By Angelica Ingram
Published July 26 2018
The following are brief reports of items discussed at the Algonquin Highlands regular meeting of council on July 19.
A request made by Rogers Communication to allow a temporary installation on the Dorset Tower was denied by councillors.
Rogers representative Omar Lababidi made the presentation to council stating the reason for the request was to help improve service during the “seasonal recreational summer period.”
The equipment would be a “temporary site placement for a maximum of three months” which would be activated on Aug. 1 and decommissioned on Oct. 31 2018 according to Lababidi’s report.
However a map of the coverage area showed the improvement in cell service would mostly benefit residents of Lake of Bays township which did not sit well with Algonquin Highlands councillors.
“Can’t you get better coverage for those in Algonquin Highlands?” asked Mayor Carol Moffatt.
Lababidi said there would be some improvement for the township and that it was something Rogers was working on.
Councillor Marlene Kyle said she was uncomfortable with the quick and impending timeline of the project saying it seemed like they were just “shooting from the hip” and that typically these projects are planned out well in advance.
Other councillors agreed.
Moffatt asked Lababidi to come back with a map that showed better coverage for Algonquin Highlands.
Council agrees to allow Dorset Lions Club to oversee ice rink initiative
The Dorset Lions Club will now be overseeing the ice rink project after councillors agreed to let them spearhead the project.
Earlier this year council passed a resolution saying the initiative would be overseen by the Dorset recreation committee.
Lions Club member Chris Keene made a delegation to council asking to have that changed to allow the Lions to take the lead role.
Councillor Marlene Kyle said she would prefer if the rec. committee oversaw it as the project could include some big budget items.
Keene said there are Lions Club members on the rec. committee and that it could be a good working partnership.
Councillors were concerned if the two groups both oversaw the project there would be “two many fingers in the pot.”
After much discussion council passed a new resolution allowing the Dorset Lions Club to oversee the project with reoccurring communication with the township.
Fire ban still in effect
Algonquin Highlands fire chief Mike Cavanagh gave council an update on the fire ban which came into effect on July 9.
Currently all four municipalities within the county are under a ban as is the case with most regions in Central Ontario as of press time.
Cavanagh said during the ban the department has received numerous calls about specifics of the ban and what is and isn’t included.
He stressed that fireworks are not permitted during a ban.
“I’ve been getting lots of questions about fireworks” said Moffatt.
The mayor noted she saw on social media that some local businesses are not selling fireworks during the ban and perhaps they could ask stores to follow suit.
No burning at all is permitted during the ban along with charcoal barbecues and fireworks. For more information visit www.algonquinhighlands.ca.
Council votes to increase wage to offset tax exemption changes
Following in the footsteps of county councillors Algonquin Highlands council has voted in favour of increasing their wages to make up the difference from new tax rules.
As of Jan.1 2019 councillors will no longer have a one-third tax free allowance on their remuneration.
“This will have a direct financial impact to the individual members of council and the municipal governments that offer this exemption” wrote treasurer Tammy McKelvey in a report to council.
In response to the tax changes McKelvey presented two options to council the first being no change to remuneration the second being an increase to wages to ensure their net pay remains the same.
The first option saw an estimated increase of about $5600 for the municipality while the second was approximately $18400 according to McKelvey’s report.
“I’m not willing to take a pay cut for a job that’s barely above minimum wage” said Moffatt.
Other councillors agreed with Kyle saying while it is a hit for the tax base she doesn’t believe they should get a drop in pay.
Councillor Brian Lynch said the lack of candidates who run for the job of councillor show that the job doesn’t pay enough.
“We’re not a bunch of overpaid fat cats” agreed Moffatt.
Councillors voted in favour of the second option.