| Apr 07, 2016

Ontario Parks nixes winter operation of Bon Echo Park

It took the better part of a year for the Director of Ontario Parks, Bruce Bateman, to respond to a report from Addington Highlands that was focused on the opportunities that would come from Bon Echo Park opening for winter recreation opportunities.

When the response came last week, it was as short as it was long in coming.

“While we are very interested in the results of the report, the opportunity for a winter operation at Bon Echo is not being considered at this time,” Bateman wrote.

He went on to say that the park has been “continuing the expansion of the roofed accommodations and supporting park infrastructure to support shoulder season visitation.”

Bon Echo Park is scheduled to be open for camping between May 13 and October 16 this year. When contacted, Park Superintendent Clark Richards clarified that by shoulder seasons Bateman was referring to the 2nd Friday in May until mid-June, and after the Labour Day weekend until the Park closes on the Sunday after Thanksgiving Monday.

“While Ontario Parks is not considering extending the operating dates for Bon Echo Provincial Park at this time, if successful with increasing visitation within the current operating season and if there is customer demand, we are not opposed to expanding future recreational opportunities,” Richards said in an email.

While waiting for the response from Ontario Parks, Reeve Hogg brought up the idea of winter opening to the minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport at a municipal conference in February.

“The minister thought that Bon Echo was open in the winter,” said Hogg.

Canada 150 fund

The township received notification from MP Mike Bossio that applications are being accepted for grants under the Canada 150 fund until June. According to Bossio, “The Canada 150 fund can support projects across a broad range of subject areas, including but not limited to: arts and culture, environmental stewardship and connecting with nature; sport, health and active living; history and heritage; science and technology; and civic engagement.”

Councilor Tony Fritsch offered to look into possible projects and consult with the public before coming back to Council.

Councilor Kirby Thompson wondered if everyone on Council would have to grow a beard and wear a top hat during the centennial year to mark the occasion, to which Deputy Reeve Helen Yanch said, “I am not going to do that.”

Winter, spring, winter again and beaver dams

Roads Superintendent Royce Rosenblath said crews dealt with issues after all the rain late last week, and were getting ready to shovel snow again this week, if necessary.

He also said he has been in contact with the Ministry of Transportation over the potential impact on Hwy. 41 should a beaver dam, located near the highway at Mazinaw Hill, be taken out by township crews before it eventually gives way and releases a large amount of water, which it is now holding back.

“We have not heard from the MNRF [Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry] and the dam is on Crown land under their control”, said Rosenblath, “so there is nothing we can do. Maybe the MTO will be able to pressure the MNRF on this.”

A cottage is located on low land between the highway and Mazinaw Lake and the township is concerned about damage if the dam, which is 15 feet high, should give way.

Requests approved

A request from the Flinton Rec. Club to sell advertising on the boards of the Flinton rink to help cover operating costs of the rink was accepted. A request from the Mazinaw Powerline Snowmobile Club to store a new groomer in unused township garage space was also accepted.

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