MINUTES OF THE 46TH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE OXTONGUE LAKE RATEPAYERS ASSOCIATION AUGUST 3rd, 2009, 10:00AM
OXTONGUE LAKE COMMUNITY CENTRE
1. Call to order and Opening Remarks – Gary Schultz welcomed and thanked everyone for attending. He introduced our guests: Reeve Eleanor Harrison, Councilor Diane Griffin, Councilor Carol Moffatt, President of the Maple, Beech and Cameron Lakes Association Paul MacInnes, Broadband Coordinator for the County of Haliburton Jamie Parks, Fire Chief John Hogg and Recreation Coordinator Melissa Alfano.
2. Approval of Minutes – Motion to approve: Jim Grant. Seconded by Joan Lomax.
3. Treasurer’s Report – Liz Margarucci presented the treasurer’s report and budget for
4. Regatta Report – Jan Zavitz gave the report. The regatta had great attendance, participation and competition. There were twenty-eight races, and the two trophy winners were Shannon Rowen and Tom Rowen. One thousand dollars was raised, and Jan gave the money, minus the costs of what they had spent, to Liz Margarucci. Jan thanked the volunteers, everyone who came to the regatta and the local businesses including the Oxtongue Lake Cottages and Algonquin Outfitters for their support. The Zavitz family has volunteered to do the regatta next year. Later in the meeting Dave Seal, on behalf of Zavitz who had left, suggested that we look at the possibility of Porta Pottys at the next regatta. He asked if we could look into costs and if there were any objections to paying the extra costs.
5. Website Update – Jim Grant announced that as of today, the day of the AGM, “our website” is one year old. Jim asked everyone to continue to send all kinds of information. The community lost five members this year: Joe Lindsey, Neal Andrews, Chuck Copland, Dorothy Jones, and Bruce Keown. There is a new In Memory page on the website to pay tribute to those people who have died.
There is a new page with personal experiences of attempts to get internet on the lake.
The Fire Department page is up with photos that Tim Druin sent including the new Jaws of Life and there is a page on the Community Centre about the upcoming bridge construction.
Jim added a page for the airport expansion including a page to voice opinions FOR or AGAINST the airport. Jim wrote an editorial to the newspapers requesting that people write in to the Oxtongue Lake Community Website to voice their opinions. Most of the letters were opposed to the airport expansion. Those letters in favour were primarily written by pilots, business managers and people with vested interest in the airport; yet
Jim drew attention to an eloquent letter written by pilot Paul Martin in support of the airport, while at the same time questioning its financial burden. Jim emphasized that every letter was balanced and worth a read.
A page dedicated to the new Oxtongue Naturalist and Stewardship Club has also been added to the website.
Jim reinforced that our website is a work in progress and apologized for the occasional lapse in uploading information.
6. Oxtongue Naturalist and Stewardship Club – Ben Teskey reported that last year, through the Ontario Lakes for the Future Program, he had taken water samples over the course of the summer to test phosphorus levels. The Program was cancelled, but Ben got a baseline for our lake and found that the readings were at a healthy level. Excess of phosphorus is caused by human activity: fertilizers by the lakeshore, compost, soaps and human waste (bad septic systems). He also used a secci disk to test the clarity of the water. Ben emphasized that it is very important how we interact with the environment around us: our ecological footprints. He defined stewardship as every person having a responsibility to look after the planet for themselves and everyone else. Ben talked about Aldo Leopold, who wrote the Sand County Almanac and used the term “land ethic, which defines a new relationship between Man and Nature: the idea of community is enlarged to include animals, the soil, everything.
Ben has started the OLSC to give people an opportunity to come together and share knowledge. He ultimately wants to link to the Haliburton Highlands Stewardship Council. Ben plans to begin bio-regional studies in ecosystem monitoring and assessment — he mentioned that frogs and toads are good bio-indicators.
7. Oxtongue Bridges Update – Gary reported that the bridge reconstruction WILL happen. It’s classified as a medium to large project: what you see on Highway 11 in Huntsville is what you will see here. There has been public consultation but the project is on hold now for the G8. Gary guesstimates that serious work will begin in the fall of next year. The Executive will email everyone when the next public meeting is planned.
8. Fire Department Report – Ted Keown thanked the Township for the $250 they donated towards Canada Day. He also thanked Gary for spearheading through the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the EMS Department access to a defibrillator which is now housed in the community centre. It’s a community-based unit, which means that Gary will have to check it every week. Gary said that eventually there will be training and CPR education in the community centre. Jane Tizzel asked if training could be done this summer and Gary responded by saying that it is a time issue and they will start training in the fall. There were only 1200 defibrillator allocated so we are lucky to get one.
Ted continued by telling people that there were safe boating handouts in the back of the room. He reminded everyone to check his or her smoke detectors. By law you must have one on each level of your dwelling and in every sleeping area. In the next couple of
weeks the fire department will go around to the cottages/homes checking for smoke detectors, unsafe situations, and roads that are impassable for the pumper trucks. Ted reminded everyone to be careful of propane tanks and to be sure the tank valve is off between uses.
Ted introduced John Hogg, Fire Chief. John praised the Oxtongue Fire Department as being one of the best departments he has seen even though it’s not very large. He attributed that partly to its continuity. He said that the Fire Marshall of Ontario does provide recognition and he was here to recognize both Bill Service and Ted Keown with certificates honoring them for 35 years of service each. John then called the Reeve Eleanor Harrison up to the front to make the presentations from the Township. The Reeve read the recognitions, given on behalf of the Algonquin Highlands Council and signed by the Reeve. The first recognition went to Joe Lindsey for fifteen years of volunteer service. Eleanor remarked that Joe had been an incredible assistance to the department and he was a great person. Joe’s wife Liz was presented with the certificate. The second recognition went to Bill Service on his retirement. The Reeve wished him good health and prosperity. Bill Service gave a special thanks to District Chief Ted Keown and thanked the group. Eleanor reiterated how invaluable the fire department is to the community.
9. Snowmobile Club Report – Scott Hayden said that 18” of early snow brought so many trees down that local contractors donated their time to clear the trails. In January, the Muskoka Landowner Association pulled the Snowmobile Club into a political play. The landowners closed trails through private property during a prime snowmobile week. Haliburton did not have that happen so trails to Dorset were still open but other trails were closed for a week.
The Snowmobile Club got a new groomer, which was parked outside of the community centre for people to see.
The plan for this year is to move some trails that run alongside roads into the bush and to rebuild bridges.
10. Community Centre Update – Scott Hayden announced that last year we were on the edge of having our community centre taken away, but the community rallied together and successfully went to Council. A committee was formed made up of Jan Helsel, Marni Brethour, Judy Clapp, Scott Hayden, and Fran Gower and it will now be a committee of Council. Ted Keown holds the key to the community centre — having the key at Oxtongue is critical in terms of ease of use of the centre. Mimi Cliff has volunteered to do the gardening. We have a wish list for the community centre that is long and will take time but we feel positive about it. The list includes: a new well, a new septic, a backup generator, a new entrance, new washrooms, wheelchair access on the main floor and a new look for the kitchen such as new and matching pots and pans and dishes. Scott added that anyone interested in being a part of the community centre committee please join to help.
11. Reports from Council –
Maple Lake – Council is still waiting for the certificate of approval for the expansion of Maple Lake.
A new building at the Oxtongue Dump was built for the attendant. By the end of this year Big Red will be at that building where batteries, cell phones printer cartridges can be recycled.
Algonquin Highlands won an award of MCS for the recycling we do.
With the new landfill hours, none of the dumps will be closed for two consecutive days. As of January 2010, shrink-wrap will no longer be accepted at landfill sites. Marinas have been notified. Boat Shrink Wrap questions? – call Gail Short at Twp. Office (705) 489- 2379
Hazardous waste days are as follows:
Oxtongue just had their hazard waste day but we can use Dorset and Maple Lake since we’re all Algonquin Highlands.
Dorset- September 5th 1pm – 5pm Maple Lake- October 12th
Hauled sewage MOE contractors can spread sewage on fields. In the interim, the municipality is asking for a grant to rehabilitate one lagoon off of County Rd 12. This requires a geo tube to remove the sludge and to store it in the tube until the pit is refurbished. Once the process is done the sludge is returned to the pit. The pit is not lined. It has a natural clay bottom. The lagoon has been shut down and the sewage has had to be hauled to Muskoka. The refurbishment is a $150,000 process and is being done under the stimulus package. We are responsible for 1/3 of the cost but there will be no tax increase.
911 – We are responsible for our own 911 signs. If there are any questions, contact Cheryl Howe at County Office in Minden – (705) 286-2036
Generators – The stimulus grant for new generators for public buildings was successful. Although we have asked for generators for both the fire department and the community centre, we may only get one.
Roads – If you have a road emergency, contact Richard Keown – Dorset Yard – His cell # (705) 854-0303 OR Brian Whetstone (Manager of Operations) – his cell # (705) 754- 5450
Community Centre – Council is happy that a committee has been formed and now our job is to use it in order to keep it.
Administration – There has been a 7.94% tax decrease of $59 for every $100,000 of assessment. Council looks at line-by-line for budget. The budget for 2008-2009 was almost identical due to the number of grants, good planning and anticipated expenditures. They work on a five-year plan.
Staff – CAO Lorne Mitchell retires this year on October 30th. Applications for the position have been received and interviews will be started Thursday and Friday of this week.
Airport Expansion – Diane commented that there seems to be a common concern in the cost of the airport and expansion. She discussed the current airport costs and potential future expenditures. She said that Barry Divolin asked to approach Build Canada. He asked the federal government for two phases of the airport: 1) rehabilitation of the existing airport and 2) expansion. The expansion is the debate. Diane assured us that Council would do everything to keep our taxes low.
Diane remarked that she has appreciated receiving emails but some have been very hurtful, talking about disappointment and suggesting impeachment. Even though she lives in Ward 1, she chose to work in Ward 3 and since 2003 has represented her constituency to the best of her ability. Diane announced that she plans to leave office in November of 2010.
Other – Gary remarked that he still does not understand the airport costs. For example, fire prevention is an issue. Looking at tax dollars, what part is set aside to sustain the airport? Would it fluctuate year to year? What money is considered revenue and what money is expenditure?
Fran Gower commented that in the winter months the dump was closed for three days in a row. She said that our tax base is the same as Hockley and Maple Lake and they get twenty-one hours of dump time while we only get nine. She suggested either increasing dump hours or decreasing taxes,
Gary said that he runs a business and cannot get to the dump by 1pm and then the next day the dump is closed. Make it simple: have consistent hours. Gary offered another suggestion: have maximum hours the day before the dump is closed. The bottom line is to please normalize the hours. Eleanor said she didn’t mind taking it back to Council but in the past there had been no consensus in the Oxtongue community.
12. Broadband and Internet Options – Jamie Parks, Broadband Coordinator for the County of Haliburton– Jamie Parks announced that there is a current program to extend high speed internet into communities. He mentioned the various possibilities of getting high speed internet:
DSL Density makes this system work and the footprint is expanding. ExItel has microwave towers throughout the county and is committed to do residential service. The Oxtongue community is in mind for this.
Bell and Rogers Sticks This is true high speed but there are data caps. It gets more expensive the more data you use. It is also location specific. Jamie suggested checking www.Haliburtoncounty.ca/highspeed for more information. He also said he would leave his business card and invited us to come out and try the sticks.
Go on Fire Hall Network This is a free wireless service available in the parking lot outside the Oxtongue Fire Hall, effective now.
Haliburton County Development Association If you set up a satellite or wireless and you are a business, the County will cover half of the fee up to $500.
Flemming College in Haliburton has internet courses three times over the term. These are listed in the Continuing Education Calendar:
For the individual:
1. Internet, Email and You
2. Internet Safety and Security For Business:
1. Your Domain, Your Brand 2. Understanding Web Design
13. Stanhope Airport Update and Coalition of Haliburton Lake Association – Paul MacInnes, President of the Maple, Beech and Cameron Lakes Association – Paul stated that the majority of Algonquin Highlands is opposed to the Stanhope Airport expansion. All three other townships have passed motions against it and have circulated petitions against it. Why is there opposition? One reason is that it is a multimillion dollar expenditure at a time when we are struggling in a failing economy. The existing runway operates less than 10% of its capacity as it is. Paul believes that the new runway will never be certified by Transport Canada. The MBC made a proposal to their Council. The Reeve stated that over a million dollars of our tax money was spent.
The fight against the airport will be expensive. Paul made a plea to drop the plans for a new runway and as a compromise, rehabilitate the old runway. He was met with a negative response from Council. Paul made the remark that smart politicians should listen to the people who pay the taxes.
The MBC hired a top environmental lawyer and served Council with papers. An environmental assessment has been announced. This will take months to complete if not longer considering that it will have to include the socio-economic impact on taxes. If Township agrees to stop the runway expansion now, it could save a lot of money.
Gary made the observation that we have been denied the democratic opportunity when it comes to the airport expansion. We need the opportunity to vote.
Paul ended his talk by mentioning the Coalition of Property Owners. This coalition brings together all ratepayers in Haliburton County for mutual benefit. For example, it
brings together all lake stewards, experts on loons, lake trout spawning experts while at the same time saving each member’s association time and money. All newsletter editors will share articles and it will free up volunteers to do other things.
14. G8 Update- Gary directed everyone to the Web. He underlined that we will all be affected in some way, before and after the summit and access to Huntsville will be impossible during the G8. Gary announced that the Ratepayers Association had applied to Build Canada Fund/G8 Funding for $150,000 for the beautification of Oxtongue and the community centre, but we were turned down. It appears that we did not ask for enough money even though our requests were relevant to the G8.
Gary met with some security teams such as the RCMP and CSIS but all were very vague. Suzanne Jones asked if there were any security arrangements for us such as hospital access, etc. Our access is an issue. John Hogg explained that there would be fire trucks stationed within the security zone. Emergency vehicle access will be there but not as good as now. There will be designated detour routes: Rt 60 to 35 to 117 or 118 to 11.
15. New Business
- – Gary gave his appreciation to the Board, especially Jim Grant, our Webmaster.
- – Liz Lindsey thanked Council and the community for their support.
- – Ted Keown’s position is available on the Board. Ted is the oldest native residenton Oxtongue.
- – John Lawrence asked if we needed to continue with the newsletter as we havebeen doing. He put out a survey to 200 people and received nine responses. He asked for a show of hands. The majority agreed that it should be sent out once a year rather than continuing as it has been or disappearing altogether.
- – Gary ended the meeting by saying that if you give us your email address, we will be respectful of it. Dues are very important and we depend on them. He also added that the wish list for the community center will be published on the Oxtongue Community website.Meeting Adjourned_____________________ Respectfully submitted,Betsy Siegfried Secretary