/Quarry application causes concern 

Quarry application causes concern 

By Chad Ingram

Published July 27 2017

The following are brief reports of items discussed during a July 20 meeting of Algonquin Highlands council.

Residents are concerned about an application to the province that would turn a pit into a quarry in the geographic township of McClintock meaning that blasting and processing of rock would take place at the site.
“It’s a big proposal” said Algonquin Highlands Mayor Carol Moffatt. “The package was just received by staff last week.”
Moffatt stressed that the township has no control over the application.
“We don’t have the opportunity to vote yea or nay on it” she said. “It’s provincial jurisdiction.”

According to public works director Mike Thomas the operator would take some 285000 tons of gravel from the site annually.
“That’s a lot of gravel” Thomas said. “We want to support our local businesses but the township has to protect its infrastructure too.”
The township will request that a pavement durability review be conducted for the township-owned road in the area and that any necessary upgrading be performed that load restrictions be put in place etc.
Should the application be approved by the province the township is also requesting that a noise study blasting impact analysis and other documentation be incorporated into the certificate of approval.

Moffatt stressed that while the township can make requests the province is not obliged to grant any of them.
“We can request green eggs and ham and the ministry can say no” she said. “They can say no to anything anyone submits as public comment.”
Technically the application does not conform to the township’s zoning bylaw or official plan but the Crown is exempt from having to abide by either.
“It renders us powerless to enforce our own planning regulations” Moffatt said.
The province is accepting public comments on the application.
“They’ll get a tremendous amount of feedback I suspect” Moffatt said.

Bridge repairs

The township will provide the Haliburton County Snowmobile Association with $8000 to assist with reconstruction work on the Beech Lake bridge which the association owns.
The total project cost is approximately $110000 and the HCSA is applying for a grant through the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs. However as a condition of that grant application the HCSA must provide 15 per cent of the project cost or approximately $16000.
The association sent correspondence to the township requesting any assistance council was willing to offer.
Algonquin Highlands has a policy that the township does not give grants to organizations and in the past has provided in-kind assistance with bridge repair work.
“I’d like to help but what I’m struggling with is are we going to be asked to help in two years’ time?” said Mayor Carol Moffatt. “Five years? 10 years?”
Councillor Marlene Kyle herself a snowmobiler pointed out there are two other snowmobile clubs operating in the township that do not ask the township for assistance. Kyle said the club she belongs to fundraises money for such projects.
“We’re looking at this as a donation to a snowmobile club” said Councillor Brian Lynch. “I’m wondering if we can look at it as support to recreation in the municipality. I think this is a form of recreation that perhaps we have some responsibility to support.”
Councillors agreed that snowmobiling has significant economic spinoff for the area.
Council agreed to provide $8000 half the amount the club would be responsible for providing.

Satellite policy

The township will create a policy regarding the use of Dorset tower by telecommunications companies.
Councillors agreed to extend a lease agreement with Highlands Internet for a year.
“Rather than sort of cobble together the use of the tower . . . it’s suggested that we go back a bit” said Mayor Carol Moffatt indicating the township would create a plan governing the use of the tower and tower property by telecommunications companies.
Xplornet has also expressed interest in housing equipment at the site.

Expanding insurance

Algonquin Highlands will begin providing insurance for organizations that wish to use its facilities for fundraisers and other events.
“The township has the option of adding this coverage to its current policy for a slightly increased premium” parks rec and trails manager Chris Card wrote in a report to council. “This coverage will allow low-risk rentals and events to be covered under the policy without user groups having to incur large additional insurance costs to host their events.”
Most municipalities now require that organizations holding events on public property carry $5 million worth of liability insurance.
“For some organizations typically they don’t carry any insurance” Card said adding that cost of providing insurance may cut into proceeds of fundraisers or even render them unfeasible. “I’m looking to see if council is interested in pursuing this coverage.”
They were interested.
“Small groups really struggle with money and insurance is a huge cost” said Councillor Marlene Kyle.
“I do believe we should be charging a nominal fee for it though” said Deputy-mayor Liz Danielsen.
How much that fee might be will be discussed by councillors during an upcoming fee structure discussion.