David Jones, a member of Frontenac County Council representing the Township of Frontenac Islands, ex...
The Somersault Events race series continues to draw a wide range of athletes of all ages and skill l...
It came as no surprise to find Bon Echo Provincial Park recommended as one of Ontario's premiere cam...
North Frontenac tax levy to go up by 3% Most of increase devoted to long-term needs While the levy to ratepayers in North Frontenac is going up by 3% this year, the operating budgets of township departments have been trimmed. As part of the asset management strategy that Council took on late last year, North Frontenac has set aside 2% of the money they raise from taxation to put in a fund to cover replacement costs for all roads, bridges and buildings that the township owns. That left a tax increase for township operations of $53,214 (1.06%), even as a number of fixed costs went up. “There was some new spending, including $15,000 as part of our doctor recruitment commitment for the Lakelands Health Team and $54,000 for playground equipment, which will only be spent if we get a grant that we have applied for,” said township Chief Administrative Officer Cheryl Robson. “In order to keep from a larger increase in the levy each department was asked to find cuts, which they did. There were no cuts to service, but it will be a lean year this year.” The township's draft budget, which will include a total levy of $5.2 million to North Frontenac ratepayers, was approved in principle at a meeting of council on Monday (April 7) and will be presented for public comment at the beginning of the next council meeting on April 28. It is anticipated that the budget document will be approved by bylaw at that time. The two other components of the tax bill that goes to North Frontenac ratepayers, county and education taxes, are each up by about $35,000 this year, for a total increase of $125,000 to be split among all the township's ratepayers. Pine Lake It's been almost eight years since members of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation occupied a piece of public land adjacent to a boat launch at Pine Lake, off Ardoch Road. The small property, which is managed by the Ministry of Natural Resources, (MNR) has continued to be used as a boat launch and there is a small road running over it between Ardoch Road and the lake. Back in 2006, the Ardoch Algonquins asserted an Aboriginal claim to the property by cutting trees and putting up a portable metal building. Their stated intention was to establish a band office on the property. But nothing has happened on the property for a number of years, except that brush has grown where the trees had been cleared. The portable building has remained but has not been used at all. In February, the township authorized CAO Cheryl Robson to write the MNR asking that the portable be removed. “Council requests that MNR remove this derelict portable from this property, at your earliest possible convenience,” said Cheryl Robson in a letter to Michael Gatt of the Bancroft ministry office. Last week a letter of response came from Suzy Shalla, Resources Management Supervisor in Bancroft. “I did want to respond to thank you and the Council for bringing forward your concerns regarding the structure located near the boat launch at Pine Lake. MNR is aware of the structure that is located there, however we will not be pursuing removal of the building at this time.” Township office remediation update - Township staff remain housed in portable offices as well as a temporary office in the Clar-Mill fire hall as Service Master and Concord Engineering continue to work on the heating oil spill that took place in early February. Council received a report from Concord Engineering which says that there is no evidence that the ground under the building has been contaminated, but a number of walls and some flooring has been removed as part of ongoing clean-up efforts. There is no time frame for the completion of repairs, which are all covered by the township's insurance policy. Ompah fire hall and community hall back to square one Council soundly rejected two proposals for upgrades to the Ompah fire hall/community hall property. The first proposal, which came in response to a tender for repairs and upgrades, would have cost $360,000. It was supported by Councilor John Inglis and rejected by the rest of Council. The second proposal, which was put forward by Councillor Wayne Good, would have capped spending on upgrades at $50,000, inclusive of a $10,000 accessibility expenditures that is mandated by the Province of Ontario. Although Council has put aside over $200,000 for the project, Good wanted to redirect that money to build a new township office. Good pointed out that there is only one trained firefighter living within a 5 km radius of the hall, and a limited capacity hall would serve the community needs. His proposal was supported by himself, and no one else. Councilor Betty Hunter then proposed that $180,000 be spent on the hall, and that the Ompah fire hall task force, which came up with the proposal that led to the $360,000 tender, be brought back together to figure out how to spend only $180,000 on the building, and do so this year. Her motion was accepted. An additional $50,000 has been pledged by the Ompah volunteers, and there remains an additional $10,000 available for accessibility features.
Septic re-inspection program Ed Gardiner, from Kingston Frontenac Lennox and Addington Public Health, made a proposal to council for a mandatory septic re-inspection program. Until now the township has been contracting with the Mississippi-Rideau Septic System office for a voluntary program. But each of the last two years the number of systems inspected has lagged below the target because a number of landowners have been unresponsive to repeated attempts to engage them in a re-inspection. Changes to Ontario legislation have permitted municipalities to engage in mandatory programs if they choose to do so. One of the stipulations is that the re-inspections be done by the same agency that is responsible for approvals to new septic systems. In the case of North Frontenac that agency is KFL&A Public Health. Gardiner said that it would cost the township $12,000 per year for the health unit to complete 160 inspections, with a focus on inspecting high risk systems, properties with no record of approved sewage systems, or properties with systems that are over 20 years old. He said that the program would be run out of the KFL&A office in Cloyne and that inspection reports would be sent to the landowner and the township. As far as enforcement is concerned Ed Gardiner said that if a report says remedial action is required, “a reasonable amount of time, determined by the township chief building official,” should be given. “If no action is taken the chief building official or the inspector will issue an order to comply,” he said. The township has now received two proposals, one from Mississippi-Rideau and one from KFL&A Public Health. In order to proceed they will have to choose one or the other to do all of their inspection work, on new and old systems. Planner ready to go to the OMB if necessary Joe Gallivan, the planner for Frontenac County, presented the second draft of the Frontenac County Official Plan to Council. Gallivan said the plan, which sets out a policy framework and leaves most of the detailed information to the township plan, has been submitted to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs for comment. Based on the response of the ministry to the Renfrew County Official Plan, and the North Frontenac Official Plan, Gallivan said he is concerned about how the ministry will likely respond to the approach the county is taking. “Frankly I'm not that optimistic at this point. It might be that we end up with an OMB challenge on this.” Two issues are of major concern to Gallivan, and to North Frontenac, who are at an impasse with the ministry with their own plan. One is the ministry position that no new development shall be permitted on private roads, even if there are strong rules in place about the quality and width of those roads. The other deals with the ministry's insistence that development be oriented to hamlets and villages, “which is totally contrary to the demand for development on the ground in places like Frontenac County,” Gallivan said. Construction up in 2013 Building permits were issued for over $7.3 million worth of construction in 2013, including six new inland and 20 new waterfront residences. The total for 2012 was $6.3 million. Mayor talks about County Mayor Clayton, who is also the Warden of Frontenac County, said he remains frustrated about the county budget process. “I still feel there is some push back from some of the managers at the county. When we ask them to make cuts they come back with reasons why it is impossible to make any. All we are asking of the two major programs, Fairmount Home and land ambulance, is that they bring costs to the average of costs among services of comparative size, instead of above the average. I think the administration of both programs could be a bit top-heavy,” he said. In summing up a strategic planning session, Clayton said, “There is an expression that goes 'if the people won't change, change the people'. There may be something that needs to happen like that.” War memorial funding frustration Councilor Gerry Martin has been chairing a task force that has been developing a proposal for a war memorial in the township for the past year. The task force was planning to submit an application for funding to the Community War Memorial Program, a five-year granting program administered by Veterans' Affairs Canada that was set to run until 2015. However, when the task force contacted Veterans' Affairs in January, seeking an application form for the program, they received the response that “unfortunately the Community War Memorial Program is no longer accepting funding applications due to higher than anticipated demand.” Martin prepared a letter to MP Scott Reid asking for his assistance in dealing with Veterans' Affairs on the matter. Council approved the letter.
“I don't know yet,” said Bud Clayton when asked if he was planning to seek re-election as mayor of North Frontenac after one four-year term. “If things remain the way they are now, I would say it would be no, but things can change.” Clayton added that he had not planed to run during the last election in 2010, but decided at the last minute to give former Deputy Mayor Jim Beam a run for his money since there were no other candidates coming forward. He ended up winning. “I don't want to hang on past my best-before date,” Clayton said this week, “but I have not made a final decision by any means.” Gutowski leaning towards running in Central Frontenac “In all likelihood I will be running,” two-time incumbent Janet Gutowski said when asked if she was going to run for a third term as mayor of Central Frontenac. “I'm very committed to this township and I think there is still a lot to be accomplished,” she said. Among the issues that Gutowski will be addressing during the election year are seniors’ housing and the future of service delivery in Central Frontenac. “I can see us seeking partnerships with other townships and a continued role for Frontenac County as well,” she said. “Provincial policies are always impacting us as a township, and the City of Kingston has an impact on our residents on a daily basis because they run our social services. It is only through the county that we can even talk to them; there is no other venue.”
North Frontenac pulls back from hall redundancy. After meeting with user groups from the Snow Road, Harlowe, and Clarendon and Miller halls, North Frontenac Council decided to rescind part of a bylaw they passed last July, which stipulated that the halls were to be declared as surplus property in the future. Mayor Clayton had maintained that declaring the halls surplus did not necessarily mean they would be closing, only that they would no longer be in line for re-building at the end of their useful life. However, he has also talked about a township preference for building a single, central hall and township office. Councilors have been hearing from hall users ever since the bylaw was passed in July, and at their meeting the clause about declaring the halls surplus was removed. Asset management plan finalized Vicki Leakey, from KPMG, presented the final version of the North Frontenac Asset Management Plan to council. Municipalities in Ontario are required to have these plans in place if they are to be eligible for provincial infrastructure grants next year. Some municipalities have produced basic documents that were created by sending data to a consulting firm and receiving a template-based document back. In North Frontenac's case, KPMG has met extensively with staff and council and the plan has been under development all year. The North Frontenac plan encompasses paved roads, bridges, equipment, and all township-owned buildings. Next year information about gravel roads will be added. Leakey's report concludes, as she told council last month when presenting a draft, that the township has done a good job of investing in infrastructure needs over the last 10 years, and by parceling off an added 2% in taxation towards infrastructure spending into the future, they will come closer to keeping up with the requirement for rebuilding roads, bridges, equipment, and buildings as they age and need to be replaced. Leakey costed out the rebuilding at $7.5 million. “There is not a municipality in Ontario that is not falling behind, at least to some extent, and North Frontenac is probably doing better than most,” Leakey said. One factor that is not in North Frontenac's favour is its negative growth rate, which among other things, means less money is available from property taxes. The report presented it in stark terms. “While the province's population increased by 19.5% between 1996 and 2011, North Frontenac's population dropped by 3.9%.” And those who remain in North Frontenac are ageing. Thirty-nine percent of the total personal income among township residents is derived from pensions, while the provincial average is 14%. “The greater reliance on fixed income pension reduces the ability of the municipality to raise funds through taxation,” said Leakey's report. OPP billing questions The township supported efforts by other municipalities to scuttle a proposed new billing system for OPP services that would see the township charged on a per household basis, including seasonal as well as permanent residents. Township staff calculate this would bring the North Frontenac bill from $205,000 to $1.15 million - a 458% increase. “It's funny how they bill us for the seasonal residents but when it comes to grants they look only at our permanent residents,” said Mayor Clayton. “They like to play both sides of the coin.”
Judge Peter Wright delivered his final judgments at the Sharbot Lake Criminal Court on July 21, wrapping up a 15-year stint there. Wright began his service in Sharbot Lake in 1999 and has been happy serving the small rural community. “It seems like yesterday that I started coming up here,” Wright said on his final day. He recalled when he first heard about the quaint community hall/courtroom in Sharbot Lake with its “curtained stage, and the wheel-out dais”, but he said, “It was a delight to be here”. The Sharbot Lake Criminal Court was the last satellite court of Kingston to be set up. Established in 1999, the court was set up to address a backlog in the Kingston courts. Ottawa was called in to address the Kingston backlog and Wright, who at that time was serving in Ottawa, was asked by the regional senior justice there to take on the position in Sharbot Lake. Wright recalled agreeing initially to take the position for one year. “I didn't know what it would be like out here and here I am 15 years later.” Wright is moving to Perth next month and will stand as the resident judge there, replacing Judge Steve March who is retiring this month. The move also entails Wright giving up his Ottawa office. The switch will make it difficult for him to continuing serving in Sharbot Lake and though he said he loves the Sharbot Lake community, he believes it will be difficult to continue working here while also serving in Perth. The most challenging part of serving in Sharbot Lake, Wright recalled, was not knowing anyone here at first. The other difficulty was the huge backlog of cases. “We had cases that had been adjourned for a year with no set dates and it was hard to put the brakes on those adjournments. It went against the practice that was happening here, which was due to the fact that there was a different judge here every month. Understandably, it's hard to be the tough guy when you are only here for one day.” Asked if he has regrets, Wright said his time serving in Sharbot Lake has been enjoyable, rewarding and a nice break from Ottawa. Asked about the challenges of moving to Perth, Wright said that locally things always tend to be done a bit differently, “But that is what makes things fun and a learning experience.” When asked what makes a good judge, Wright said it’s the ability to listen. “We have two ears and one mouth so it's probably important to listen twice as much as you speak. I do not know how you can judge if you do not listen to what people are saying.” Asked if he has always known that, Wright said that when he first became a judge, it was tempting to still be a lawyer, to ask all of the questions and to jump in and argue with people. “That is not the role of a judge. As a judge you have to listen, give people their say and let people tell you their story. If you do not do that then you miss the opportunity to try to incorporate people’s experiences, what they have done and seen, and what the lawyers have to say.” Wright studied law at the University of Ottawa and was called to the bar in 1979. He practiced in Ottawa until he was appointed to the bench in 1993. On his final day in court in Sharbot Lake, both Duty Counsel Doug Caldwell and Provincial Crown Counsel Liz Foxton paid special verbal tributes to him.
On July 13 a puppet show extravaganza hit the stage at the Sharbot Lake branch of the Kingston Frontenac Public Library (KFPL). The two puppeteers, Brenda MacDonald and Sarah Balint, have been on the road touring various library branches for the past few weeks. They performed two classic children's stories. The first was “Strega Nona”, written and illustrated by Tommie dePaola and the second was “Three Little Pigs”. Both books are available to borrow through the branch near you. At the Sharbot Lake performance the house was packed with children from all around the area, starting from the age of 5 months. The stage was elaborate and circus-themed. One boy, when asked what his favourite part about the stage was, said, “I like it because it's red.” “Strega Nona” translates to Grandmother Witch, and the story centres around a magical old woman who seeks out the help of Anthony, a boy who is thought to be inattentive, as she is getting rather old. However, Anthony creates trouble when Strega Nona leaves her house under his care for a few days. He does not heed a warning to leave the pasta pot on the stove alone, causing it to overflow and fill first the house, then the entire village with pasta, with terrifying and funny results. The show was full of comedic moments and stirring suspense. During intermission one of the puppeteers, Brenda MacDonald, led a song with the children. As some of the kids knew the song, they stood up and sang it out with Brenda, much to her delight. This was followed by a reading of John Burningham's “Mr. Gumpy's Outing” [Editor's note – the best picture book ever written, with the possible exception of Mr. Gumpy’s Motor Car]. The puppet show then continued with a fantastical performance of “Three Little Pigs” which literally had the audience rolling on the floor in hysterics. Brenda and Sarah really understood their audience and clearly love what they do. They were welcoming and entertaining from the get-go. They made sure to credit the audience for their energy; as Sarah said, “They were our best audience all week.” Sarah and Brenda will be performing again on August 15 at the Sydenham branch at 10am. They will be performing two fox-related puppet shows, one based on the hit song “What does the fox say?” and the other based on the children's story “The Fox and the Grapes”.
by Mike Procter On August 9 the Procter sisters, Theresa, Becki and Katie will once again swim across Sharbot Lake to raise money for cancer research and to support those living with cancer. Over the past six years the girls have raised over $6,000 and they need your help to make this year’s swim another success. The girls will jump into the water at the Sharbot Lake Provincial Park at 10 am and swim 3 kilometres to reach land at the Oso beach about 11:30 am. Having grown up in Sharbot Lake, the three sisters are like fish in the water and seem to do the swim with minimal effort, although in past years, high waves have given them a bit of a tough go and water bugs are sometimes unwelcome companions. Becki works in the HR department of an insurance company in Mississauga, Katie is a registered nurse in Toronto and Theresa is an epidemiologist in Woodstock. This may be the last summer all three are together as Katie is moving to Manitoba in September. Donations can be made online at http://convio.cancer/goto/hopeswim2014 or at Northern Frontenac Community Services. Mark August 9 on your calendar and plan to be at the Sharbot Lake beach at 11:30 am to cheer on the girls.
Gary Hawley has been playing the organ at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church in Sharbot Lake for 65 years and he isn’t stopping now. In fact he is quoted as saying, “As long as I can continue to play and they would have me play, I will.” Hawley's lifetime of musical service began in 1949 and that milestone was celebrated at a special service and presentation ceremony at the church on July 20. The sanctuary was full of worshipers as the special service and tribute was led by Rev. George Kwari, who spoke of how Gary’s music helps church goers to “enter into the presence of God Almighty and therefore be more receptive to the word of God. This importance aspect of our worship we trust to the church organist.” Rev. Kwari went on to list all of the important responsibilities of the church organist and how Gary has fulfilled each with his special talent, dedication and a humble heart. He related Gary’s service to the Biblical Parable of the Talents. Not resting even as he was being celebrated, Gary played throughout the service and was joined on flute by Brenda Luscott. Other special guests in attendance included the Venerable Allan McGregor, Rev. Eric Ruwona of Zimbabwe and Canon David Smith of Perth, who recited the service blessing. Pastor Mark Hudson of the Pentecostal Church gave prayerful thanks at the special lunch reception that followed the service. Congregant Ken Fisher, who helped organize the special event, made a series of special presentations to Gary for the “over 3500 services he has played at the church over 65 years”. These included a letter from Canada's Governor General David Johnston that was read aloud to the guests. Numerous gifts were also presented to Gary that included a memory box, an engraved commemorative plate and a collection of personal stories written for and about Gary by members of the church and the greater community. Gary was visibly moved by the accolades and spoke emotionally following the presentations, paying tribute to the all of the church communities he has been associated with over the years with the words, “How more could one person be blessed?” He also paid tribute to all of the singers at the church. His smiling and ever humble face while cutting his special cake said it all.
Southern Frontenac Community Services (SFCS) and the Grace Arts Committee are pleased to announce a photography exhibit featuring work from local photographers, Louise Day and Ryan R.F. Wilkinson at the Grace Centre from August 1 - September 22. A free reception and artist talks will take place on Saturday August 16 from 1-2:30pm. Louise Day grew up in Ridgetown, Ont. Her mother, an artist, worked in graphite portraits, landscape paintings in oil, acrylic and water colour. Louise graduated as an R.N., married Dr. Gordon Day and moved to Verona in 1963. She worked in Family Practice with her husband for 37 years. Day became interested in photography and took lessons from Kim Ondaatje of Blueroof Farm, who taught her “how to see”. Many of her images were taken in the gardens and woods at Blueroof. Day entered won first prize in the category of “In Praise of Plants” in Equinox magazine’s photo contest. She has had a number of solo exhibitions. Ryan R. F. Wilkinson is virtually new to the photography world, coming from a background of oil painting and pencil drawing influenced by his grandfather, Alfred Karu out of Estonia. A graduate of Sheridan College arts program, Ryan has blended his abstract eye for the world with peaceful and simple photography using various sources of natural light, and timeless moments. Ryan is always looking to learn, grow, and develop as an artist with an open mind, and open eyes through various subject matter including landscapes, people, and street photography.
The Somersault Events race series continues to draw a wide range of athletes of all ages and skill levels to its annual Sydenham Triathlon/Duathlon event, which took place this year on July 13. For many, it is the calm waters and the scenic trail around the shores of Sydenham Lake, but also the friendly atmosphere of the small Kingston bedroom community that keep participants coming back year after year. Over 400 participants took part in the Tri/Du, which began at 8:30 am. Sunday was rainy and windy, which made for slippery and more difficult than normal conditions, especially during the bike portions of some of the events. However the mild rain also offered respite for runners, making for cooler and less taxing runs. Todd Morin manned the microphone at the finish line, announcing the names of the racers as they crossed it. One of the day’s highlights was when he announced the male and female first place finishers of the Olympic Triathlon event. This year 31-year-old Jeff McCue of Kingston crossed the finish line first with a time of 2.20.48. The Olympic Tri event is comprised of a 1.5km swim, a 40km bike ride and a 10km run. McCue, who works as nurse in Kingston, is currently training for the Subaru Half Ironman race in Muskoka, a longer race comprised of a 2km swim, a 90km bike ride and a 21 km run. He will also be entering the K-Town Triathlon in Kingston in August. McCue, who has participated in 15 triathlon events to date, said it was his first time participating in the Sydenham Tri. He said he enjoyed the course, particularly the running portion, which takes place in a forest-covered trail lining the lake. He said, “The location is awesome. The course is well laid out, well organized with great transition points and is a very scenic venue.” This year’s first place female finisher of the Olympic Triathlon was 20-year-old Brittany McEachern of Kingston, who crossed the line with a time of 2.30.59. It was her first time finishing first in an Olympic triathlon event. Brittany has been training for tri events for just two years and this was her third Olympic Tri race to date and her best time ever. She was pleased with her race and said that her mother and other participants cheered her on throughout the race. “I love triathlons and I'm definitely going to stick with it.” She will be running in the K-Town Triathlon at the beginning of August. She said that the bike portion was the most difficult for her. “There was a hard downpour during the first loop of the bike portion, which made for a very cold and windy ride.” Christine McKinty, the event’s race director, said that events like the Try-a-Tri and other relay events are especially fun for family groups, and that this year she saw many family groups of all ages take part. Leslie Reade of Sydenham and her 10-year-old son Eli both took part in the races; Leslie in the Olympic Tri and Eli as a member of a sprint tri relay team. It was Leslie's fourth time participating and Eli's first and both were pleased with their performances. The Sydenham Tri/Du relies on over 50 volunteers and this year’s “club of the event” was the Sydenham Legion. Marianne Takala of Sydenham was the assistant race director. I caught up with her son, former triathlete Scott Takala, who was instrumental in designing the Sydenham race along with its founder Richard Cadman. Takala did not participate this year after having placed first in the Olympic Tri for a number of consecutive years. He said he is focusing his sights solely on running events and currently is training for a half marathon this fall. Organizers were pleased with the turnout this year and Christine McKinty is hoping to see more families come out next year. For more information visit somersault.ca
Members of the Verona Community Association held their fifth annual Family Fishing Day at the beach in McMullen Park on July 12. The free event, which coincided with the last free family fishing weekend this summer, attracted 67 children and 64 adults to Rock Lake in Verona where fishers of all ages cast their lines into the lake from the two floating docks there. A plethora of prizes were given out to every child and included fishing rods, reels, tackle boxes , sweat shirts, toys and more. The event included a free lunch of blue jay ball park hot dogs, popcorn, watermelon and drinks. Linda Bates, who is the vice president of the VCA, said that the aim of the event is to attract members of the community to enjoy being together, having a meal and having a bit of fishing fun in the sun. The VCA wishes to thanks the 16 volunteers who helped out and all of the sponsors who made the event possible as well as all of the participants who took part in the event.
The Verona Cattail Festival has announced this year's entertainment line-up. The festival will take place on Aug. 9 and 10 at the Verona Lions Centre, Verona. The festival, which began 19 years ago, will feature 14 outstanding bands from Kingston and the Frontenacs. " It is important that the festival provide a platform for local talent to play," stresses Linda Bates, entertainment coordinator. "Kingston and the Frontenacs have a lot of awesome musicians. It was very difficult to narrow the list of incredible talent down to 14 bands. The line-up includes Juno nominated musician Gary Rasberry, the KingsTown Tenors, the Limestone City Voices, the Monarchs, Rockabilly Allstars, and much more." Linda adds, "The energetic lineup offers a mix of different genres that should keep everyone enthused and tapping their toes for both festival days. The wide range of music includes Country, Celtic, Blues, Folk to Rock and Roll. The Verona Cattail Festival is a wonderful venue for the community. It provides a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere to sit back and enjoy all the local talent. " Linda concludes The Verona Cattail Festival is a Verona Community Association event, with proceeds going back into the community. Since its inception, the festival has helped create The Music in the Park Concerts, the Family Fishing Day, Christmas in the Village, the Christmas Day dinner and the Flower Barrel Contest, all free events. Admission to the Verona Cattail Festival is $5 for each day, children 12 and under are free. For more information visit veronafestival.com
Municipal races set for mayoralty; some ward contests as well Mayoralty candidates have been making the rounds at lake association meetings this month, seeking elusive seasonal voters. Meanwhile, some potential candidates for council are waiting in the sidelines, perhaps waiting until the registration deadline of September 12 approaches. Unlike what has transpired on one or two previous occasions, when incumbent mayors sometimes indicated they were not running, drawing members of council into the mayoralty race and then jumping in at the last minute, the races this time around seem to be set. The most intriguing mayoralty election is set for Central Frontenac, featuring incumbent Janet Gutowski and long time councilor and pre-amalgamation reeve Frances Smith. The campaign for the seasonal vote in Central Frontenac, which represents 50% of potential voters, is underway now. Gutowski, who has been mayor for eight years and sat on Council for three years before that, has promoted economic development and closer ties with Frontenac County during her political career. She also founded and it still closely associated with the Frontenac Heritage Festival. Frances Smith has been critical of Frontenac County over the past eight years or so, and has been one of the voices on Council seeking to keep taxes down. In the ward elections, where two candidates will be elected, there will be a contested election in at least two wards. In Kennebec ward, incumbents Tom Dewey and Jeff Matson are seeking re-election, and former councilor and past candidate for mayor, Logan Murray, is running as well. In Hinchinbooke ward, four candidates have come forward thus far, including incumbent Heather Fox as well as Brent Cameron, Kirby Bertrim and Sharon Shepherd. There are two candidates for the Oso ward seats thus far, incumbent Wayne Millar, and Bob Olmstead, a former member of the North Frontenac Council. Finally, in Olden ward, Justin Gray and Victor Heese have come forward. There is one candidate for the Limestone District School Board rep for Central and North Frontenac, Steve Magee In North Frontenac Township mayoral race, it is the case of an incumbent versus a long-time resident who has just retired. Bud Clayton, who jumped into the 2010 election at the last minute and ended up being elected over council member Jim Beam, has been promoting long-term planning and a strategy for the township to survive some hard times in the coming years as the population ages more rapidly than in other parts of Eastern Ontario. On the other hand, mayoral candidate Claudio Valentini, who is recently retired from teaching at Sharbot Lake High School and is the operator of Tomvale Airport and other small business ventures, thinks that North Frontenac can attract new businesses and residents if it works at it. “We’ll create good, middle-class jobs by supporting homegrown businesses in promising areas like the arts, local food, clean energy and even local manufacturing. We’ll make it easier for people to build, relocate, set up businesses, tele-commute, improve themselves and make a living that doesn’t rely on going elsewhere every day,” he says on his election website. Candidates for council have been slow to come forward, but at this point there will certainly be an election in Ward 2, the former Clarendon and Miller ward, where incumbent Garry Martin is seeking re-election, as are Ron Higgins and Vernon Hermer. As of this week, there is one candidate in Barrie ward, incumbent Fred Perry, and no candidates in Ward 1, Palmerston-Canonto. In South Frontenac there are three mayoralty candidates: John McEwen, Allan McPhail, and Ron Vandewal. McPhail and Vandewal are sitting councilors, both in Loughborough ward. Ron Vandewal, a long-serving council member, has an interest in planning issues and is the current chair of the township's Committee of Adjustment. He has also been critical of the way Frontenac County is run. Allan McPhail, who has been on Council for the last eight years, also takes an interest in planning as well as trails and environmental issues. He is the chair of the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority, and a member of the K&P Trail committee of Frontenac County. John McEwen has never sat on council, but he has been involved in municipal affairs mainly as the result of his efforts to bring about changes to building regulations to require better protection for new houses against ground water infiltration into foundations. There will be an election for the two Loughborough council seats that have been vacated by two of the aspiring mayors. Fran Willes, Stephen Bach, Mark Schjerning, Ross Sutherland and David Plumpton are all seeking council seats. In Portland, the two incumbents, Bill Robinson and John McDougall are running, but no one has stepped forward to force a vote thus far. In Bedford ward, incumbent Pat Barr is running, as is former township Chief Building Official Alan Revill. There is only one candidate thus far in Storrington ward, incumbent Larry York. Suzanne Ruttan is seeking re-election as South Frontenac representative to the Limestone District School Board In Addington Highlands, long-time Reeve Henry Hogg is seeking a fifth term, and he is being challenged by newcomer Gerald Bray. In Denbigh ward, there are no candidates thus far for the two seats, but in Kaladar ward incumbents Bill Cox and Helen Yanch are seeking re-election.
There are two focus points for funding from the Eastern Ontario Development Plan, a federal granting program that is administered locally by the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation (FCFDC), which is based in Harrowsmith. The first is job creation and the second is enhanced sales and profitability for businesses that receive funding support. Anne Prichard, executive director of the FCFDC, has been waiting for several months for detailed information about how the program is going to work over the next four and a half years. Some of the changes were known to her but some have come as a surprise. “One thing that we knew was that from now on businesses and not-for-profit corporations will be on a level playing field. The program will only pay 50% of the costs of a project. Previously not-for-profits could receive 80% or even 100% funding but that is no longer happening,” she said. It is acceptable for recipients to stack funds, that is to say, to use other grants as their share of the 50% they need for EODP-funded projects, but those other grants cannot come from a federal program. “For not-for-profits in Frontenac County, the 50% rule can be a barrier, because the funding they receive is generally tied directly to their core mission,” said Prichard. Another aspect of the new program is that a single entity, be it a business, not-for-profit, municipal government or post-secondary institution, can only apply for $100,000 in funding over the life of the plan, when in the past they could apply for up to $100,000 per project. “This has affected at least two larger long-term projects we were working on,” said Prichard. Also, whereas the EODP funded internships in the past, it will no longer do so. “We can fund skills training in specific cases, either a course or a specified training period, in some cases, but internships will now need to be funded from other sources, such as employment services agencies,” said Prichard. EODP dollars were also used to fund basic websites for local businesses in the past, but now only website upgrades, such as bringing online payment on stream, for example, will be eligible. Payments will also be results-based, more so than in the past. “We will be looking favourably at projects that can demonstrate they will either be creating new jobs, saving jobs that would be at risk of being lost if the project did not happen, or creating new sales or new profits for the business undertaking them.” she said. All of the details about the new version of the program, as well as application forms, are now available at the Frontenac CFDC website. The agency staff is also available to provide detailed answers to questions about the funding program, and other programs that are available.
Canada Day celebrations took place through out the Frontenacs both on the weekend leading up to and on the day of the July 1 holiday. While the communities of Denigh, Arden, Long Lake and Kennebec Lake, Bedford, Ompah, Snow Road and Verona held their celebrations on the weekend before the holiday, the villages of Sydenham, Storrington, Sharbot Lake and Harrowsmith chose to hold their celebrations on the holiday Tuesday and despite a rather grim weather forecast, the celebrations (so far, as of mid afternoon Tuesday when this article was submitted) went off without a hitch though the day was a hot and humid one. Some volunteers did plan changes of venue in case of inclement weather and in Sharbot Lake the festivities planned to move indoors to Oso Hall if need be with talk of delaying the fireworks until the following weekend if necessary. In Harrowsmith the plethora of colourful classic vintage cars were a hit and in Sharbot Lake it was the parade fairies and the gathering of hundreds of holiday goers at Oso Beach following the parade that made for a fun and relaxing day. Thanks to the all of the service clubs, community groups, organizations and individual volunteers who continue to make the Canada Day Holiday in the Frontenacs one to remember each and every summer, rain or shine.
After concerns were raised last year about increased absenteeism at both Fairmount Home and Frontenac Paramedic Services, monthly updates were ordered by county council. Five months into 2014, indications are that the rate and costs of absenteeism are down from their historic 2013 highs. If the rest of 2014 follows the pattern of the first five months, absenteeism at Frontenac Paramedic Services will drop below 19,000 hours for the first time in two years. The total in 2013 was almost 22,000 hours and in 2012 it was over 19,500 hours. The absenteeism rate at Fairmount Home is down marginally from 2013, but it did drop in 2013 from its historic high of almost 15,000 hours in 2012. In the County administrative office, the rate doubled in 2013 from 2012, up to almost 1,000 hours. In 2014, only 175 hours have been lost as of the end of May, on pace to drop below the level of 2012. In terms of cost, because not all hours lost to absenteeism are replaced by replacement workers, indications are that savings of well over $100,000 will be realized in 2014 as compared to 2013 if the pattern of the first five months continues until the end of the year.
It came as no surprise to find Bon Echo Provincial Park recommended as one of Ontario's premiere camping destinations in a recent article in the Globe and Mail's travel section. The park, located just north of Cloyne on Highway 41, offers campers and one day visitors all of the usual amenities. Yes, Bon Echo has that and so much more. The park is one of a kind when it comes to unique Canadian landscapes. The famed Mazinaw Rock, which stretches 1.5 kilometres across and stands 100 metres high above Mazinaw Lake, is the same granite rock cliff that was the muse for members of the Group of Seven painters. Today the rock continues to inspire artists and campers who are lucky enough to get a glimpse of it. Rising above one of Ontario’s deepest lakes, it is an awe-inspiring sight. It was once and perhaps still is a spiritual landscape for Aboriginal Canadians, whose pictographs can be seen on the boat cruises that are offered several times every day in the summer. The rock face is a stunning geological wonder that both humbles its onlookers and begs the question: How? Thanks to the Friends of Bon Echo, a group of over 100 volunteers who last year celebrated their 25- year anniversary, that question was answered recently. The Friends fundraise close to $50,000, which they use to provide some of the best educational programming in any of the Ontario parks. Their national heritage programs are enjoyed by over 50,000 campers annually. On July 12 the Friends sponsored a talk at the park’s amphitheater given by Dr. David Pearson, science director of Science North and professor of ecological studies at Laurentian University in Sudbury. Pearson divided his talk into two parts. In the first he invited listeners to imagine the 1.5 km thick layer of ice that once covered the cliff site roughly 23,000 years ago. The gradual melting of the ice helped to create the glacial lakes that would later become the Mazinaw. He spoke of “glacial erratics”, namely the unique rounded boulders that dot the park, which were formed when water melting from the enormous ice sheet lubricated its lowest reaches and ground the rocks into their present day smooth, rounded forms. Pearson also spoke of “eskers”, the long winding ridges of sand and gravel left behind from glacial melts. He also described “moulins”, which are roughly circular, vertical to nearly vertical well-like shafts within a glacier through which water enters from the surface. One such glacier covered the park’s most northern tip. In the second half of his presentation Pearson invited listeners to travel back millions of years in time, specifically to the time of the existence of the continent of Rodinia one billion to 800 million years ago, which accounts for the unique geographical formations in the park. He spoke of the break up of Rodinia 180 million years ago into the continents we now know as North America and Africa. Regarding the extreme depth of Mazinaw Lake, over 400 feet in some spots, Pearson related that over 25,000 years ago when the ice sheet that covered most of North America melted and retreated from the cliffs above Mazinaw Lake, huge icebergs fell off into the ground below, creating incredibly deep pot holes, which account for the lake’s extreme depth. In his presentation Pearson shared his own personal feelings for Mazinaw Rock. “This rock dates back a long, long way and deserves enormous respect. It most definitely has a heck of a story to tell.” For those who have yet to visit Bon Echo Park, it is more than worth the trip. Its unique and awesome landscape never fails to inspire a sense of wonder and luckily the sight remains accessible to all. The next big event to take place at Bon Echo Park is the Friends of Bon Echo's annual Art Exhibition and Sale on July 25-27 from 10am-4pm. Don't forget to support the Friends of Bon Echo, who will be offering up a BBQ lunch and raffle tickets for three grand prizes that include one original art work and two impressive canoes. For more information about other upcoming events at the park or to become involved with the Friends of Bon Echo visit www.bonechofriends.ca
Ian Tanner, Natural Heritage Education Leader The unique geography of Bon Echo Provincial Park makes it a great place to view our avian friends throughout the year. Peregrine Falcons may be the most notable birds that reside in Bon Echo. Twenty years ago Peregrine Falcons were re-introduced to Mazinaw Lake by Natural Heritage Education Coordinator, Denise Wilkins. During the spring and summer months Mazinaw Lake echoes with their distinctive kak-kak-kak calls. They can be seen flying frequently along the edge of the cliff or perched high on a tree surveying the skies. The falcons at Bon Echo often prey on Blue Jays and Ring-billed Gulls, diving from high in the air and capturing their food on the wing. When the Peregrine Falcons migrate south for the winter there is a marked increase in gulls at the Narrows and the beaches. Another bird of prey that dwells in Bon Echo is the Barred Owl. Most people who spend a night or two in the Park will hear this bird call “Who cooks for you...who cooks for you all”. Barred Owls are among the most vocal of owls and are also quite common although they are notoriously difficult to spot during the day. A unique feature about owls is a peculiarity of their feathers. The wing feathers are very soft and therefore are not efficient for flying speed. However, they produce a quieter flight reducing the chance of being heard by their prey. Another unique feature is the location of an owl’s ears. One is located higher on the owl’s head than the other, allowing them to triangulate the position of their next meal far more accurately than were their ears to be symmetrical. If you are heading out to Joeperry Lake keep your eyes peeled for Ospreys. These hawks have a diet that consists almost entirely of fish and they will hover above the water before plunging in to grab a meal. Another bird that spends its life looking for fish is the Belted Kingfisher. These brilliant blue birds perch on branches above the water and dive for small minnows and frogs. The Common Loon is also present in Bon Echo’s waters. While they live on Mazinaw Lake, your best chance to see them will be on Joeperry, Bon Echo, or Kishkebus Lakes. These birds are uniquely adapted for pursuing fish underwater and can hold their breath for several minutes, travelling hundreds of metres while submerged. Barn Swallows also call Mazinaw Rock home. These aerial acrobats are now a threatened species due to the decline in foraging habitat, loss of available nesting sites, and pesticide spraying reducing the number of insects needed for food. These birds however can be seen most days at the Narrows. They swoop and dive catching insects just above the surface of the water. If you watch carefully you can see them drink while airborne, gliding close to the water and scooping up a mouthful. These small birds are great builders, nesting directly on the cliff. They build their nests by carrying mud, a little at a time from nearby streams and ponds then mixing it with saliva and lining it with moss and feathers. A number of woodpeckers can be seen among the trees at Bon Echo. The smallest is the Downy Woodpecker, a black and white bird with males sporting a tiny red patch on the head. It has a long barbed tongue and glue-like saliva which help it catch insects. The largest is the Crow sized Pileated Woodpecker which is mostly black with white flashes on the neck and a flaming red crest on its head. Woodpeckers chisel holes in trees to reach the insects and grubs living in them. Large rectangular holes are telltale signs of Pileated Woodpeckers. A woodpecker can be identified by its distinctive “swooping” flight. Woodpeckers will flap their wings once or twice then fold them in, resulting in a wave-like flight. The Park is also home to a plethora of different warblers and songbirds including White- throated Sparrows, Common Redpolls, and occasionally Scarlet Tanagers. The Cliff Top Trail is home to the Prairie Warbler. These birds are olive-coloured above with bright yellow below and black spots and streaks along their sides. Prairie Warblers prefer hot, dry environments, nest in juniper bushes on Mazinaw Rock, and are at the northern edge of their breeding habitat. Many of these birds call the Park home throughout the summer but can be difficult to spot among the leaves and undergrowth. For this reason I recommend familiarizing yourself with a few different birdcalls, such as the calls of the Red-eyed Vireo, the American Robin, and the Wood Thrush. More may be added as you become familiar with a few.. Fall is an exciting time to look for birds in Bon Echo. With the changing weather not only are the leaves disappearing but many birds are also migrating through the Park on their way to wintering habitats. Last fall we were lucky enough to spot a Red-throated Grebe swimming in Mazinaw Lake, as well as Broad-winged Hawks, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, and Wood Ducks. Whether you are an avid birdwatcher or someone just curious to see how many bird species you can spot, bring along a field guide and binoculars on your next visit to Bon Echo. You’ll be rewarded by a remarkable variety of sightings and songs.
The year was 1946; the Second World War had just ended, and Bob Bence had returned to Arden from military service in the United States. With his father Joe, Bob decided to start up a car dealership in Arden. The Bence family, who originally came from New York State, had moved to Arden on a full-time basis after having a cottage there for years. After preparing a site in the middle of the village for construction, and even pouring a foundation, something happened that changed the family history, much to the benefit of the Bence family, the village of Kaladar, and thousands of truck and car buyers from across Ontario. As Bob Bence, now 89, recollected this week from the spacious, brand spanking new Bence Motors showroom at the junction of Hwy. 7 and 41, it all had to do with the then Reeve of Kennebec Township. Photo: Robert (Bob Sr.) and the late Glenda Bence. “He made an inappropriate pass to a close relative of my father, while her husband was still overseas, and after my father told him what he thought of his behaviour, it became difficult for us to do business in Arden any more." At the time, the trains were still going through Arden and Highway 7 was still a dirt road. Nevertheless, Bob Bence visited the site at Kaladar, thought it looked promising, and moved the business, lock, stock and cement block, over to Kaladar. Highway 41 was also no more than a gravel road then, but over the years the train has stopped running through Arden, and Highways 7 and 41 have become transportation corridors to far-flung corners of the province. In 1959, two major events took place in Bob Bence's life. He married Glenda, who was 13 years his junior, and he purchased Bence Motors from his father. During the 1960s, Bob did most of the work on his own, both selling cars and running the repairs end of the business. Meanwhile, Glenda gave birth to six children over the next 10 years. “Glenda was always an extrovert,” Bob Bence said fondly of his wife, who died of cancer in the winter of 2007, “so she started selling cars while I looked after the rest of the business.” One of the reasons for Bence Motors’ staying power is the way three of Bob and Glenda Bence’s children, Joe, Bob Jr. and Tammy (Gaylord), have taken up the business. Tammy is the bookkeeper/manager for the sales and repairs; Bob is a master technician; and Joe takes care of the sales end of the business. Photo: Robert (Bobby) Bence Jr., Tammy Gaylord, and Joe Bence in front of the new Bence Motors. For Tammy, the fact that the business is a three-generation family-run enterprise is key to its continued success after 68 years. At one point it looked like only Bob Jr., who was interested in being a technician ever since he was a boy, would stay in the business. But in 1983, Joe came back to Kaladar and started selling cars, and in 1989, Tammy, who at the time was running a hair salon, started working as a part-time book-keeper for her parents. “I was part-time for about two months,” she recalls now. Even in a new, modern car showroom, the Bence family keeps things pretty informal. Joe Bence prefers a ball cap and a t-shirt to a suit and tie, and for the picture accompanying this article, a new Ford shirt had to be found for Bob to replace and not-so new shirt he was wearing. But car sales are about service and having the products people want, and Bence keeps a wide selection of Ford trucks in stock, which Joe Bence complies himself, in order to have the trucks their customers always seem to want. “A lot of our sales are now done through the Internet” said Tammy, “and mostly people see trucks listed with the features they need and they get hold of us for them. We have customers who order vehicles from Toronto, from Quebec, from all over, as well as from the local community.” Even though the final decision to build a new showroom, office and six-bay service centre was only finalised last spring, leading to a frenetic year of building while the old Bence Motors remained open for business, it has been coming for a number of years. “We knew we had outgrown our old dealership 15 years ago,” said Tammy, "and we starting thinking about what we should do.” A little over five years ago, work began on flattening some of the huge outcrop behind the old building, and some more land was purchased to accommodate the ever expanding business. “We had to lay the groundwork, and then last year we decided to make the investment and go for it,” said Joe Bence. “Dad didn't see the need for it, after all he is 89, but I think we all have seen, since we opened the new building, that it is what we had hoped for and more,” said Tammy. Back in 2003, we ran an article in the Frontenac News about the staying power of Bence Motors, which at that time had outlasted other Ford and car dealerships along Highways 7 and 41, even though it did not have the fancy showrooms that the other dealers had. In recent years, other dealerships, including A&B Ford in Perth and Revell Ford, another generations-old family-run business in Verona, have upgraded their facilities, and Bence Motors was falling further behind. Not any more.
This year, invited by fellow artist Carla Miedema, landscape artist Barbara Mendham joined the Cloyne Studio Tour and opened her studio to tour goers for the first time. From July 11 – 13, Mendham, who paints from her home studio at 168 Sheldrake Road just north of Cloyne, had a large display of her work set up in a tent beside her home. Mendham has been painting in acrylics on and off for 30 years but raising her two children left her little time to paint on a regular basis. Her children are long grown and she is now a grandmother of four, so she has been able to paint regularly for over a decade since she retired from her work as a travel agent. Years ago in Windsor, Ontario, Mendham studied painting for a semester at college and currently takes weekly private classes. Her work focuses primarily on the landscape that surrounds her home and she says that winter scenes are some her favorite themes to paint since they bring her what she describes as “a sense of quiet and calm.” She also enjoys painting buildings and has done numerous private commissions of cottages, which she said is a popular request since people have “such an emotional attachment to their cottages. I don't know what it is but people will often want a painting of their cottage and will hang it there. When it comes time to leave they will often take the painting home with them and then bring it back and hang it up when they return.” Mendham prefers to paint her landscapes from photos, often from her own but sometimes from pictures or photos from magazines that inspire her. One work of an old mill was done from a picture she found in a magazine. She says that still lives are of no interest to her. “I have never felt the urge to paint flowers or a bowl of fruit or other still life material. I think the fact that I like looking at landscape paintings myself has a lot to do with why they are what I most chose most to focus on.” Mendham’s medium of choice is acrylics. She has tried watercolors but finds them too unforgiving. “In the same vein I don't have the patience to paint in oils since you have to wait for every layer to dry before you can continue.” She adds, “There is an old joke that goes, ‘With acrylics, you can really hide all of your mistakes’” Asked what the most challenging part of her work is she said “Getting beyond that point where you are not liking what you are painting and just knowing that you have to keep on going until you get the painting that you like.” Asked what she most enjoys she replied, “Most everything really about painting is fun. I find it very relaxing.” Barb's husband Derek who is a hobby carpenter makes the frames for Barb's work often using cedar, pine or old barn board. “The pictures Barb paints lend themselves very nicely to wooden frames rather than to newer ones,” Derek said, which I would tend to agree with. Mendham's works range in price from $100-$250 and she sells cards as well. She welcomes commissions and those wishing to visit her home studio can call her at 613-336-9518 to make an appointment. For those who missed the Cloyne Studio Tour, Barb will be showing her work at the upcoming Friends of Bon Echo Art Exhibition & Sale from July 25 - 27 and then again at the Cloyne Art Showcase in August.
Far be it from me to praise the City of Toronto, under any circumstances. But I have to make an exception. Last week the City hosted the World Pride conference, which culminated in a parade that was attended by 2 million people. Compared with all of the difficulties that result from hosing just 8 world leaders a couple of years ago, by all accounts World Pride was a roaring success. We live in a time where nations as diverse as Russia, Uganda, and others, have ramped up institutional and legal persecution of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people in recent months. LGBT people have faced persecution to the point of death in the most extreme cases for no other reason than their sexuality for centuries and still do. For Canada to be at the vanguard of those nations whose legal systems have closed the door on institutional persecution of individuals on the basis of sexual orientation, as well as race and religion, is a point of pride for me as a citizen. For the City of Toronto to host such an event as World Pride and to demonstrate a willingness to celebrate diversity is even more gratifying, and I daresay Toronto is ahead of many other communities in Ontario and Canada in this regard. Watching coverage of the parade also jogged a personal memory for me. As it happens, I found myself in the middle of one of the first Pride parades in Toronto in the early 90’s, and the contrast between the this most recent parade and that one could not be more stark. I was with my wife Martina and our young daughter at a small art show in a courtyard behind a church near the corner of Bay and Bloor on a cold Sunday in June. It was 22 or 23 years ago. Someone said that a parade was coming by and the show opening would be delayed, so we went to the corner to see. What we saw was more of a low-key march than a parade. A hundred people or, some of them with placards, walked by. They waved, called out a few slogans, and kept on walking. Many of them were thin, even gaunt, and were walking with the help from friends. 20 years ago AIDS was in full swing in Canada. What I saw on that day was a community fighting for its life against a deadly disease that at that time had no effective treatment. No none lined the street to watch the parade. The busy City carried on its business as usual. What has since been dubbed the LGBT community has developed and thrived in unexpected ways over the past 20 years, to the point where, in Toronto at least, Pride is a celebration and a premiere tourist event in the City Canada Day in our communities is about pancake breakfasts and the parades and games and food and music at ball-fields and beaches. It is about wearing red and white and the maple leaf and family and friends and enjoying the official start of all too short Canadian summer. And it about fireworks at the end of the day. It is also a time to reflect on all the benefits we enjoy as Canadians. Of the things we can be proud of in Canada on Canada Day, chief among them are the personal liberty we enjoy, our commitment to live together in peace, and the celebration of diversity has become the hallmark of this country. As the world threatens to slip into intolerance, this is something we all need to protect in our words and deeds throughout the year.
... if something has a lot of resiliency it is more likely to be sustainable, but even things that are very resilient are not always sustainable over time. Then again, how sustainable can something be if it is not resilient? When push comes to shove, is it better to push than it is to shove, or not ...? All of these questions, as fascinating as they are, point to a debate that is raging in sustainability circles and even at the Frontenac County Advisory Committee on Sustainability. You would think that the one thing that the committee would agree about is sustainability, but you would be wrong. Members of the committee have been taken aback, as have others, with the ubiquity of the word sustainability. In fact, many of the job titles at Frontenac County have had the name Sustainability stuck on to them in the recent past. Instead of a planning department, there is a sustainability planning department, and instead of economic development it is sustainable economic development, for example. The suggestion at the committee was that "sustainability" should be phased out or at least limited, and a new word would be used to describe all those activities that the county would like to be involved in but which are not, strictly speaking, in their mandate. Anything to do with social well being, environmental concerns, culture, community improvement, tourism - they are all covered under the umbrella heading Sustainability. The logic is that these diverse enterprises that are carried out by individuals and groups in their own communities and across the county are what build a sustainable place to live and work. There are those, and I can sympathize, who are sick of the word, and there is now, finally, an alternative on the horizon. For a couple of years, slowly but surely, the concept of resilient communities has been gaining momentum. It has more grit than sustainable communities, suggesting the strength to withstand the inevitable pressures of modern life. These include attacks on personal and community well-being that will come with rising oil and gas prices, climate change, continual migration of jobs to the city, the ageing tsunami (people are ageing in a huge tsunami-like wave that could swallow us all up if we aren't careful) and much, much, more. Sustainability is just too nice a word, too much of a soft concept. Resiliency on the other hand, is tough; it is strong; it is what we need. When I think of resiliency I think of my mother. My mother says she no longer hopes for things to go well, instead she hopes for the strength to handle the situations that will inevitably arise in her life. Sure enough, those challenges are coming fast and furious as she and her family and friends age. So, if Frontenac County wants to be more like my mother it had better stop talking and start getting its act together. The woman hardly sleeps. Until she broke her wrist she played tennis every day. Six weeks and two metal pins later she was back on the court; that is, when she's not taking care of everyone in her world. If the sustainability committee want to talk resiliency they had best get off their duff, establish a plan of action and make things happen. Resiliency never sleeps.
While local election campaigns have been slow to ramp up, Kathleen Wynne and Tim Hudak have already set up a polarizing debate that each hopes will lead to their own success. Wynne went first. She put out a left-leaning budget, fully expecting to campaign on it, and then began the campaign by scuffling with the federal government over her proposed pension plan. Her plan is to establish herself as the one politician standing in the way of Conservative governments in both Toronto and Ottawa, an attempt not only to tie Tim Hudak to Stephen Harper, but also to wrestle votes from the NDP. It is only a matter of time before she begins saying that Ontarians who vote NDP will only be helping Tim Hudak win the election. What did Hudak do? He decided to play Wynne's game, in spades. In what will likely be the one key manoeuvre in the campaign, he aligned himself not only with the Federal Tories but with the much maligned Michael Harris record in Ontario, by announcing he plans to cut 100,000 civil servants, mostly from the education sector, in his first two years of office. The move is risky; he might have won the campaign by continuing to attack the Liberal record and offering small c platitudes about fiscal responsibility. If this job cuts promise works for him, however, he will have won the campaign on his own terms and will be leading a new Hudak revolution in Queen's Park. If it fails, and anything short of a majority for the Conservatives will be a failure, it will be seen as a colossal blunder, not on the scale of the Pierre Karl Peladeau disaster for the PQ in Quebec last month, but devastating nonetheless Notes on the local campaign – There was some fallout from the editorial in last week's Frontenac News, “Is there a Conservative candidate in LFL&A?” Some readers wondered whether MPP Hillier was running as an independent this time around. He is not. Randy Hillier remains in the Conservative Party Caucus and was present at the Conservative Party campaign launch two weeks ago As to my claim that by being on the outs with party leader Hudak he would have no chance of serving in cabinet should the Conservatives form a government, Randy Hillier said, “That is not a given, by any means. A lot of factors go into making up a cabinet. There are geographic and other factors, the size of the caucus, whether the government is a minority or a majority - a lot can happen.” Hillier also said that the assertion that his standing in his party makes him vulnerable to the charge that he can only oppose and not propose is off the mark because he put forward more motions and private member's bills than any other MPP over the last two and a half years of Liberal minority rule. The Frontenac News will be holding all-candidates meetings for the Lanark Frontenac Lennox and Addington riding. The first is set for the Kennebec Hall in Arden at 7:00 pm on Monday, May 26. It is co-sponsored by the Friends of Arden. The second is on Monday, June 2, 7pm at the Lions Hall on Sand Road in Verona. It is co-sponsored by the Verona Lions Club. All registered candidates are invited. We have invited Conservative Party candidate Randy Hillier, Green Party candidate Cam Mather, Liberal Party candidate Bill MacDonald, and NDP candidate Dave Parkhill. According to the Elections Ontario website, as of Tuesday, May 13 only Dave Parkhill and Bill McDonald are officially registered. Cam Mather and Randy Hillier have been named by their parties and appear on their respective party websites as candidates in this riding. They can register as late as next Thursday, May 22, 21 days before voting day. We know of no other candidates who are intending to run.
The short answer is yes. Randy Hillier is a Conservative MPP, a former leadership candidate for the party and until the dissolution of the legislature last week he was member of the Conservative Party Caucus. But at the very least, Hillier is about as likely to become a cabinet minister if Tim Hudak became the premier as Kathleen Wynne is. There is no indication that the two men have spoken since Hudak said Hillier was “not a team player” in September of last year, when he stripped Hillier of his position as Labour critic in his shadow cabinet at Queen’s Park. The demotion took place after an email Hillier had sent to the party questioning its ties to a construction company was leaked to the press. Earlier in the summer Hillier had supported a proposal to make it easier for party members to call for a leadership review, which did not endear himself to Mr. Hudak either. There is no indication that Randy Hillier has reconciled either with Hudak himself or with any other members of the party's inner circle since September. None of this is likely to hurt Randy Hillier’s chances of re-election in Lanark Frontenac Lennox and Addington on June 12, as the spat has not gone so far as to lead either to Hillier leaving the party or the party brass removing him as their candidate, so he is still carrying the Tory banner. Although he has repeatedly said that he is more beholden to his constituents than he is to his party - and his difficulties with the party do bear this out to some extent even though most of us don’t really care about the backroom politics in Toronto - he has not taken the ultimate step and decided to run as an independent, constituency-first candidate. If that had happened, we would have been in for an extremely interesting election, rather than one with long odds in favour of the incumbent. The controversy will, however, add a wrinkle to the local campaign, which will feature the same candidates for the three largest parties as the last time around in the fall of 2011 – Bill MacDonald for the Liberals and Dave Parkhill for the NDP. Among the major parties, only the Green Party will have a new candidate, Cam Mather from Tamworth. Randy Hillier will run against the Liberal record after 11 years in power, which Bill MacDonald will be forced to defend, but Hillier will be open to the attack that even if his party comes to power he will remain as ever as an oppositional figure, only talking about what is wrong with the system but never able to put anything new in place. It may not be enough to dent his standing; he received over 50% of the votes last time, but it will give his opponents some ammunition this time around, if only because many people vote for the party and not the candidate.