/AH hires company to deal with fall colours traffic 

AH hires company to deal with fall colours traffic 

The Township of Algonquin Highlands will hire company People Ready to supply staff to help control traffic as thousands of visitors flock to the municipality to check out fall foliage at the Dorset tower and Algonquin Park located just north of the township.

Backed up traffic waiting to get into the provincial park has caused problems in the nearby hamlet of Oxtongue Lake for years with instances of trespassing boats being taken for joy rides and people urinating on residential properties. Traffic lines Highway 35 near the Dorset tower which is owned by the municipality and has limited parking.

At Oxtongue Lake a number of roads get closed to all but local traffic.

“What they would be doing would be standing at the road closure stopping any non-local traffic from coming in” parks recreation and trails manager Chris Card explained during a Sept. 19 council meeting. People Ready would be hired for the weekends before of and after Thanksgiving.

“While we own and operate and manage the Dorset tower we don’t own and operate the park that creates the problems for our folks at Oxtongue Lake” said Mayor Carol Moffatt.  “I’m a little disappointed that Algonquin Highlands has to even consider spending money to almost protect the residents from a problem that we had no hand in creating.”

“I definitely think it’s important that we do this” said Deputy Mayor Liz Danielsen adding that while the costs associated with Oxtongue Lake may be unfair “A lot of the traffic is to our tower as well and that you need to be responsible for.”

The costs associated with the tower have a maximum limit of $22000 which Card said was $17000 over what had been budgeted.

“However we did plan for that in development fees which would offset the cost” Card said explaining admission fees for the tower had been increased during the fall foliage rush.

The upset limit for staffing at Oxtongue Lake is $3610 plus taxes.

“I think this is a continuing conversation and we really need to examine how this works out” said Moffatt indicating she thought the township would need greater security and enforcement in coming years.