Property taxes are a major concern for our members. They are a most important cost to those of us who live or own property on and around lakes. Property tax is one of the few taxes that does not take in account the ability to pay—such as income taxes, or relate directly to the consumption of goods or services—GST, Garbage Bag tags, etc. As such to many of us it is an unfair and undemocratic tax.

In the last property assessment our members saw assessments that bore little relation to actual property values and that increased in many cases by 40% plus from the last assessment. Some assessments doubled!

When we complain about the impact on our members, many of whom are on fixed incomes, some politicians tell us that if we don’t like the taxes we can move. What they don’t understand is that to many of us these properties have been in our families for generations. Our kids and grand children learned to swim or canoe in these lakes. These are not just pieces of land and buildings. To many of us these properties embody our dreams and hopes for future generations.

The Maple, Beech and Cameron Lakes Area Property Owners’ Association has been an active supporter of WRAFT – Waterfront Ratepayers After Fair Taxation. Please visit their website and sign their petition.

www.wraft.com

Following decisions by Algonquin Highlands Council between 2009 and 2013, the SECOND RUNWAY EXPANSION PROPOSAL has been officially shelved! Funding made available for that project is being re-purposed to partner with the Ministry of Natural Resources on the re-location of the MNR’s regional office and the expansion of the airborne firebase on municipal property directly adjacent to the airport.

This project will ensure the retention (and possible increase) of local jobs, provide added income to the township through land leasing and expanded facilities.

There is no absolute guarantee that the second runway concept will never come up again but, for a good while to come, the work that the MBC and others kept up for (literally) years has assured calm and common sense.

For more details on developments at the airport, please visit the Algonquin Highlands website atwww.algonquinhighlands.ca.


OMB Voice Article
January 14, 2010

Ontario Municipal Board Set to Mediate Airport Land Acquisitions
By Liz Danielsen
Pull quote: “Compensation offered for our expropriated land was completely inadequate.” (Bill Middleton)
All is not exactly as it seems when it comes to the Stanhope Airport and the Algonquin Highlands Council’s proposed expansion of the airport. Although there has been little to report over the last few months, and construction of any sort remains on hold during the winter, disputes continue to simmer under a surface of apparent civility.
Last week, the County Voice inadvertently discovered that the Ontario Municipal Board has been considering arguments put forward by the Middleton family, three brothers whose property was purchased, or virtually expropriated early in 2007, to make way for a new crosswind runway.

Read the entire article…

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Airport Update
January 12, 2010

Council goes before The OMB on Jan 19th
As a new year begins, the airport expansion proposal in Algonquin Highlands continues to preoccupy both sides of a debate that is almost as old as the idea itself. On the “pro” side there is apparently a small number of councillors and a few individuals hoping to benefit from taxpayers’ money and on the “anti”, the great majority of the taxpayers who have other priorities.
The initial part of the much larger over-all expansion project is essentially the construction of a second and much longer runway. The project received a positive provisional funding decision from Building Canada in April, 2009 and has been under review in the Canadian Environmental Assessment process since July last year. Since then, with the exception of a decision to allow the rehabilitation of existing paved surfaces at the airport, neither the township nor the public has had any information on the progress of the assessment. This “delay” has caused concern among the projects’ boosters, but should give comfort to the majority of us who oppose the project for reasons that go far beyond environmental impacts.

Read the entire document…

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Presentation to County Council
February 20, 2008

Thanks to organizations that provided information:

  • Minister of Finance – The Honourable Greg Sorbara
  • Ministry of Natural Resources
  • ORNGE- operators of air ambulance services
  • Ministry of Health
  • Transport Canada

Today we hope to detail our major concerns re the proposed addition of a crosswind runway to the Stanhope Airport. A team of 4 people whose résumés are attached have spent hundreds of hours researching these issues. For each concern we have listed with it the 3rd party verification. We want to make it clear that we are not recommending the closing of the existing airport. Our concern is with the viability of the proposed addition of a crosswind runway. The support materials are all available on an as requested basis. The MBCLAPOA would also be willing to schedule follow up meetings to provide further detail and insight into the findings.

Given the large upfront costs and potentially enormous impact on local taxpayers we feel strongly that this proposal should be researched and debated thoroughly by all interested parties…

Download the entire presentation (PDF)…

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Airport Fact Sheet
August, 2007

As the Township Council of Algonquin Highlands forges ahead with plans and actions for the expansion of the Haliburton / Stanhope Municipal Airport, concerned landowners and ratepayers who have been or will be directly affected by the “project” join the council in encouraging more informed involvement by the people of Algonquin Highlands. Please contact the sites, people and resources recommended by Council in the fact sheet you received with your latest tax notice. Please also consider becoming a member of the Maple, Beech and Cameron Lakes Area Property Owners Association – this organization is NOT just for “cottagers” but for all people concerned with how the area can and should be developed.

Get the fact sheet (PDF)…

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Airport Map
August, 2007

Click here for the map of the proposed airport expansion.

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Airport Justification
August, 2007

Justifications for airport expansion: more reasons to question the proposal.

Download the PDF…

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AIRPORT TO BECOME JETPORT, HOUSING DEVELOPMENT AND DISPOSITORY FOR YOUR TAX DOLLARS
July, 2007

Unless we act now!

YOUR council with YOUR tax dollars continues to push forward with its $5.8 MILLION, 20 year airport expansion using “principally its (TWP of Algonquin Highland’s) resources”. Do the math – $3.8 MILLION (just the 2006-8 portion) in borrowing by the TWP funded over 10 years will lead to about $500,000 in new spending or an increase on your taxes of approximately 8%!!!! So if your taxes are $5000 now, YOU can look forward to investing about $400 ANNUALLY for what exactly?
Well included in the project is a new 4000 foot ‘cross wind’ runway from the shores of Cameron Lake to the Gull River, new commercial hangers, a housing development, apron expansion, global positioning system.all for the seemingly 30 ‘regular users’ and some transient traffic.
We think this is a BAD DEAL FOR TAXPAYERS AND THE AREA.
Perhaps if it had community value.but looking into each and every reason for the expansion reveals absolutely NO substance. I challenge you to look deeper – this expansion will NOT improve medical services, fire protection or safety. Jobs – well sure it will create jobs with the $5.8 MILLION invested.but so would drilling for oil with about as much economic success.
So why then? Blind faith? Vanity? Bit of both perhaps.
It should be noted that the TWP expects to pay for it all by developing the land with $250,000 housing lots around the fringe of the airport and by bringing in big business. Of course, no consideration is paid to the fact that we are in Haliburton, that business has far more practical and efficient locations nearer markets and resources and that Collingwood, Orillia and Parry Sound have all executed similar plans WITHOUT Success.
So a $5.8 MILLION commitment – an experiment with YOUR tax dollars – forever? Should you invest?

So what is your association doing?
. We are running a summer long campaign in the local papers called “Let’s clear the air” to bring awareness and garner support for what appears to be an inevitable legal battle
. We are encouraging people to look deeper into the merits (or lack thereof) and understand that this is a HUGE project for a TWP with $2.5 MILLION in annual spending.
. We are creating awareness that this project WILL have an enormous impact on YOUR taxes, not to mention your lifestyle if you are anywhere within 5 kilometers of the airport.
IS this the type of Haliburton you see in your future? Does this help Haliburton promote its natural amenities or simply transform it into suburban morass?
So step up to the plate and get involved before it’s too late. Become informed, volunteer some time and support the CLEAR THE AIR FUND financially so the TWP plans can be thoroughly and publicly reviewed.

AIRPORT CHRONOLOGY
1974 – The paving of the Stanhope airport was justified as a way to drive economic development
1998 – Eleanor Harrison stated that one of her main concerns was the environment “A stand has to be taken and something has to be done in order to preserve what we have now.we have to take a firm stand on the environment.” hmmm – was that an election year?
Sept 2002 – Estimates for an additional runway $1.8-2 million according to TWP study
June 9 2003 Minden Times – “Algonquin Highlands moving forward with its plans for a $2.9 Million expansion of the Stanhope airport”
June 2006 – Middleton’s receive offer on their 100 acres of land for the expansion.
August 2006 AGM (see the Times Aug 23) – Reeve Harrison states “At present we’re not pursuing it (expansion) actively.the council does not hold back information on anything”
May 2007 -when meeting with executives from Maple, Beech and Cameron Area Lakes POA, Reeve Harrison scoffs at the association’s estimate of $5-10 Million in spending saying the expansion will cost in the neighbourhood of $1.5 million
May 2007 A BUSINESS VISION dated May 2006 (yes 2006!) released puts the expansion at $5.8 million (Was 2006 an election year and therefore the ‘vision’ held back?)

Following recommendations from the Auditor General of Ontario in 2012 (this makes for some interesting and sometimes disturbing reading – take some time to look it over!) and a number of complaints and requests from affected municipalities, a review of the funding model for municipal policing services provided by the OPP was undertaken and which led, in 2013, to proposals for funding (billing to municipalities) that would cause policing costs in Haliburton County to rise from approximately 3.3 million dollars per year to well over 8 million dollars per year, without any change or improvement in services received.

Until the spring of this year, 2014, it appeared that the imposition of this new funding model was “a done deal” in spite of mounting opposition from municipalities, like our own, that would be the most adversely affected. Our local and county representatives banded together with concerned citizens and organizations like the CHA to raise awareness of the many problems with the new funding model, as proposed, culminating in the May Day letter writing campaign that saw many of you sending letters, emails and phone calls to the Minister, MPPs and others.

Just prior to the Provincial Election being called a new Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services was appointed; this new Minister, during the campaign period, undertook to – if re-elected and re-confirmed as Minister – revisit the issue and undertake further consultation with municipal representatives. Soon after the election the reconfirmed Minister, Yasir Naqvi, held a tele-conference with municipal officials and stated that, prior to any decision or announcement on OPP funding changes, more consultation and information would be sought from affected municipalities.

Very soon thereafter, and with barely an hours’ notice, the Minister’s office announced that a slightly amended funding model would be put in place; While this new model will be slightly less costly to Algonquin Highlands and similar municipalities it will still result in a near doubling of policing costs over the next five years and does nothing to address concerns raised by our local representatives.

READ MORE – THE GOVERNMENT’S VERSION –

OPP Billing Backgrounder – EN

READ MORE – CHA LOOKS AT THE “NEW MODEL”

Revised OPP Billing – CHA analysis

As of August 15th, the Government of Ontario appears to have closed the issue. This is a “regulatory change” that does not require a vote at Queen’s Park.

Our Municipal and County Representatives have expressed their “disappointment” and will, we hope, continue to make every effort to reduce the impacts we will feel on our tax bills. MBC members should be ready, as always, to stand and be counted, helping in whatever efforts are organized!