Fall colours traffic control in AH a success
By Chad Ingram
An experiment using a hired company to help control tourist traffic during the busy fall foliage season in Algonquin Highland has proven effective, staff say, with the township’s director of parks, rec and trails saying he’d like to repeat the practice next year.
As previously reported, this year the Township of Algonquin Highlands hired company People Ready to supply staff to help control the thousands of visitors who flock to the Dorset Tower to see the leaves on and around Thanksgiving weekend, when colours typically peak. The company also stationed four personnel in the hamlet of Oxtongue Lake, which is located near the entrance to Algonquin Park, and for years has experienced problems with trespassing during the peak of fall foliage.
The company was hired for the
Thanksgiving weekend, as well as the weekends before and after. The
costs for the tower were anticipated at $22,000, the costs for the
patrolling of Oxtongue Lake at about $3,600. In addition, three paid
duty OPP officers were requested to assist with traffic at the tower,
located along Highway 35.
“Overall, this worked out fantastically,” parks, rec and trails manager Chris Card told Algonquin Highlands councillors during a Nov. 7 meeting.
“We were able to have more people on the property at the tower,” Card said, explaining having the additional staffing made it possible to more efficiently move people through.
During the three weekends, more than 2,900 passenger cars
went through the gates at the tower, more than 1,000 more than during
the same time period last year. There were also more than 2,200 people
who entered by foot, walking up the hill to the lookout point. With
increased traffic as well as an increase in admission fees this year,
along with kiosk sales, the three weekends totalled more than $57,000 in
revenue. Revenues for the same period in 2018 were just less than
Card told council he would like to use the additional staffing again next year.
Overall, for the year, after costs, the township’s interim treasurer said the tower was on pace to net about $50,000.