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Algonquin Park Cottage Leases - Update

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Algonquin Park Cottage Leases - Update

September 2014

Last month PPC met with Ontario Parks to discuss extending private cottage leases in Algonquin Park.  There are currently 303 cottage lot tenure agreements in Algonquin that are scheduled to expire in 2017.  Even though the cottages are inside the park, they are private and not publicly accessible, yet have been subsidized by tax dollars for decades.

One would think that ridding the park of private cottages would be an obvious decision.  Unfortunately, the Liberal govt. is seriously considering extending the leases for another 21 years.

Some of Canada’s richest people have cottages in Algonquin Park.  Most notable are Mr. Green and Mr. Budman -  the owners of Roots Canada.  Roots Canada is currently running a PR campaign linking Roots Canada to the history of Algonquin while hiding the fact that the store’s owners have a private cottage in the park that is publicly subsidized.

When PPC asked Ontario Parks to explain how private cottages in a provincial park benefit the public overall -  Ontario Parks had no answer.

The cottages provide the Crown with about $586,918 of annual revenue. The Crown spends between $163,768 and $296,026 to support cottagers, with this range accounting for uncertainties in the amount actually spent to support water control structures, which are one of many forms of infrastructure that provides benefits to cottagers. The Crown also pays $130,543 per year as a Payment-In-Lieu (PIL) of taxes on behalf of a minority of cottage tenure holders who do not pay a municipal tenure tax.

Currently, private cottages in Algonquin Park are a burden to the public and exclude the public from the privileges of a cottage in the park.

Ontario Parks could re-occupy the cottages and rent them out to park visitors who are not able to canoe or camp outback.  A basic cottage rental in Algonquin could rent as high as $1000 a week. That is the average rental fee for cottages near, but not in, Algonquin Park.  This revenue would dwarf the current revenue generated by cottages leases.

Cottage leaseholders are not entitled to any compensation or payment in respect of any building or structure remaining on the premises,  therefore there is no cost to the public when the leases expire.

Two recent and independent reports assessing the ecological impacts and the value of cottages in Algonquin Park can be found by clicking here.

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