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17 Apr

UPDATE #20-11 COVID-19 - Declaration of Emergency, Extension of Property Tax Due Dates, Event Cancellations, Recreational Camping on Crown Land, Postponement of the Dorset Tower Opening and a Reminder of Enforcement Agencies

For Immediate Release

Algonquin Highlands, Ontario
Friday, April 17, 2020
4:30 pm

Release # 20-11

Subject:  COVID 19 Update - – Declaration of Emergency, Extension of Property Tax Due Dates, Event Cancellations, Recreational Camping on Crown Land, Postponement of the Dorset Tower Opening and a Reminder of Enforcement Agencies.

The Algonquin Highlands Emergency Control Group met earlier today to continue its assessment of the rapidly-evolving COVID-19 pandemic situation and its potential effects on Algonquin Highlands. 

Updates from today’s meeting include Declaration of Emergency, Event Cancellations, Extension of Tax due dates, Recreational Camping on Crown land, the postponement of the Dorset Tower Opening and a reminder of enforcement agencies.

NEW INFORMATION

1.  Declaration of Emergency – In response to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic and specifically in relation to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing’s letter dated April 16, 2020 regarding O. Reg. 157/20 relative to staff redeployments, the Township of Algonquin Highlands has declared a state of Local Emergency effective Friday, April 17, 2020 at 12:26 pm. 

2. Events – All summer programming and events have been cancelled. This includes;

  • Oxtongue Lake Canada Day
  • Oxtongue Lake Summer Speaker Series
  • Dorset Family Movie Nights
  • Dorset Museum Heritage Day
  • Stanhope Heritage Day
  • Swimming Lessons and Aqua-Fit
  • Stanhope Soccer League
  • Dorset Kids Fish Derby
  • Dorset Arts, Crafts and Antiques Show
  • Dorset Community Garage Sale. 

Fall programming and events will be re-evaluated in August.

3.  Extension for Tax Installment Due Dates - The due date for the first installment of the 2020 Interim Taxes has been extended to May 29, 2020.  The due date for the second installment of the 2020 Interim Taxes has been extended to June 26, 2020.

4.  Household Hazardous Waste Event – the event scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 16 at Maple Lake Landfill has been rescheduled for Saturday, June 6.

5.  Dorset Lions Bottle Collection at the Dorset Transfer Station has been suspended until further notice.

6.  The Province’s emergency order has been updated to include the prohibition of recreational camping on Crown land as of April 9, 2020.

7.  The seasonal opening of the Dorset Tower has been postponed.

REMINDERS:

1.  Effective April 3, 2020, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry implemented a Restricted Fire Zone (RFZ) across the entire fire region of Ontario which includes Algonquin Highlands.  This means no open air fires including burning of grass, debris and campfires.  Note that charges and /or fines are being enforced. Should the Algonquin Highlands Fire Services be required to attend, property owners will be invoiced $485.00 per truck, per hour.

2.  The Township continues to experience an increased volume of complaints regarding inappropriate or illegal gatherings.  Should you wish to file a complaint, please note the contact information below;

HKPR  District Health Unit

1-866-888-4577 ext. 5006

Concerns regarding the following non-essential business or service remaining open; 

  • Child Care Facilities
  • Recreational Camps
  • Personal Services Settings (including mobile and home-based settings)
  • Tanning Salons
  • Facilities Providing Indoor Recreational Programs Including Indoor Public Pools and Whirlpools
  • Food Premises, including restaurants
  • Theatres and Cinemas (including drive-ins)
  • Trailer Parks
  • Schools (Public and Private)
OPP

1-888-310-1122

  • Concerns about a non-essential business remaining open or providing services (other than the above noted);
  • Concerns about gatherings of 5 or more people on private property
Township of Algonquin Highlands, Building and By-law Department

705-489-2379

  • Concerns about gatherings of 5 or more people on Municipal property.
RCMP Operational Command Centre

1-800-387-0020

  • To report complaints or concerns about people breaking the federal quarantine ban for returning travellers to stay at home for 14 days.
Unfair Pricing Concerns

1-800-889-9768 (Monday to Friday between 8:30 am to 5:00 pm)

  • Concerns regarding retail businesses and individuals charging unfair prices for necessary goods.
Stop the Spread Business Information Line

1-888-444-3659

  • Questions regarding what will be open or impacts to your business or employment.

Administration

  • As staff are working remotely, please leave a message for the respective staff member when calling the municipal office. Staff are able to receive voicemails at their remote locations and will respond as quickly as possible.
  • The administrative office on North Shore Road remains closed to the public.
  • All municipal departments continue to operate in accordance with Provincial orders
  • Accommodations have been made for staff working remotely where possible, and with strict distancing and hygiene protocols in place where working from home is not possible (e.g. Public Works). 
  • All municipal buildings remain closed to the public.

Airport

  • The terminal building remains closed to the public.
  • Fuel remains available via the card lock system.
  • Aviation operations that don’t involve staff or any interaction continue.
  • Emergency services such as Hydro One, Ornge and MNRF retain full access to the airport.

Boat Launches

  • The province of Ontario has confirmed to Algonquin Highlands that boat launches, like marinas, may only be used where they provide necessary transport to primary residences, and that they may not be used for recreational purposes such as launching of boats, going fishing or canoeing, or any other recreational activity.
  • The Township cannot provide any special permission to contravene the provincial order.
  • Property owners, marina customers and those considering using boat launches are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the provincial order, and to understand that contravention of the orders can result in steep fines by the OPP whose officers are actively patrolling the community.

Building/By-Law Department

  • By-law Enforcement Officers with the assistance of Parks, Recreation and Trails, Public Works and Fire Services, will be monitoring the community for public gatherings and to assist with enforcement to ensure social distancing and social gathering protocols are being followed in accordance with the Provincial Orders
  • Field inspections will continue, at staff’s discretion, and only where appropriate distancing and hygiene protocols can be maintained.  
  • Year 3 of the Septic Re-Inspection Program is postponed until further notice.
  • The 2020 Septic Social scheduled for May 30, 2020 has been cancelled.
  • Interaction with staff is limited to telephone and email.  In person meetings are not available at this time.
  • Application forms pertaining to this department can be found online.
  • The public is asked to consider the urgency of their request or application.

Council

  • All Regular Council meetings and Council Committee meetings have been cancelled until further notice.

Events

  • The following events have previously been cancelled;
    • Dorset Pitch In Community Clean Up scheduled for May 9, 2020
    • 2020 Septic Social scheduled for May 30, 2020

Finance Department

  • The due date for the first installment of the 2020 Interim Taxes has been extended to May 29, 2020.  The due date for the second installment of the 2020 Interim Taxes has been extended to June 26, 2020.
  • At this time, we are unable to accept cash or debit payment.
  • Tax payments are accepted as follows;
    • Online or telephone banking.
    • At your financial institution - please check with your local branch for hours.
    • Cheques may be mailed or deposited in the secure drop box located on the front porch of the Township office (absolutely no cash is to be deposited in the drop box).
    • Pre-Authorized Payment – Registration forms are available on the Township website.

Fire Services

  • Fire Services will continue to operate at full capacity with universal precautions in place.
  • Effective April 3, 2020, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has implemented a Restricted Fire Zone (RFZ) across the entire fire region of Ontario which includes Algonquin Highlands.  This means no open air fires including burning of grass, debris and campfires.  Note that charges and /or fines are being enforced

Library Services

  • The Stanhope Library is closed to the public.
  • The Library Book Depot at the Dorset Recreation Centre is closed.

Parks, Recreation and Trails  

  • The Province of Ontario issued a new emergency order to close all outdoor recreational amenities, such as sports fields, playgrounds, picnic areas, basketball and tennis courts, park shelters and other outdoor recreational amenities remain closed.
  • Scheduled recreational programs and events will be reviewed and decisions regarding cancellation will be made in 30-day blocks
  • All parks, playgrounds and trails remain closed.
  • The Water Trails office remains closed and equipment rentals are not available.
  • The Stanhope, Dorset, Oxtongue recreation/community centres remain closed.
  • All campsites are closed.  
  • New camping reservations are suspended until April 30, 2020 and will be re-evaluated thereafter. 
  • Prior bookings for campsites between March 25 - April 30, 2020 will be refunded. 
  • Dorset Recreation Centre Memberships will be adjusted when the recreation centre reopens.

Planning

  • Public meetings related to Planning are suspended until further notice.
  • Interaction with staff is limited to telephone and email.  In person meetings are not available at this time.
  • Application forms pertaining to this department can be found online.

Public Washrooms

  • At the request of the Health Unit, public washrooms remain available at the Dorset Parkette, Elvin Johnson Park, Stanhope Courts and Playing Field, as well as our Water Trail access points.  
  • These facilities are regularly checked and cleaned however, users are asked to undertake appropriate hygiene protocols.

Public Works- Roads

  • Service levels will be maintained

Public Works – Landfills

In order to reduce/eliminate interaction between people including the exchange of money, receipts or other documentation, the following materials are temporarily not allowed at ANY landfill site;

  • No construction materials, concrete of shingles
  • No scrap metal
  • No bulky items (anything that doesn’t fit in a standard size garbage can is considered a bulky item)
  • No mattresses
  • No furniture
  • No appliances (Fridges, stoves, freezers, etc.)
  • No brush, no leaves, no yard waste
  • No boats

Only up to 1 cubic yard per vehicle of household waste and blue box recycling will be accepted.
Re-use centres at Maple, Dorset and Oxtongue will be closed.
Please ensure you check the latest information prior to attending a landfill site.
All sites are operating on the regular winter hours schedule.
The Waste Wizard provides current information regarding recycling and waste disposal, as well as site hours and locations.  Information is updated regularly.

WiFi Locations

  • Public Wi-Fi hotspots remain available at the following locations;
    • Stanhope Public Library
    • Stanhope, Dorset and Oxtongue Community Centres
    • Stanhope Municipal Airport (please note that the deck is closed for physical distancing purposes)
    • Township Office at 1123 North Shore Road
  • Users are asked to be considerate of bandwidth consumption due to increased attendance at public WiFi sites

Water Taps 

  • The Township’s public water taps remain open and all users are reminded that these are public facilities where extraordinary hygiene protocols are required.

Algonquin Highlands remains attentive to this quickly evolving situation and any changes to the above can be found: 

  • On the News and Notices section of the Township website; you may subscribe to News and Notices here.
  • On the Township's webpage dedicated to this issue; 
  • Via the Township's various social media channels

For further questions or inquiries, please leave a message at the Township office at 705-489-2379 and your call will be returned as soon as possible or e-mail info@algonquinhighlands.ca.  We appreciate your patience in potential delays.

Once again, we thank the public for their understanding as we work toward keeping our community safe and healthy in this uncertain time.

Contact Information:
Jonathan Wilker
Fire Chief/CEMC
Township of Algonquin Highlands
1123 North Shore Road
Algonquin Highlands, ON K0M 1J2
jwilker@algonquinhighlands.ca

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