Minutes of the 52nd Annual General Meeting
Oxtongue Lake Ratepayers Association
August 7, 2015, 9:00 AM
Oxtongue Lake Community Centre
1. Call to Order and Opening Remarks. Andrea Armstrong called the meeting to order and welcomed the members in attendance. Andrea thanked the providers of the muffins and expressed her hope that people enjoyed the meet and greet prior to the commencement of the meeting. Andrea introduced the executive committee: herself, as President, Scott Hayden, as Vice President, Brian Lambert, as Treasurer, David Armstrong, as Secretary, Brandi Bailey, Rick Linklater, John Lawrence and Jana Zavitz. Andrea stated that the focus of the executive has been increased communication, with newsletters by email, and enhancements to the website. Those two things have been an attempt to show value to the membership (including those that do not attend the AGM), and to increase the outreach of the association. One of the OLA’s bylaws contemplates that we provide a central source of information for the lake and the various subcommittees. We would like, moving forward, to increase the membership and supporters of the OLA and community. As explained on the website, there are now categories for members and boosters, and Andrea explained the intended distinction between the two. Andrea welcomed Councillor Marlene Kyle and thanked her for her service to the community and for attending the meeting.
2. Approval of the Agenda. Motion to approve the Agenda for the present meeting: Frank Tizel; seconded by Jane Tizel. Carried.
3. Approval of Minutes. Motion to approve the Minutes from the 2014 meeting: Jana Zavitz; seconded by Wilbur Blackman. Carried.
4. Treasurer’s Report. Brian Lambert presented the Treasurer’s report. Motion to accept Treasurer’s report: Chris Woods; seconded by Jim Elliott. Carried.
5. Cottage Watch and Other Policing Matters. Paul Bailey, head of Cottage Watch, introduced himself and explained he has been coming to the lake for 45 years. In his capacity as head of Cottage Watch, Paul has had a number of meetings with the head of Huntsville OPP, where they spoke about about more effort being put forth by the OPP to police the lake. The OPP liaison was invited to Canada Day, and he showed up. Paul has tried to clarify the role of the OPP, as it relates to the lake. Oxtongue is the furthest away from both Minden and Huntsville, when you look at a lake. Minden and Huntsville has developed a joint plan for the policing of the Oxtongue Lake area. Patrol cars are going to have GPS locators so that the dispatcher can know who is in the best position to respond. The OPP agreed to do a “blitz” up here to try to determine the issues, including the engine brakes coming across the bridge (which is incredibly loud). Paul doesn’t want to make this a one-way street – we want to help them, as well. To that end, Cottage Watch has been successful, and definitely has not been overrun with crime. Very few crimes, and the most consistent complaint has been noise! Algonquin Highlands website allows you to log a complaint. Paul explained that it helps to keep a log, or even record the noise if you intend file a bylaw complaint on noise. Paul offered to go to court with any member, if there is any intimidation. OPP was called twice about noise in the past year – Paul explained that, after hours, it is best to call the OPP, but otherwise better to make the bylaw complaint. Overall, things have generally been good for Cottage Watch. Liaison officer is changing, and we are getting good response from the OPP. The other pressing issue that came to the OPP’s attention is the 80 kph stretch and the S-turn. It’s a dangerous stretch, and we don’t want a fatality, so this is under review by the OPP.
6. Regatta Report. Jana Zavitz read the report on behalf of resort guest and commodore, Joe Spagnuola. The regatta was a little more complicated than in the past, because it was not a cottager in charge. Joe was helped by a host of volunteers led by Amanda Ferguson. There will be a full list of volunteer thank yous on the website. Jana read specific thank yous to the local businesses, including: AO, Blue Spruce, Station 70, and Oxtongue Lake Cottages; and to Jim Rowan, Harold the sound guy, John and Ross from Oxtongue Lake Cottages, and the Ferguson-Pass family for all of their help and in-kind donations. Art Andrews Trophy: McKinley Zavitz; Kevin Thomas won the Tom Parris Trophy (each one got a paddle from AO). Approximately $1900 profit from the Regatta. Want to look at doing the Regatta a little bit differently next year. May be better to do it by committee, but not necessarily laying it all on one person.
7. Lake Steward. In lieu of a report, Tom Smith showed a movie on septic systems and related issues. It was well received, and the group decided to watch the whole 20 minute movie, rather than just a sample.
8. Website. Andrea Armstrong provided a demonstration of the new website. Thank you to Nora at Baytides for the many volunteered hours. Also to Mark Sherman, a new resident, who will take on the task of keeping the website up to date. It may always be a work in progress. Andrea spoke about security and privacy: very important to us that it be both secure and private. Our previous website was open to everyone. Now, we have a secure part of the site – behind a “closed door” for members and boosters only. Not everyone needs to see all of our website pictures. There is essentially a private and public part of the website. We can enact more and different doors. Andrea noted that we want input to help us build out the product – we don’t have all the answers, and want to encourage the community to be the ones who develop the content and make it worthwhile
9. Fire Services Report. Presented by Mike Cavanagh, Fire Chief for Algonquin Highlands fire service. Algonquin Highlands has three stations: Oxtongue, Dorset and Stanhope. Mike noted that there are 60 firefighters, with 13 here at Oxtongue, and that they are always looking for new members. With respect to the Oxtongue Lake community, there are typically between 30 and 40 calls annually, but we are up by 5 calls this year. The fire services are in the process of replacing the rescue truck here at Oxtongue, and the truck has been ordered and is in production. Should help our service dramatically. Working on things to enhance communications, including radio communications. With respect to smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms, the law has changed such that there is one required on each story, and outside the sleeping quarters. The fire service responds on vehicular accidents that include injuries. Make sure to know the exact address (GPS locator is not perfect). Burning season (no daytime burning during the April 30 – Oct 31 season). Current rating is high, so please use caution.
10. Township Council Report. Unfortunately, Carol Moffatt (the Reeve) could not attend due to personal reasons, so Marlene Kyle spoke in her stead. Marlene thanked the group for its ongoing support. Marlene noted that Council is not facing as many controversial issues at the moment – the biggest issue from the last term was the airport, and that has been resolved and is in the past. Marlene provided a report on the airport, the hangars and the MNR report. Policing was a big issue last year because of the new funding model. It is costing us more money on our taxes, but the community’s support was helpful in managing the response to the funding model. It has been somewhat restructured in order to keep the costs down to a more reasonable level. Ongoing process, but we are in a 5-year phase in stage. When Council met at the start of the term, the priorities they set were: the airport, and how to generate revenue from that land, cultural planning committee, come and meet your councillors events, recreating the website to enhance it, other communications initiatives, and economic development plans (but that’s in the infancy, at best, stage). Our community centre has had a very active and vibrant year. Much easier to defend the cost of the centre. No longer in a “why do we even bother to have it” discussion mode. Thanks to the Mason family for their donation of the new video screen in the Community Centre.
11. Closing Remarks. Presented by Andrea Armstrong:
· Special thanks to Tim Drouin, Chris and Jan Woods, and Joan Dymond, who are the heads of the snowmobile club, OLAC and OLCCC, respectively.
· Speech from the crowd about the Tom Parris picture.
· Question from Fran Gower re: the dam. There has not been a great deal of discussion around the dam. It is always going to be an issue. The water level is low, but has not been unusually low. It’s a balance between those that want to walk around the lake versus those that want to boat. Water level has been reasonable for the last couple of years.
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12. Adjournment. There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.