Volume fees established for hall rentals
By Chad Ingram
Algonquin Highlands has settled on a revised rental fee structure for its recreational halls, and will be making changes to other fees as well.
For the past few months, councillors have been discussing how to achieve greater consistency in fees for its halls, while keeping rates affordable for groups who use the facilities on a regular basis.
The township operates the Stanhope Firefighters' Community Hall on North Shore Road, the Dorset Recreation Centre and the Oxtongue Lake Community Centre.
It closed the long-standing Club 35 near Halls Lake at the end of October, due to low use that was not nearly offsetting its operational and upgrading costs.
At one point during the conversations, it was suggested that an annual fee – almost like a membership fee – should be instituted for groups who use the facilities on a regular basis.
There are, for example, a few seniors' card groups that use space on a weekly or biweekly basis. The group that until recently had played cards at Club 35 gave the township an annual donation of approximately $1,2000 for the use of that space. That group has moved its activities to Stanhope.
The fee structure that council supported during its Nov. 19 meeting includes an annual flat rate fee, based on volume, for small, private and non-profit groups that use facilities on a regular basis.
For 20 to 50 uses a year, the flat fee is $1,000 per year; $1,200 per year for 51 to 100 uses; and $1,500 for 101 to 150 uses a year.
This fee would apply to all three halls.
“I think it is something that will work for everyone,” said Councillor Marlene Kyle.
The new permit and fees schedule, which the township will advertise for public feedback before it is ultimately passed by council, includes changes to fees in other areas as well.
At the scenic lookout tower in Dorset, the township will institute as walk-up fee.
As chief administrative officer Angie Bird pointed out, some people will park at the bottom of the property in order to avoid paying parking fees.
The walk-up fee will be $1 and $2 from Labour Day until Thanksgiving, during the peak of fall foliage.
“The staff complement does increase with the volume of people,” said treasurer Tammy McKelvey, indicating there were more costs to offset during the period of the fall colours.
At landfills, tipping fees for a cubic yard of demolition and construction waste will increase from $40 per cubic yard to $80 per cubic yard in instances where the waste is not sorted.
“It's a good incentive for people to do the sorting,” said Deputy-reeve Liz Danielsen.
McKelvey added that if residents don't do their own sorting, that tasks falls to township staff.
At the Stanhope Airport, annual hangar lease fees will increase for hangars in groups D through H.
For group D, the annual fee will rise from $8,000 to $8,400. For groups E through H, the annual fee will increase from $2,500 to $2,562.50.
The township was recently informed by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation that taxes on the property would be rising due to construction of the airport's new hangars.
Fees for aircraft parking will increase from $10 to $11 per day and from $70 to $90 per month. The annual parking rate will remain at $420.