By Chad ingram
The Township of Algonquin Highlands has declared a state of emergencyamid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and has cancelledits summer programming.
While the County of Haliburton and most ofits lower-tier townships declared local states of emergency after aprovincial emergency declaration on March 17 Algonquin Highlands chosenot to at that time. As Mayor Carol Moffatt explained in an email“Algonquin Highlands had not previously declared an emergency becausethe provincial state of emergency provided municipalities the samepowers as if they had declared themselves therefore it wasunnecessary.”
However last week the Minister of Municipal Affairsand Housing issued a letter allowing municipalities that had declaredemergencies to circulate staff members to different departments to dealwith any staffing shortages that may occur.
“This action by theminister allows municipalities to second staff to different departmentsif and when staffing shortages occur although we hope this doesn’thappen” Moffatt wrote. “Municipal work
continues however it’sslower than usual not only because many staff members are working fromhome but also because who aren’t working from home are experiencingslower-than-usual workflows due to enhanced protocols for distancingPPE hygiene and cleaning of vehicles and equipment.”
During ameeting of the township’s emergency operations group last week it wasdecided that all of Algonquin Highlands’ summer programming will becancelled in light of the COVID-19 crisis. This includes Oxtongue Lake’s Canada Day celebration; the Oxtongue Lake Summer Speakers Series;Dorset family movie nights; Dorset Museum Heritage Day; StanhopeHeritage Day; all swimming lessons and aqua-fit classes; the Stanhopesoccer league; the Dorset kids’ fish derby; the Dorset Arts Crafts andAntiques Show; and the Dorset community garage sale.
Fall programming and events will be re-evaluated in August. The seasonal opening of the Dorset tower has also been postponed.
All township facilities including parks and trails remain closed to thepublic. Landfills remain open but are operating on the winter scheduleand are accepting household garbage and recycling only. Up to one cubicyard of household waste per vehicle is accepted. A hazardous waste daythat had been scheduled for May 16 at the Maple Lake landfill has beenrescheduled for Saturday June 6.
The deadline for the firstinstalment of 2020 property taxes has been extended to May 29 the duedate for the second instalment extended until June 26.