| Feb 02, 2014

Addington Highlands Reeve Henry Hogg, accompanied by Clerk/Treasurer Jack Pauhl, travelled to Queen's Park earlier this month to meet with Ontario Minister of Aboriginal Affairs David Zimmer.

In a half-hour meeting with Minister Zimmer and two members of his staff, including Doug Carr, who has a long history with the Algonquin Land Claim, Hogg presented a series of concerns that residents of the township have expressed to him about the Draft Agreement in Principle.

The main focus of concern in Addington Highlands is a number of large properties on either side of Hwy 41 north of Bon Echo Park that are included as settlement properties in the draft agreement.

Henry Hogg pointed out that he has been the Lennox and Addington representative on the municipal advisory committee to the land claim throughout most of the last 15 years, and “It was never my feeling that this committee was ever able to act as 'advisers' but were merely given information that was always 'confidential' and could not be discussed with our constituents.”

As far as the settlement lands are concerned, Hogg expressed concern about possible increased demand for service on his cash-strapped municipality.

“Providing fire protection, policing and ambulance service as well as roads will cost far more than the taxes from increased assessment will provide,” he said.

According to Henry Hogg, the minister did not provide any assurances on most points, although he did commit to responding to the concerns that were included in the presentation in writing.

“He did assure us that the township's official plan and zoning bylaw will apply to the properties once they are turned over, which was a concern we had,” said Hogg. “Aside from that he said we can expect a written response.”

Other issues raised in the presentation include ensuring access to private property and Crown lands across settlement lands. As well, there is a concern about and potential impacts to the management of Bon Echo Park the effect on youth employment within the park in the summer.

After the meeting Henry Hogg said he does not have tremendous expectations that much will come of the meeting, “but I felt I needed to let the minister know the concerns that we have.”

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