By Chad Ingram
Published May 25 2017
The following are brief reports of items discussed during a May 18 meeting of Algonquin Highlands council.
Algonquin Highlands council is supporting a resolution from neighbouring Lake of Bays council that a request go to the Ministry of Transportation to rename the stretch of Highway 60 from Highway 11 to the west gate of Algonquin Park as the Tom Thomson Parkway.
Thomson famous for revolutionizing Canadian landscape art and bringing together the group of painters that would go on to be known as the Group of Seven was a frequent visitor of the park.
He disappeared there on Canoe Lake in 1917 making this year the centennial anniversary of his death.
Club 35 sale proceeds
The township will transfer proceeds from the sale of Club 35 to reserves.
The former community hall was closed by the township in 2015 and was recently sold that deal closing on May 1.
According to a report from the township’s treasurer the property sold for $125000 plus HST and the real estate commission of $6250 plus HST was paid from the proceeds of the sale.
“The solicitor has not yet provided his fee for service invoice” the report read. I would recommend that the net proceeds of this sale be transferred into the Club 35 reserve until such time as council determines a use for these funds.”
Deputy-reeve Liz Danielsen questioned why the township still had a reserve for Club 35 when Club 35 no longer exists.
“It’s just a place to store the money for time being” said Reeve Carol Moffatt.
Surface treatment contract awarded
Council awarded a contract for various road surface treatment projects including ones on Hewitt Road Harvey Avenue East Russell Landing Road Maple Ridge Road Bear Lake Road McPhail Road East Road and Town Lot Road to Miller Paving Limited for approximately $225000 plus taxes.
Miller’s bid was nearly $15000 under what the township had budgeted for the projects.
New shingles at admin building
As part of the ongoing expansion of the Algonquin Highlands municipal office on North Shore Road the front portion of the building’s roof will be re-shingled a move that will add approximately $8200 plus taxes to the project costs.
As a report from chief administrative officer Angie Bird explained “when the canopy is constructed on the front of the building in order to join the new shingles and the old approximately three feet of old shingles have to be removed from the existing structure. The existing shingles were installed in 2008 and it is recommended they will beed to replaced within five years. The contractor and sub-contractor have recommended that the entire front of the building will re-shingled in order in order to provide a better aesthetic appearance at the front of the building and also to avoid the need to redo different parts of the roof at different times.”
Councillors agreed with the recommendation. The office addition was initially scheduled to be completed at the end of last summer but was delayed after the contractor that was given the initial contractor defaulted on the job.
Changing tax rules for councillors
While many municipal politicians have traditionally enjoyed a one-third tax-free exemption on their council income the federal government has announced that beginning in 2019 that tax exemption will be removed in any municipalities where it is practised.
The Association of Municipalities of Ontario is surveying its members on what the financial implications of that change might be and in Algonquin Highlands a treasury report shows it would require about $18000 more per year for councillors to keep their current take-home rate of pay.
A number of local politicians have suggested that the removal of the tax exemption should only apply for politicians whose income exceeds a certain threshold since rural municipal councillors are typically paid at a much lower rate than their urban counterparts.
“It’s hard to say how this will end up” said Deputy-reeve Liz Danielsen.
“We’ll continue to see it at AMO and ROMA [Rural Ontario Municipal Association].”
Danielsen is a member of the ROMA board.
Septic re-inspection contract signed
Algonquin Highlands will enter in to a contract for the re-inspection of septic tanks in the township with WSP Canada for more than $900000 for a five-year project.