of more than $135 million is going to be a hotly debated issue.

Jennifer Stover, director of corporate services and a 30-year veteran of municipal finances, believes the city debt is being well managed and that much of the debt is “good debt” that will benefit the city in the long term.

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City adopts five-year tourism strategy and focus on outdoor experiences

in Community/Municipal by
The dry stone wall experience near Balsam Lake is the kind of 'experiential tourism' the city will focus on. Photo: Jamie Morris.

Council unanimously adopted a five-year tourism strategy that aims to make Kawartha Lakes a destination for tourists outside the busy summer season.

The strategy also focuses on how tourism operators might attract visitors for longer periods of time and package events where individuals might spend more money than they currently do in Kawartha Lakes.

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City approves hiring of museum curator/manager

in Municipal by

Kawartha Lakes council approved the hiring of a curator/manager in the next two to three months who will have a very broad portfolio of responsibilities assisting the many cultural organizations in the city.

Chief Administrative Officer Ron Taylor, with the help of numerous senior staff, shared four possible options with council regarding the request from the Olde Gaol Museum Board who asked for financial assistance in hiring full-time staff for the 2021 season.

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Local firefighter questions flood preparedness decision by city

in Municipal by
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  

in Municipal by
“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

in Municipal by

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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City’s ATV task force must put health of citizens ahead of everything else

in Letters to the Editor by
City's ATV task force must put health of citizens ahead of all else

It is outrageous that the Kawartha Lakes ATV task force wants to open up essentially all roads in the City of Kawartha Lakes to ATV and Side by Side use as can be seen when one views the last task force meeting of March 4.

What is most troubling is the fact that the committee members have not consulted the local health unit for an opinion on what effects such a move would have on the health and safety of area residents. Public Health Ontario released a report on the epidemiology of ATV-related injuries in Ontario in 2019 and found that the Haliburton-Kawartha Pine-Ridge Health Unit (to which our city belongs) had the fifth highest rate of Emergency Room visits and hospitalizations of the 34 health units in the province.

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Fairness of new city task force questioned; use of off-road vehicles examined

in Environment/Municipal by
"Where is input from walkers, hikers, bicyclist and horseback riders whose enjoyment will be interfered with by these motorized vehicles?" asks Peter Petrosoniak.

Some community members are speaking out against Kawartha Lakes City Council’s taskforce on off-road vehicles since all four citizen appointees have clear ties to the outdoor pastime.

The four community members selected to assist the task force include current president of the Kawartha ATV Association Caroline Richards, past president of the Kawartha ATV Association Steve Lane, ATV enthusiast and Trent Hills fire chief Don Mitchell and Kawartha Lakes Police Service constable Jason Ramsay. At the first meeting of the task force in early February, Richards was elected the vice-chair of the group.

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