WCA Summer Newsletter August 2022
Download the entire WCA-Summer-Newsletter-August-2022 in PDF format (1.1 MB).
Killbear Provincial Park is hiring students for the Summer!
There are a variety of jobs available in Ontario Parks across the province as a:
Gate Attendant (Park Ranger)
Maintenance Worker (Park Ranger)
Park Interpreter (Park Ranger)
Learn to Camp / Learn to Fish
Program Leader *select parks only
Killbear Provincial Park employs a team of students every summer and is looking to connect with students that have summer residences/cottages in Carling and the Parry Sound area.
How to become a park ranger at Ontario Parks
Applications must be done online at Ontario Public Service Careers - Job Preview (gov.on.ca) and the next deadline is March 21, 2023. Staff housing is very limited so students are encouraged to make note in their application that they have local accommodations.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) is asking for your feedback on proposed changes to how floating cottages may be used on Ontario waterways and proposed limits on where and how long you can camp on the water. These changes are intended to reduce the environmental and social impacts of floating accommodations which GBA’s Floating Cottages Strategy Group has been working toward over the past year. MNRF is proposing to amend the Public Lands Act with regards to camping on water over public lands. The proposed changes include: reducing the number of days that a person can camp on water at one location in each calendar year from 21 days to seven days; increasing the distance that a camping unit on water must move to a different location from 100 metres to 1 kilometre; prohibiting camping on water within 300 metres of a developed shoreline, including any waterfront structure, dock, boathouse, erosion control structure, altered shoreline, boat launch and/or fill; clarifying the types of camping units that can be used on water by allowing watercrafts equipped for overnight accommodation (live-aboards and houseboats), but excluding floating homes or barges with residential units or camping facilities These changes would not apply to a person exercising rights that are protected by Aboriginal or treaty rights. Feedback on the above changes is requested by April 11, 2023. MNRF’s full proposal and details on how to comment can be found here. GBA has developed the following comment which can be inserted at this link, should you wish: I support the proposals to amend Ontario Regulation 161/17 (O. Reg. 161/17) under the Public Lands Act described in ERO 019-6590 posted by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry on February 24, 2023. The key proposed amendments relating to preventing floating accommodation units from camping on water over public lands will reduce the environmental and social impacts of floating accommodations and help to ensure that floating accommodation units can be appropriately regulated to: Reduce the potential environmental impacts, such as disposal of black/grey water and garbage, and lower the spread of plastics pollution from the use of unencapsulated dock foam for flotation Reduce the safety issues for those on board these units, which have poor navigability and are unstable in high winds/waves Keep these floating accommodation units safely moored at shoreline locations, where they can benefit from services such as water, sewage, hydro and garbage disposal Create the potential for municipalities to apply taxes to these accommodation units to pay for the services provided You can find full information on GBA’s involvement in the floating cottages issue here.
The Stephen Bulger Gallery in Toronto is presenting “Parry Sound 33”, an exhibit by photographer Joseph Hartman. The exhibit is a series of landscape photographs and watercolour paintings documenting the aftermath of the Parry Sound 33 forest fire on the Henvey Inlet which began on July 18, 2018. The fire devastated over 11,000 hectares of ecologically important Georgian Bay coastal habitat along with several cottages and homes. GBA worked with Dave Seglins of the CBC and Jean Burke, who represented local victims, for several years to compel the MNRF to release the fire investigation report, but our efforts were struck down by an independent adjudicator last spring. This exhibit examines how humans can rapidly change a fragile landscape and the effects this has on the ecosystem and the community. The exhibition runs from March 4 – April 22, 2023 at the Stephen Bulger Gallery in Toronto. Get the details here.
Watershed Conditions Statement - Water Safety Warning The MNRF has put a Water Conditions Statement - Water Safety warning in effect for the Bracebridge Minden Parry Sound District. This will be in effect until Friday March 17, 2023. Residence in these areas should exercise caution while around waterbodies and maintain close supervision of children due to changing water levels and ice conditions. The MNRF also advises extreme caution when using forest access roads for outdoor activities as they may become seasonally inundated with water, are prone to washouts and may become impassible due to localized flooding. See Bulletin Here
Last fall, the West Carling Association (WCA) and the Pengally Bay Ratepayers’ Association (PBRA) requested a meeting with Mayor Susan Murphy and Kevin McLlwain, Carling’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) regarding the outcome of the Morlock Island dispute. Our members and many other Carling residents expressed extreme concern that despite the Township of Carling (Carling) Council’s unanimous decision in July 2022, to deny Mr. Gertner’s request for an exception to Carling’s Official Plan in relation to the location of a building on Morlock Island, a settlement was reached on November 7, 2022 - allowing the illegal building to stand. There is a real concern that this decision has set a precedent and, that Carling policies and by-laws are not enforceable. For example, this decision suggests that landowners in Carling should not worry about building within the first 20 metres of the shoreline or getting building permits in the future. We wanted to find out if Carling has a plan in place to deal with these, and other potential issues. This meeting was held on January 19, 2023, and following is a report on what was discussed. Morlock Island Meeting Report
Last spring GBA reported on the proposed new Underused Housing Tax (UHT) for US and overseas property owners. The federal government put forth this new one per cent annual tax levied on the value of residential property that is vacant or considered underused. The intention of this tax is to make housing more affordable for Canadian residents by deterring non-residents from passively investing in Canadian real estate. GBA has been looking into the effects UHT may have on our members. Here are some of our findings: This new tax only applies to non-Canadian residents. Canadian residents do not need to submit a UHT tax form. Non-Canadian residents must submit this form by April 30 annually even if they are exempt from the tax. As far as GBA is aware, non-resident owners of properties on the east and north coasts of Georgian Bay fall under one of the exemptions (630 or 635) on page 5 of the form, which can be found here. To file your UHT tax form, with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) you must have a valid CRA tax identifier number. If you do not have a Canadian Social Insurance Number (SIN) you must file using an Individual Tax Number (ITN) which you can apply for here. GBA has spoken to the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) and they see no issue with not having a postal code to input on the form (only road access properties will have a postal code). Do not use the postal code of your local post office as this may reverse your exemption. Not having a postal code means that you will also be unable to access the: “Underused housing tax vacation property designation tool”, but it is not necessary to do so if you are exempt as above, and the tool is not helpful, in any event. The minimum penalty for missing the April 30 filing deadline is $5,000 per property for any individual owner. Additional penalties can apply depending on how late the return is filed. More information on the UHT can be found here. This web post is intended for general information purposes only. While we have attempted to provide information that is helpful for our readers, GBA does not provide tax, legal or accounting advice and accepts no legal liability for the contents of this web post. Ensure you check original sources for additional details and updates. For advice regarding your personal taxation and filing needs, please contact your own tax professional or accounting advisor.
The West Parry Sound Recreational and Cultural Centre Board (WPSRCCB) passed a resolution on December 14, 2022* to expand the scope of the project by increasing the size of the pool from 4 lanes to 6 lanes contingent upon fundraising.**
The Township of Carling’s (Carling) representative supported the December 14th resolution in absence of clear, overall cost projections and implications for Carling taxpayers, without any formal consultation with Carling taxpayers and, without discussion at Carling Council. Carling is committed to funding 10.5% of operating and capital costs. With current inflation and the proposed expansion of the pool, both capital and operating costs will be higher than previous projections. The December 14th resolution proposes that the higher costs will be offset by outside fundraising. Absent adequate fundraising, the only route to access funds would be to return to the municipalities to cover any cost overruns or funding shortfall through debt or increased property taxes, thus impacting the ability of the municipalities to invest in other initiatives.
In the summer of 2021 the West Carling Association (WCA) sent three letters to Carling Council expressing WCA’s concerns about the original 4-lane complex as below:
• project costing - overestimated revenues and understated capital and operating expenses and the resulting impact on other projects that might benefit a larger portion of Carling residents • absence of consultation with Carling taxpayers • Carling taking on an increased share of costs when two other municipalities reduced their commitment to the project In September 2021 Carling Council voted to join the pool partnership agreement to build a facility with a 4-lane pool to be located in Parry Sound and not to exceed $32MM for design and construction. Carling took on an additional share of the costs from 9.2% to 10.5% to compensate for the Municipality of Whitestone (Whitestone) capping its commitment and the Township of McKellar (McKellar) reducing its pledged percentage. Whitestone did not sign as a partner in the project. Voting at the WPSRCCB is weighted according to each partner’s share as stated in the partnership agreement. For its 10.5% share of the costs Carling has one vote of the 12 available votes among 6 partners, leaving Carling with little capacity to influence decision-making.
At the December meeting of the WPSRCCB the representative from McKellar abstained from the vote to support the project expansion. On January 24th, 2023, McKellar passed a resolution to engage a legal firm to conduct a review of the project partnership agreement, specifically in relation to the McKellar’s financial commitments, other responsibilities and the extent of said commitments or obligations moving forward.
What are the WCA’s specific concerns?
In 2019 and again in 2021 the capital cost of the 4-lane centre was projected at approximately $32MM. We are now informed that the addition of 2 lanes would be an additional $1.9MM. In 2019, the projected capital cost for a 6-lane pool complex was $36MM. At the WPSRCCB meeting on December 14th, the Chairperson, Donald Sanderson stated that construction costs had recently risen 35% to 45%. A February 2023 report from Statistics Canada shows an average rise of 33.3% in the Building and Construction Price Index (BCPI) and, as high as 46% in Ontario for non-residential buildings since 2017. Using a conservative estimate of a 35% rise in construction costs on a $32MM build would put the cost of a 6-lane pool at $45MM (1.35 x $32MM) not $32MM and not $32MM plus $1.9MM.
In 2021, the annual operating loss was reported at $300,000 (Carling’s share $31,500). The information shared at the December WPSRCCB meeting, projected an annual operating deficit of $450,000 (after fundraising) to cover the cost of expanding the pool to 6-lanes. Factoring in the capital reserve fund of $400,000, administrative fees of $250,000 along with another potential cost of $350,000 built into the agreement for “additions to the site”(e.g., an outdoor skating rink) of up to $350,000 annually (as adjusted by the annual BCPI for Ontario) there is potential for the operating deficit to be a minimum of $1.45MM (Carling’s share could increase to $152,000 not $31,500 as was previously reported to Carling residents in 2021. As well, in 2021, Carling’s Chief Administrative Officer projected the operating deficit for a for a 4-lane pool at $2MM overall.
Revenues and Fundraising
The YMCA recently advised the WPSRCCB that a large facility with a 6-lane pool is not sustainable in an area of less than 30,000 people. The WPSRCCB reports the current population of the pool catchment area at 19,867 and stated that it will reach the target population by 2036. Not only could this mean lower revenue from memberships until at least 2036; the prediction of population growth reported at the December 14th meeting is speculative and requires more analysis. YMCAs in nearby communities have seen decreasing memberships and been forced to close. The existing YMCA in Parry Sound closed its gym in 2020. Based on similar YMCA facilities, a family membership fee for the Centre (2 adults and 1 or more children) could be $2000 annually.
Expansion from a 4-lane to a 6-lane pool is dependent on fundraising to pay for the additional two lanes - $10MM ($5MM for capital and $5MM for the operating deficit). We are concerned that fundraising will be challenging. Barrie, with a population of over 212,000, with higher household incomes, and a much larger commercial tax base recently cancelled its pool project after it raised only about $7MM in 2 years.
Questions to ask the WPSRCC Board
• What are the capital and operating costs of the project taking inflation and the increase in the number of lanes into account? Ask that this information be posted on the project fundraising website. • What is the proposed size of the facility? The original plan was to build a 4-lane pool in a 49,000 square foot building, previously called Option A. The December 14th resolution for the 6-lane pool facility was silent on the size of the building. In 2021, Option B for a 6-lane pool facility was a 59,000 square foot building. • Do CS&P architects have a conflict of interest in that they have been awarded a $2.2MM contract for building design and contract administration services going forward and have been acting as consultants to the project and prepared the financial projections? • The WPSRCCB is discussing a 6-lane competition pool versus a 4-lane recreation pool. Competition pools require different standards (must be dug deeper and wider than the original 4-lane pool). What additional assessment has been done on the Smith Crescent property (particularly recent soil samples) to determine the suitability of the property to accommodate the expanded project?
• There has been discussion at the WPSRCCB about generating revenue from holding swim meets in the new facility with a 6-lane pool. To qualify to hold swim meets there are standards that must be met (equipment and space). Has the cost of meeting those standards been built into the projected cost of the proposed 6-lane complex? Questions to ask Carling Council
• Should there be cost overruns, fundraising challenges or lower than projected membership uptake what contingencies does Carling have in place to meet its share of any shortfall? • What is the projected impact of the pool complex on taxes in Carling? • What is the potential financial impact on other projects and services? What are the next steps for WCA?
• Forward our concerns and questions to the WPSRCCB • Continue to monitor the decisions of the WPSRCCB and Carling Council with respect to the pool complex and provide updates to our members • Request that Carling conduct an independent review of the finances and feasibility of the project • Urge Carling to work with its area partners to build a financial model relevant for all municipalities that reflects potential changes in operating costs to better understand the financial impact of the pool project • Monitor the outcome of the legal review of the partnership agreement initiated by McKellar • Request that Carling seek independent legal advice regarding the veracity of the partnership agreement given the material change to the project • Urge Carling to provide regular communication and meaningful consultation with its residents regarding this project If you have any questions or concerns we encourage you to reach out to Carling Council (including Mayor Susan Murphy) at email@example.com and/or the WPSRCC Board at
firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments or concerns.
* To view the December 14th, 2022 meeting of the pool board it is available on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lpi4L_BL6w&t=157s
**For more detailed information on fundraising go to the project fundraising website: https://wpspoolandrec.ca/
Memo to WCA Members re Pool Feb 7 2023 DT
New Junior Firefighter program is open to residents between the ages 15 to 17
The Township of Carling has launched its first-ever Junior Firefighter Program and is seeking recruits.
“We've got a great environment to learn up here because all the fire departments work well together,” said Carling Fire Department chief Gord Harrison.
After receiving some requests from the community to investigate the matter, Harrison said it only made sense for the department to create its own program.
The chief said he’s optimistic to offer the program to Carling residents aged 15 to 17 years old.
“We'll train them in most aspects of firefighting. They don't respond to calls,” said Harrison.
Recruits will be trained in programs such as First Aid, CPR, wildland fire training, structural fire training, and other skills.
“We will put them through all those programs very safely and (make) sure they know how to use the protective gear and things like that.”
Along with completing high school volunteer hours, Harrison said junior firefighters build confidence as they learn various valuable skills.
“There's a lot of transferable skills that you'll learn like being able to manage yourself in an emergency situation.”
For more information, contact the department by email at email@example.com.