January 31, 2020
As we enter a new year I would like to share a few thoughts from your councillors in Ward Four of the Township of the Archipelago.
As some wise person once said, if you do not know where you are going you will never get there. With this thought in mind, Council spent some time last year developing vision and mission statements for our township.
VISION The ToA will ensure the continued guardianship of the health and well being of the Georgian Bay shoreline and its watershed areas.
MISSION The mission of the Township of the Archipelago is to preserve the unique and high quality of the natural environment which leads to a recreational experience that is both relaxing and aesthetically appealing to property owners and visitors who use the area, and is designed to make both property owners and visitors realize that they share equally in the responsibility of attaining this mission.
We have also developed strategic principals that were reviewed with the representatives of all the associations in the Township at the Deerhorn Conference in October. As a result of the input from this meeting they have been amended and improved. More on these principles at a later time
Of course underlying all of this is the need to provide efficient and effective municipal government. One way we do this is to hire competent partners instead of building all the expertise in house. The GBBR (Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve) is our partner for environmental issues. As part of our budgeting process they have presented a work plan that has been approved by council. The plan includes goals to update and broaden our water quality research, monitoring and reporting, tracking emerging forest health concerns, encouraging and expanding youth education, biosphere walks and stewardship activities, enhanced communications, providing septic workshops and working with partners on assessment and monitoring of septic systems, continuing to partner on Phragmites education and engagement, and working with the ToA Public Works Department on matters related to species at risk and Phragmites.
By the time you read this message you will have received your interim tax bill. This bill is half of the final bill you received last year. I encourage you to read The Archipelago Express, the news letter that comes with this bill. It outlines two new ways to pay your taxes. One is the PAP (Pre-Authorized Tax Payment Plan) which has your bank pay your taxes evenly over ten months beginning in February. The other is called ATW (Automatic Tax Installment Withdrawal Plan). It involves the automatic payment of your interim and final tax bills in one or two installments each. More details are available in the letter and on the Township’s website.
The Express also talks about your new property assessment from MPAC (Municipal Property Assessment Corporation), a provincial body that establishes the assessed value of all properties in Ontario. Note that the value they established is as of the first of January 2019 (last year). Also note that the new assessed value will not affect your taxes until 2021 (next year).
This news letter also has sections on shoreline litter and the high water levels anticipated for this summer. We encourage you to complete a survey on your exposure to high water. Just go to the township website (www.thearchipelago.on.ca) and click on the link to “Georgian Bay High Water”
While you are on our website, I encourage you to take a moment to sign up for the Township’s E-news. This is a good way for you and all your family (they can sign up too) to be informed of all that is important in our municipality. For example, the Archipelago Express that I mentioned above has been sent to all those who have provided their email address.
The fight Against Phragmites
Your township has been working with Georgian Bay Forever (GBF) and others in the fight against Phragmites. The GBF has updated Council on their 2019 Invasive Phragmites Eradication Program on the Eastern Georgian Bay coastline. Of the 63 identified sites within the ToA, 41 are under treatment, 17 are not present any more and 5 new sites are scheduled for initial cutting in 2020.
Including the ToA sites, there are 588 identified stands of Phragmites along the Georgian Bay coast. Of these, 201 have been cut or are undergoing cut control and 43 have been eradicated and are in monitoring.
A big thank you to the SSCA’s own Katherine Denune for her leadership in this fight.
In addition to working with our partners, the ToA met with the Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs to help him understand how unique our township is and how important the natural environment is to our enjoyment and survival. Late this fall, with your reeve Bert Liverance driving, we took the parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transportation out on The Bay so he could see Phragmites first hand and understand the importance of mitigation efforts upstream and throughout the Georgian Bay coast as Phragmites does not respect boundaries or geography.
Your three Ward Four councillors, Alice Barton, Rick Zanussi and myself, Davis Ashley look forward to seeing you on The Bay in a few short months and encourage you to contact ourselves or the township staff if you have any concerns.
Don’t forget to sign up for the E-News.
Councillor, Ward 4