Dorset resident requests Lake of Bays to rescind the vote to close Dorset Pavilion Park
Lake of Bays Council received a request from Dorset resident, Daphne Curtis, to rescind the vote to cancel the lease agreement for the Dorset Pavilion Park, in the September 12, 2023, meeting.
Curtis presented Council with a petition of 700 supporters. 330 people signed the petition during eight hours from two weekends she spent outside of Robinsons General Store. Another 40 were from the petition left at the local pharmacy, and hundreds more from the Dorset Canada Facebook page.
She said, “So the people have spoken. They want to keep the park.”
Curtis continued that Dorset is a part of the Lake of Bays Township, in addition to Baysville, Dwight and Hillside. She expressed, “All of these communities have accessible flush washrooms that the Township of Lake of Bays maintains. I believe the community of Dorset deserves to have the Township of Lake of Bays maintain our flush washrooms. I think it’s our right.”
She indicated that she was advised by the Parks Director that the bathrooms were being regularly used, which warrants maintenance.
The park is a common gathering location, indicated Curtis, which includes sports, events, such as a music concert, family reunions, and a celebration of life.
Curtis expressed concern about the lease agreement. She said, “The lease was signed in good faith. You as Councillors, under the Ontario Municipal Councillors Guide, you signed that.” She added, “One of the important things it states in there is you as Councillor members act in good faith. You signed a lease in good faith. Is cancelling the lease in good faith when I have 700 signatures saying keep the park? I don’t think so.”
According to Curtis, the lease cancellation stipulation states, “whenever it deems necessary or appropriate if in the public interest.” She continues, “The public interest had stated clearly we want to keep the park.”
Councillor, George Anderson, expressed appreciation for Curtis’s efforts for the community. He added, “The community of Dorset is a unique community, and we had those challenges all the time trying to erase that line [in the sand] as much as we possibly can. It also brings forward that the community is unified and there’s a lot of commitment from people towards care of that park.”
Given discussion about the park being Algonquin Highlands property, Councillor, Robert Lacroix, said, “I really hope that you get a chance to talk to Algonquin Highlands and express to them how the town really feels about the park.”
Mayor, Terry Glover, indicated that the decision to cancel the lease was under the Township’s insurance company and solicitor advisement “because of the fact that it’s in such an obscure situation that this park is owned privately and on Algonquin Highlands side of the municipality… Our insurance has told us it’s not safe for us to remain leasing the park.”
Regarding maintaining the park, Glover said, “A local company can do that and get paid for that; however, our insurance doesn’t allow our staff to continue this… Liability and insurance has changed.”
Curtis will present the petition to Algonquin Highlands on September 22.