Dorset Tower promoting cash-free visits
By Sue Tiffin
Algonquin Highlands council discussed a staff proposal to make fees at Dorset Tower payable by credit or debit card only in part to lessen administration time in managing cash payments at the popular tourism destination.
Though council agreed with the reasons behind the recommendation at a Dec. 12 council meeting, they questioned the legality of not accepting legal tender at the township attraction.
“There’s currency of the country, are you allowed to deny people paying with the currency of the country?” Mayor Carol Moffatt asked, echoing a concern from Deputy Mayor Liz Danielsen, who had asked if not accepting cash would be legal.
Staff and council discussed possibly encouraging the use of payment by credit or debit card rather than cash through staff at the tower, making the guideline part of an internal procedure as opposed to through an official bylaw. Denying cash entirely would pose problems for those who only carry cash, or who are international visitors whose cards might not work on Canadian-based machines.
“Could we go as far as having something made that says in big letters, credit and debit preferred,” asked Moffatt.
Councillor Lisa Barry recommended an incentive to pay by card rather than cash, perhaps a discount on fees for those opting to use plastic over paper.
“I have a problem with us saying we’re not going to accept the legal tender of the country, but I do like the idea of putting a sign up that says, debit and credit payments preferred,” said Danielsen. “…see if that makes an improvement.”
Algonquin Highlands CAO Angie Bird said tapping cards on portable point of sale machines also makes the payment process quicker when lines are long at the tower and might be considered enhancement if the township is successful in their bid for an Investing in Canada’s Infrastructure Program grant.
Council agreed to circle back for further discussion on the payment process after trialing encouragement of non-cash payment.