Future of Young Eagles up in the air
By Angelica Ingram
The following are brief reports of items discussed during a Dec. 10 meeting of Algonquin Highlands council.
The popular Young Eagles program run out of the Stanhope airport might be in trouble due to a decline in the number of volunteer pilots.
The news was delivered to council by Algonquin Highlands Deputy-reeve Liz Danielsen, who said the airport committee, of which she is a member, was having difficulty trying to find pilots.
The event which is held held every June takes children up in the air in private planes for a scenic tour of the county. The flight is free for the children and is always met with enthusiasm.
Danielsen suggested council look at ways to make it more appealing to volunteers, who offer their time, talents and airplane to the program.
One idea she brought up was pilots requesting getting the fuel for the flights at cost. Currently they get a 10 per cent discount on fuel.
The deputy-reeve said the event is well attended and just in need of more volunteers.
Suspension bridge for Beetle Lake?
Councillors may consider putting in a suspension bridge for the Beetle Lake Trail, following a presentation they heard from Scott Ewart of Elevation Aerial Design.
The proposal from the company that specializes in aerial structure design included constructing a suspension bridge at the tune of approximately $85,000. Ewart said a traditional bridge would cost the township somewhere around $150,000.
Apart from a cost savings perspective, a suspension bridge would be a “tourist attraction,” he said, drawing people to the area.
The dollar figure given to council by Ewart includes everything, from engineering to materials and labour.
The suspension bridge would typically have a 15-25 year lifespan, depending on what type of material is used, and could be designed in a way to prohibit motorized vehicles from going on it.
Reeve Carol Moffatt said council was not ready to make a decision on the bridge as they were just entering budget discussions, however a bridge for the trail was necessary, she said.
Danielsen believes a suspension bridge would be a great attraction.
“We’ll wait and see what the budget says,” said councillor Brian Lynch.
Highway 60 traffic problems
Ongoing traffic problems along Highway 60 are causing concern among Oxtongue Lake and area residents.
The area in particular is along the stretch of the highway leading into Algonquin Park, said councillor Marlene Kyle.
Oxtongue Lake is located 10 kilometres from the west entrance of Algonquin Park, with highway 60 the only access into the park. The community has a number of resorts, businesses and township roads that can only be accessed from the highway as well.
The traffic is so backed up during the summer months it is affecting area businesses and residents, said Kyle. Emergency services is also at risk.
Councillors discussed a number of things that could be done to address the issue, including better signage in the area, or discussions with the Ministry of Transportation or Algonquin Park.
Kyle suggested money be put aside in next year’s budget to tackle the issue.
“We don’t want to discourage people from coming, we just want to manage it better,” she said.
Moffatt suggested taking the issue to the Good Roads conference next year.
Councillors agreed to have staff look into the matter.
Dorset museum looks at building addition
The Dorset Museum Committee is getting the wheels in motion to construct an addition onto their building.
Committee chairwoman Kerry Lock submitted a letter to council requesting approval to go ahead and obtain drawings for an addition, to be used for storing museum records and artifacts, along with creating a receiving area.
“The proposal will include diagrams showing the design overview and site plan data and will cost approximately $600 to prepare, along with project cost estimates for the overall renovation,” wrote Lock in her letter. “We need approval from council to support this initial expense from our current operating budget for which there are sufficient funds available.”
If the project is approved, it will be funded through the museum’s reserves and by the Friends of the Dorset Museum.
No date has been set at this point for construction, as the committee is wanting to see cost estimates first.
Councillors approved the committee’s request. Any future plans to build will need to get council’s approval.