Speak Up, Huntsville!


  1. On the matter of short term rentals in Muskoka

    I am 67, retired and can say I am so delighted that AirBnB has taken my life from existence to being somewhat comfortable financially.

    I started with the organization three years ago and not only has it helped me better afford to put food on my table, but it has also opened my eyes to the common humanity from guests I receive from every corner of the globe. Airbnb is by far not the best way to make a buck; it’s hard work for those of us that welcome visitors from far and wide into our homes. Airbnb holds us to a very high standard of quality accommodations for our guests, and that means the big spring cleaning job almost daily, our homes must be near spotless and in as close to emasculate order as possible and that is no small task. I get asked all the time, “is all this work worth it,” my reply, of course, is yes, not for the money, although that is great, but for the experience. Hosting a BnB is like no other vocation, you are foremost an ambassador, a spokesperson, a representative for Muskoka, the town, the businesses, the tourist attractions, the history. The BnB host is a special bread of individuals who can tolerate strangers living with them, under their roof and in my case sitting them down at their table for breakfast daily. Very few people would even considerate it even if you “were getting rich” doing it, the farthest thing from the truth. You have to love people, be extremely tolerant, adore housework, able to take criticism, and be available 24 hours a day for your guests. Not so simple is it.

    It is imperative that BnB hosts not be vilified as interrupters of the peace, bad guys that are in it for the buck and they are sucking up every available rental space they can get their hands on. These accusations are on the whole not true, and damaging to those of us that provide a very personal unique night over for tourists and promoters of Muskoka so they will come back again one day to support not just me but all the businesses and tourist attractions I recommended by word of mouth or in the pamphlets I pass out to them. No hotel, motel or resort can give the level of personal attention that we give our guests. We are not just proud of what we are doing we are proud of Muskoka and all it offers, we are proud of the fact that guest come from China to see our colours in the fall and proud that the Swedes and Germans come to explore the forest of Algonquin Park and very proud to hear them say that this is a great place and a great Country.

    Maybe it is time to not hate on BnB hosts but time to thank them for what they do for the economic health of Muskoka, thank them for the great ambassadors they are and how hard they work to welcome strangers into their homes to represent how great the people of Muskoka are. When they go home to Toronto or Hong Kong, they are going to reflect on how their host treated them, how happy they were to make them comfortable in a strange place and tell them about all the great things. Our position in the community is an important one, and we take it seriously.

    When it comes to the rotten eggs in the basket, there is no one that wants them dealt with more than hosts. This tiny percentage of hosts that are in it for nothing more than financially gain at any cost need to be dealt with as they are at the root of all the issues. Does the industry need to be regulated, yes? I believe it does, and the public needs to be protected. How can we regulated is a very complicated question and requires input from all concerned but especially from Airbnb and their counterparts? This is not a new issue by any stretch of the imagination, BnBs and cottage rentals have been around for a very very long time, but a few articles in the media have brought global attention to “short term rentals,” and I guess after generations we are now faced with dealing with it and a lot of people are going to be hurt and a lot will be happy, that’s just the way it is with social issues there are no clear cut winners.

    I hope at the end of the day, I will be able to do what I do, making my guests happy and promote Muskoka in my peaceful unobtrusive way.

  2. Howard Bargman MD, FRCPC on

    I wish to reply to a recent article on how to prevent ‘school bugs’ by a local naturopath.

    The concept of “boosting the immune system“ is a mantra of naturopaths with little truth. In a conversation recently with the curriculum director of the College of Naturopaths, I challenged her when she expressed that very concept. She immediately retracted that phrase and modified it. The public should know that in the presence of a reasonably healthy diet and absent immune disease there is no such thing as “boosting the immune system’.

    Probably the best advice to prevent colds and flu is to frequently wash your hands. Soap and water or alcohol containing washes are very effective. Sneezing into your elbow can also protect other people.

    I did not see these two recommendations in the article.

  3. Linda Riley on

    High Gas Prices In Huntsville once again this year. It is at least 6 cents per litre less In Gravenhurst, Orillia and the Newmarket area. Are they gonna gouge us again until enough people complain? Is there a monopoly here in Huntsville? This has to stop, the government says it will come down but ours stays the same? Just like last year!! What utter crap!

    Why is this happening in Huntsville again this year? 114.9 in Barrie last night yet 125.9 here? We need to stand up for what’s right and demand our gas prices drop also, just because we’re a tourist area shouldn’t matter!!

    Linda Riley

  4. During the late ’90s, the late Brenda Wainman-Goulet of Huntsville was chosen from many candidates as the sculptress for the bronze statue of Dr. Norman Bethune, planned to be placed in the Gravenhurst Opera House Square. Although responsible for the artistic component of the project, Brenda enthusiastically became a proponent and “leg-woman” during the work up for international fund raising and various approvals.

    She attended at a local road building project to select the massive granite base; poured through the Bethune Memorial House archives to capture the essence of the man; was back and forth to the foundry in Georgetown countless times and regularly met with the project committee at informal beer and burger meetings at Gravenhurst’s Welcome Inn.

    In August 2000, Brenda was on hand to unveil her work and was presented to then governor general Adrienne Clarkson, the Chinese ambassador, the Chinese consul general and the Spanish consul general. Resplendent in a mauve pant suit, Brenda was like a kid in a toy shop as a large crowd congratulated her on her imposing likeness of Bethune, stethoscope in hand, symbolically striding across his home town civic square.

    Despite the formality of the sub-regal event, Brenda was on hand later at the Welcome Inn, still decked out in the fashionable pant suit, as pitchers of beer were served up to the committee and well wishers in celebration of the completion of the project.

    Eighteen years later, every winter, a dusting of snow coats Bethune’s bronze shoulders as he wears a regal white “ermine cape.” Somehow, her sublime artistic acumen presaged that final flourish to the sculpture and her intuitive bond with art and nature was enshrined through the ages for the people of Muskoka.

    Not many people know that Brenda’s innate connection with nature is not by design. She is a child of Algonquin Park, born at Cache Lake in the Park, a daughter of the late Deputy Park Ranger, Dave Wainman. Brenda’s unique sculpture of Group of Seven artist Tom Thomson sits outside the Algonquin Theatre in Huntsville.


    RE: Bill 66 and the Proposed Open for Business Planning Tool

    I am writing to express my concern about the potential local impact of the Ontario government’s
    proposed Open for Business Planning Tool and Schedule 10 in Bill 66. These measures were
    introduced and passed first reading just before the legislature rose for the holiday break in December. They are expected to come before the legislature for debate in February.

    Most of the headlines have been about the Greenbelt and the Clean Water Act, but as you may realize, every municipality’s Official Plan can be ignored if the municipality approves a new development with an Open for Business By-Law (OfBB).

    In the interest of cutting red tape, the government proposes that an OfBB may be passed without a public hearing and once passed may not be appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal.

    While the current Minister offers verbal assurances of what might or might not be approved that is no assurance of what a future Minister or Government might do based on the act. If these provisions are deemed undesirable by the current Minister then why are they there?

    Nobody wants unnecessary red tape but these proposals go too far in the other direction. They threaten legislated health, safety and environmental protections which are so important to our quality of life and the local economy. And we know what the outcome of this deregulation may be as we have seen it in Walkerton (and Lac-Megantic).
    “Justice Dennis O’Connor, in his thorough and well documented Walkerton Inquiry, found that the Ontario Government’s red-tape reduction culture led directly to the suffering and loss of lives in Walkerton when its drinking water supply became massively and fatally contaminated with dangerous pathogens. Red tape reduction was not a side issue. It was the central factor.” (http://www.cela.ca/blog/2019-01-02/ontario-s-drinking-water-rules-are-not-red-tape). “Therefore, in accordance with Walkerton Inquiry recommendations, governments of all stripes moved fast to pass new laws (including the Clean Water Act) to fix the drinking water safety net across Ontario. It’s not acceptable to now start dismantling that safety net today under the guise of reducing red tape”.

    I urge Huntsville council to oppose Schedule 10 and to join other Ontario municipalities in passing a resolution not to use the powers in Bill 66 should it be passed into law.

    I look forward to your response.

    Lesley Hastie

    1.(The proposal to pass an OfBB must only be approved in advance by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Planning and once passed can be amended by the Minister before it goes into effect. If the Minister makes an order modifying an open-for-business planning by-law, the by-law is deemed to have been passed by the municipality with the modifications specified in the order).
    I have found the following links to be helpful in learning about how Bill 66 could affect communities such as ours throughout Ontario:
    • This Nature Ontario blog provides a very readable itemized summary:
    • The government’s description of Bill 66 and a link to the proposed language is here:

  6. Dear Mr. Norm Miller

    I have been initiating a correspondence with you recently about your government’s policy changes related to the environment. I am disappointed by your response to my previous letter asking about your thoughts on the proposed Bill 66. You say the Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act is to stimulate business for Ontario; however what does it do to protect our natural resources, our water, our green spaces? These dwindling and fragile areas need our continued protection. How will you respond to this Bill in the Muskoka district? Do you plan on accelerating development? You talk about the cutting of ‘ineffective and inflexible’ regulations to stimulate and fast-track development in Ontario, however from my viewpoint, it seems like building and development haven’t remotely slowed down in Ontario for over a decade.

    I am also worried because as this Bill is moving forward, the Ontario government has also hastily axed the position of the Independent Environmental Commissioner after 25 years! Who will hold Ontarians and the Ontario government accountable for their actions now? This appointment upholds and stands up for our Environmental bill of rights. Now this duty has been passed onto the PC minister of the environment, how is this not a conflict of interest?

    Where does the perception come from that the economy and the environment can’t be symbiotic? We have til 2030 (11 short years away) to put this planet on a better track and save it from irreversible damage from climate change. We need forward thinkers who hold the environment in the HIGHEST regard and become leaders in climate action and solutions. It is possible if people in power, like yourself, commit to our shared future.

    I, and the people of Muskoka, deserve a thoughtful response from you concerning your stance on the complete disregard by your government to the protection and sustainable development of our beautiful province.


  7. It’s a Bloomin’ Shame
    In the investment world, as I like to tell my sons, there are basically two types of investors – those who plant flowers and those who plant trees. In the world of politics, those people would perhaps be known as Conservatives or Liberals.
    In the waning days of her Premiership, one of the controversial initiatives proposed by Kathleen Wynn was the Basic Income. As she probably expected, response to this radical idea was all over the map, from passionate agreement to equally passionate rejection because everyone has an opinion on the spending of their tax dollars. Though those opinions may not have been the single deciding factor contributing to the eventual outcome of the subsequent provincial election, it’s only reasonable to assume they influenced how people voted. Even I, a left leaning socialist poor enough to benefit from the program, had reservations about just giving people money.
    A sad fact of life in any society, however, is that there will always be people who need to be provided for. For a myriad of personal reasons, a certain percentage of a countries citizens will always be dependent upon the charity of others.
    Recognizing this reality, over the years enlightened governments have tried to tackle this obligation with many, many different programs. While some work, others don’t and the deliverance of cost-effective social services has proven to be a continuously evolving objective. A government run basic income definitely sounds like one of those programs that couldn’t possibly work. I mean, why would anyone want to work for their money when they can get paid for doing nothing? (Certainly a question for a future article.)
    I don’t think Ms. Wynn is a dumb person, though, or former Prime Minister Jean Chretien who, if memory serves me, also floated the same idea on a national level. So what did they see that so many others didn’t? And then it occurred to me – the objective of the Basic Income wasn’t only to provide social assistance, it was to also get rid of the incredibly bloated layer of programs created to make it work and thus, by extension, a huge number of government employees.
    So what does all this have to do with planting trees or flowers? A Basic Income is a long term investment in Ontarians that would take many years to bear fruit. The results of reducing public payrolls while simultaneously improving the lives of the marginalized in society would not become evident overnight.
    In the Conservative flower garden, however, Doug Ford immediately reduced the amount of future money promised by the Liberals to those on social assistance and then, shortly after, offered current government employees financial incentives to resign or retire, the classic ‘rich get richer’ story.
    Another tree. In the late 1800’s, the ruling provincial Liberals made the existence of Algonquin Park official. As the years have rolled by, the beneficial prescience of this decision has only become more and more evident, the park reportedly attracting upwards of a million visitors a year. Hoping to continue this tradition of long term planning for an environmentally healthful province still covered in the future with trees and grass and marshland, Kathleen Wynn continued to designate more of southern Ontario as greenbelt.
    The flower garden plan for the greenbelt? Pave areas and then plant factories. Who cares that the beautiful bloom of those almost immediate new tax revenues will quickly wilt as corporate tax rates seemingly continue to shrink.
    Windmills, solar energy and a carbon tax? Another long term Liberal initiative. Doug Ford’s Conservative plan? Cancel renewable energy projects, eliminate the carbon tax and then pay companies instead, with our tax dollars, not to pollute. I understand this carrot-stick approach but for it to actually work the public-purse carrot will have to be significantly larger than the carbon-tax stick because if the expense of pollution mitigation is greater than what the government is willing to pay them, why bother. And besides, I wouldn’t be surprised if a carbon tax can be written off as a business expense while the incentive payment would be taxed as income.
    Almost a half century has passed since I bought my first stocks. They had to be purchased in trust because I was too young to legally own them. There have been a lot of could’ve, should’ve, would’ves, since then, like Apple at $9.00 or Lockheed at $7.00. There have also been a lot of Bre-Xs. While there are certainly no guarantees of success in the stock market, historical records pretty well prove that, ironically, ‘conservative’ long term investing ultimately beats day trading. It’s unfortunate for my kids and my grandkids that the ‘Conservatives’ can’t see that.

  8. Practicing Law

    Recently I had the good fortune to be summoned for jury duty. My initial response, as I suspect it is with most people, was one of annoyance. We all have day-to-day plans for our lives and this supposedly random command to appear on a specific date at a specific time at a specific location definitely didn’t fit into my agenda for the near future.
    Why do I say supposedly random? Well, because barely a year has passed since I received my last summons for jury duty. At that time I was able to convince the judge that my attendance would cause severe hardship to the company I worked for and so he graciously gave me a deferral until the spring. Come spring, the next summons arrived and even though the work situation had now deteriorated to the point that the provincial government was stepping in to directly help remediate the labour shortage, His Honour was this time not to be swayed.
    As we are repeatedly told at church, though, sometimes your prayers will be answered. So when I received a call from the court clerk a week or so before my scheduled appearance informing me that that session of court had been cancelled, I immediately whispered ‘Thank God’ as I hung up the phone. Statistically speaking, I believed my chances of now being picked again in the next few years had fallen dramatically.
    Apparently, however, your number being picked for jury duty isn’t subject to the same laws of probability as is your number being picked in LottoMax. If I were a Trumpite I think I would be crying “Conspiracy.” Since I am not a Trump idiot, though, I know it is entirely a coincidence that my name came up yet again in such a short time frame. I mean, entertaining any alternative idea would suggest that we can’t trust the integrity of our legal institutions, wouldn’t it?
    Anyway, out of curiosity I decided to call the number provided for the sheriff’s office. A super nice woman answered so I asked her if she could answer some questions about the jury selection process. ‘Absolutely’ she replied.
    I began by inquiring where the names of potential candidates came from. ‘From MPAC’, she answered and then explained what that was in case I didn’t know. It wasn’t until later when I was recounting the conversation to my wife that she mentioned this would immediately eliminate renters from jury duty.
    Now that the source of names had been determined, I next asked, half facetiously, if the names were then thrown into a big drum. She politely laughed and proceeded to give me a vague explanation that left me with the impression that the names were fed into, as with all things these days, a computer. Being a flip-phone aficionado who isn’t on Facebook, a chill immediately went up my spine.
    She continued on with some figures about how many people in Muskoka are called each year – I seem to remember the number 5,000 being mentioned in some context – and I asked her about pro bono work and if Crown Attorneys were exempt from such and we finally ended our conversation by her insisting that I call back if I had any further questions. Such a nice person.
    So in the end, though our chat clarified a number of questions, for me it felt as if a lot were still unanswered. For example, should potential jurors be screened to determine if they have recently had some unfavourable personal interaction with the courts that might make them hostile to the crown? Does not paying jurors create a similar antipathy?
    Why are so many within the legal system exempt from serving on juries? If each case is supposed to be decided exclusively upon the merits of the evidence, what difference does having an in-depth knowledge of the law make? Are cases not decided upon just the truth as presented or are they swayed by continuous objections, specious arguments and captivating oratory. To me, excluding those who practice law gives credence to the comment that jurors are just twelve people too dumb to get out of jury duty. And yet they are considered smart enough to decide the fate of strangers. Seems kind of paradoxical.
    So many questions, so few answers. I started this article by questioning the odds of being picked for jury duty twice in one year. What do you think the odds are that this upcoming session will, like last springs, be cancelled? I’m thinking about the same as winning a lottery.

  9. J. R. Bruce Cassie on

    I have a beef and wish to share it. Yes, I am one of those who thinks Huntsville is a shining star among towns in Ontario. We have many attractive “views” in and around our town but two warrant immediate attention.

    The first is the huge pile of dumped soil and tree limbs that shock the eye just off the entrance to Earl’s Road beside the Hwy #60 stop lights at the top of the hill. It has been there for several years now and one has to wonder when it might be graded out and brought to an acceptable viewing standard.

    Secondly, have you noticed the ugly West-facing wall of the Walmart building? There is damaged paint across the entire length of the building and this is the highway view our visitors get when they approach Hwy #60 entrance from the south. Since my wife and I spend several thousand dollars at this store each year, I have no hesitation claiming Wal-Mart appears to be sitting on its backside with no intention of addressing their responsibility to bring the outside wall to standard. When we first heard of Walmart coming to town, we were teased with how it would be painted to suit our natural environment. This at the time was to be a breakthrough since back then Walmart called all the shots. Please, WALLY, catch the pride shown by other store owners in town and buy some paint.

  10. I think everyone would agree that there has been a vast improvement to snow removal on our major roads and highways since Fowler are back on the job with their snow-clearing equipment –
    – thank God that the “Carillion Zamboni Ice-Making machines” are gone to the scrap yard !!
    – we now have proper and safe snow clearing on the highways – the way it was 8-10 years ago !!
    – and all done by our local company , Fowler – with equipment designed to properly deal with our severe winter road conditions.

  11. We Want YOU
    Ontario Premier Doug Ford recently opined that the former Ontario Liberals had engaged in ‘creative bookkeeping.’ I guess if one’s idea of bookkeeping amounts to what appears to be little more than the cut, cut, cutting of expenses, then perusing the accounting steps taken to maintain the financial health of Ontario while simultaneously introducing innovative social programs to improve the lives of those not fortunate enough to inherit, or purchase, an established successful business would appear creative.
    As anyone who has been around for more than one provincial or federal election probably knows, presenting a dire financial situation inherited from the previous government is pretty well standard political maneuvering by all Parties. That way, in the near term, the newly elected Party will have a handy excuse for their broken promises and, in the later term, a baseline for their miraculous climb back up from near provincial bankruptcy.
    This is not to say that there isn’t some credence to such claims of financial mismanagement. Of course the incumbent Party is going to put forward the rosiest picture possible. It’s just that it seems a bit disingenuous for the incoming Party to feign shock upon discovering discrepancies because if they didn’t suspect that finances might be worse than presented previous to the election then maybe they are too naïve to govern.
    But, all that being said, what the Conservatives have been able to pull off is truly masterful. First, and foremost, was the cutting of corporate taxes. Even though the provincial debt was allegedly many multiples worse than anticipated, corporate tax cuts were never abandoned. This, as my father used to say, would seem akin to cutting off your nose to spite your face. I suspect that even the most accounting-challenged of us understands that reducing the provinces income is going to be detrimental to its ability to fund programs. Of course, if the provinces pain benefits the previous source of personal income of some MPPs, well, just chalk that up to an unintended consequence. The more important thing is for the Conservatives to appear to be getting provincial income and expenses back into sync, without being creative of course.
    Which brings us back, not surprisingly, to the only option available to anyone when faced with a reduction in income -cut, cut, cutting of expenses. And, oh my, what a fertile field those tax-and-spend Liberals left for the Conservatives to plow through.
    Among the first to be axed were multiple green programs like windmills, cap-and-trade and personal home retrofits. Then came an attack on those traditionally least able to organize, the poor. Going, going and soon to be gone was a basic-income program. Scaled back was a promised percentage increase for social assistance programs. Funding commitments for some satellite-university builds have apparently been withdrawn. Safe injection sites are under review and I believe I heard a story on the news about a student-loan forgiveness program being cancelled. The list just goes on and on and on.
    And now, to add insult to injury, apparently the PCs are going to be erecting promotional signs at strategic points of entry into the province proclaiming that Ontario is open for business. Aggregating all the cuts they have made and then extrapolating from them, it would appear to me that if you are a business that doesn’t like to pay taxes, doesn’t like to pay a living wage and don’t mind polluting then you are a business the provincial Conservatives would love to welcome. To paraphrase an old Ontario tourism slogan; Ontario – Yours To Exploit.

  12. Has anyone else noticed that our gas prices are way too high? In recent travels I’ve seen the following prices:
    Gravenhurst $1.18
    Barry’s Bay $1.17
    Ottawa $1.09
    DWIGHT $1.25!!!
    All the while the price in Huntsville hasn’t budged from $1.26 (October 2018).
    I think it’s time for our local gas station owners to cut us some slack by lowering their prices.

    • Leslie Parrott on

      I couldn’t agree more. Just drove from Huntsville to Montreal and the prices in Huntsville are at least 10 cents a litre higher than anywhere else. I would give my business to any of the gas station owners who would do the right thing and bring the Huntsville prices in line with the rest .

  13. A copy of this letter to MPP Norm Miller was sent to Huntsville Doppler for publication ~

    This is my second letter to a politician! My first was to Right Honorable John Diefenbaker in 1960. This was a laudatory epistle, thanking him for the Bill of Rights. My second, to you Mr. Miller, is not complementary.
    Even-though we are at opposite poles of the political spectrum, I have always held you in the greatest esteem, as a man of integrity and principle.
    Not so now! I am deeply disappointed.
    Where is your backbone and that of your colleagues of the caucus?
    Contracts are cancelled on a whim, seriously damaging the reputation of the integrity of the Province of Ontario. Your leader has pronounced that Ontario is open for business! Do you think that companies consider investing with the provincial government if they cannot trust it?
    The Premier interferes with the municipal elections, while everything is in play. Particularly with cancelling of the election of District Chair here in Muskoka. You don’t change the rules of the game just as the referee is dropping the puck!
    The cancellation of the educational curriculum on our children’s health and reverting to an out-of-date, 20-years, curriculum is unforgivable.
    Decisions seem to be made out of spite or pettiness or kow-towing to vocal minorities.
    Do you and your fellow MPP’s, really agree with these, seemingly impulsive, decisions?
    In closing, I find that the quotation I came across recently, appropriate, by Bertrand Russell (English philosopher and mathematician) “The trouble world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.”


    • Further to Mr. Boysen’s comments re the travesty on democracy at Queens Park, those who follow politics might be interested to read lawyer Marie Heinen’s open letter to Premier Ford in the Globe and Mail this week. Ms Heinen, [who some may recognize as the lawyer for Jian Ghomeshi], gives firm direction to Mr. Ford in language that, even he, could understand.

      Marie Heinen starts her piece by stating, ‘…It’s time for a lesson on law and government 101. I doubt that Ontario Premier Doug Ford will take me up on the offer of a one-on-one lesson, and since it appears that none of those advising our Premier have thought to take on this task, here it goes.’

      Those few of us who spoil their day regularly by following municipal/provincial/federal politics will be startled by the firm rap on the knuckles which Ms Heinen gives the Premier on his knowledge of Canadian constitutional law.

      See https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-doug-ford-no-power-grab-is-worth-undermining-canadas-solid/

      Ms Heinen concludes by writing, ‘…Any time you want that one-on-one lesson, or a bit of a crash course on the Charter – including section 33, the notwithstanding clause – I’m here for you.’

  14. Jack & Judy Stewart on

    My wife and I would like to thank the Baysville/Huntsville fire department for saving our home and business last night 7/7/18. When you are awakened at 3:00 am in the morning with the sky a bright red next door, you immediately panic. Our neighbours cottage was completely engulfed in flames. The fire had moved onto our property and we thought that our place would be next as it was only a few feet from the house. Trees were on fire, the bush was on fire. We were then told we must evacuate now. It was a few hours before we were able to return. The fire department had been able to knock down the fire in our bush, preventing another disaster from happening. There is no words for how we feel about the volunteer fire department, all we can say is Thank You Thank You.

  15. Karen Robinson on

    I believe that many media organizations are doing the public a huge disservice by quoting polls that attempt to predict election results. I think that the over-reliance by media organizations on the use of their latest commissioned poll results are guilty of influencing election results by quoting polls as if they are an inevitable fact. That factor is compounded by what I believe is the present and growing inaccuracy of polls because of the behavioural change over the last ten years to cell phones and the many ramifications this change represents (i.e. ages or respondents for a starter). The landscape of willing respondents to pollsters continues to be in state of change and I do not believe polling companies are able to factor in this constant change with a sufficient degree of accuracy. For these reasons I question the validity and reliability of the information gathered in the polls and find that the use of poll information in news reports in the lead-up to elections (Canada and the U.S., provincial and federal) is itself becoming a factor of influence in elections. I have not made my decision as to who I will vote for in Ontario’s upcoming provincial election but I bristle at all media organization’s reporting poll results as if it is a done-deal for any particular party. Worse still – I believe it is interfering with our democratic process.

  16. Why can’t Muskoka drivers use studs In their tires? Somehow Parry Sounders can use them to drive to work and shop in Huntsville, and Muskokans can’t? Why doesn’t Mr. Miller bring this up every chance he could? Our weather is the same as Parry Sound District’s, our roads are the same, if not more snow and Ice covered. In Novar, one side of the street can, – but not the other side, – use tire studs.
    – and don’t get me started on the perks of half priced automobile licences. (Shut up Jim)

  17. There is so many kind an helpful people in Huntsville. I was stuck with my mobility scooter and people stopped to help. Then my battery died and people stopped to help. But the best thing of all was Mike and Jeanette helped me push my scooter over 2km to my front door an in my house. Mike an Jeanette, l can’t thank you enough.
    I haven’t lived in Huntsville for very long but this is the place to be of you need help. THANK YOU SO MUCH TOO EVERYONE WHO STOPPED TO HELP.

  18. Rock of Ages
    I would like to COMMEND the Band, and the cast and all who put this show on at the Algonquin Theatre!!! This show was EXCELLENT!!!! The whole show was incredible!!! They did an amazing job!!!!! They all deserve a huge THANK YOU for their dedication and hard work. It truly paid off. I have been to musicals in my life but let me tell you THIS MUSICAL far exceeded any show I have ever been to and that includes the Phantom of the Opera. This show was the best show ever!!!!! I would like to tell anyone who did not go they missed a huge successful entertainment!!! ROCK OF AGES you ROCK BIG TIME!! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE WONDERFUL SHOW. CONGRATULATIONS EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU!!

  19. Ted Knobelsdorf on

    I’d like to do a shout out for the new Brick in Huntsville. My mother purchased a chair for the old Brick in October 2016.
    I thought to drop in during the grand opening and see what they may do to help my 88 old Mom.
    The offered to look into it as the warranty has expired.
    Today I received a call from Them and a new chair was ordered for her!!!!
    Thank you Brick!!
    That’s customer service!!!

  20. Lela Shepley-Gamble on

    As a practitioner of SGI Nichiren Buddhism for almost 30 years, I recently have been asked by several people in my community, “ How can Buddhists be involved in the persecution and slaughter of the Muslim minority in Myanmar?” My instantaneous response is, “Though they call themselves Buddhist, they are not acting in accord with key Buddhist principles – i.e. reverence for the sanctity of life; acknowledgment of the interconnectedness of all phenomena (including all people!); and the strict Law of Cause and Effect that guarantees whatever causes you make, the effects are simultaneously planted in your life and will manifest when conditions are right. If you truly believed in that one Buddhist principle alone, persecution and slaughter would not be on your agenda!

    I am glad to know that many people today think of Buddhism as a totally pacifistic religion and are shocked by images of Buddhists participating in scenes of violence. However, Buddhists are human beings, and as we all know, human beings are capable of great acts of courage, compassion, and wisdom as well as foul acts of depravity and degradation.

    We need to be shocked by the darkness in the human heart, no matter what label is associated with it.

    As Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, or atheists, we all need to be working to ensure that we bring out the best in ourselves and others, that we strive daily to make the world a more peaceful and tolerant place, and that we stand against injustice in whatever form it takes. We make choices every day; let’s make sure we’re doing the very best we can do.

  21. John Rivière-Anderson on

    A lot of ink has been spilled about what Trudeau’s trip to Washington will mean for the future of NAFTA, but there’s been shockingly little coverage of a dramatic NAFTA story playing out here in Canada.
    This week in Toronto, oil and gas company Lone Pine Resources is using Chapter 11 of NAFTA to sue our government for over $100 million, over a temporary fracking ban under the St Lawrence River.
    The “Investor State Dispute Settlement” rules in Chapter 11 give billionaire corporations special rights to sue governments in shadowy international tribunals for passing laws or policies that might reduce their expected profits.
    Canada is already the most-sued country in the global north because of NAFTA’s Chapter 11 ISDS rules. Most corporations sue us over our environmental regulations.
    These rules let corporations undermine our democracy in the pursuit of profits, and should be removed.
    The NAFTA renegotiations offer an opportunity to put an end to these outrageous corporate lawsuits.

  22. Bad Air
    About a year ago, the train station was closed to the public. Readings had been taken and air quality was deemed unsafe. Mole. Mildew. Disintegrating insulation was releasing asbestos. The site was pronounced unsafe and closed.
    Recently, groups that had been using the station were requested to remove anything they had in the building as the building is to be sold, For 2 dollars.
    Arriving at the site, no fans were running, purging the building of all that bad air. No one was shown recent readings that showed the air to now be safe, but neither was anyone required to wear a HAZMAT suit nor personal breathing apparatus. Not even those little paper masks were needed. Apparently the air is fine now. The building has cleansed itself?
    It would be interesting to compare this years readings with those taken a year ago, the ones that closed the building.
    Or was the ‘bad air’ story that emanated from the station akin to the air one might notice wafting from a neighbours pasture, The air seems to have been the excuse used to vacate the building and the first step in the process of declaring it surplus.
    My opinion for sure, but I think it as viable as the one used by council to close the building
    Allen Markle

  23. Walking the fairy Vista trail on a daily basis, we noticed the water damage it did to part of the trail, where there is a near total washout on the section from the sewage treatment plant to the road leading to o Mara golf course ..the town did put up some pylons (2) to indicate the break almost halfway on the trail ,but closer inspection shows that the soil underneath the asphalt is also disappeared ,,which makes it dangerous for people navigating the trail,and prone to a larger cave in.. maybe the town should be made aware of this situation,and rectify this problem a.s.a.p, as in to avoid potential accidents..

  24. A suggestion for Huntsville Mayor and Council
    With a sigh and a shrug, council has deemed the train station too expensive to repair and will list it as surplus property to be disposed of. An RFP was issued and the matter debated, but since volunteers had invested time and money in the station some years ago, councils have done little to maintain the building. Now it will pass to private ownership; to someone who doesn’t seem to feel it too expensive to repair and for the price of 2 bucks, find it a sweet deal.
    Another town property, where the Allensville Hall once stood, was worthy of no such debate or RFP. A ‘FOR SALE’ sign was simply hammered in the earth. The price tag is 39.000 dollars.
    ‘Touch the past. Embrace the future’ Indeed! The past, our heritage, seemingly has little future once ‘touched’ by this mayor and council. What some worked hard to build and maintain, council will now dispose of for 2 dollars. It shows little interest or respect for what has been left to us and even less desire to maintain it.
    Might I suggest that in the future council go the ‘FOR SALE’ sign route, rather than subjecting itself to the ’emotional struggle’ of divesting of a heritage site. It seems that the return might be exponentially greater than 2 bucks.
    Allen Markle

  25. Please move the “artwork” from the middle of our river-way.
    Yes, it’s ‘artistic’, in the eyes of those who worked to create & plant it there, but in my opinion it is poorly placed and dangerous, in present location.
    It’s just not attractive. It poses a safety hazard.
    Relocate it to where it won’t be a danger to passing water-traffic.
    I am not alone in this opinion.

  26. To those residents of Huntsville who live along the Muskoka Road 3 North corridor and also to parents of children who attend Spruce Glen Public School, there will be a Town Planning Committee meeting in chambers on August 16th commencing at 9:00 am, to consider a proposed amendment to Zoning By-law 2008-66P, which would change zoning on an adjacent property from a Rural One (RU1) Zone to a Heavy Industrial (M1) Zone to permit a rock cutting and processing facility on the property. Notification was previously published in the July 20th edition of the Huntsville Forester.
    The proposed zoning amendment application is identified as Z/41/2016/HTE (Muskoka Rock Company Ltd.)
    I would urge everyone to consider the negative effects of such an operation in a residential area should this zoning amendment be permitted.

  27. Bud Hambleton on

    On behalf of the Huntsville and area Historical Society, I would like to thank the Reverend Derek Shelley and the congregation of the Trinity United Church, Huntsville for permission to set up a table on the church lawn on Canada Day. Also to Suzy Simson for a quick response to our request. We had a very successful day.

    Thanks once again,
    Bud Hambleton

  28. Bruce Stimers on

    Just returned home to witness the huge, ugly, navigational hazard in the middle of our beautiful river at the focal point of our downtown. The word idiotic came to mind right after stupid. Why on earth was that eyesore ever allowed? More to the point, why is it still there? Another gross waste of our tax money?

    • Well, the money and the figure were donated but I agree with you–beauty is in the eye of the beholder and most “beholders” have judged it to be ugly. The more serious issue is the danger to boats navigating the river. I think it has already been removed to a safer location.

  29. Proposed Development of Quarry and Pit

    There are plans proposed by Mr. Frank Lippa to develop a new pit and quarry operation which would be located at 1089 Butler Mill Road which is north-east of Aspdin Road (Con. 4 Lots 3 &4 of Cardwell Twp). It would be licensed for a maximum annual extraction of 200,000 tonnes of sand, gravel and bedrock. The proposed pit would operate 7 days a week, Monday to Friday from 6:00am – 9:00 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am – 6:00pm. There would be a massive increase in heavy truck traffic on the Aspdin Road – an average of 100 heavy trucks taking out material per day (and then returning). Many of these trucks will head eastward towards Huntsville and the rest westward through Rosseau.

    Allowing this quarry and pit development to proceed would have many negative effects:
    *Poor sight lines on Aspdin Road means danger for cars entering and exiting driveways /sideroads, school children getting on/off the bus, pedestrians, cyclists and wildlife. Trucks already drive on the yellow line for fear of dropping off the paved road onto the gravel shoulder.
    *Proposed pit and quarry will be operating above and below the water table.
    *Negative impact on wildlife-turtles, deer , turkeys etc trying to cross the road as well as animals and birds in the area of the quarry.
    *Massive impact on air quality and water sources originating from the grinding of granite and the potential for holding ponds to overflow.
    *Negative impact from the noise and vibrations of the machinery processing the materials, the constant movement of the trucks and the blasting that will occur on a regular basis. Cottagers and homeowners would be subjected to this continual intrusion.
    *Negative impact on the waters of Skeleton Lake whose creeks originate near the site and drain into the lake. The distance being less than 2 Km .

    To see more information and the map of proposed quarry and pit log on to: https://muskokalakes.civicweb.net/document/97947
    or call Ross Earl
    Aspdin Road
    Phone 705 -646-3848

  30. S. Derek Shelly on

    In reply to Professionally Speaking: Finding God in Nature https://doppleronline.ca/huntsville/finding-god-in-nature-jeremy-mcclung-of-muskoka-community-church/

    As much as I really like and enjoy Jeremy I would have to say that he seems to have omitted the idea of the late Marcus Borg (a Lutheran pastor and theologian) who also speaks of the idea of “panenthesism “. The basic difference between pantheism and panentheism is that the former holds the idea that everything is God, while the later holds the idea that God is in everything. I realize the difference may not be much to some but it is – everything is God vs. God is in everything.

    Secondly, there are a large number of Christians who would be critical of the use of the male pronoun when speaking of God. Scripture reminds us that we are “no longer male or female” (Galatians 3:28) and we are “made in the image of God, both male and female” (Genesis 1:27). In essence, it is not incorrect to refer to God as male, neither would it be incorrect to use the feminine pronoun. We can think of God as Father and Mother, but for centuries we just haven’t used such inclusive language. To me it would be most inclusive not limit God to human images at all, to let go of anthropomorphic images altogether. That is to say, God is not an old man with a long beard living “up” in heaven somewhere. However, I realize too that I might be in the minority on this issue; but minorities are important too.

    I would totally agree with Jeremy in that God is found in nature, outdoor worship is great especially here in Muskoka. (Actually Trinity United Church is holding their worship outdoors at the Martin’s farm (formerly driving range) at 10 am on Sunday, June 26). No matter where we gather in large numbers or on our own, God is with us and all we can ever do is worship the God who is “holy mystery and wholly love” (The United Church of Canada, Song of Faith).

  31. Robin's Rebels on

    Community Letter of Thanks

    Robin’s Rebels silent art auction held at Hidden Valley Resort this past Friday evening raised over $6800.00!
    We are a group of riders who will be cycling 220 km for two days from Toronto to Hamilton, Hamilton to Niagara.

    When each of us signed up to do the ‘Ride to Conquer Cancer’, we each committed to raise $2500.00 or more in order to participate.

    We are close to raising the $30,000.00 as a team. We have so many people to thank.

    First and foremost, Hidden Valley Resort offered the ball room to host the event. Thank you to Rose Evans co-owner, Scott Dougthy GM, Melissa Coulson and Courtney Coker, conference service managers and all the staff for being so generous and helpful in putting this event together.

    Thank you to all who helped promote the event, Doppler, our local online news source, 105.5 Moose FM for air time and the Huntsville Forester.

    Thank you Cavalcade Colour Lab, The Framing Place, and Fabricland for your generous support as well.
    A special thank you to our artists. Those that make art their business and those that create art as a hobby, we thank you. Without your support we simply could not have done this. Lorrie Morton, Thomas Morton (Morton Muskoka Chairs), Katherine Robinson, Marike MacDonald, Bonnie Harris, Gabrielle Anderson,
    Gwen Smales and Connie Fisher of Artsy Pear Studio, Helena Renwick, Catherine O’Mara, Laurie Gordon, Heidi Driedger, Carol Stevenson, Marguerite Taylor, Marsha Forsythe, Jeff Lemire, Tony Varney
    Lesley Anne Green, Roxanne Driedger, Peter Bloom, Brian Markham, Tina Calberry, Judy Smith, Susan Higgins, Margaret Penner, Bonnie Markle, Shirley Smith, Jane Wolfe, Deanne O’Donoghue
    Susan Love, Teri Howell, Mary Spring, Shelly Nobile, Ashley Love, Ken Morrison, Kelly Holinshead, Susan MacDonald, Ryan Rea, Jenny Kirkpatrick, Ben Howell, Elle Fox, Jerry Schmanda, Teri Brunner, Laura Rea, Lindgren Pottery, Donna Elliott, Randy Spencer (Tall Trees), and Barry Brear (Rolston’s).

    Finally, a big thank you to all who came out to support this event and to remember our friend Robin Crawford and all those in your circle of friends who are fighting the good fight.

    May they never give up fighting and may the research the Princess Margaret Hospital is doing, find that cure to conquer cancer.

    Robin’s Rebels.

  32. Corinne Island on

    It saddens and annoys me that I have to write about the seriously irresponsible people out on the lakes in their boats this weekend. The water levels are still so high that many docks are underwater and boathouses are flooded, debris from the winter is floating everywhere … yet … foolish uncaring jerks are roaring around creating huge wakes causing even MORE erosion on shorelines and moving docks that are lifted off of their cribs by the water levels. Please, please stay off of the lakes until the water levels have returned to their norm.

  33. Tanya Sprathoff on

    I would like to take a moment to thank the community of Huntsville for its generosity and enthusiastic response to causes of all kinds. You have a big heart! I particularly want to say thank you on behalf of the Huntsville Suzuki School of Music, as last month we had our most successful Indian Dinner yet. We sold all 300 tickets in advance!! Due to the incredible support of local families and businesses, and the enthusiastic bidding of our dinner guests, the auctions were a success as well. We are so grateful for each individual who contributed in their own way to a fun and enjoyable evening. For a more detailed thank you to our supporters please visit our website at http://www.huntsvillesuzuki.org. So thank you for helping us continue to provide the kind of violin, viola and cello instruction one normally only finds in a large centre. We are delighted to be able to contribute to the cultural fabric of Muskoka in this unique way.

    Tanya Sprathoff
    Huntsville Suzuki School of Music