AGM Minutes 2021
Minutes of the 58th Annual General Meeting
Oxtongue Lake Association
Friday, August 6, 2021, 9:30 am
- Call to Order and Opening Remarks. Andrea Armstrong called the meeting to order.
- Approval of the Agenda. Motion to approve the Agenda for the present meeting: proposed by Frank Tizel; seconded by Jim Sale. Carried.
- Approval of Minutes. Motion to approve the Minutes from the 2020 meeting: proposed by Scott Hayden; seconded by Jim Sale. Carried.
- Treasurer’s Report. Andrea Armstrong presented the Treasurer’s Report as Bill Thomas has stepped down as Treasurer this year. Our new invoice system (which sends out automatic reminders for 3 months and you can opt out by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org) has led to an increase in member participation so far this year to 80 members representing $2,400 in membership fees. The OLA had revenue of $2,882 in 2020 comprised of membership fees of $2,400, $180 from merchandise and interest income of $302 on the GIC, and unfortunately there was no Regatta last year. There were expenses of $2,609 in total, primarily $1,830 for insurance (for which we will be getting a reduction due to lack of in person events), $365 for the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Association, bank charges of $81 and website fees of $333 (motion to waive, due to hardships brought about by the pandemic, the local business owners’ contribution of 50% to the website expense proposed by Elissa Boughen, seconded by Brandi Bailey, carried), resulting in a profit of $273. The Association remains in a strong position and has cash of $6,353 and a GIC of $22,062 and a small account receivable in the amount of $60 which is being collected. As of December 31, 2020, the OLA has total equity of $28,474 comprised of $28,202 in retained earnings and $273 in profit for the year. Motion to accept the Treasurer’s Report: proposed by Jim Sale; seconded by Chris Woods. Carried.
- MP Report. Jamie Schmale (Conservative), MP Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock noted that progress is being made in the effort to fix the gaps in internet and cellular service in rural areas. The federal and provincial governments, through the Eastern Ontario Regional Network, has a task force in place to provide better cell coverage and construction started about a year ago but is moving slowly due to supply chain issues, labour and permit issues. StarLink is an option for some but not for others, so fixing this issue remains top of mind for Jamie as well as for Jen Dailloux. The pandemic remains an issue for the local resorts and there are various resources they can tap into for help. Labour is also an issue for resorts and landscaping companies. In response to a question, Jamie offered to reach out to Laurie Scott about putting up signs on Highway 60 so that trucks refrain from using their engine brakes, which they habitually do at all hours of the day. Scott Hayden volunteered to be the point of contact re this issue. Andrea thanked Jamie for his attendance and support.
- Township Council Report. Ward 3 Councillor Jennifer Dailloux discussed the following:
- Ditching and Road Repairs. Resurfacing of the roads around Oxtongue Lake was approved in the last budget season at the Township, but the recent ditching was not run by Council. Staff at the Council indicated that they could take this decision since they are in charge of road standards (longevity and safety standards), which are not set locally. The Director of Public Works indicated that if a road is kept in optimal condition, it should last 20-30 years and the ditching was done to drain the water and snow away to prevent buckling. We did lose trees but at least our taxes won’t go to a full road replacement and it’s good for the carbon footprint. Putting native plants by the side of the road is being considered but we are just starting the research on this now. Jen will inform the Municipality that there are some rocks in the ditches on Harris Road that may pose a problem to drivers in the winter. Harris Road is to be resurfaced in the upcoming weeks. Jen noted that Algonquin Highlands recently hired a communications coordinator and is hopeful that this will mean that the Township will be communicating information on work being done and trucks on the back road in a more timely and helpful manner.
- Harris Road Pit and Truck Traffic. There has been lots of truck traffic at the smaller gravel pit on Harris Road, near the Armstrong’s, which is owned by the Algonquin Highlands Township. In future, this pit will be used only for smaller projects for the Township and will be as dormant as possible. The Public Works Department of the Township will be in touch with its contractors to ensure that truck drivers reduce their speed on Harris Road. The gate to the pit will go back up and the leftover debris has been cleaned up.
- Beach and Parking at End of Harris Road. There have been concerns re the increased use of the end of the road. It is Township property but is currently unregulated by the Township. The conversation around access to water is central to the Township and the Township is in the middle of the conversation now re docks, landings, parking spaces and access to water. Docks, landings and parking spaces are expensive but are important to public safety. Other lakes in the Township have much more water access, and while Oxtongue Lake and Harris Road is part of a broader conversation, we will likely not see any changes soon. Parking at the end of the road, both during the day and overnight, is legal but public access and public safety (eg. EMS vehicles) are considerations which may affect this. The general rule is that parking is possible unless there is a good reason not to allow it, and the triggers for not allowing parking at the end of Harris Road have not yet been reached. The Township needs to solve the overall problem and then we can determine how it will apply to specific lakes. The beach at the end of the road is currently being abused (garbage, fires and human excrement). It was suggested that we could arrange for a “Friends of Oxtongue Lake” clean-up crew once a week, on a volunteer, informal basis (which many residents currently do in any event) rather than encouraging more public use by installing garbage bins and porta-potties. It was noted that other municipalities charge for parking (as much as $50/car in Orillia). It would be difficult to enforce a shut down at the end of the road (except for water access only properties) and we don’t want to exclude people from enjoying our public spaces. Jen will consider whether it would be possible to put up a sign to discourage, but not exclude, use of the end of the road.
- Boat Moorings. There is currently a bylaw which prohibits people from mooring boats on shore, but often the only way for water access cottagers to get to their cottages is by mooring their boats on the shore and therefore this bylaw cannot be enforced, and is out of date as it is not reflective of current use on many lakes, although we don’t want an undue abuse of it. The Township doesn’t want to enforce it until a new version of the bylaw is produced. Requiring a permit may be an option, and Jen will likely be able to discuss this further by the time of next year’s AGM. The whole Township, including Oxtongue Lake, is seeing an increase in the number of users coming through the area.
- Fireworks Bylaw. This has been our first full year with the new bylaw which provides that fireworks are permitted only on the five principal holidays. Short-term renters and visitors are likely not to be aware of the bylaw, so efforts should be made to communicate with them and a public education program is being considered. Owners of short-term rentals are encouraged to take responsibility for fireworks education. The Township is also considering allowing the local fire departments to enforce the bylaw, since they are local and put up signs indicating that fireworks are not permitted, except at certain times. The Kawagama Lake Cottagers’ Association gathered funds for a special permit to get a contractor to provide a proper pyrotechnical display once a year and have agreed that no one else can set off fireworks at any other time. People are reminded that there is an online complaints mechanism for noise issues, although it is noted that it is an office-hour based system, and that you could call the OPP but other options for enforcement are currently being considered by the Municipality.
- Short-Term Rental Bylaw. This bylaw is now being reviewed at the County of Haliburton level (Carol Moffat and Liz Danielson are our County councillors) and this relieves Jen of the conflict of interest as a resort owner which was noted in last year’s minutes. The bylaw is currently with the County.
- Shoreline Preservation Bylaw. The Shoreline Preservation Bylaw is contentious in that people want to retain the right to do what they want with their own private property, but this must be balanced with phosphorus issues and other safety and health concerns. This Bylaw is also being dealt with at the County level (there is a YouTube channel for the County of Haliburton where you can watch the recent townhall held re this issue). Please keep the shoreline as natural as possible (at least 75%) or we will see lake health deteriorating.
- Cottage Watch Report – Brandi Bailey indicated that a canoe theft was the only reported issue this year. OPP Officer Jeffrey Handsor (Huntsville OPP) spoke to the AGM and noted that if you see any dubious behavior, please take a picture or video and call the police, but do not confront any “bad actors” yourself. He encouraged us to watch out for each other (through Cottage Watch) and mentioned that home security smart devices, both inside and outside of residences, are useful too. In response to a question, Jen noted that there will be an OPP presence again this year during leaf-viewing season, both at the Dorset tower and at Oxtongue Lake. Jen thanked the OPP for their presence and support to the community.
- Propane Contract. Andrea thanked Bill Thomas for putting in so much work on securing a preferred customer propane contract for residents of the Lake and introduced Stephen Derraugh from Grant Propane who explained the Grant Propane OLRA Program. Stephen explained that Grant Propane is a local northern business based in New Liskeard and provides 24/7 service, and that the Lake of Bays Association has a similar program. Grant Propane will provide with Oxtongue Lake residents who sign up for the Program with a new tank and will return your existing tank to competitors (Moore may charge a re-stocking fee of $100-200). Installation is free as is the first year’s rental. Pricing is locked in and is fair and is set once a year in a letter which you sign back. The pricing did increase dramatically recently but will very likely come down again.
- Oxtongue Lake Business Association. Marlene Kyle, representing the Oxtongue Lake Business Association, spoke to the AGM. Marlene indicated that the two signs welcoming visitors to the Oxtongue Lake resort area need to be updated and there has been a Go Fund Me campaign to raise funds for this: $5,000 for the signs and $1,500 for the MTO fee to lease the space for 10 years and $1,000 to maintain the signs for 10 years. The Business Association is grateful to the donations that have come in from individuals, and from OLAC and from the HOLD (Hillside, Oxtongue Lake and Dwight) Group and note that they are just $505 short of their goal. Since they have almost enough money, the newly designed (by Jodi Ferguson) signs will be ordered next week. There was a motion to donate the remaining $505 from the OLA: proposed by Scott Hayden and seconded by Frank Tizel. Carried.
- Lake Steward Report – Dan Kraus gave the report noting that phosphorus in the water can cause algae blooms and the numbers for phosphorus and chloride are a bit higher than they have been in the past twenty years, but remain nothing to worry about yet. The higher chloride number is likely the result of more salt on the bridge and the MTO could be contacted to see what can be done in this respect. Levels of these substances can accumulate over time.
- Oxtongue Lake for Arts and Culture. Chris Woods reported that events were cancelled again this year due to the pandemic, but OLAC is here to help with community spirit. OLAC helped the Business Association with its fundraiser for its new signs, and will help with the dance planned for next year and with the mural planned for Algonquin Outfitters at some point. The walk on Oxtongue Lake Road through Hike Haliburton will go ahead and you can sign up on the Hike Haliburton website.
- Other Business & Questions for All Organizations. Andrea noted that the dance and the Regatta will likely be held next year and also thanked Lea Barker and Myrna Mason for their excellent work on the newsletter and for enabling communications.
- Re-election and Election of Board Members. Andrea Armstrong indicated Jim Sale, a long-term cottager on the Lake, has agreed to be the new President and that Andrea has taken on the roles of Past President and of Treasurer, as Bill Thomas, the past Treasurer, has resigned from the Executive. The other members of the Executive will remain: Laura Embree as Secretary, Dan Kraus as Lake Steward, Brandi Bailey as Cottage Watch Representative, Rick Linklater, Barry Matthews and Tony Pereira. Motion to re-elect the slate: proposed by Anne-Marie Switzer; seconded by Janine Tizel. Carried.
- Adjournment. There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 11:45 am. Motion to adjourn: proposed by Andrea Armstrong and seconded by Jim Sale. Carried.