90 91 South Cayuga, Springvale, Stromness, Sweets Corners, Townsend,Willow Grove, Woodlawn Park, and York. “We’re a community on the edge of the Greater Toronto Area, so we are consid- ered an agricultural community, and, for the most part, we’re light on the manufac- turing side,” explains Mayor Ken Hewitt. “Outside of agriculture, we are more of a bedroom community for the GTA. A lot of residents that live in Haldimand Coun- ty traverse to Toronto or Hamilton for employment. Haldimand presents a less expensive option for living. It’s a healthy, vibrant, and safe place to live and for young families to start out.” With 87 kilometers of Lake Erie water- front and the Grand River, a designated heritage river running through the mu- nicipality, Haldimand County also draws many tourists from surrounding areas, offering numerous water activities includ- ing: fishing, waterside camping, kayaking, boating, and swimming. In addition, there is an abundance of cycling and hiking trails, including the scenic Waterfront Trail that runs along Lake Erie’s coast, featuring picturesque lake views. Well-known for its many small towns and slower pace of life, which hearken back to Ontario’s past, Hewitt reports that Haldimand County is also embracing the future as it continues to update its infra- structure and amenities. One new project on the agenda is the rebuilding of the city’s administration building in an effort to consolidate several smaller offices HALDIMAND COUNTY, ONTARIO spread out among a few of its constituent munici- palities. “That building is going to start construction this spring,” Hewitt says. “It’s going to be an up-to-date, state-of-the-art building furnished with green initiatives in mind. The windows are designed to embrace and enhance natural sunlight and to min- imize energy costs. Our water systems are going to be recyclable; the heat pumps are going to be set up in such a way that all of the energy is going to be re-used; it will have all low-flow systems for washrooms; and the building will have all new technologies designed for the new legislation here in Ontario, which requires it to be disabled-ready.” “We just recently built two new arenas with the same technologies in mind,” Hewitt continues. “The systems are set up so that all water is recycled and brought back into the system to be re-used. We’ve installed LED lighting systems in all of our new buildings, and the lighting is done in such a way to harness natural light.We’ve built three new fire stations with the same systems in mind.We just finished a library and are constructing a new library with the same methodologies. “We’ve got an initiative to convert all of the street lights in Haldimand County to LED; it’s a $2 million project. Our expected payback in terms of operational savings is six to seven years, and all of our fixtures will be completely converted with- in the next year – that’s a total of 3,000 fixtures. The life span of these fixtures is approximately 100,000 hours, and should last about 20 years, with a $4 million reduction in our operating costs.” Hewitt adds that significant investment has also been put into the downtown cores of the five main population centers. “We’ve just recently completed downtown Dunnville; Hagersville is just finish-