MINUTES OF THE 47TH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE OXTONGUE LAKE RATEPAYERS ASSOCIATION AUGUST 2nd, 2010, 10:00 AM
OXTONGUE LAKE COMMUNITY CENTRE
1. Call to order and Opening Remarks – OLRA President Gary Schultz welcomed the full house and recognized our guests: Councillor Diane Griffin, Councillor Carol Moffatt, President of the Maples, Beech and Cameron Lakes Association Paul MacInnes, Andy Muirhead, and OPP officer Linda Cranney.
2. Approval of Minutes – Minutes are on the Oxtongue Website. Motion to approve: Jim Elliott. Seconded by Judy Clapp.
3. Treasurer’s Report – Liz Margarucci presented the Treasurer’s report and budget for 2009. Motion to accept Treasurer’s Report: Liz Lindsay. Seconded by Frank Tizel. Gary mentioned that the fees and donation coupon is on the back of the newsletter and people could pay on their way out of the meeting.
4. Regatta Report – Mike Zavitz reported that the Regatta was a great success. The expenses were $1564 and they took in $3483 leaving a profit of $1919. There were twenty t-shirts left. He had a full accounting and report, list of winners and photos that he will send to Jim for the website and newsletter. Mike thanked everyone who participated to make the event such a success. Gary told Mike that the Board and community appreciate his work very much. The
Di Francesco and Dewsbury families will be organizing the regatta next year.
5. OPP Presentation –
Break-Ins- Linda Cranney stressed that there has been an abundance of break-ins on Oxtongue
and the Lake of Bays. She encouraged people to have a neighborhood watch by checking neighbors’ places on their morning walks if they’re not there, checking for tire tracks and kicked- in doors. She also encouraged asking unfamiliar people what they’re doing if they drive into other peoples’ driveways and suggested writing down plate numbers. Linda recommended taking a video of your cottage before leaving, particularly chain saws, weed-eaters, etc. There were prosecutions and they were not only kids or locals. Drugs are usually the reason, Linda said.
Water accidents- Linda remarked that this had been a bad year for drowning. There had been 16 in Ontario in the last week alone. She stressed that lifejackets are imperative for both parents and their children. Children should be within arm’s reach at all times in and near the water. Linda also said that there were a lot of alcohol charges and equipment charges this holiday weekend, even on small vessels. Bob Barnhart asked if one needed an anchor in a small vessel and Linda answered no, not if there is a paddle. Gary remarked that old life jackets do not work anymore. The Canadian Standard Approval certificate has to be legible. Also, American lifejackets are no good in Canada. They have to have the CSA certificate.
Bears- Put garbage, bird feeders and dog food away. Bears know where garbage is and will travel miles for food. Linda recommended putting garbage in bear bins that keep the smell out. She said that we should appreciate that we are in THEIR territory. The OPP will not get involved with a bear unless there is danger and they will not shoot a bear unless it is attacking. The bear hotline will be on the website and it is in the phonebook.
6. Website Update – Jim Grant directed people to an email master list at the door and asked everyone to sign since we want to create a new updated list. Jim said that the function of the website is to serve as a bulletin board and not make it redundant to other sites. The site mainly has current events and links. He remarked that he lives in Toronto and has to hear from people who live here. It would be ideal if there could be roving photographers for the various events. For example, there is a G8 at Deerhurst “behind the scenes” video on the website. He said it would be great to have slide shows of local artists and crafts people and local businesses. Any suggestions are more than welcome. Judy Clapp suggested that the names and contacts of the Executive Committee be on the front page. The bear hotline will be on the front page as well. Judy Clapp asked about the differentiation between OxtongueLake.ca and OxtongueLake.com, one being the community website and the other the business website. Jim remarked that perhaps the two could be consolidated at some point. Frank Tizel suggested putting OxtongueLake.ca on a sign or banner on the highway. Gary suggested putting a banner on the community hall. Gary said that it is all a work in progress and thanked Jim for all his hard work.
7. Oxtongue Naturalist and Stewardship Club – Ben announced that the UN has allocated 2010 as the year of biological diversity. This underlines how many species share this planet and how each one is vitally important. There is upwards of one hundred million species on the planet and each occupies its own niche. Ben mentioned that there is a link to a video about biodiversity on the website as well as a healthy waterfront, etc video through FOCA.
There will be a Values of Healthy Lake manual to pass to neighbors to help educate. It is on the website as well and can be printed out. Ben mentioned that Paul McInnis got all the lake stewards together to discuss important stewardship issues and the manual will come out in the Spring.
-August 14th, 2010 Beetle Lake Trail hike 1pm meet at Algonquin Outfitters
-August 9th, 2010, 6:30pm-9:30 pm at the community centre there will be an edible and medicinal plant talk by Alexis Burnett. It will be $5 per person.
If there are any environmental concerns, send Ben an email.
Gary mentioned that there had been a pair of nesting loons, they had had two eggs, one egg hatched and later the nest was destroyed, probably by gulls. The baby did not survive.
Jim Grant asked about bathing in the lake and what one should use. Paul MacInnes said NEVER bathe in the lake. It doesn’t matter what kind of soap you use. Frank Tizel suggested posting that information at all cottages. Paul MacInnis said that he had been working with Trent University students to create a manual to go in every dwelling and it should be out in a year from now.
Gary mentioned that the OLRA is now a part of a coalition with twenty-seven associations incorporating more that thirty lakes. Ben thanked Paul for everything he has done.
8. Threatened Gas Supply – Janet Helsel announced that in two years’ time, there will not be any gas available in the Oxtongue area. What with large companies taking over and environmental upgrades, the small town gas stations can no longer afford to keep the stations going. Helsels had to pay $5000 for upgrades this year alone and they’re getting squeezed out. Once the store revenue has to pay for gas, it’s not worth it. Diane Griffin said that she had not heard anything about this problem. A motion was made that the community authorizes the Executive to communicate with Council and members of Parliament and any other individuals deemed important to the inquiry. Motion to approve: Gisele Gunderman. Seconded by Fran Gower.
9. Bridge Update – They have started with the Oxtongue River bridge because it’s easier to do. It will take over a year with completion expected for late fall 2011. There is no rapid movement on the Narrows Bridge. Gary remarked that the government is trying to pull back stimulus money.
10. Fire Department – Ted Keown, District Fire Chief, gave the report. Because of all the drowning of late, it is now mandatory to wear life jackets rather than just having them in the canoe. The insurance will not cover the across-the-lake swim. This year there were 26 fire calls. The township hired a full-time training officer who will bring everyone up to a safe standard. Ted suggested that people renew batteries in smoke alarms when the clocks change. On the AO road and Tom Parris Trail, the firemen went to every cottage, checked detectors, gave people new batteries, did a plan of the driveways, propane tanks, etc. They found many out-of-date alarms and suggest changing them every 5 years. There should be no daytime fires. Burning is ok between 7pm and 7am but keep a good eye on it, especially if it’s windy. Gary announced that the new 911 numbers are blue and it’s the owner’s responsibility to keep it clearly in view. Scott Hayden has 25 years on the Fire Department. He has passed a milestone.
11. Snowmobile Club – Scott Hayden gave the report and gave condolences to Graham Tipple for the loss of his wife Dorothy and to Dan Strickland for the loss of his wife Madeleine this year. Scott said there were a lot of “firsts” this year. There was a Sled Fest where they invited Yamaha to bring snowmobiles so people could try them for free. It was a great success and Yamaha asked to come back. Other firsts included a young driver-training club, a Fish Derby that was the biggest ever. The lake now has Pike in it. The Snowmobile Club tries to work with landowners and each gets a gift if they participate. There was a Howl at the Moon during the full moon in February. The paid members of the snowmobile Club has almost doubled and now the names of paid members are publically displayed. For the future, the Club is looking to communicate with more landowners to allow people to go across their property. Permit sales were down and the permit costs went up.
12. Community Centre – Scott Hayden started the report on the Community Centre committee by saying it is now a committee of Council. They have regular meetings and have been able to get a new generator with the Build Canada Fund. There are new windows, new soffit fascia, and a new flagpole. Mimi Cliff is donating her time for the gardens. They are trying to acquire funding to fix up the kitchens but won’t know until the fall. Scott gave a special thank you to Carol Moffatt, Diane Griffin and Melissa Alfano. The hall’s use is way up with meetings, knitting classes, fish derby and yoga classes. Andrea Armstrong initiated a children’s program. Scott asked if anyone wanted the piano. Bob Barnhart asked if the hall was wheelchair accessible. The downstairs is wheelchair accessible, but not the upstairs.
13. Report from Council – Diane Griffin announced that there have been tax changes due to re- assessment. Last year there was a decrease of $59 for every $100,000 assessed. There are two new staff members: training officer Ryan Reesman and a full time staff member for the Trail Centre, Mark Kohlman. The Lesley Frost Centre water trail system is well used, and the program for winter camping is very successful. There are snowshoes and skis for rent. There are two new fire trucks, one for Dorset and one for Stanhope. Diane said that the lack of use of the community centre was a problem but because of the great community centre committee, we have been able to save it. There have been some staff changes. There is a new CAO W Dempster. The Treasurer resigned so there is an ad out for a new one and the CEO left the municipality so Mitchell Grady has taken over the responsibility.
Landfill- The Oxtongue Landfill is doing well. We have a Big Red that takes thirty skids of electronic waste out of the landfill. Dorset should have closed in 2000 but they have another three years. If you have an orange card you can go to Dorset. Diane reiterated that fire numbers are important. There was a presentation of the Official Plan on Thursday and she suggested going on their website to see the issues that were brought to Council. One item is to eliminate new wet slip boathouses. There is another public meeting in Dorset on August 28th at the recreation centre.
Airport – The airport expansion is currently on hold.
Municipal Election – October 25th is Election Day. All the details are on the Council website. Diane has put her name on the nomination papers. She said if she were elected she would try to represent in the best way. Fran Gower appealed to Council to either reduce our taxes or increase our dump hours to the same as everyone else’s. Bob Barnhart expressed concern about the building department and asked it Mitch Grady was still available and if the inspection process was status quo. Diane said a new appointment to the building department would be made quickly. Carol Moffatt emphasized the importance of voting. She encouraged people to contact the local representative and know what they stand for.
13. Airport – Paul MacInnis announced that the airport will be delayed until after the election. There were over 200 emails from concerned people regarding the environmental assessment, and financial and societal impact. Paul said that Council has been taking bad advice. Total budget was $425,000 and already 1.3 – 1.4 million dollars have been spent. Our taxes have to go up to support this outlay. It was noted that when asked about expansion of the airport, the Reeve said there would be no expansion but as soon as she was elected, the airport was number one priority. Jane Tizel asked why do they need an airport? What happened to Democracy? Frank Tizel asked if there was any media attention in Toronto. Paul replied that stories had been submitted to national media. Gary announced that someone from the County Voice was at the back of the room. Gary remarked that in an economy like today, there are certain “needs” such as water, waste disposal, and senior housing but the airport is under the “like to have” category. Every business is reviewing its priorities in this financial climate.
14. New Business – Tracie Parrott announced that the Algonquin Highlands Farm will have an open house on August 25th from 4 – 7pm. There will be pony rides and a pig roast. There are over 90 acres on the farm and some people had expressed concerns so Tracie invited anyone to drop in if the gate is open and she would be happy to answer any questions.
John Salvagna asked when the dam is going to be re-built. The ice has pushed the rocks down so the dam is practically gone. His concern is that the water level in the lake will be very low. Gary remarked that the water is considerably low and the temperature of the water in May was 80 degrees. Fish were dying on the shoreline. Money is there to fix the dam. Tracie said that because there is a baby bass habitat at the dam, she has concerns about bringing heavy equipment in. Scott Hayden said that as far as the Ministry was concerned we have the responsibility for the dam and we should not have to get an environmental assessment to deal with it. Ted Keown suggested getting fencing to slow down the water. It was unanimously decided that there should be an onsite look at the dam.
Fran Gower asked how members were feeling about the meeting time of the AGM and suggested that it could be changed to the Wednesday after the long weekend. Jim Elliott responded that there would be extreme fallout of people at the meeting if we were to have it mid-week.
Wendy Swift announced that there is a new bus service from Toronto to Algonquin Outfitters. It’s the ParkBus.com.
Graham Tipple had an historical anecdote: at the first meeting of the OLRA, six people turned out. The dues were $1. The level of the water was the most important issue that day (as it continues to be).
John Salvagna asked if one can get on the voter’s list by calling the municipal office. Diane suggested calling to find out. One can send an email to Angie and ask if you’re on the list. If not you have to show up at the office with a photo id. Jim Elliott asked if there could be a voter’s registration at Oxtongue on Labor Day weekend. Carol Moffatt said if they find out the answer to that question she would contact Jim Grant.