Hi all, as you all may remember, last year was a disaster here at Oxtongue Lake with the heavy amount of traffic on Hwy 60 and surrounding roads due to the leaf season. It caused safety concerns, excess litter, difficulty for the fire services to respond and plain and simple annoyance to you and your guests!
I presented your concerns to Council last year and requested some assistance. Over the past year the Council has been in touch with several ministries by way of delegations, Algonquin Park representative and MTO representatives have all been contacted. Both members of Council and staff have worked on this issue.
As of today, signs will be posted on Oxtongue Lake Rd for “local traffic only”, this should decrease the tourist traffic.
Algonquin Park has committed to a number of significant changes this year with more planned for next year. Please see notes below, they are the minutes from a recent meeting at the Township office.
All good news!! Hopefully, we will see a great improvement this year.
from the meeting…….
Algonquin Zone Manager, Jay Nichols advised that they have a short term and long term plan to try and keep traffic moving at the gate:
Short Term Plan
- Six (6) new park wardens and gate staff have been hired just for the colour season;
- Six (6) new wireless point of sale (POS) machines have been purchased to try and keep people in their cars and moving. Unless people have cash, they have to park and get out of their cars to go in and purchase a pass. Anyone who does have to park, staff will be assisting with parking to maximize the spaces;
- A portable washroom trailer has been purchased so that people don’t have to wait as long for the washroom;
- The Hardwood Lookout Trail along Hwy. 60 will be closed on weekends during the colour season to prevent parking along Hwy. 60 causing congestion;
- Tea Lake Campground and Kearney Campground, which are normally closed during this time of year, will be open for the public to use the comfort stations and picnic areas;
- The Park is encouraging weekday travel and bag lunches;
- The Park has sent a letter to the Motorcoach Association advising them to plan ahead and asking them to consider alternative routes.
- The Park has met with OPP and they will be patrolling the area;
- Social media will be utilized to get the message out, encouraging people not to park on the side of Hwy 60, and advising them of the additional comfort stations.
Long Term Plan
- When the Park’s reservation system contract comes due in 2018, the Park will be looking at changing their reservation system to allow for the purchase of day passes online which it currently does not permit;
- Parking lots will be reviewed to see if there is sufficient evidence to warrant the expansion of parking at the west gate to accommodate the colour season.
MTO staff advised that they will be doing the following:
- A traffic analysis will be conducted this year at the west gate during the colour season and staff will evaluate the results. They are hoping to provide some recommendations in solving the issue with traffic stuck in the queue waiting to pay for passes at the gate.
- They are currently reviewing infrastructure changes in this area and hope to incorporate recommendations from these discussions;
- Additional privies will be considered along Hwy. 60 at Oxtongue Lake.
Please keep me posted on your thoughts and the events over the next couple of weeks.
Councillor Ward # 3
Township of Algonquin Highlands
705 635 9816
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