A group of Huntsville residents are gathering about a wake.
They are not mourning an old friend. The wake in question is coming from the newly introduced tour boat the Tom Thomson says a group of residents whose homes back on to the Muskoka River. Pat Allinson represents the unnamed group of homeowners along the river who say the wake being thrown by the boat is going to damage their shoreline and they want it to stop.
In a presentation to the Town of Huntsville General Committee on October 31st one of the main issues raised was what would be done about the damage to the shoreline.
Councillor Bob Stone, one of a number of councillors who sit on the committee that have also experienced a trip on the Tom Thomson, says the argument does not hold water.
“To be quite honest, as far as the Tom Thomson throwing a wake from behind it, I was quite pleased when I was on the boat I spoke with the Captain and I saw it does not throw much of a wake,” says Stone.
An email by Director of Operations and Public Services Steve Hernen to Allinson answered the many questions brought forward in her presentation.
One question wondered if property taxes would be lowered as a result of the damage done by the tour boat operation.
Hernen’s response: “As taxes are based on assessed value and not on ‘activities’ surrounding your residence unless the value of your home decreases there will be no changes to your taxes.”
Allinson also asked if there would be another boat in operation. Owner of Lady Muskoka Cruise Lines, Stephen Wyllie, who also owns Algonquin Cruise lines which operates the Tom Thomson, told My Muskoka Now that the Thomson would become a lunch and dinner cruise boat running out of the Deerhurst resort next summer.
Stone says the committee confirmed another vessel would be operating out of the town docks, but that a Request for Proposal is going out to determine what company would, in fact, be running the service.
“We’ve gone out for RFP for the owner of the Tom Thomson or anyone else to come and provide this particular service,” says Stone.
The 58-foot long glass-enclosed vessel made the trip from Ottawa in September, going through the Rideau Canal and Trent Severn Waterways before being trucked up Highway 11 to Huntsville.
It made a number of trips with paying passengers in October, taking advantage of the fall leaves changing. The cruise in the fall went down the river to Fairy Lake, circled some islands before returning, with a maximum cruise time of about 45 minutes.