Below is a daily-updated archive of texts from correspondence written by Oxtongue Lake taxpayers and others to our Council representative Diane Griffin, to Council itself, to Ministers and local newspapers expressing views on the proposed Stanhope Airport expansion.  If you have not yet written to Diane with your views, please do so — obviously, any and all views will be posted below.  If you wish to share your views publicly, please copy any correspondence to your WebGuy. The most recently received emails are posted at the top of the collection.

Email our representative, Diane Griffin, Councillor
Copy Eleanor Harrison, Reeve
Copy Tom Gardner, Deputy-Reeve
Copy Carol Moffatt, Councillor
Copy Don Shortreed, Councillor


June 3, 2009 — Link to Minden Times Letter to the Editor, “New runway is needed”


May 15, 2010

Canadians unlike Americans seem to view their local airports as a nuisance rather than as a boon to tourism. My wife and I are retired, have a small aircraft and like to visit interesting spots across Canada and in Ontario.

Small airports are important tourism resources that are too often overlooked by towns but that properly promoted can draw not only cottagers needing a local airport, but fliers (“tourists”) from all across North America.

Fliers need just the basics:

  • An interesting place to visit
  • Food
  • Fuel for aircraft
  • Transportation to town (bicycles are just fine if the distance is suitable)
  • Local shopping, museums, recreation
  • Accomodation for overnights

In other words, just like any tourist except for the need for transportation from the airport to town (in most cases).

Some places do get it, Wiarton, Gore Bay, Collingwood to mention a few, all offer the basics and they are rewarded with flier tourists.

The concept that aircraft are “overly” noisy is just nonsense. Aircraft landing are quiter than most runabout boats. Aircraft departing do make noise but this is no more bothersome than a heavy truck lumbering up and down through the gears, “performance boats” or motorcycles, ATV’s, noisy cars all of which have noise signatures that last much longer than any departing aircraft.  The same cottagers that decry aircraft often have noisy boats, ATV’s, dirt bikes, trucks, power lawn mowers, weed trimmers and a host of other noisy toys and tools.

Try sitting on an average dock in the summertime to enjoy piece and quiet, it is impossible. If you want piece and solitude, go to the local airport.

My wife and I did a cross USA flying trip last year and were welcomed everywhere we stopped in the USA. They understand the importance of airports and good customer service. It is time Canadians did likewise.

Best regards,
Allan Bowman
Newmarket, Ont.


May 8, 2010

We have recently purchased a cottage property on Haliburton Lake.  One of the important considerations for me in choosing a cottage location is the existence of a good airport nearby.  The Stanhope airport fulfilled all of my requirements but one – it does not have a crosswind runway.  Such a runway is an important safety consideration, and will allow landings and takeoffs (but especially landings) when a  crosswind would have made landing on the existing runway difficult or impossible (or perhaps dangerous, if you are already in the air – you can always decide not to take off, but landing is different). The new runway can’t be finished soon enough for me.

Ted Dixon


August 12

I support the development of a second runway at Stanhope. Yes, I’m biased – I own a small aircraft, based at Sundridge Airport, and I have flown it to Stanhope a number of times.  It would be more often, but crosswinds over paved runways make landing technique more demanding in a tail-dragger type of aircraft.  A runway (mostly) into the wind is a really good idea, regardless of the size/type of the aircraft.

I notice all the people complaining about the airport expansion want all the benefits of modern life, too.   The cell phone tower/no cell phone service issue mentioned in another person’s letter comes to mind.  One of the surprising things about aviation is how high you have to fly before you can no longer smell the hypocrisy….   When the anti-airport crowd give up their cell phones, their SUVs, their TV, their power boats, then sure, I will withdraw my support for the second runway.  But NOT until then.

Eric Schlieper
15 Torbolton Rd No. 303
Toronto Ontario
M9W 3Y3


July 18

I write to support  the airport expansion. As hopeful future permanent resident,and business owner I plan on moving into your area . However it is the airport that will help me make a decision. I currently Live in St. Catharines, On. I hope that the people of the community can see that an airport is a necessity of a growing prosperous community. I know this has been debated for a long time, and I hope the airport has an opportunity to prove itself, as it is important for commerce ,safety, healthcare ,fire and the growth potential and prosperity.

Rick Kasowski
Owner of
Kazs Pub

Owner of
Kasowski Holdings


July 13

The Editor
The County Voice
The Minden Times

I respect what Reeve Eleanor Harrison and her Council are trying to do for Haliburton, and in unison, for all those using the Stanhope Airport. I am a pilot and the owner of a small aircraft based there.  Contrary to what the lake association and early press coverage seemed to conclude, this airport does cry out for a cross runway, and there is no technical reason against it proceeding.

There has been an unfortunate effort to turn the public against the current users of the airport. Published statements such as “All this fuss so 20 or so people can play with their toys” are inaccurate and really attempts to cloud the true intent and wider benefit for all citizens of Haliburton. Most of the owners and pilots of small aircraft, that I have met, are not wealthy.   Many small aircraft are old and cost less than an SUV to purchase.   Many drive well-used vehicles and cut back irrationally in other areas to support their ‘love of flight’.   Sometimes this is very difficult even for our loved ones to understand.  We owe them a great debt for their indulgence.

In my view, the project is not primarily for the owners and pilots now using Stanhope airport – The current runway is 2500’ long.  An alternate runway is needed but there is currently not an aircraft here that needs more than a 2500’ cross-runway.  The project calls for 4000’.

I don’t think anyone would have stood in the way of another short runway to address the safety issue. Any attempt to block it may have been seen to be self serving and uncaring when it would not have expanded the airport substantially.

On the other hand, the costs might be almost the same for a short runway and if all this were done only for the current flyers, the critics would have a case.  But this was never the intent of Council. This ‘project’ will allow the community to be well served by aviation in the future.

The longer 4000’ capability planned is for all the people of Haliburton in two important ways:

First, detractors suggest that even after all the planned airport improvements; it still could not accommodate aircraft that would provide useful service to the average resident. I don’t see that.  Porter Airlines operate the Canadian built Q400 Dash 8 exclusively.  They are very successful and are still expanding with new routes from their base on Toronto Island.  The longest runway on Toronto Island is 3988 feet.

Modern regional aircraft can be quiet, comfortable, efficient, and do not need more runway than this. Tickets are purchased ‘on line’ and you simply show up at the airport.  It may be years away, but I can see a “Porter” style operation dropping in to Stanhope and Muskoka, then head off to Pearson, or perhaps Ottawa.  Wouldn’t it be attractive to be in Pearson in 30 minutes and board a connecting flight for a far away place?   Will the provincial medical transport system ever operate a Dash 7 or 8 shuttle that drops into Stanhope and then reaches City Centre in 30 minutes, so a child can live at home in Haliburton and still get treatment several times a week at Sick Kids?  Perhaps it will with a runway that will open the County to the world.

The second benefit to our area is almost as important in my view. This perspective comes from my 35 years experience as an emergency service worker. The added capability this runway could provide would open the door to ‘workhorse’ aircraft.  The Lake Association will not have to worry about these aircraft flying in every week, or even every month, but these can be essential in times of emergency.  Disasters with roads impassable seem far removed on TV, so it may be hard to imagine an event that might generate the need for this capability.  In crisis, our citizens can expect excellent support from agencies working together, all the way up to the Canadian Armed Forces.  However, basic infrastructure has to be in place to receive this assistance. ‘Emergency preparedness’ is the least glamorous responsibility for government.  It is expensive and there is usually little payback in the ballot box, but it is why we have government.  Like much of rural Canada, communities in the rugged areas of Ontario are poorly serviced with a lack of useable landing sites.  Airports with this capability are few and far apart.  In my view, we could have started to address this years ago.  Environmental impact can also be measured within this context.  The balance here is in the capability to save thousands of acres of forest, homes, and wildlife by the rapid deployment of fire fighting aircraft that could be based here.  Stanhope happens to be in a perfect location for surveillance of ‘The Park’.  The yellow MNR Twin Otters are often stationed at Stanhope in the summer.  The expansion would allow the large CL415 water bombers to make Stanhope their home away from home.  It is a superb aircraft and in one drop they can do what a Twin Otter takes hours to accomplish.

We have an opportunity to address all these issues for Haliburton.  Algonquin Highlands understands this. Ottawa and Queens Park know this.

I share one concern with the critics. It is centered on the potential cost carried solely by one of the four municipalities in Haliburton,  Algonquin Highlands. Outside of that municipality, most people understand there is no financial commitment for them and they might feel differently about the project.  Most support the added capability without reserve.  And of course, there would be much wider support in Algonquin Highlands if their burden were being shared.  In an area dependent on tourism, all four municipalities should be endorsing the vision led by Algonquin Highlands council and insist this project proceed. It is simply short sited that they have not.  Given time, the municipal cost of the project could easily be absorbed over the entire Haliburton County.  The yearly budget at the county level is about 20 million.  I understand their responsibilities already include ambulance, public health and 911 services.  Other services funded jointly by all four municipalities through the larger County include forestry, county roads and Economic Development.

Perhaps it was understandable when the councils of Minden Hills, Dysart et al and Highlands East were afraid to commit resources to the airport individually, but this is exactly what Haliburton County should be doing. It is their responsibility to collectively plan for the future of the entire County.  It is the entire County that will benefit from this capability in the future.

Few politicians address an issue squarely, and have the strength to make decisions that only bear fruit past the next election. That is the pitfall of our system.  There is little encouragement for them to think of future generations when they must be concerned about their popularity and re-election the moment they take power. While they must read the wind and accept public guidance in making decisions, they are empowered to represent all citizens in their municipalities.  The quiet and thoughtful ones, and the interest of those still too young to vote cannot be lost in the rhetoric.

From the start, the biggest hurdle anticipated was to convince both the Provincial and Federal Governments that this project was needed and had merit. On review, it was clear to Ottawa and Queens Park and they agreed to pick up the majority of the cost.  The world circumstances that have brought us this funding may never happen again.

I think of ‘missed opportunity’ every time I fly over the Power Generating Station in Minden. It was progressive thinking that built it in the depth of the great depression using incentive money from senior government under the “Unemployment Relief Work Act”.  It started producing electricity in 1935 and continues to pay dividends today, not for the people of Haliburton but for the town of Orillia. The total cost to Orillia was reported to be $690,000.

Failing to find a way to seize this opportunity for Haliburton’s future would be irresponsible.

Paul Martin
Mountain Lake


July 6

I am a pilot and recently purchased a cottage on Kennisis Lake. The conveniece and close proximity of the Stanhope Airport was one of the reasons I chose to purchase on this lake. I will be able to make more frequent trips to the cottage and avoid all the traffic while building hours. With the change in the prevailing winds now coming from the North West, it only makes sense to have a runway that we can land and take off into the wind. This expansion will be sure to generate revenue and jobs.There is a whole host of services that the airport and surrounding community can offer if they take full advantage of this and show their support.

Dean Robinson


July 3

To Whom it may concern,

Please continue looking into the future of this community and region, and vote to proceed with expanding the Stanhope airport.  Each year I look forward to leaving the big city of Chicago for a couple weeks vacationing on Lake Kenisis, and being able to fly into and out of Stanhope airport is a decided plus in favor of your community.

To have the additional margin of safety provided by the expansion would certainly be a benefit to pilots, passengers, and members of the community alike.  I cannot help noticing that the area seems to have a strong economy in spite of tough times, and continuing to encourage regional, national, and international traffic to this area will continue to feed area businesses.  Not to mention how the airport expansion will continue to make the area more accessible to vacationers who wish to avoid the surface trafic, making real estate values stronger.

Paul Ziegele
VP/Chief Financial Officer
Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital


July 1


It appears there is a consensus of opinion that the expansion of the Stanhope Airport is unwarranted and possibly in future could become a burden to taxpayers.

When the Federal Government money is available we should take advantage of it. The aircraft industry both commercial and private have contributed to the growth of communities across this country.

Yes, there is a small number of persons using this facility, but suppose we all took the attitude that anything that might cost a little of our tax dollars in future should not be done.

Well if the roads to this wonderful County were not improved at taxpayers expense, would the cottage industry that provides us with tax dollars be here? Suppose we said the Library will be under utilized because there is not the population base to support the cost of a new library, our children and adults alike would not have this new facility available. We could not get the material necessary to improve our reading habits. Look at all the facilities we pay tax dollars to support and then consider the effects of either not improving them as technology advances or eliminating them altogether.

We would become a have not community.

We should all look to the future when it comes to improving the airport. We could bring more tourists here both Summer and Winter from many Countries and provinces, thus bringing tax dollars to the County. An improved airport would allow some STOL aircraft to land here with many more occupants and tourists spending money here. A perfect example of this is Mount Tremblaunt in Quebec. Porter Airlines flies there taking skiers there in the Winter. Guess what?, they spend money.

Look at Heatline at the airport, they pay taxes, employ people who pay taxes, live here and pay property taxes which I do believe supports ALL the tax base here.

If more companies were enticed to locate here at the airport, the tax base would increase and would not it eventually be self supporting?

Everyone involved should take a good hard look at what the benefits of this expansion could be and look to the future. It’s there for the taking, don’t let it slip away!

Barry Willhelm
Haliburton and Little Kennisis Lake.


June 23


This letter is just to inform you that I am in favour of the “Airport Expansion”.
As a former pilot, I can appreciate the situation of having  2 runways [basically at 00-180  &  90-270 degrees]
When your flying an airplane; you want to have as many ODDS in your favour as you can.

The existing runway cannot be lengthened, so the only logical recourse is to build a new “Cross Wind” runway.

Eddie Lehman


June 22

WE MUST MOVE FORWARD … Progress may come with some inconveniences but to become stationary is to not GROW … bring on the Airport Expansion.

Concerned Neighbour


June 22

Dear Diane Griffin

I am a free lance writer, a tourist and a frequent visitor to your area. My husband is a photographer and a graduate of Sault College’s airport wildlife management. We work for magazines including Canadian Trees, Ontario Arborist, Tree Care Industries, Tree Service Canada, Rock and Gem, Ontario Gardener, Birds & Blooms, WILD, Canadian Wildlife and many more. Although in this business you have to be versatile and write on many topics to succeed, my primary interest is the environment.

I am writing because I have heard the conflict about the airport expansion and wanted to provide an outside opinion.

We often accept John Parker’s hospitality and “camp” at the Stanhope airport for many reasons including it is quiet, interesting both environmentally and with the planes, well maintained, clean, accessible to all aviators and non aviators. The food at the flyins is fab. The washrooms are always in perfect order. The tall grass prairie, that is an airport field, is filled with a wonderful diverse selection of native species and a photographer’s dream landscape.

It is my opinion that adding a criss cross runway to the field will increase the usage and there for the long term sustainability of this natural landscape. Many of Ontario’s airports are dying. Tall grass prairie landscapes are the most endangered types of ecosystem in the world. Mowing the field on the traditional airport schedule ensures this oasis of grass land is sustained. The lack of pesticides and weed control allows natural succession of the native plants.

Stanhope Airport is an example to the rest of the province of good maintenance and common sense…with environmentally sound principles.

Supporting Stanhope airport is the environmentally sound thing to do. I challenge you to take a walk around the runway this fall during the monarch butterfly migration…..don’t forget to take your camera and guide to Ontario’s grasslands.

Thank you
Pat Kerr
(705) 932-5243

PS Tall grass prairies once covered 1000km2 of Ontario….now they are reduced to 21km2. We have already lost the Karner blue butterfly and no one knows how many more species. Please protect our tall grass prairies …and plant native grass land species at your cottage and home. This is a globally imperiled ecosystem!


June 16

The attitude about the expansion of the Stanhope Airport never ceased to amaze me but the more I read lately the more it frightens me. People seem to forget about safety if it just might have an impact on a tiny bit of the ecology.  Not long ago I read an article in Cottage Life where people were griping about the unsightly communication tower that was near the end of 12 mile lake. How ugly it was and how it spoiled the beautiful view of the surrounding sky line.  Let’s  just ignore the fact that these same people complain about the fact that the cell phone reception in the area stunk and that one could not get a signal for most of 118.  Never mind the number of accidents on the road from hitting large animals or poor road conditions in the winter. Minor in nature when thinking about sitting out on the deck and seeing a tower.  Yet when miles of forest and swamp were disturbed, dug up, blasted to death and filled in to expand wonderful highway 35 were there folks out protesting..  Not a soul and why, because most of the taxpayers if not all use the road.  Well maybe the same people who are protesting the expansion should stop and think how they would feel if by some chance they needed the service of an air ambulance or the OPP or maybe a forest fire in the near area that we would need put out.  Is it not equally important that those people relying on the services or those providing the services have access to safe runways?  I do not have a current licence as I have let my medical laps for many years but I got my licence when I was 20 and lived in a family where my brothers flew and my father instructed and was a CFI.  I flew into may airports over the years, some  smaller that Stanhope and I can assure you that airports with cross wind runways are much safer and prevailing winds do not seem to know that they are to prevail when one is approaching a runway. Crabbing is wonderful if you are on the beach and looking for a sea food supper, it is not fun when trying to land.  I also have to laugh when I read the complaints about the increased traffic and noise that will be caused.  Do people honestly think pilots are going to be stacking up out there in the wild blue yonder just waiting to land because there is a second runway.  It is being put in for safety reasons and to allow some larger aircraft to land not to try and break some record for more landing in an hour than Pearson.  The same goes for the noise.  I work at Fenbrook Institution which the  medium security penitentiary located  smack right at the end of the runway at Muskoka..  Not only do we have numerous jets in that belong to the rich and famous of Muskoka’s cottage country but they tend to come in a tad low just to show the guests they might have on board,  what a federal pen looks like from the air.  Do I get rattled out of my office, do inmate dive for cover day in and day out, do we have to wear protective ear muffs.  No.  Very rarely  do I even hear them and that is usually when some big Hercules or something comes in for manoeuvres and sits on the apron  running up.  So maybe once or twice a year I hear the noise but believe me when I think of what our armed forces are doing for us, I feel pride not annoyance. Do I have any other vested interests other than what is mentioned,  Yes I am married to the airport manager.  I am proud of what he and the council are trying to do,  I am proud of the fact that someone is trying to bring jobs to the area and I am proud that those same people are fighting to make our area a safer place.  For those who think it should be stopped, I just hope you never have to use emergency services or are without a job.

Louise Packer


Dear Sir

I fully support this economic expansion initiative by council. They are showing forward looking vision
for the future of the economic health of the community. They have taken advantage of major  funding
schemes from the other levels of government that normally are not available. In the world we live in
today you are only growing or withering and this council has shown they have the foresight to move

Hannu Halminen,  President, Halminem Homes
Kennisis Lake










Below is a daily-updated archive of texts from correspondence written by Oxtongue Lake taxpayers and others to our Council representative Diane Griffin, to Council itself, to Ministers and local newspapers expressing views on the proposed Stanhope Airport expansion.  If you have not yet written to Diane with your views, please do so — obviously, any and all views will be posted below.  If you wish to share your views publicly, please copy any correspondence to your WebGuy. The most recently received emails are posted at the top of the collection.

Email our representative, Diane Griffin, Councillor
Copy Eleanor Harrison, Reeve
Copy Tom Gardner, Deputy-Reeve
Copy Carol Moffatt, Councillor
Copy Don Shortreed, Councillor




July 15

Dear Diane,

What happened to you???  When you were in the Township office, you were so helpful to the residents of Oxtongue Lake.We could always count on you to support our concerns. Now you have done an about face. Why should we be taxed for an expanded airport for which we have no use.? This is being forced upon us to please a few people. Who is our council representing? It is certainly NOT us. YOU are a great disappointment to those of us who voted for you!

Marilyn Farber
Oxtongue Lake


June 30

Living close to the Oshawa Airport, I am reminded daily of its presence by the loud, low-flying planes of recreational pilots, many of whom fly well into the night.  It is a welcome respite to head to our family cottage on Kennisis Lake to escape the roar of small aircraft, although not entirely since the odd float plane hovering above the lake can also be a fairly common occurrence.  My views regarding the Stanhope Airport expansion actually have little to do with being a Kennisis Lake cottager, but more to do with my experience with living close to an airport supporting small aircraft traffic.  I realize the Oshawa airport would have a higher traffic volume than what is anticipated for Stanhope, but even with fewer aircraft, each plane (especially the old beaters) has a disruptive effect on local residents/taxpayers.  I also find it very disheartening that there appears to be a great disconnect between what the majority of the tax-payers of the area want, and the desires of a comparatively fewer number of local stakeholders.  It would certainly renew my faith in the local government system if the council directly addressed the concerns of all their local constituents, and not just a select few.

Andrea Kirkwood
Kennisis Lake cottager


June 23


I’m not in Stanhope, but I don’t want airplanes flying up the Hwy 35 corridor, behind my residence. These special people with their “special” requirements for the airport should not take precedence over everyone else.

Robert Gilchrist
Twelve Mile Lake


June 21

In the good old days when we were flying (last half of ’60s and first half of ’70s) we used to fly in to Stanhope Airport from Montreal regularly.  It had no lights, no paved runways, and no hangers (except Brown’s). Fueling was do-it-yourself.  It worked fine.  This was how many airstrips worked at the time and flying was more affordable.

Maybe I’m wrong but I’m not sure that any airport that caters only to non-scheduled air traffic pays for itself.  If a small airport is financially viable I suspect that it is because many volunteer hours are donated for operations and maintenance.  I sure wouldn’t bet that the capital and operating costs of an upgraded Stanhope will ever be recovered – even if you counted every tax dollar contributed by new businesses and residents attracted by it.  In order to make it pay you would have to charge such high tie-down/hanger fees and fuel surcharges that they would drive away all potential users.

Where is the financial plan?

Ted Koehler
Wren Lake


June 19

Hello Jim

We read with interest your letter in the Voice dated June 18th 2009.  We are definitely against any airport expansion.  As we live in the direct path of such a proposed runway we will lose precious trees that were planted by our grandparents.  BUT the real issue is that we will be forced to pay for something that we do not want and will not use.  There have been no valid arguments put forth to support such a project.  It goes without saying that the entire approach to this issue by our elected representatives has been disgusting.

We have a first hand experience in needing emergency help 6 years ago when Jeff had to be airlifted to Sunnybrook Hospital.  Thanks to the local fire department, ambulance attendants and the caring staff at the Minden hospital his life was saved.   A new runway at the airport would not have helped in any way.

Tax dollars should be spent to ensure that our emergency services have all the money they need to carry on their life saving measures.   Let’s let our tax money support the needs of our ratepayers and not a select few who enjoy flying.   Let’s fix up the exisiting airport and put our money to work for the entire population in Algonquin Highlands.

Pat and Jeff Barry


June 15

We might not be Oxtongue rate payers, but we live at Gull River between Maple Lake and Grass Lake.
We surely have an idea about the impact the airport and an expansion has on our favourite and bird watching routes.
Our quality of life WOULD NOT be as good if the expansion were to occur, but it won’t.
We also don’t agree that our community assets are squandered for the enjoyment of a few well-heeled influence peddlers.
And as far as Her Worship garnering support…

Donna Bisschop & Erik Scuhr


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Re: Haliburton / Stanhope Airport  Expansion Project

Mr Minister [of the Environment, Jim Prentice],

The Maple , Beech  and Cameron Lakes Area property Owners Association (the MBC, the  Association) has been requesting the intervention of your Ministry and  others (CEAA, Ministry of Industry Canada, PMO, etc.) in the matter of a  project entered in the CEAA registry, in accordance with provisions of the  Ministerial Guideline on Assessing the Need for and Level of Public  Participation in Screenings under the Canadian Environmental Assessment  Act – (2006) since March of this year.

*(This project  is also the subject of a number of additional objections and requests for  intervention, which are pending and of which Environment Canada has been  made aware.)

The MBC has provided, by electronic mail and post,  documentary justification for full public participation in the “screening”  or other assessment of the Project which more than satisfies the majority  of the criteria set out in the guidelines (see below) as well as in THE  ACT, and has yet to receive any substantial response from you or your  ministry.

5.0 Criteria for Determining When Public  Participation Is Appropriate in the Circumstances

5.1 The following  criteria should be considered on a case by case basis by responsible  authorities when deciding whether public participation is appropriate in the  circumstances:

– there is an indication of an existing or  likely public interest in (i) the type of project, (ii) the location of the  project, or (iii) the ways the project might affect the community;

– those who may be interested have a history of being  involved;

– the project has the potential to generate conflict  between environmental and social or economic values of concern to the  public;

– the project may be perceived as having the potential  for significant adverse environmental effects (including cumulative  environmental effects and effects of malfunctions and accidents);

– there is potential to learn from community knowledge or  Aboriginal traditional knowledge and, thereby, improve the environmental  assessment and the project;

– there is uncertainty about potential  direct and indirect environmental effects or the significance of identified  effects; or

– the project has been, or will be, subject to  other public participation processes of appropriate scope and coverage that  would meet the objectives of this guideline.

The MBC  considers this lack of response and action from your Ministry – and other authorities with responsibility in this matter – to be an unacceptable  abrogation of the mandated responsibilities of Environment Canada and  others, as well as an affront to the many hundreds of taxpayers we  represent.

Left with no other options in the face of an  apparently strategic silence from all avenues of appeal, the MBC has been  forced to retain (at our own, considerable expense) legal counsel to  undertake actions against the proponent with the aim of halting the  advancement of the project, assuring compliance with numerous regulations,  obtaining information which should, by EC and CEAA regulation, be publically  available, and to have our voices heard regarding a project which has little  or no support from any quarter and has attracted overwhelming opposition  from the public, local media and regional government.

To the  present date, more than three months after receiving Building Canada funding  approval, more than two months after initial entry on the CEAA Environmental  Assessment Registry and in spite of repeated requests to the Responsible  Authority (Industry Canada), not a single document pertaining to the  Projects’ EA has been made available.

Industry Canada’s position  as RA is, while entirely in compliance with Law and regulation, one of  inherent,apparent potential for conflict of interest, as IC is also  the partial funding agency, by way of the Building Canada Fund Community  Component and as a federal Ministry.

In such a situation it is  imperative that the Environmental Assessment process(es) be and, more  importantly, be seen to be fairly, rigorously and openly followed and  it is the clear responsibility of the minister of Environment Canada to  ensure that such is the case.

The refusal, by the Responsible  Authority, to respond promptly and fully to repeated requests by  stake-holders for information in the public domain presents, at the very  least, the appearance of undue bias on the part of the RA towards  its’ own interests as funder and (de-facto) co-proponent; By extension, the  continued lack of response or action from Environment Canada and the CEAA  suggests, to any reasonable observer familiar with the issue, some form of  complicity with this bias.

At this point, the MBC and its’  allies feel we must demand, at the very least, a reasonable and  detailed responseto the concerns expressed and intervention(s)  requested over the past months. This must include: our request for clear  direction from the Minister to the project proponent and the Responsible  Authority that all documents as listed in the Canadian Environmental  Assessment Act  be made immediately available as required; our request  that Public Participation process(es), as defined and (we believe) required  by The Act and Ministerial Guidelines, be implemented in this matter; our  request that Public Participation begin at the earliest possible stage in  CEAA initial screening (project scoping).

Failing any or all of  the above, we further request that the Minister apply his discretion to  intervene in the EA process by referring the case to Mediation or a Review  Panel as provided for in The Act and with a similar guarantee of  stake-holder consultation.

Should these avenues prove, for any  reason, unacceptable or “un-workable” for the Minister, or fail to obtain  satisfactory levels of consideration of the public’s concerns, we would  further request that the Minister consider (as permitted by recent  amendments to The Act and associated regulation) referring this matter  “downward” to the Ontario Ministry of Environment for their  administration.

The MBC, its’ numerous individual  supporters and allied Associations are prepared, if necessary, to challenge  any eventual approval of this project by the CEAA and/or Environment Canada  which is not based in a process including sufficient Public Participation,   in whatever manner(s) may be available to us. At the same time, we  feel that this would be indicative of the final failure of an evidently  “broken” process.

Our Association has the support of, among  others, the following associations which, together, represent several  thousand Algonquin Highlands rate-payers: Halls & Hawk Lake POA; Kushog  Lake POA; Livingstone Lake Association; Otter Lake Cottagers Association;  Oxtongue Lake Ratepayer’s Association.

Our Association and the  public at large eagerly await your prompt and detailed response to these  urgent demands and  requests.


Andy  J. Muirhead,
Director (research)
www <http://www.mbclakes.ca/>   .mbclakes.ca <http://www.mbclakes.ca/>


To the Editor:

It is a privilege for me to live in a democratic country that affords me the opportunity to participate in a demonstration at my local municipal offices as I did last Thursday, May 21, 2009, regarding the Stanhope Airport expansion.

The OutLoud Womyn’s Choir, supported by many local citizens, prepared and delivered a carefully considered statement to our local Council.  One of the questions in the statement wondered how it was that so few people could make a decision against the clear position of so many dissenting citizens, and the other question was wondering why there was no referendum on such a divisive issue. The statement also had several quotes from the Earth Charter, which is a document adopted by the UN and many countries as a guideline on which environmental decisions are to be based for the future well-being of the earth.

I felt appalled and dismayed by the prepared response from our reeve, which had already been given in several media settings. It addressed neither of the questions nor the Earth Charter, and was patronizing and demeaning to the intelligence of everyone present. One quote from this response was “you elected your Council to make decisions on your behalf,” which sounded like a parent admonishing her children’s ideas, not an elected official with a mandate to represent our collective adult voices. The Council had received this statement a week in advance of the meeting, so could have addressed the questions in the statement more directly and respectfully, not just a reiteration of what had already been said.

What has happened to the democratic process we cherish in our County?

Joan Weir
Alqonquin Highlands


Hello Mr. Devolin,

My husband and I are writing to you in regards to the proposed expansion of the Stanhope Airport in Algonquin Highlands in Haliburton.  I am sure you are familiar with this issue.

We live directly under the proposed runway expansion and are very concerned about many of the issues connected with this expansion.

First off we are disappointed that the federal government approved funding via the Building Canada Fund based on the application Algonquin Highlands submitted.  It is my understanding that both federal and provincial funding was approved based on this submission which to me has flaws that cannot be overlooked.

A complete Environmental assessment has NOT be done and this should definitely have been part of the criteria.

Secondly, the council supposedly stated that there was approval from the residents of this township as well as the rest of Haliburton county.  This is NOT the case.  At a recent warden’s breakfast all of the other 3 townships indicated that they would NOT support the airport expansion.  We know from contact throughout our township that the ratepayers do not support this expansion as well.   On Sunday May 17th at a cottage association meeting Reeve Harrison admitted openly when questioned that she thought she “might have” 30% of her constituent’s support.

Several of our neighbours have been approached by Reeve Harrison to have 100 years of access to their property to “top” trees and any other obstructions and they in turn would be rewarded with $10,000.   This proposal was put to them in such a way as they felt they were being issued an ultimatum and they did not appreciate such bullying techniques.   One of the neighbours lives on a 27 acre parcel of land and it has already been designated a protected wetlands.   They are an elderly couple and certainly were most upset with the proposal but more importantly the manner in which it was presented.

We live on what was part of  my husband’s grandparents farm on Cameron Lake just metres from the end of the proposed runway.  Our daughter and her husband are building their first home in the same locale.  ( They are building a sustainable home and are most aware of preserving the environment and do not welcome proposed jet fuel, noise and other intrusions into their life style.)

Besides the natural beauty of this small lake, we are very sentimental about being the 3rd and 4th descendants on this property.  The fact that grandma over 80 years ago planted pine trees down the entranceway to the lake area and these same trees are in line to be “topped” is most distressing and to our way of thinking unnecessary.

There are many other issues at hand that I am sure you have been made aware of.  ALL of the constituents of our township do not want our taxes increased for an airport that only provides enjoyment for an elite few ( most of whom do not even live in our township and will not face property tax increases to fund this nonsense.)

We also realize that the value of our property will certainly decrease and this is a hard pill to swallow knowing that we will have to pay via taxes for something we do not need or want.  How nice it would be to have tax dollars going to a much needed new fire truck or housing for seniors, etc.

PLEASE reconsider supporting this airport expansion as it stands.  PLEASE insist that a complete environmental assessment be implented immediately.  Please have the powers that be go back and review this application and be made aware that there is NOT the township and county approval that Reeve Harrison said she had.

I would welcome talking with you to clarify any comments I have made.  I can be contacted via this email address or by calling 705 754 1197.

Pat and Jeff Barry
1064 Cameron Lane
Box 100 West Guilford,ON

  1.  In 2003 my husband Jeff was involved in a serious head on car crash.  It was the Stanhope firefighters and local ambulance crews along with the doctors who had him transferred via air ambulance to Sunnybrook and saved his life.  We know that helipads in Haliburton save lives NOT runways at Stanhope Airport.


To: The Honourable Jim Prentice and Michelle Nagy,

Re: Stanhope Airport Expansion
Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry (CEAR)
(Ref: CEAR 09-01-46567 and Industry Canada BCF #23926)

I understand that the Stanhope Airport Expansion Project has been registered for an environmental assessment, and I want to express my personal concerns about the project and its potential effect on the environment of the area in general.

We are extremely concerned about the effects of this project on the environment. The obvious problem is the necessity of clear-cutting acres of forest for the runway, not only on Township land, but on Crown land and even private property (by force, if necessary). What effect will airport construction & operations, as well as major buildings and aggregate mining, have on the adjacent lakes, rivers, environmentally protected wetlands and on well water? Does the complete destruction of the privacy and peacefulness of the surrounding area due to construction, land traffic and eventually air traffic, count as an environmental violation? Why was the Township allowed to clear-cut a swath along the proposed runway path without environmental approval? These are some of the questions we would expect to be explored with the Environmental Assessment Office, if the public has the opportunity.

Our fear is that our Township has somehow found a way to avoid having to deal with public input. We have always understood that any major development, such as the proposed Stanhope Airport Expansion and Development (which includes not only the “city-sized” runway, but a 40-unit Commercial Park, a 40-unit Residential “Airpark” and a full-scale gravel operation), would require a full environmental assessment, and would provide adequate facility for input from citizens who are concerned about the environmental impact of such a huge project, of which the current $3.6 million runway is only the tip of the iceberg. Until now, the Township has avoided any public discussion on the project, flying in the face of overwhelming objections to the project by Township property owners (and with the refusal of support from the other three Townships of Haliburton County, as well as the County itself).

Our immediate concern is that we will lose the opportunity for input, both individually and as a community. Council appears to be moving ahead as if environmental approval was a technicality. Tenders for the runway have already gone out. At the April 2nd Council meeting, the Reeve was quoted as saying “The project should be pretty well completed by the end of October”, and a Councillor was quoted as saying “… the Township is hoping to start initial tree-clearing required for the project in the near future …”.

Therefore, I ask you to please ensure that public input and public meetings are provided for as part of the EA process, whether provided for in the Act, or in common practice. Since over three-quarters of Algonquin Highlands property owners are seasonal residents, it is very important to schedule any public meetings or presentations on weekends in the two summer months – any other timing would not only be unfair, it would defeat the whole purpose.

Your assistance will be greatly appreciated.

Yours truly,

Jamie Taylor
1026 Kabakwa Lake Trail
Township of Algonquin Highlands


To: the Council Members of Alquonquin Highlands, 21 May, 2009
Re: Stanhope Airport Expansion

As the OutLoud Womyn’s Voices of Haliburton County, we are known publicly for our care and promotion of environmental values. We sing of the land – not in any sentimental way – but with the urgent conviction of the need for a new way to protect our planet that marks environmental voices all over the world. The Stanhope Airport is not too small an example of the choices we are faced with in these days, for every choice, no matter how small, contributes to the growth or the diminishment of our natural resources. We believe that your decision contributes to their diminishment in many ways.

But other troubling issues arise from your decision also. Land has been expropriated from citizens against their will. Since you announced your decision, neighboring town councils have publicly stated their lack of support. Many other citizens of this county have voiced their protest – through letters, highway signs, articles in the local papers, and in a general groundswell of protest against the expansion of Stanhope Airport.  Our question then becomes “how, in a democracy, can one or two people make a decision against a clear indication of the opposite position of so many citizens?” And if even that is not clear to the Council members, why was a referendum not held on this issue?

Please consider our request to reverse your decision to expand Stanhope Airport. Finally, we offer you some words from the Earth Charter, being adopted by peoples all over the world:

“We stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future…[thus] it is imperative that we, the peoples of Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations.”

OutLoud Womyn’s Contact Persons:

Beth Johns    754-9558 (director)
Marjorie Green   286-2592 (publicity)
Brenda Peddigrew  489-3509 (statement)


May 11, 2009

Hi Diane,

Hopefully you will recall my strong opposition to the TWP’s proposed expansion of the airport which I e-mailed to you and the Reeve with susbstantional documentation Nov. 30,2008 [see next post, below].

I have received no contradictory justification for this proposal from you or from Reeve Harrison.

Hence, you will not be surprised that I am astonished and dismayed to hear that partial funding for your proposal has been approved via a federal grant. However do you justify the cost to the TWP tax payers for the balance of the expense for your proposal and the on-going maintance of an expanded airport?

Without serious dialogue with the community, Oxtongue Lake and all other Algonquin Highlands communities, regarding the expected revenues and benefits to the TWP, I strongly urge you to reconsider your support for this poorly conceived project and listen to the chorus of well documented objections! You surely have not represented the Oxtongue Lake community in this matter. And, please, I hope I don’t see you quoted again as sayihg you have not heard from us on this issue.

Judy Clapp


[Judy Clapp’s November 30, 2008 letter to Reeve Eleanor Harris and Councillor Diane Griffin]

To: Reeve Eleanor Harrison and Councilor Diane Griffin

I am appalled to learn that you have voted to approve the proposed new cross-wind runway for the Stanhope Airport! I understand the Councilor representing the OL community has indicted she has had no objections from her constituents at OL to this extremely controversial project.

How is it possible that neither of you have understood the overwhelming opposition reflected in the numerous written criticisms, and presentations, starting with the letter from the OLRA in May 2007, (to which we have never had the courtesy of a reply)? While I have not been able to attend any of the so-called forums for public review of consultants reports, cost and funding estimates, and other information designed to explain the rationale for this project, you surely a must be aware that those who have attended have come away more frustrated than ever with the lack of opportunity for meaningful responses to the questions raised.

I have read and fully endorse the concerns and objections so clearly stated in the following list of presentations, open letters, and local press and editorials which surely you cannot ignore:

The OLRA Executive Committee’s May 24th, 2007 open letter to council requesting a public forum for open discussion.

Plans to expand the Stanhope Airport continue to evolve, at taxpayers’ expense.

February 20th 2008 presentation to County Council by the Maple, Beech and Cameron Lakes Area Property Owners’ Association.

Aug 8, 2008 update on the Cross Wind Runway expansion plans by Andy Muirhead

August 15th article in the Orillia Packet & Times: “Investments in airport have not paid off for Orillia.“

A report on costs, etc., called “Runaway Runway.”

Fran Gower’s (Oxtongue Lake) report and response to the two Algonquin Highland Council meetings, September 18 and 20, 2008

A review of the Algonquin Highlands Council meeting on September 18th by Paul MacInnes, President of the Maple, Beech and Cameron Lakes Area Property Owners’ Association

Commentary by Paul McInnes: Why are they so afraid of our questions?

Paul McInnes’ September 18 letter to government officials (in this case, to Reeve Murray Fearrey)

Minden Times editorial Sept. 24,2008, ”Just because you can doesn’t mean you should”

Open letter to Council from Paul MacInnes, President of the Maple, Beech and Cameron Lakes Area Property Owners’ Association

Minden Times editorial, Oct. 29, 2008 “Airport Expansion on Crash Course”

And more recently, a letter from the OLRA and several other property owner associations in this municipality to Building Canada cites significant reasons that this project fails to qualify for this federally sponsored funding.

In this time of serious economic uncertainty, and in consideration of the serious misgivings of your constituents, in the name of democratic process and good government, I strongly recommend that you reconsider your recent vote to proceed with the proposed expansion of the Stanhope Airport and halt any further commitments in this regard.

Judy Clapp
Oxtongue Lake


May 8, 2009

Township of Algonquin Highlands
Council Members

I am again writing to you, as a body of members, to ask why?

  1. Griffin continues to speak untrue statements in regards to our area without the council, as a body of people, doing something to help us.  I paid a price when she used the “No Communication”  line and “hours” before Santa arrived at our Community Center the water was turned off.  I had been in touch and D. Griffin had given items for the bags the kids were to get using her husbands Company name.  How would that have happened if “I” the only person asking for donations, had not been in touch?
  2. Griffin also states that NO one has said anything negative about the airport project.  Anyone with ears knows that this is an untrue statement!  Let me tell you who forgets to communicate.  I having checked all papers from the township that I could find went to our dump yesterday.  The same dump that in the winter I sent a registered mail about snow removal not being done, and I may also add I have talked about at every ratepayers meeting only to have E. Harrison say “Betty that has been corrected” in front of the many people who are in attendance.  Well, imagine my surprise to find the dump hours listed on a board at the gate TOTALLY different from all info given out to us.  I add also that I was far from being the only person to have this happen.

Now I know that D. Griffin would have the new info but she lives in Dorset.  In the past she has said in the times that we have had problems, “Come to Dorset”.  I know that E. Harrison would have the info but I am not about to drive to Minden.  We are having our Community Center taken from us while both these areas have projects galore, and now our dump?

Again I am asking WHY????????
[Betty Tate]


Dear Councillor Griffin,

Perhaps at one time it appeared that Stanhope Airport would someday need to be expanded. Perhaps some people thought, “If we build it, they will come.” Ironically, Rick Waggoner, the recently deposed President of GM, has admitted—in just those words—that his company made precisely the same miscalculation in the months leading up to the auto industry’s crash. We can easily see how mistaken they were to proceed blindly according to those principles, especially in the light of the devastating economic slowdown we have seen this past year and a half.

Please listen to your constituents now. We are strongly opposed to the addition of a multi-million dollar tax burden, especially at this time. The truth is that air traffic has declined considerably. Besides, taxpayers’ ability—and willingness—to take on an added tax burden has also declined considerably. Please be realistic enough to see that the Stanhope Airport Expansion project should be cancelled or, at least, tabled for the foreseeable future.

Pat Fuhs
Algonquin Highlands Taxpayer


Dear Diane Griffin (& Council)

After 25 years of seasonal residence, I have recently built a year round home on Oxtongue Lake with the intention of retiring to Oxtongue in the next several years.  As a taxpayer and concerned citizen, I can’t believe that council is proceeding with this project in these economic times.  Even before the current economic turmoil, I did not see the economic value of this proposal and the residents of our area have made that clear to you in the past.  We have been told by the President of our ratepayers association that you do not believe the residents are ardently opposed to this project.  Rest assured that they are- and equally important, they believe they have shared these feelings with you in the past.

I am a C.A. by training and have been involved in many project assessments that require a solid return on investment (ROI) before proceeding.  I find it almost impossible to believe that there is a solid ROI on this project.  I believe the residents of the rate payers association and many others have expressed their discontent but their concerns seem to fall on deaf ears.  Property taxes on water front properties are already exorbitant in relation to the services provided to these properties by the township and these market value assessments subsidize the services provided to town residents with lower tax bases.  This type of project only adds to the distortion.

We urge you to represent your constituents and fight this ridiculous investment in unneeded infrastructure.


Bill Thomas, CA
Oxtongue Lake


Good day Diane,

I am writing to record my unconditional opposition to the Stanhope Airport expansion.

This project may provide short term employment but will result in long term capital repayment and on-going maintenance costs with no benefit whatsoever to the residents of this community.

At a time when many folks are retrenching to adapt to the challenging economic situation the Municipal Government should be cutting such non-essential, not so say extravagant expenditures, from its budget.


Craig Pittman


Hi Diane,

I understand that the plan for the Stanhope Airport is moving forward in spite of the numerous protestations via newspaper articles, letters and emails that the community at large has communicated to Council. It was my understanding that our Councilor is supposed to listen her constituents and make recommendations accordingly. This does not seem to be in the case with this misguided airport plan. I do not understand how in this economic climate a venture of this magnitude can even be considered. Those of us who live and cottage at Oxtongue, members of the relatively tiny tax base of Algonquin Highlands, will never reap the rewards of this airport if there are any but we certainly will bear the weight of its economic burden.

I’ve been opposed to this airport from the very beginning when the land was “expropriated” from those poor people to make way for the runway. There was an outcry from the community even then. Now that the plan seems to be suspiciously moving ahead in spite of the protestations I continue to be against it. The airport is unnecessary, far too costly in these economic times, and the plan for its continuation should be abandoned immediately.


Elizabeth Siegfried


Dear Diane Griffin & Council,

I was most surprised to hear that you had received no complaints or concerns voiced over the proposed Stanhope Airport folly as I sent a email voicing my concerns early last year.

The airport is unwanted / unnecessary and a waste of the taxpayers money not only now but for the foreseeable future.

In a time of financial hardship for everyone it is astounding that our elected representives are so out of touch with reality.

When other people are having to cut back and are struggling to pay mortgages, household bills and other expenses our local council is spending other peoples money on a financial money pit of self gratification. I don`t want the airport and I have yet to speak to anyone else that does.


Colin Smith


Parkway Cottage Resort & Trading Post


Hi Diane,

I see the airport expansion is going ahead despite what I feel is the majority of  the tax base having its concerns over the long term debt and our ability fund the on going costs. Please be advised that our household has 5 registered voters and they all object to manor in which this  whole issue has been handled by council and strongly objects to the expansion. please consider the input from the voters who elected  you.


Gary & Tina Schultz


Hi, Diane —

I wrote you an email last year indicating that I oppose the expansion of the
 Stanhope Airport — I just wanted to make sure that I, as one of your 
constituents, am indeed on record as having made this statement.

The reasons why I oppose the allocation of funding and the project itself 
already have been eloquently stated in many newspaper editorials, in
 meetings, and (I would imagine) in correspondence you and Council have 
received from others in the municipality who are opposed to the expansion.  
We are all especially concerned about the impact this will have on our 

I do hope you will do your best to gauge the opinion of your constituency 
thoroughly.  Anecdotally, I do not know anyone who is even remotely in favor 
of the airport expansion, so it is a complete mystery to me why it is still
 being considered.

With thanks for your continued concern and interest in representing us and 
our opinions accurately,

Jim (Grant)


Dear Councillor Griffin,

Is this really the best time to launch a costly, and perhaps not especially useful, expansion of the Stanhope Airport? Please reconsider spending so much money out of our small municipal budget on this enterprise.

As a longtime Oxtongue Lake ratepayer — I’m the fourth generation to enjoy this beautiful place — I understand that I pay taxes to support a variety of activities, from education to refuse disposal. But I can think of no benefit to my neighbours at Oxtongue from this airport. If people who live near the thing want this project so much, perhaps they could form a special assessment district to pay for it.

I regret not being more involved in this process. Most of the year, I am far away in the West. I admit I am responding to Gary Schultz’ request to write you and plead for your support. Does Algonquin Highlands have so much money burning a hole in the municipal pockets that we have to look for ways to spend it? If we want to stimulate the economy, surely Council can find other projects that would benefit residents throughout the Municipality.

Thank you for your consideration.

Ted Blackman
Oxtongue Lake (and Reno, NV)


Diane Griffin
Council Representative
Algonquin Highlands

Dear Ms. Griffin,

I am a rate-payer in Algonquin Highlands who recently experienced a signficant increase in the MPAC valution of my property, although there is little chance that my property could be sold at that valuation. Although I understand that the Council has no influence over the MPAC valuations, I am very concerned about potential tax increases, particularly related to the planned expansion to the Stanhope Airport.

I would like to express my strong opinion that this project be delayed and/or cancelled if there is ANY chance that the costs associated with the expansion and future operation will result in ANY tax increases to the small tax base that makes up Algonqiun Highlands.

Dan Murray
Oxtongue Lake


I understand that you are planning to proceed with the airport expansion. I would like to re-iterate a message that I sent you months ago – I don’t want this, and I don’t want to pay a cent for it. Please respond to this message with a detailed accounting of where the funds to build and operate this will be coming from.

PS  – I called the Minister of Municipal Affairs to record a complaint and ask if it was possible to impeach you bunch, but they said it wasn’t in their hands…sadly.

Diane [Morgan]




A recent response to the call for a through environmental assessment to the airport expansion. |

official info from Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry |
| take 5 minutes to read this HELPFUL ADDITIONAL INFORMATION from Andy Muirhead of MBC |
read Liz Danielson’s article in July 9 2009 County Voice |


Express your thoughts on the airport expansion directly in an email to:

Email our representative, Diane Griffin, Councillor
CopyEleanor Harrison, Reeve
CopyTom Gardner, Deputy-Reeve
Copy Carol Moffatt, Councillor
Copy Don Shortreed, Councillor



GO TO: PROTESTING the Stanhope Airport expansion

GO TO: SUPPORTING the Stanhope Airport expansion


A partial collection of editorials, articles, and letters regarding the Stanhope Airport expansion

~ Special thanks to the Minden Times and the County Voice ~

Most recent posts are at top of list

July 9, 2009 — Liz Danielson reports in the County Voice:
“Infrastructure Canada Confirms More Details Environmental Assessment Required for Stanhope Airport”
 (p. 1 and 5)

June 10, 2009 — Olive branch (A MUST READ!)

June 10, 2009 — Treetops come with $500,000 price tag

June 10, 2009 — Runway a waste of dollars

June 3, 2009 — New runway is needed

May 27, 2009 — Second airport protest takes flight

May 6, 2009 — Protest to target council meeting

April 22, 2009 — Runway expansion likely won’t need a full environment assessment

April 15, 2009 — An unimaginable folly

April 8, 2009 — A qualified apology

April 8, 2009 — AH borrows $3.6 million

April 1, 2009 — Not without a fight

March 11, 2009 — Can’t see the runway for the trees? Then chop them down.

March 11, 2009 — We Should Be More Pushy

February 18, 2009 — Public Ignored on Airport

November 17, 2008 — Letter from six Association Presidents in AH

November 5, 2008 — Airport a mistake

October 29, 2008 — Airport funding bid is a Go

October 29, 2008 — Minden Times editorial “Airport Application on Crash Course”

October 29, 2008 — A MUST READ: “Lake Associations Band Together Against Airport Expansion” — Read text of Liz Danielsen’s County Voice article

October 23, 2008 — Council has voted in favor of the airport expansion

October 15, 2008 — Airport to Nowhere

October 8, 2008 — Stanhope Airport: The Beginning of the End?

October 1, 2008 — Fran Gower’s editorial in the Minden Times: “I’m not convinced of the need.”

September 24 — Minden Times Editorial

September 23, 2008 — Review of AH Council Meeting by Fran Gower

September 20, 2008 — An Open Letter to Council from Paul MacInnes

September 18, 2008 — Review of AH Council Meeting by Paul MacInnes

Aug 8, 2008 — update on the Cross Wind Runway expansion plans, by Andy Muirhead

June 16, 2008 — Letter to Reeve Harrison from MP Barry Devolin

May 24, 2007 — OLRA’s Open Letter to Council


A recent response to the call for a through environmental assessment to the airport expansion

May 22, 2010

Having missed the Haliburton Stanhope public consultation regarding the airport expansion, I am in favor of a full environmental assessment for ALL OF THE BUILDING AND RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES IN THE AREA.

Hence if there is to be an environmental assessment of the airport, such an assessment must include all of the human activities in cottage country, particularly those that are much more invasive than any airport runway.

The assessment therefore needs to include impact of cottages and their related activities on the natural enviroment, these include:

* clearing of land
* sewage treatment and pollution
* damage to lakefront wildlife via clearing and dock installations
* damage to wildlife caused by motor boat wakes
* damage to water quality caused by motorized water vehicles of all kinds, shoreline erosion, gasoline and oil pollution
* damage to water habitats caused by noise pollution of motorized water vehicles
* damage to forest habitat caused by cottagers with ATV’s, dirt bikes, SUV’s, jeeps, chain saws
* air pollution due to outdoor and indoor wood burning fireplaces and stoves
* damage to forest habitat caused by building road access and building sites along with expansion of those sites to include cabins, boat houses and other out buildings.

It is clear that from a human impact on the water and land, that cottages and their inhabitants do much more initial and sustained damage to the environment than any lightly used airstrip (which in the case of a grass strip has all of the impact of a large lawn). Perhaps environment Canada should regulate the quantities and horsepowers of cottagers motorized water, snow and land vehicles too. These turn waterways and forests into a  401 of noise, water, and air pollution along with their other destructive attributes.

Yes, a comprehensive environmental assessment is certainly a good idea provided it covers all human activities in the forests and on the waterways in the Haliburton area.

Best regards,
Allan Bowman


November 17, 2008

To Building Canada – Ontario Secretariat

Re Application from the Municipality of Algonquin Highlands – Stanhope/Haliburton Airport Expansion

This letter comes to you from 6 of the major property owners associations in Algonquin Highlands.

We are writing to express our concerns re the proposed expansion of the Stanhope airport. Here follow our major concerns as they relate to the Building Canada Criteria as we understand them.

This airport expansion is clearly not the number one priority for Algonquin Highlands as demonstrated by the following.

1.The Algonquin Highlands council vote to apply for Building Canada funds was a split vote – 50% of council voted against the application. The Reeve then cast the deciding vote.

2.Two separate public opinion polls have shown that the overwhelming majority of the taxpayers in Algonquin Highlands are against this proposal. One of these polls was conducted by Trent University and the other by the councilor in whose riding the airport is located.

3.Our Local newspaper, The Minden Times, has taken an editorial position against the granting of Building Canada funds for this expansion. We have attached this editorial for your review

While this airport is named and positioned as a County Airport not one of the other 3 municipal councils within the county have expressed support for the proposed expansion. Minden Hill’s council has already voted against this project. No vote has been conducted at the Haliburton County level to express support.

No proper business plan demonstrating a clear need and more importantly clear economic benefits to the township has been developed for this project. All of our associations have indicated that if a clear economic benefit was in fact demonstrated we would support this project.

The new runway does not meet Transport Canada standards for a certified runway.Without a certified runway we would never be able to attract scheduled flights. The list of planes and organizations that could use the runway is very restricted.

The new runway is located, in direct contravention of transport Canada guidelines, within less than 8 kilometers of 3 landfills. This location increases the safety concerns of bird strikes on aircraft.

Algonquin Highland’s council did hold a public meeting on this project. Unfortunately they restricted the questions at that session to those related to the technical aspects of the proposed runway. The public were not allowed to ask questions of the Reeve, Councilors or the CAO re the economic aspects of the plan.

As citizens concerned with the future economic prosperity of this township, we are left questioning whether this is the best use of our federal, provincial and municipal tax dollars.

Please direct your questions to Paul MacInnes – President of The Maple, Beech and Cameron Lakes Area Property Owners Association. Documentation for the public opinion surveys is available on request.


Gary Ackerl – President, Otter Lake Association

Gary Schultz – President, Oxtongue Lake Ratepayers Association

John Wismer – President, Livingstone Lake Association

Norma Goodger – President, Kushog Lake Association

John Perkins – President, Halls, Hawk Lake Association

Paul MacInnes – President, The Maple, Beech and Cameron Lakes Area Property Owners Association

Cc Governing Council


Airport application on crash course

Minden Times Editorial – Oct.29, 2008 – Chad Ingram

Algonquin Highlands council has embarked on a troublesome trajectory after its decision last week to proceed with an expansion of the Stanhope Airport; a project that clearly has not received the thought, research or consultation processes it deserves.

Despite great public outcry and many valid points as to why the project should not proceed, councillors resolved in a 3-2 vote to apply for $3.4 million in cost-shared funds from the Building Canada Fund to pay for the construction of new runway at the airport.

It seems the main impetus behind proceeding with the project is that a new runway at the site will in turn lead to the construction of an industrial park, which will in turn create an economic boon for the area.

One need look no further than the fact that Ontario’s finance minister has announced he will likely run a deficit in his next budget to realize the economic turmoil the province has become infected with. Ontario’s once-thriving manufacturing economy is akin to a dinosaur in the twilight of the Mesozoic era, just about to go extinct.

Perhaps councillors should have heeded the advice of accountant Thomas Walden, who addressed them last week, suggesting that manufacturing is “old school.” Walden was correct in suggesting that council should take a “new school” approach and use the money that would go toward the airport project to outfit the township with high-speed Internet, which would ensure the economic prosperity of area businesses by connecting them to the all-important world-wide web.

While a feasibility study on the project has given it the green light, a whirlwind of questions remain about the report’s thoroughness and attention to environmental impacts.

One of the councillors who voted against the application said blatantly that, “There should be other solutions discussed.”

And then there’s the fact that one of the councillors who supported the application could be heard muttering, “Oh God, oh God,” under her breath in the moments leading up to the vote. This does not portray a great deal of confidence in the project and stands as an indicator of the precarious foundation upon which it is being constructed.

Finally, let’s not forget the many outraged taxpayers who have cried out against a project they don’t want to pay for because most of them will never benefit from it.

How many residents of Algonquin Highlands own an airplane? And how many intend to set up shop at the site’s proposed industrial park?

Council has said the project will come back to the table if it doesn’t receive the funding it is looking for andhopefully, for the residents of Algonquin Highlands, the application will crash and burn when it comes before the purse-holders of the Building Canada Fund.


meeting held Thursday, September 18

by Paul MacInnes
President of the Maple, Beech and Cameron Lakes Area
Property Owners’ Association

Impressive Credentials – Flawed Approach

Some Thoughts Re the September 18th Cross Wind Runway Meeting

When the meeting started and the various consultants listed their credentials I was very impressed with their breadth of experience and their knowledge base. Technical consultants hired for a project like this need to do their research and present the results in a totally objective manner.

As the presentation went on I became increasingly concerned. While the consultants did provide a lot of seemingly objective information they also started to act like salesmen for the project. They seemed to allow their personal bias and/or the bias of their political masters to colour their presentations. One consultant in particular spent a fair bit of time close to the end of the meeting trying to sell the listeners on why this project should go ahead. He also spent time telling us of his involvement and enthusiasm for a lobby group he is associated with that lobbies for this kind of development. As a professional technical consultant this selling exercise and his obvious conflict of interest calls into doubt his objectivity and the information the group presented.

In addition to the concerns re objectivity the more I listened the more concerned I became with the methodology of the information collection. Even a non technical person would know that:

  1. To dispute Transport Canada’s guideline that a runway not be located within 8 kms of a landfill site (due to risk of bird strikes) the consultant visited 1 of the 3 landfills located within the hazard zone for one hour on one occasion. On that one occasion he saw two gulls. Those of us that visit these landfills weekly know that on some occasions there can be as few a two gulls but on other occasions there a 50 or more. While it seems that this project was done on a very limited budget they could simply have asked the landfill attendants to keep a daily record of gull numbers for a statistically sound period of time.
  2. The consultants did not use local wind conditions to evaluate the usability of the proposed runway they used Muskoka wind records. Why did they not use local wind records as detailed in previous studies done for the municipality (those studies showed that the existing runway is ideally positioned approximately 93% of the time). If they felt these out of date why did they not ask the airport manager to collect and record the local wind records over this past year.
  3. The one consultant from the Maritimes mentioned Fixed Wing Medevac on at least 6 occasions. If he had studied the Ontario medevac system he would know that fixed wind medevac is not generally used this far south in Ontario as it is much faster and patient friendly to transport by helicopter directly from the helipads at our local hospitals.

My last concern is that it seemed that the consultants had been well coached as to what topics to leave out or gloss over.

  • While they spent considerable time talking about not having to cut people’s trees on the Barry Line they glossed over the tree cutting that they have proposed on private property south of the airport.

In summary while these consultants have impressive credentials their process and their objectivity did not pass the test. The audience and hopefully council will now wonder – how objective, how accurate and how complete is the information we were given.

Contact Paul MacInnes


Why Are They So Afraid Of Our Questions?

by Paul MacInnes
President of the Maple, Beech and Cameron Lakes Area
Property Owners’ Association

If the people of Haliburton County hoped that the questions they have waited so long to ask about the WHY’S of this airport expansion would finally be answered – their hopes were dashed at the two airport meetings held by Algonquin Highlands’ council this week – during which the council refused to answer questions from the public. Even though the Reeve had promised various ratepayers’s association all summer long that they would finally get their answers at these two meetings the public was only allowed to ask questions of the technical consultants hired by the township.

While there were over 3 hours of questions asked of the consultants many of the approximately 160 taxpayers present were clearly angry that, once again, their major questions had gone unanswered:

  • Why are we building this runway?
  • How much will it cost us on our taxes?
  • How can this small municipality possibly pay the ongoing operating costs of this expanded airport?
  • Aren’t there more urgent places to spend millions of tax dollars: Health Care, high speed internet, roads and bridges, affordable housing etc.?

Taxpayers did find out thatthe original cost of the runway, which was forecast at $2.3 million, has now escalated to $3.4 million including repaving of the existing runway at a cost of $435,000.

Many of them felt this:  With enough money and gravel you can build a runway anywhere—but what you are not telling us is:

Why are we doing this in the first place?

If AH Council thought that the only opposition to the airport expansion was coming from the MBC Association and the Oxtongue Lake Ratepayers Assn., Saturday’s meeting in Dorset thoroughly disproved that notion. An overflow crowd of approx 160 people, less than 20 of whom were with The Maple, Beech and Cameron Lakes Area POA or Oxtongue Lake RA, were overwhelmingly opposed to this project. Only one member of the audience spoke in favour.

The open letter written to Council by MBC., which demanded a second public meeting, has still not been properly answered. Ratepayers were told on Saturday that they are welcome to bring delegations to the upcoming council meetings. The problem with these council meetings is that although the delegations do have time to ask questions –


How can they continue to spend millions of our tax dollars on this massive project, the largest ever undertaken in the township, with no proper public debate and input?

They will soon be applying for funding under the Building Canada Infrastructure Program. Please email your MP and MPP to let them know your feelings.

Contact Paul MacInnes


We did the best we could do.


Council has voted in favor of the airport.

From the council meeting minutes, Oct. 23, 2008

  1. Moved by: Don Shortreed

Seconded by: Diane J. Griffin

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Council of the Corporation of the Township of Algonquin Highlands do hereby declare the Haliburton-Stanhope Airport Development Project to be their first and highest priority for capital development and construction in 2009;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Council of the Corporation of the Township of Algonquin Highlands hereby directs the CAO and Treasurer to apply for funding under the Build Canada Infrastructure Program, Community Initiatives Component for construction of the municipal airport project at a total cost of $3.4 million dollars.


Councillor Carol Moffatt √

Councillor Diane J. Griffin √

Councillor Don Shortreed √

Deputy-Reeve Tom Gardner √

Reeve Eleanor Harrison √



Minden Times Editorial – Sept. 24, 2008

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should

Taxpayers of Algonquin Highlands are fed up with the way council has handled the potential second runway for the Stanhope Airport. That came out loud and clear at the meeting Saturday as resident after resident took the mike to deplore the way the municipality has handled the issue.

It didn’t matter that the meeting was supposed to be about the runway feasibility study done by a series of consultants. People took the opportunity to make the meeting about their concerns.

It is partially due to the municipal process that does not allow for question and answer periods with councillors that has created this situation. It is also because residents have been told over and over to wait before asking questions.

Without much fuss, the consultants took the brunt of the residents’ anger, even though they were innocent in the whole situation. The councillors listened silently for the entire four-hour meeting.

Now CAO Lorne Mitchell will prepare a financial impact report for council to determine whether the project will work. It is almost certain that he will come back with a way to pay for the $3.5-million project.

Plus, it was announced recently that the federal government has new money for small community infrastructure, which council will surely apply for.

All of this will need to be done before any discussion on whether Algonquin Highlands should put in a new runway is decided.

Realistically, it would have been prudent to figure out the should before the could. However, we now know after a $90,000 study that a runway can be built. What is left is providing a good justification for it.

The property owners of Maple, Beech and Cameron Lakes area should be applauded for doing the footwork and raising so many questions about the necessity of such a grand project. To date, council has never discredited their arguments.

For example, would the new runway truly achieve 10,000 movements (take-offs and landings) a year when we’re currently at 3,000 or less? Would more businesses locate around the airport? Would MedEvac actually use the landing strip when both of the county’s hospitals have helicopter pads?

Then there is the cost. Even if the federal government coughed up some money for infrastructure from the Building Canada Fund, it probably wouldn’t be enough. What if they agreed to pay 50 per cent? Would Algonquin Highlands then pay the other $1.5 million? With a population so small how can such a large project be justified?

Some angry residents suggested there are ulterior motives behind this heavy push by council to get the runway done.

Beyond the conspiracy theories is a sense of frustration. If council refuses to answer questions about the “should” of a huge project for years because they can’t answer the “could” people get suspicious. It is not surprising they began to think there was something suspect happening behind the scenes.

Let’s clear all the air and have another public meeting, this time with residents and councillors face-to-face. Only then can anything proceed with the accountability and clarity the public deserves.

Jenn Watt


New Stanhope Crosswind Runway Proposal an Outrage
‘Windwise’… but not so sure about municipal council

Last week I attended two meetings – September 18th and 20th – Stanhope Fire Hall and Dorset Rec Centre, respectively, to listen to and try to understand more about the proposed airstrip development at Haliburton/Stanhope Municipal Airport.

I have been a resident taxpayer at Oxtongue Lake for over 50 years; over those years I have tried to be involved, knowledgeable and supportive with regards to my municipal council’s initiatives. After listening to both presentations last week, I am not convinced there is a need for the 3 million dollar airstrip development. According to James P. Lindsey, Airport Planner from Pryde Scropp McComb Inc., the present airstrip is currently 95% efficient windwise, so why this additional expense of another airstrip for only a 4% increase in efficiency does not appear to show value for money, taxpayers’ money to be specific. If it were a matter of life and safety that would be a different story. Thankfully and to my knowledge, there have been no reported accidents or incidents at Stanhope, so I believe (and hope) it is safe to presume that currently airplanes have no problem or difficulty taking off and landing on the present runway.

I fail to understand why our council members feel this is the time to be spending ‘millions’ on an additional airstrip to add only 4% efficiency windwise when we live in such turbulent economic times. Haliburton County is at the bottom of the employment scale and at the top of the retired resident’s scale. In this time of volatile markets do we seriously want or need additional burdens on our municipal taxes? I am struggling now to pay my taxes, and would rather feel that the money is being used more appropriately to help the community address real and immediate needs and concerns.

For example,how can council propose a multi-million dollar airstrip to add minimal windwise efficiency and at the same time express their concern about the cost of maintaining the Oxtongue Lake Community Centre at about $5000-$6000 per year? The numbers simply do not add up. And I certainly know where I would prefer my tax dollars be spent.

I am appealing to all taxpayers in the Algonquin Highlands and Haliburton County to make our council aware of our concerns about this additional tax burden. To do so, get your voice heard at the next Council meeting being held at Algonquin Highlands Council Chambers, Northshore Road, Stanhope Twp., on October 9, 2008 at 9:00am. If you want to be on the agenda, you have to have your submission in to Angie Bird, Clerk, by October 3, 2008.

Fran Gower
Oxtongue Lake


24th May 2007


Subject: The Proposed Stanhope Airport Expansion

Subsequent to the May 7, 2007 presentation under council rules, the Executive of the Oxtongue Lake Ratepayers Association has had an in-depth discussion of the proposed Stanhope Airport expansion currently under review by council.

The executive believes strongly that the Oxtongue community requires more information and participation in a venture of this size and scope. We feel that  there could be significant implications to our community that warrant a full public meeting in a forum that provides for an open dialogue with the township’s consultants, staff and council members.,

With this letter, the Oxtongue Lake Ratepayers Association is formally requesting council to arrange for an open public meeting to discuss the proposed Airport expansion. We would suggest that the meeting be held in Dorset so that it encourages attendance by interested parties from both northern communities (Oxtongue and Dorset).Furthermore, we would suggest that it be held at a time that would allow for seasonal resident participation and attendance. We respectfully request that this meeting be scheduled as soon as practical so as to allay the fears and concerns of the ratepayers and dispel any misinformation that may be circulating.

We look forward to receiving a favourable response to this request in the near future.

Yours Sincerely,

Gary Schultz,
Vice President,
On behalf of the Executive
Oxtongue Lake Ratepayers Association

Cc: Lake Associations and Ratepayers Associations of Algonquin Highlands; Mr. Barry Devlin – MP; Minden Times

Be Informed About the Stanhope Airport Expansion Plans!

Plans to expand the Stanhope Airport continue to evolve, at taxpayers’ expense.

A synopsis of what’s been going on with the airport can be found on the website for Maple, Beech and Cameron Lakes Area:


* * *


At the JULY 23 2009 meeting in Carnarvon (“Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Expansion to the Township of Algonquin Highlands Airport”), a petition made the rounds. The petition respectfully requests that Infrastructure Canada carry out a thorough environmental assessment before proceeding with the airport expansion project.  It was signed by many (if not all) of the public in attendance and was hand-delivered at the meeting to Jennifer Clark, Senior Environmental Review and Approval Officer for this project.

Many of us from Oxtongue were unable to attend that meeting; consequently, we were unable to sign the petition.

So — in the spirit of “the next best thing to being there”…

IF you were UNABLE to attend the information session in Carnarvon this evening; and

IF you are in favor of Infrastructure Canada carrying out a thorough environmental assessment for the proposed expansion to the Stanhope airport before proceeding with the project; then

Please consider taking five minutes to do the following, which will act as a proxy to signing the petition — in fact, several of the surrounding lake associations also are following this protocol to give their members who could not attend the meeting the opportunity to support the petition:

1)  Create a blank email to Jennifer Clark by clicking HERE— Paste in this subject: “Thorough environmental assessment requested for Stanhope airport expansion.”

2)  Copy, then Paste the following text into the body of the email — be sure to end by typing your name and your address!(You may have to do a bit of reformatting in your email.)

Dear Ms Clark,

I was unable to attend the Information Session on Thursday, July 23, 2009, “Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Expansion to the Township of Algonquin Highlands Airport.”

Please accept the attached document for consideration of inclusion in the current Scoping / Screening of CEAR project # 09-01-46567.

The points made in the attached document are important to the proper Environmental Assessment / Screening of the project.


<your name>
<your address>

3)  DOWNLOAD, READ, then ATTACH to your email the PDF file that is linked HERE (Windows: right-click — Mac: Control+click — select “Download linked file,” or something like that) — file name <Jennifer Clark.pdf> — Andy Muirhead pooled this information together.  It summarizes and lists the areas of environmental assessment that so far have not been adequately addressed by Infrastructure Canada.  It is an objective, candid, intelligent, unemotional accounting — and it is wonderfully persuasive.

NOTE:  Sending this email to Jennifer Clark is not a statement for or against the airport expansion — it merely requests a rational and thorough environmental impact assessment before plans for the airport expansion progress any further.

The more of us Ms. Clark hears from, the more likely it is that a thorough and comprehensive environmental assessment will, in fact, take place.

Thanks for considering adding your voice to this very important chorus!