AH applies for funding for tower
By Chad Ingram
The following are brief reports of items discussed during a Sept. 5 meeting of Algonquin Highlands council.
The township will apply to a provincial funding program for major upgrades to the Dorset tower and the property on which it’s located.
That application will be to the Community Culture and Recreation stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. That program funds projects with a total value of up to $5 million, with costs shared between the three levels of government. The guidelines state that municipalities can request up to nearly 74 per cent of project funding, meaning they must provide a minimum of just more than 26 per cent of the cost.
Councillors discussed possible projects including new parking, boardwalks and viewing platforms at Buttermilk Falls and upgrades to community halls, but ultimately the decision came down to applying for funding for upgrades to the tower or to repair the damaged Hawk Lake Log Chute and upgrade its surrounding parkette.
The chute was badly damaged by flooding in the spring of 2017 and while the township has been trying to deal with the situation through its insurance plan, the chute remains damaged.
“It’s infrastructure that we own and has been damaged and has been sitting there, in my mind, for too long,” said Deputy Mayor Liz Danielsen.
Mayor Carol Moffatt also said work needed to be done on the chute and its surrounding parkette, but noted she was trying not to say too much about the issue since she has such a personal connection to the site.
In her pre-political life, Moffatt oversaw the reconstruction of the log chute in the early 2000s, a project that took six years to complete. It was a re-creation of the structure that has existed at the site since 1861. During the logging boom of the 19th century, the log chute was used to pass timber from the Hawk Lakes into the Kennisis River, which flows into Halls Lake, where a sawmill once existed.
“We need to commit to a plan for the log chute,” Moffatt said.
Other members of council expressed preference for the tower, and Moffatt said that if the township was going to go that direction, she would at least like acknowledgment from council that the chute was in need of a long-term plan, which members agreed was the case.
The work at the tower would include landscaping, roadway improvements and upgrades to the tower itself, as well as development of other viewpoints on the property. The township will hire a consulting/engineering firm to provide cost estimates for the project, with a budget for those services of up to $8,000. Council needs to approve the application amount by its first November meeting in order to meet the deadline.
Spray foam insulation doesn’t come cheap
The township will have spray foam insulation installed at Hangar D, the commercial hangar at the Stanhope Airport, at a total cost of more than $100,000.
As previously reported, an inspection of the hangar found mould and revealed work, including the installation of new insulation, that needed to be done before the hangar could be leased to new clients.
In July, council approved the public works department to put out a tender for the work, and councillors were surprised at the figures that came back. The township received three bids, ranging from $99,000 plus applicable taxes, to $156,500 plus applicable taxes. Council chose the lowest bid.
“I was shocked at the amounts,” said Mayor Carol Moffatt.
“Going with the spray foam is definitely the way to go for this type of building,” said public works director Adam Thorn.
Deputy Mayor Liz Danielsen asked if the hangar was the township’s most profitable, and chief administrative officer Angie Bird said it was, when it was occupied.
Danielsen asked if there are at least clients interested in the hangar, and Thorn said there were two interested parties. The money will come from airport development reserves.
The hangar leases for $9,500 a year.