Insurance payout doesn't cover the cost of log chute repair
By Chad Ingram
While the Township of Algonquin Highlands is receiving insurance money for the damaged Hawk Lake log chute, the amount does not cover the costs of replacing the structure, and the township’s insurance company will no longer insure it.
The issue of the chute, which was badly damaged by flooding in May of 2017, came up during the course of council’s budget discussions on Feb. 20. The township’s insurance provider will pay $215,000 for the damages, “and then has advised that it won’t insure it anymore,” said Mayor Carol Moffatt.
“We know to rebuild it as is, is just under $500,000,” Moffatt said, unless some sort of fundraising campaign was devised.
The topic of the chute emerged as councillors discussed $10,800 that had been included in the township’s 2020 draft budget for design services for upgrades to a small park located at the log chute site, along Big Hawk Lake Road.
Deputy Mayor Liz Danielsen said she thought the park was in need of the work.
“We’re not using the park, and there’s some real issues with that park . . . I would hate to see us not do something there,” Danielsen said.
While Moffatt said she agreed there needed to be improvements made to the park, she said she didn’t think that made sense so long as the log chute remained damaged.
“I think this needs to be a bigger conversation,” Moffatt said, adding that until there was a fulsome conversation about the issue of the log chute itself, that the funds allotted for the design work in the draft budget could be used elsewhere.
“To me, that’s too much money when we’re looking for money,” she said, with council ultimately agreeing that the money would be better spent elsewhere for the year.
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.