/AH asks Muskoka to follow their lead on traffic issuesBy Jenn Watt

AH asks Muskoka to follow their lead on traffic issuesBy Jenn Watt

Jan. 23 2017

The following are reports of itemsdiscussed at Algonquin Highlands council on Thursday Jan. 19.

Notes from an economic developmentcommittee meeting brought up concerns that haveconsistently been voiced by Algonquin Highlands politicians.

At their council meeting on ThursdayJan. 19 Reeve Carol Moffatt took issue with a discussion reflectedin the minutes of the Economic Development Core Advisory Group ofLake of Bays Township. This committee includes representation fromAlgonquin Highlands however the reeve noted how little HaliburtonCounty was mentioned in the minutes.

“So to sing the same old song againis we’re on the Lake of Bays economic development committee torepresent our half of the village of Dorset which is great. We areasked for money every year and everything in this discussion reportis about what’s happening in Muskoka” said Moffatt.

Councillor Marlene Kyle representsAlgonquin Highlands on the committee but wasn’t able to attend theNovember meeting reflected in the report.

Of particular issue to Moffatt was adiscussion had about traffic on Highway 60 leading up to AlgonquinPark and around the Dorset Tower on Highway 35. This congestion hascaused consternation amongst highway-based businesses which havereported that motorists have at times urinated on their propertieswhile waiting to get into the park. Outside the lookout tower theheavy traffic has caused some safety concerns in the past.

Moffatt said that Algonquin Highlandshad already made contact with the appropriate people and was workingon a remedy and thought Muskoka should come to them with concernsrather than heading up the campaign.

“We are politically the lead in ourcommunity for solving our own problems” she said clarifying thatthey were welcome to join in with what is already happening.

Kyle defended the actions of thecommittee saying they were trying to help a difficult situation. Shethought that since the committee was composed of both sides of thepolitical boundary it made sense that they would comment on theDorset Tower which is entirely in Algonquin Highlands.

Moffatt reiterated that she welcomedtheir input but they needed to let her township take the lead.

“They need to be observers andparticipants in our process” she said.

Algonquin Highlands council accepted arecommendation from the airport manager to hire C.C. Tatham &Associates Ltd. for engineering services.

A report submitted by airport managerCam Loucks explained that the company would be working on plans forthe upgrade of lands around Stanhope Municipal Airport for businessexpansion.

“An area partially bounded byStanhope Airport Road Barry Line Road and existing airportdevelopment was identified as the most accessible and easilyserviceable parcel of land contained within the airport propertyboundaries. The potential development of this land into an AirportBusiness Park would facilitate better use of airport property by bothaviation and non-aviation related businesses” Loucks’s reportreads.

In creating the proposal Tatham andAssociates had consulted various reports previously created for theairport property which led to a few outdated ideas being carriedforward in their paperwork. Reeve Carol Moffatt said she wanted therecord to show that several of the items were not in the plans forAlgonquin Highlands.

“Those were all things that werediscussed in the course of creating that blue sky plan for what couldhappen there” she said.

In particular the report repeatedlymentions the creation of a “fly-in community” which Moffatt saidwasn’t a good fit for this airport.

Deputy-reeve Liz Danielsen agreed.

“A fly-in community would be subjectto the need of another runway and that’s a huge assumption” shesaid.

The reeve also noted that there wasn’ta plan to put in a car rental service although the report mentions a“rental vehicle service” and that she didn’t think a restaurantwould be locating there either.

Moffatt noted that this proposal is astarting point and that many other ideas will be coming forward fromTatham and Associates soon.

Notes from the Stanhope Soccer Leaguecommittee got councillors talking philosophically about whethervolunteers should be incentivized to do their work. The notes hadmade mention that some student volunteers did not meet expectationsand members thought a contest might increase productivity. Among thesuggested prizes were iTunes cards FitBit exercise trackers MP3players iPods and jackets.

Councillors were uneasy with the costof some of these items and wondered what message it would send toreward volunteers for something they should be doing for free.

“I just think that’s completelyinappropriate use of taxpayers’ dollars” said Reeve CarolMoffatt.

“Why does there have to be anincentive for someone to volunteer to help out their community?”

She noted that the students needed toget 40 hours of volunteering in as a requirement of high schoolgraduation. She wondered if giving prizes for volunteering would setup expectations later in life that one should always receivesomething in return when helping out.

Councillor Lisa Barry suggested thecommittee could host an end-of-year lunch that was geared to youngpeople as a way of thanking them for their hard work.

The conversation will likely resurfaceduring budget discussions.