Haliburton Highlands Cycling Economic Impact Survey

The Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce has completed the Haliburton Highlands Cycling Economic Impact Survey Report in partnership with the Communities in Action Committee and the Haliburton Highlands Tourism Department.

A total of 162 people responded including residents and visitors. The results found that visitors spend an average of $540 per visit in 2015. It also found that road/trail quality and feeling safe while cycling were the top two reasons people listed for why they liked cycling in the Haliburton Highlands.

Cycling was identified as a significant influence on visitors making a return visit to the Highlands (87% strong or very strong influence). 54% of visitors stated that cycling would be a strong or very strong influence on their decision to buy a cottage here. For residents, 75% stated that cycling opportunities were very important to their quality of life.

There are a number of recommendations coming out of the report including more paved shoulders, increasing promotions, cross-promoting with other activites, self-guided cycling tours and long-distance cycling routes.

To read the full report, click here.


2011 BR&E Survey Results
The Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce would like to take this opportunity to thank all 98 businesses who participated in the Local Initiative Project, your time and input is greatly valued in ensuring a proper and full cross section of all businesses throughout the County.

The Survey’s are now complete and the Chamber, in partnership with U-links, HCDC and the Haliburton County Economic Development Department, are proud to present a copy of the Business Retention and Expansions Survey, which profiles business operation, opportunities and challenges in Haliburton County.

To download and view a copy of the BR&E Survey results, click here.



Meeting Summary: Manufacturing Round Table
Presented by: Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce
Sponsor: Heat-Line
Date: October 19, 2015

Manufacturing and light industry is an important and growing sector in the Haliburton Highlands and has not had much focus placed upon it in the County and Municipal Official Plans. This round table was jointly planned and organized by the Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Heat-Line Corp. The purpose behind the gathering was to enable the Chamber to become better inform about the interests, challenges and needs of this sector of the business community. The insights and information gained from this meeting will help guide the work of the Chamber of Commerce over the coming year including its review and submissions to County and Municipalities regarding Official Plan amendments.
A number of businesses were unable to attend but have requested to be kept in the loop and will be invited to provide their input through other means.
Attendees included: Heat-Line Corp; The Dock Spot; Chaulk Woodworking; Artech Studios; Haliburton Soap Factory; Hyland Ice; Cottage Hill Furniture & Cabinets. With input received from Windy Ridge Studios; Hunter Mill; and Up River Trading Co.


  • Shortage of suitable properties for manu/light industry development – not sufficient allocation in the Official Plan
  • Industrial parks are unattractive and a poor investment for business owners –business parks are not an established option.
  • Shortage of infrastructure to rent/lease –if there is a commitment to expand or locate a new start-up at a temporary location, it’s difficult to find a suitable place to rent/lease
  • High rent/lease rates – prohibit business investment in growth, or improvements
  • Inflexible and costly bylaws and laws hindering or restricting business expansion and attraction
  • The economic contributions of Manu/light industry businesses are under acknowledged and undervalued
  • Accessibility of business growth funding
  • Lack of rental housing limits the attractiveness of HH as a place to live, work, invest – the summer rental market affects the availability of year round rentals for employees
  • This sector of businesses is not well connected – missing out on opportunities for networking and solution and resource sharing
  • Vacant store fronts: Empty store fronts affect the attractiveness of a town, impacting negatively on the local economy. Municipalities should research what other regions in ON have done to address the issue – some municipalities in ON have bylaws regarding empty store fronts
  • Access to hi speed internet is one of the top two barriers to business retention, expansion and attraction
  • Internet access requires political will!! – not sure we have it
  • Business attraction is not a strength or priority of the County/Municipalities
  • There is a lack of knowledge and information regarding home based businesses, and bylaws that could impact business signage, growth, etc.
  • Having manu/light industry designations on Provincial Highways imposes additional MTO costs and restrictions – prefer to be on side roads, off of main highways


  • Influence Official Plan amendments – we have an opportunity to think well into the future and make recommendations to County and Municipal planners that will promote retention, expansion and attraction of clean manu/light industry businesses – a growing contributor to our local economy
  • Official Plan and local bylaws – encourage municipalities to develop criteria addressing empty storefronts
  • Inventory, and build awareness of employment opportunities
  • Work with college/high school to establish co-op or work placement programs –would help with mentoring new potential employees
  • Create an inventory of local businesses working with global markets, for the purpose of networking and supporting the unique needs and interests of exporters
  • Provide exporters with improved access to resources, supports, opportunities, etc.
  • Establish sector specific networking and information sharing opportunities for manu/light industry; to talk business and facilitate the sharing of resources, information, solutions, costs etc. (i.e. Chaulk Woodworking proposed a packaging solution to Artech Studios that would repurpose Chaulk’s waste wood cuts and save Artech time and money). There’s also an opportunity to cross inform about job postings, employment needs etc
  • Identify what businesses are needed to support existing businesses (e.g. machinist ), measure demand and build a case and strategy to attract them to the area
  • We have a variety of different sized businesses all at different stages of development – there may be opportunities for businesses to share facilities and services. This model would enable the sharing of resources and operational departments (e.g. human resources, shipping, etc) resulting in efficiencies, and more time and energy for managing business growth.

Next Steps:

  • Review Official Plan
  • Meet with County Planner, Charlsey White, to discuss sector concerns, needs and the Official Plan
  • Make a case for the economic impact of the manu/light industry sector in HH (internship project)
  • Collect data to measure economic impact: revenue, employment, growth potential, global markets
  • Collect business input on: challenges, concerns, opportunities, needs, etc
  • Secure an intern/summer student to undertake the project
  • Research ‘clean tech’ – do we fit
  • Reach-out to all manu/light industry businesses and engage in the discussions
  • Set up next meeting


Meeting Summary: Learning Round Table

Hosted by: Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Sticks & Stones
Date: October 13, 2015, BMO, Haliburton, Ontario

This round table brought together people with an interest in learning and skills development. Beginning originally as a youth skills development round table, this gathering of like-minded people morphed into something more comprehensive. We are all aware of the skills issues facing our community, youth and businesses – and many of us are addressing some of those issues. We are an innovative and responsive community, and used this opportunity to take stock of what is being offered, what else is needed and how we can work together to take us to another level of cohesive and accessible learning opportunities for all, including youth. The following is a summary of the discussions that took place and ideas that were explored.

Those in attendance: Ted Brandon, Fleming College; Bessie Sullivan, Haliburton County Public Library; Tammy Rea, Sticks & Stones Production, HHSS and Fleming instructor; Jen Wilson, Northland Coverings; Sarah Adams, Contact North; Gena Robertson, SIRCH; Trevor Chaulk, Chaulk Woodworking; Richard Wannan, BMO

Challenges Identified

  • Lack of awareness of skills development resources available in community
  • Marketing skills/knowledge is lacking in the business community
  • Sales training is lacking
  • Customer service is lacking
  • The dynamics of year round business and training is a challenge
  • Lack of skills around business development and business start-up
  • Finding skilled labor to fill positions
  • Local skills development opportunities provided by a myriad of sources (Community organizations, business/industry associations, government, education, businesses, etc) are note fully utilized – too often, sessions run below capacity or are cancelled
  • Poor visibility/accessibility of apprentice support
  • Employment readiness of youth/high school students
  • Youth not being exposed to entrepreneurship and skilled trades opportunities
  • Students graduating from high school with little or no education in business
  • Emphasis of co-op is not on skills development
  • Low school enrollment is impacting range of classes available to students
  • Minimal opportunities for business input and engagement in student education is resulting in a disconnect between employer expectations/needs and employment readiness

Opportunities Identified:

Bring Business to Education

Business community has a lot to offer to the student learning experience: Business community needs to become more engaged in the business, entrepreneurship, and life skills development of local youth through collaborative multi-sector partnerships with board and community.

  • Business skills development of K – 12 youth
    • Junior Achievement (JA) K-12 entrepreneurship curriculum implemented in class with local business could be a good start (use to be offered in TLDSB class rooms – teachers chose to opt-in)
    • JA Be Entrepreneurial program is being organized to run with one class/group of students this yr (Richard Wannan/BMO involved) – a step in the right direction, of getting students interested in business
    • JA Company Program was a huge success in spring 2015 and would ideally be the crowning jewel of an inclusive, comprehensive school based initiative that promotes interest and skills in business development and entrepreneurship.
    • Board-wide and local business buy-in will be critical to success of a K-12 business skills initiative
    • What else is possible? – we have the desire and expertise to create our own unique solution
  • High School Co-op
    • There is an opportunity for the business community to work with HHSS to help strengthen the program and increase student exposure to trades and business experiences. Educate business community on how to make co-op a meaningful and successful experience.

Business Skills Development

  • Trevor’s model of business development is a success story – he engaged mentors, and specialists to help develop his own knowledge and business expertise – could this approach be duplicated for/with other businesses? How?
  • Gather data on business skills development needs/interests

Changing the culture

  • Build confidence through non-traditional simplistic programs or learning opportunities – bigger programs and the demand for them will grow (an approach that SIRCH has had great success with)
  • Employ strategies that promote a culture of life-long learning
  • Develop informal learning opportunities (e.g. Try it Fairs, Cook It Up)

Skills Hub

  • Can we develop a skills resource inventory or a hub of skills development opportunities?
  • Library is exploring offering Try-it-Fairs, where businesses and orgs would offer mini sessions intended to create interest in a topic and further learning.


  • Integrate the community with high school programs
  • People management sessions – build awareness around the value of proper people management

Actions – Next Steps

  • Inventory skills development resources and opportunities
  • Create a questionnaire to gather data on skills development needs/interests
  • Library to establish a Try-it-fair – explore what else
  • Set up a meeting with HHSS and Director of Education, Larry Hope