Welcome to Bancroft, Ontario
Bancroft is located in the heart of Ontario, tucked away from the bustle of the big city but close enough to visit. Central to several mid-sized cities and halfway between Toronto and Ottawa, Bancroft offers the tranquility of the Canadian Shield with all the amenities of a modern community. Built alongside the York River in the mid-1800s, Bancroft sits at the northern tip of Hastings County and the southern end of Algonquin Park.
Historically fueled by the mining and lumber industries, the Bancroft region offers residents and visitors access to lakes, forests, parks, golf courses, theatres and museums, cultural and sporting events, recreation trails, well-established municipal services, K-12 and post-secondary education, modern health care facilities, and a thriving downtown core that offers ample opportunity for further economic development. With a regional population of more than 40 000, Bancroft is anything but a typical small town.
Bancroft welcomes visitors (150 000 annually) from all over Canada and the world and is a favourite destination for four-season vacations. It’s not hard to believe that many visitors choose to stay, and Bancroft has become the community of choice for many people who would like to leave the busy city-life behind. The Bancroft region provides the perfect blend of urban and rural economies and landscapes and makes a wonderful place to visit, live, work, and thrive!
Notice of Passing of a Zoning By-Law 03-2015
Summary Report on 2014 Partnerships, Matters of Public Interest, and Boards
Prepared by Hazel Lambe, CAO/Clerk
Several partnerships have been brought forward by the public to the Town and as a result new undertakings for community improvement and enhancement are well underway. These arrangements are a combination of volunteer time and municipal resource supported by existing staff.
1. The Boardwalk:
Three gentlemen of our community brought forward to Council a plan to construct a boardwalk along the shore of the York River in downtown Bancroft. With permission to develop the Boardwalk on town owned shoreline and to seek approval from the private landowners on this section of York River shoreline the gentlemen became known as the Boardwalk Committee. As a dedicated group of community members they have brought many generous donors to the project together to create this fabulous addition to our downtown. When these men brought the concept to Council they stated that they had a goal to construct the boardwalk with or without any public funding. Seeing that this project clearly had an advantage for the Town staff offered to write a Trillium grant application to support the project. They were successful in receiving funding in the amount of $87,500 for the boardwalk project. Meeting the requirements of the funder caused a short delay and the project was further delayed because of the Bridge St. bridge construction project. Trillium has allowed the project to continue in 2015. The Boardwalk Committee have dealt with some challenges but none that would prevent the completion of a boardwalk along the York River for everyone to enjoy. With the exception of writing a grant and managing the funding agreement the Town will benefit from this development at no cost to our taxpayers.
The Central East Ontario Sporting Coalition approached the Town about developing non-motorized trails in Vance Park Farm and from Clark Lake to Eagles Nest. Many volunteer hours of planning and developing a plan to accomplish the development of public trails in an environmentally friendly manner were provided by the group along with the Stewardship Council, members of Council, staff and public participants. The Ministry of Natural Resources are part of the discussions and planning and the Town has not been asked to contribute financial support. However the town holds control for land development of this public initiative that will serve to benefit many.
3. Spruce Lake bridge:
Access over the Spruce Lake trail bridge has caused hardship to area foresters who use the road for forestry operations. The weight of permitted vehicles was greatly restricted due to the condition of the bridge. The Town made many attempts to convince Provincial Ministers to provide funding for this bridge replacement as the necessary restrictions placed an economic disadvantage to our foresters, but no assistance was offered. This year through discussions with the Bancroft Area Forest Industry Association, it was agreed that BAFIA was eligible for funding and would accept ownership of the bridge to put the needed bridge replacement into motion. With Town public works assisting with the installation of the new bridge and minor financing from both BAFIA and the Town, our Community Futures Development Corporation and Eastern Ontario Trails Alliance provided funding to see the project completed. This partnership between many is a true example of what can be accomplished when we set our minds to and come together for the economic benefit of our community.
4. Bancroft Community Transit/Youth in Action
The Town maintains ownership of Riverside Park however to support our youth the Town agreed to allow BCT to have constructed a building that would allow for youth entrepreneurship. The facility will be an enhancement to Riverside Park and will provide many business learning experiences for our youth. We look forward to the operations of this beautiful facility made possible through a partnership with Sir Sandford Fleming College, BCT, Youth in Action, Trillium Fund and the Town.
5. Riverside Park:
On October 14 2014 the Town was presented with the final presentation of the Destination Bancroft concept plan. The complete presentation is in two reports that are posted on the Town’s website under Economic Development. While the development cost projected by the consultants is beyond reasonable for the Town, the concept is excellent and the report completed what it set out to provide. Parkland development improvements do not need to be completed all at once and with as many skilled and community minded individuals in the Town it is obvious that many of the parkland improvements could be accomplished without spending a great deal. Having a plan will position the Town to receive additional funding for parkland and destination development. It is an essential first step for orderly development and financial assistance. The Destination Bancroft project was 100% funded by the province.
6. Stone Wall:
The stone wall along the shoreline of the York River in downtown Bancroft is scheduled for repair as we have secured the funding for this project. Although work is scheduled for 2014 it will be completed in 2015.
7. Eagles Nest Sign:
It was brought to the Town’s attention that the Bird Watch sign on Eagles Nest is in desperate need of repair. Initially we had to clarify ownership of the sign and was informed by the Naturalist Club that they provided the sign however it is now owned by the Town. The Town has received a quotation for a new sign and we look forward to its replacement in 2015.
8. The TROUT:
The Town supports our Rural Transit in many ways. Currently there are two municipalities in North Hastings that financially support the TROUT. The Town provides more funding and in kind services than any other Municipality in North Hastings. Financially the Town budgeted $7000 in 2014 for the TROUT, the Town provides administrative services as the lead for Gas Tax funding for the TROUT, and the Town has supported and urged Provincial assistance for rural transit during their delegations with Provincial Ministers.
Excerpt from Rural Ontario Municipalities of Ontario Conference, Town of Bancroft Presentation to Minister of Finance 2014
RURAL TRANSIT GAS TAX FUNDING
North Hastings Community Care operates a regional community transit in Bancroft that services the northern half of Hastings County called The Rural Overland Utility Transit (TROUT). The transit provides an essential service that allows people to stay longer in their own homes, have meaningful employment and access essential services including medical care. Population retention and quality of life are provided by this valuable service. The TROUT has an economic value and in discussions with potential investors, they are pleased to hear that this service is available.
We ask that you consider valuable indicators to determine Gas Tax contributions for transit to include average senior population, average income and as reported by Dan Schell in his 2010 article, “transportation, an essential part of rural life in the North Hastings area, also makes up a significant portion of spending. Using average household spending numbers from Ontario, 25.9% of Bancroft average income would go towards keeping a person in the area on the roads.”
The TROUT has been successful at attracting other municipalities to explore their model. It services seven municipalities but due to provincial funding cutbacks, service reductions have been required. There is a definite need for community transit in rural areas. “Without this service the quality of life for many members of this community who are aging or have mobility issues would greatly diminish. Also, in an area where our wages are substantially lower than many other communities across the nation this service also offers people living on fixed incomes the opportunity to participate in their community in a more dynamic fashion.” “The flexibility of our transit system in Bancroft is the only thing allowing them the opportunity to continue calling Bancroft and North Hastings home.”
While municipal elected representatives realize the value in a rural transit system, their taxpayers simply cannot afford the additional cost to subsidize community transit without significant support from the Province. It is very unfortunate that necessary transportation for those who are otherwise isolated is not a possibility. We believe that the Province should assess the value in keeping people in their homes longer, access to medication, education and jobs, and social and cultural engagement.
Municipalities are facing financial struggles resulting in service reductions and simply cannot take on an additional service. This is very disappointing and we realize that ceasing rural transit availability will have negative direct and indirect impacts on our economy. We encourage the Minister to revisit the funding and analyse the direct and indirect economic impact of the transit gas tax funding termination.
9. Boards: BIA, Library, Arena:
The Town is very fortunate to have the many volunteers that make up the Towns Boards. All Town Board members are strictly volunteer. They generously give up their time and more to serve their community and for that we are very grateful.
The Bancroft Business Improvement Association is a Board made up of members from our business community and throughout the year these individuals donate their time to improve the quality of life for everyone to enjoy. From assembling found and dedicated old doors and windows, cut and delivered boughs and bark, artistically wrapped and arranged, the BBIA volunteers have provided traditional Winter decorations second to none. In the summer the BBIA volunteers spend endless hours ensuring that the plant/flower selection is perfect and over the years more and more compliments about the appearance of the Town have been received. Each and every Board support their special purpose and whether it is the dedication and commitment to keep the arena functional to ensure long term recreational services for all ages, the Library to ensure lifelong learning opportunities for everyone or support for the business community to ensure the community has a continuation of needed services, the Town extends a special thank you to the volunteers.
The Town encourages all members of the public to direct their questions and concerns to the Town of Bancroft. We would be pleased to hear from you and happy to clarify any matters of community interest.