Haliburton County comes out against ‘inequitable’ hot tub rules

·2 min read

Put simply, rules for higher-traffic hot tub use shouldn’t have the same bearing on such amenities at the smaller resorts.

And Haliburton County resolved during its regular public meeting Aug. 24 to speak up for the smaller-scale tourism operators under the umbrella of the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit.

A number of cottage country small resort operators have had to drain their hot tubs because of non-compliance with provincial health codes. Those regulations stipulate such things as safety equipment against drowning, a landline telephone, and shower facilities be at hand.

Those stipulations are also demanded of the larger hotel operations with heavily-used communal pools and hot tubs.

But here’s the rub: Few people take a soak at the smaller resorts where hot tubs are typically limited to the people renting the specific cabin. Not like the throngs of people you’d find splashing about at a hotel with higher guest capacity.

“They’re treating the large hotel hot tubs where multiple people are using them the same as a hot tub that may be, literally, just for one unit,” said Councillor Andrea Roberts. “People go out their motel room door and there’s a personal hot tub.

“A lot of people, after a big hike or a big day snowmobiling or whatever, that’s part of the pleasure is to ... have your own personal hot tub right outside your door.”

Councillor Carol Moffatt said the inequitable application of the regulations is absolutely ridiculous. One Algonquin Highlands operator she’s spoken with told her it would cost upwards of $80,000 to be in compliance with the rules.

That’s a lot of money for the smaller-scale operators.

“The timing is just awful,” said Warden Liz Danielsen.

The county will voice their concerns in a letter to Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock MPP Laurie Scott.

“There should be a distinction between the hot tubs that are affected by the small motels and small tourist destination places than the major hotels,” said Roberts.

James Matthews, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Minden Times