MINUTES OF THE 48TH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE OXTONGUE LAKE RATEPAYERS ASSOCIATION AUGUST 1st, 2011, 10:00 AM
OXTONGUE LAKE COMMUNITY CENTRE
- Call to order and Opening Remarks – Scott Hayden called the meeting to order and welcomed the full house. He gave special thanks to the Oxtongue Cooks, members of the community who had brought various food samples from the upcoming Oxtongue Cooks recipe book. Scott also mentioned that he was acting as interim President as Gary Schultz had taken a Council position but was now moving to Costa Rica. He added that Gary’s leaving had caused a vacuum in the community and his presence will be missed. Scott welcomed the guests: Reeve Carol Moffat and Michel Potvin who planned to speak about high speed internet on Oxtongue. Scott noted that there had been some business changes on Oxtongue over the previous year and introduced Jeff Belhemeur, the new owner of Lakewoods, Ray ? the new owner of Algonquin Inn and new residents, Rod and Bonny ? who have moved to Keysberry Drive. Lastly, Scott drew everyone’s attention to the cushy new chairs, a new purchase for the Oxtongue Community Centre. Motion to approve the Agenda: Judy Clapp. Seconded by Frank Tizel.
- Approval of Minutes – Motion to approve: Liz Lindsay. Seconded by Geoff Holden.
- Treasurer’s Report – Liz Margarucci presented the Treasurer’s report and budget for 2010.Motion to accept Treasurer’s Report: Lisa Gates. Seconded by Gisele Gunderman.
- Threatened Gas Supply – Scott told the group that the gas crisis had been on the Agenda last year and there had been a motion to go to Council but with Gary leaving the Executive and going on Council, the issue was not followed through. Scott introduced Collin Smith from Parkway to discuss the issue again. Collin said that there would be no more gas in the area within 18 months without help from the township. Ben Yates told everyone that if this were to occur, there would be increased incidents with gas and gasoline with accidents involving kids and women and people would start hoarding gasoline. Collin said that we need help to keep at least one gas station in the area. Scott asked Carol Moffatt if the issue was ever brought to Council and she said no. Township cannot get involved but she can make phone calls and find out who can help. Jeff Belhemeur asked if the media had been contacted. Lisa Yates suggested contacting the Globe and Mail. Collin remarked that you must increase the price enormously if you have tanks above ground and Wilbur Blackman asked how much the price of gas would have to be increased to remain. Mike ? suggested that we start a cooperative and all buy shares since we all have a vested interest in the lack of gas. Collin responded by saying that would open a can of worms what with responsibility and liability issues. Judy Clapp said that the Chamber of Commerce should involve themselves since they promote the area and government officials affect tourist business. Ken Williams said that this is a Federal government issue and they are trying to squeeze out the little companies. Unless you get to the Federal government, you cannot affect change according to Ken. Scott asked if anyone would be willing to write a letter to the newspaper. Jim Grant said he would correspond with Chad Ingram at the ? and ask if he could bring all this together in an article. Lisa Yates said she would get involved via email. Carol Moffatt said she could be involved on a support level and asked that all letters that we write be ccd to the Township. A committee was formed with Lisa Yates, Ben, Collin Smith, Judy Clapp and Liz Lindsay.
5. Regatta Report – ? Zavitz gave the report and told everyone that the Regatta was successful with a great turnout. $1300 was raised in support of the Oxtongue Lake Community and Fire Department. There was a three-way tie for the Art Andrews Trophy: Shannon Rowan, Christina Pongetti and Louise Jarvie. Pat Rowan won the Tom Parris Trophy. She thanked the sponsors and donors and volunteers for their support. She asked that anyone who took photos of the Regatta to please send them to Jim Grant and announced that next year the Regatta will be run by the Ferguson family, Amanda and Jacky, with the “blessing of the elders”.
6. Internet Tower – Michel Potvin said that his meeting with Council had gone well but he had received a letter from the MNR stating that he would have to pay $3000 the first year and $2500 a year after that to lease the land where he had hoped to put his tower. There are no funds for him to pay that much. He had been knocking on doors but so far there had been no response from people giving him access to their land. Jane Tizel asked how much the new internet would cost. He responded: $ 59.95 per month or seasonal for between $440 and $540. He is currently offering free installation and wireless router for a twelve-month incentive. There would be over 14 GB data use and an extra charge above that for $2 per GB. It would be as high as 10 -20 megabytes, up and down. Frank Lista remarked that the white tower had upgraded their signal to 5GB. Chris Woods asked how noticeable the new tower would be and Michel responded by saying 5-10 feet above the tree line. ? Copland expressed concern about what the tower will look like since he lives right under the white tower. He asked why we can’t piggyback on the white tower. Michel responded that there was no way to attach to it. Jim Grant asked what the timeframe would be once there was a go-ahead. Michel said at least a month.
- Website Update – Jim Grant started his update by passing on a message from Shirley at the dump: make sure to bring everything in clear plastic bags. Jim described the website as a perpetuating bulletin board and mentioned that Wilbur Blackman had sent in some great pictures. He added that the more stories and photos the better and please send in suggestions, tributes, essays on what you do, etc. Jim said he would be happy to relinquish the web guy position but the response was clearly that he is in this for life. Lisa Yates suggested getting rid of some of the old website news and putting some of the events on the calendar. Jim asked how many people visit the website once a month and many people raised their hands. Scott announced three cheers for Jim!Scott mentioned that we need a place for a bulletin board and the best place is the dump since everyone goes there. Carol said the best place for long term placement would be under cover. She suggested putting a board above Big Red. Scott proposed to ask the Township for a message board. Motion to accept: John Gunderman. Seconded by Gary Nelson.
- Stewardship Report – Ben Teske, owner of the Wolf Den, requested that the group close their eyes and imagine themselves sitting by the lake at sunset, smelling smoke from a campfire, feeling a gentle breeze and listening to the call of the loon. He wanted to call attention to the loon as an important member of our community. There are many threats to loons including acid rain, mercury levels, changes in water levels and even the Gulf oil spill. Loons spend the winter and their first couple of years on the Gulf. Human activity is a huge threat to the loons, especially around nesting sites. The wakes from boats and personal water craft can wash away the shore, dogs, canoeists and kayakers coming too close to the nests can scare the adult loons away leaving the nest open to predators. Loons only have two eggs. Loons can get entangled in fishing lines and garbage. Ben said he pulls garbage out of the lake all the time. Loss of habitat is another threat to loons. Ben wants to encourage healthy shorelines and food chains, reducing wake near nesting sites. One should see loons as families and not separate them. Use lead free tackle: loons ingest little pebbles for their digestion and if they ingest leaded tackle it can kill
them. Ben presented loon signs from Bird Studies Canada that will be posted by nesting sites and Loon Alert signs to post where people launch their boats and go into the water. Fran Gower asked about a loon float and Ben responded that we had been looking into it. Loons can live up to 30 years. Liz Lindsay said she had only seen one loon this year and there had been no nesting. Last year the eggs never hatched. Ben ended his report by handing out sheets to post in rental cottages about the Do’s and Don’t’s in the Kitchen and the Bathroom.
9. Narrows Bridge Update – Scott said the bridge construction will begin next June with a Bailey Bridge on the north side. Rich Swift added that they will be using an old military bridge and will be taking the Algonquin Outfitter diamond of trees by the highway and although the white cottage across from Algonquin Inn may stay, they will take some beautiful pines. They will close off access to Hwy 60 at Blue Spruce for the duration of the bridge. Carol Moffatt mentioned that Ryan Wetstone recommends moving the stoplight further back for the safety for people coming out of driveways. Julie Smith asked if the new highway proposal includes sidewalks and the answer was no, there will be no sidewalks on any new bridge but there will be a 4 foot wide biking lane on both sides of the road.
10. Fire Department – Ted Keown, District Fire Chief, gave the report. He said there are 14 members of the Oxtongue Fire Department: Scott Hayden and Ken Williams are the Fire Captains and eleven firefighters. Ryan Rees is the new chief training officer. They meet four times a week and they have had 12-1500 training hours since November 1st, 2010. Thankfully we are in a low call area – from November to today there have been twelve calls: medical, motor vehicle, no fires, and search and rescue. The lack of fires means that the cottagers are well trained. It is compulsory to check smoke detectors. Ted has retired and is moving to Huntsville but he will keep his thumb in the fire department. It is not known who the new District Chief will be: Scott says no way and Ken is reluctant.
Ryan Reese gave a short talk about how the cottage care program sums up safety issues. Make sure smoke alarms are all working properly. Winter is a very hazardous time. There should be at least one 5 lb fire extinguisher at the cottage and there should be a plan. Tell people when you’re going away and have a signaling device. Remove light combustibles away from the cottage and keep firewood away from the cottage. Inspect fuel-burning appliances from time to time.
Ted added that one of the firefighters, Bunny Lemereux, has had a crisis in his life. His son was in a diving accident that resulted in severe spinal injury. Ted asked that donations of money be made to Bunny and his family.
11. Snowmobile Club – Tim Drouin gave the report. He said that a long time club member, Carl Ottaway had passed away this winter. The Club events were all successful including the Chili Cookout. Landowner packages were sent out this year with a gift of doe skin gloves with the ASC logo on them. Sixty people were paid up as members. They had had a pretty good year with a few obstacles from Mother Nature: heavy snow caused trees to come down so they had to use excavators to clear the brush. A bridge was replaced since a Beaver dam had been built under it. A total of 1, 375 volunteer hours by Club members were logged in. Our trails were the first to open and the last to close in the District and there were 441 grooming hours this season. The tractor had transmission issues and went down on March 6th. Permit sales were up by 4.3%. Stay tuned for a new event in September that will involve golf clubs.
12. Community Centre Report – John Gunderman recognized the members of the committee: Fran Gower, Scott Hayden, Judy Clapp, Shelly Cousantine, Joan Diamond, Marni Brethour, Council Representative Lisa Barry, Staff Representative Melissa Alfano and a new member Tom Smith,
the caretaker and custodian. John gave special thanks to Mimi Drouin for the upkeep of the gardens. John listed all the new items that have been purchased for the community centre this year: sixty new chairs and twelve new tables, wall coverings/shades, a projector, cooking utensils, flag pole, and a new commercial dishwasher to be delivered. In the budget for this year is an outdoor sign and floor refinishing. There were thirty activities this year and Carol Moffatt will host an official Council Meeting at the community centre on August 13th , an unprecedented event. Thank you, Carol.
Fran Gower spoke about the Canada Day celebration and said it was a great day in both attendance and participation. The new craft show was super and Gillian Thomas attended with her African drums. Stormy the clown entertained the kids and Ben Teske did a presentation on the local environment on the new projector. Fran thanked the Council for being so cooperative. Special thanks went out to Al Margarucci, Bunny Lemereux and Julia Child (Chris Woods). Jim Grant asked about the person one goes to in order to rent the hall and John answered Melissa Alfono. The fee is $40/day with a lesser fee for an hour or two. Jim G. asked John to write up something for the Website.
13. Cottage Watch – Gisele Gunderman talked about the history of the new Cottage Watch program. The initial people who met were: Julie Smith, Liz Lindsay, Mimi Cliffe, and Jan and Chris Woods. Five signs are for sale at $20 each – first come first serve- and window and door decals are available for free. Gisele thanked Andrea Armstrong for designing the Cottage Watch brochure. Gisele spoke about choosing the road coordinators and the list is on the website. We as owners of property have a key role in Cottage Watch and Gisele stressed that we need to get to know our neighbors and their patterns. Report and talk to the road coordinators and leave a number where you can be reached when you go away. Fran asked if a list could be available to the community. If everyone gave consent, then it could go to the community. Most likely due to the Cottage Watch program, it has been an uneventful year. Jim Grant acknowledged what Gisele has done for the community by setting up the Cottage Watch program.
14. Report from Council – Carol Moffatt remarked that the relationship between Oxtongue and Council is better. With Gary’s leaving Council, Carol said that Council has sixty days to appoint a new person for Council or run a by-election. Jim will get information to everyone through the website. On August 13th at the Oxtongue Community Centre there will be a Council meeting at which time there can be questions from the public. Carol will answer questions about the position and we can decide then based on what we hear. Anyone in Algonquin Highlands can run providing that person is a Canadian citizen. The decision will be made on the 8th. Carol mentioned the new staff members of Council: The new CAO, Angie Bird, Treasurer Tammie ?, Clerk Dawn Newhook, Building Inspector Mitchell O’Grady and Assistant CAO Laurie ?.
The new website address is: www.algonquinhighlands.ca. All agendas and Minutes are on the W eb.
Landfill – Dorset and Hawk Lake landfills only have a few years left after which time they will become stations. We have diverted 50 tons of recycle waste from our dump.
Roads – The highest expenditure of Council goes to roads. 2.1 million has been spent. All the Oxtongue roads have been getting tarred and chipped.
Lagoon – The problem is that there is only one. There are 12 inches of freeboard and when it rain a lot, the lagoon fills with rainwater and has to be closed. There is a feasibility study for a second pond.
Hazardous Waste – Hazardous waste days are on September 3rd in Dorset and October 8th at Maple Lake in case the Oxtongue Hazard Waste Day was missed on August 1st.
Cultural Planning – Ministry of Culture is offering funding for keeping cottage stories, history, etc. Carol suggested that Fran Gower get involved in the process.
Fire Department – Carol appreciates the fire department’s effort. She had a card for Bunny and Lynne Lemereux.
Taxes – There was an 8.1 million dollar budget. Our taxes have decreased. There have been general increases such a fuel, full time training etc. Some of the costs include: water trail – $14,000; OPP costs – $26,000; Building Dept – $9000 for a boat and motor; generators – $10,000 that has allowed the Oxtongue Lake Community Centre to become an emergency shelter; road re- surfacing – $246,000; community cash – $4500; new refrigerator in Dorset – $11,000. There is a limited budget so the Council has to make difficult decisions. There are two million dollars in Algonquin Highlands of unpaid taxes.
Airport Project – This project was an unpopular concept yet the previous Council voted in favour of the project. Until such time the present Council rescinds it, it is still on the books. The present Council has brought in lawyers, talked to contractors and the environmental assessment remains unchanged. The outgoing Council left it unsigned so the present Council must go through research and negotiations. The MNR might re-locate to the Stanhope airport from Haliburton Village. Carol said that the present Council has paid off the line of credit.
Carol praised the Recreation Committee for their work in saving and upgrading the community Centre.
Rich Swift clarified that as a goodwill gesture, Algonquin Outfitters provided the canoes to the Haliburton Highland Water Trails and Frost Centre. They did not charge them. Fran thanked Carol for lowering our taxes and asked if we could have a recycle building/exchange shed at the dump. Carol will take it back to Council. Fran also asked for 21 hours of dump hours in the winter. Carol “duly noted” her request. Bob Barnhart asked if it were possible to get a working agreement with the Dwight lagoon. Carol will check on that request. Marilyn Farber said how smart we are for voting Carol in as our Reeve.
15. Dam and Water Report – Chris Woodfield gave the report and said that he had gone to the dam, had contacted the MNR and was re-organizing lots of paper. Scott said there was nothing to dam this year: Mother Nature was both a problem and a solution. The Ministry will have nothing to do with the dam anymore. We do not have dam insurance now so Scott emphasized that we should re-instate it. Frank Tizel made a motion to get insurance. Geoff Holden seconded it. Chris Woodfield took the Dam File with him.
16. New Business – Lisa Yates asked if we could get the cost of the loon platforms. Ben said he would look into it.
17. Election – The slate of remaining officers for the OLRA Executive 2011/2012 is: Ben Teskey, Liz Margarucci, John Lawrence, Jim Grant and Scott Hayden. Betsy Siegfried is stepping down as Secretary. Lori Hollingsworth, Dave Armstrong and John Gunderman were on the new slate of officers. Fran Gower made the motion to accept the new slate of officers. Jane Tizel seconded it.
18. Oxtongue Cooks – Gisele Gunderman showed a copy of the new Oxtongue Cooks cookbook to the group. She announced that we are up to 327 orders. They are $15 each and we are ordering 450 copies. They should be ready in 2-3 weeks. There was a sign-up sheet at the back of the room to pre-order. Jan Woods thanked everyone who participated and Gisele thanked the cooks who were at the meeting with their food. People who live in the States can have their books shipped. Jane Tizel asked where the books might be purchased after the initial ones have sold and Gisele and Jan said that remains to be seen. The purchase of aprons and chef’s hats are a possibility. Jan only ordered six sets but she will coordinate ordering more if there are more requests. Wilbur Blackman thanked all the recipe book people.
Fran mentioned that Gisele and Julie have a booth at the Farmer’s Market in Huntsville every Thursday.
Motion to close the meeting was made by Liz Lindsay. Lisa Yates seconded it. Meeting Adjourned
Respectfully submitted by Betsy Siegfried