By Chad Ingram
The Township of Algonquin Highlands has closed numerous recreation facilities, is delaying the opening of the Dorset tower property, and has cancelled campsite reservations amid the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and changing directives from the provincial government.
“The township continues to prepare for the opening and operation of municipal facilities and programs however, the changing provincial orders have resulted in disruptions in usual preparations such as the hiring and training of seasonal staff which, in turn, can affect the implementation of annually scheduled work,” reads a press release issued by the township April 20. “ In order to provide safe and enjoyable experiences for the public, Algonquin Highlands will open and operate its facilities and programs as soon as it’s safe to do so for both the public and staff, not necessarily immediately upon a change in provincial orders.”
The Ford government has issued a stay-at-home order in effect until May 20, asking people to only leave their homes for essential purposes, and for those who can work from home to do so.
Algonquin Highlands remains under a state of emergency, and following a meeting of the township’s emergency control group last week, the following facilities have been closed: tennis, pickleball and basketball courts; sports fields; picnic tables and pavilions; baseball diamonds; and outdoor fitness equipment.
Council has decided to keep the Dorset tower itself closed to the public this summer, since social distancing and sanitization requirements would be too difficult to maintain on the tower structure. However, the plan had been to open the rest of the property to visitors on May 17, although that is no longer the case. It is unclear at this point when the tower property will open to guests. “The township’s emergency operations control group will continue to review this based on the timelines associated with the stay-at-home order,” the release reads.
Playgrounds remain open, and it’s required that individuals who are not part of the same household maintain a minimum distance of two metres from one another at those facilities.
No new campsite reservations are being taken for the township’s Haliburton Highlands Water Trails until further notice, and all existing reservations, up to and including May 20, have been cancelled.
Any questions about the township’s COVID-19 safety policies can be sent to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Residents can also call 705-489-2379, ext. 369 to leave a voicemail with questions.