|Trailer bylaw comes under further fire in South Frontenac
and notes from Council
by Jeff Green
A decision by South Frontenac Council to enforce a prohibition on trailers is still not sitting well with many of the 200 seasonal trailer owners in the township. Three of them addressed council on Tuesday night in Harrowsmith, in front of a capacity crowd of supporters.
Judy Reynolds, who has led the fight, addressed Council first. She claimed that the trailer prohibition bylaws that were passed in each of the four townships that have become South Frontenac, “were for mobile homes and not for seasonal trailers. If they were meant for trailers, we would have been asked to move our trailer 27 years ago.”
Her major point was that trailer owners have not been “treated fairly and equally”.
One of the main reasons cited in the decision by Council to enforce the prohibition against trailers is that trailers on lots only pay vacant lot taxes, whereas cottages pay residential taxes.
Judy Reynolds said people who have trailers on their properties would be willing to pay an extra fee.
“We are not causing trouble, and we are not against paying some extra fees to cover for garbage pickup and road maintenance, if it’s reasonable,” she said.
Jim Porter, who has spent summers at his trailer on Buck Lake since 1988, said, “A $220 fee should cover the township’s needs, and the township could enforce rules about the disposal of grey water, which is another concern that has been mentioned.
“We are law abiding taxpayers,” Porter concluded. “We hurt no one. We want to be left alone to enjoy our trailers, the lake, and our summer.
Finally, Doug Griffin spoke. He was the angriest of the three people who addressed council. He explained that he and some friends purchased 275 acres with waterfront 17 years ago, and have placed trailers out of sight of the lake “We have not touched a single tree in all that time; we have left the land as it was, and our plan is to turn the land into a park when we are no longer around. I have seven grandkids that have been raised out there. I don’t think it’s right to tell us to leave.”
Griffin vowed to carry the fight to the courts if he has to.
“We are not going to let you get rid of our trailers.”
Mayor Bill Lake, who has been receptive to the plight of trailer owners and voted against the decision to enforce the prohibition, told the assembled people to be patient, vowing to bring the matter to council later in he meeting. This left puzzled councillors looking to see if the trailer situation was listed in the evening’s agenda.
“I know it’s not on the agenda,” Lake said, “but I’m going to put a question to Council later on, and depending on how it is answered we may be able to go half way with these people.”
Bill Lake’s question was brought up during the in camera session of the meeting. Township Chief Administrative Officer Gord Burns said it had to be discussed in camera “because it was a matter of possible litigation. You saw those people tonight,” he explained, “there is every possibility they will start up law suits over this.”
Other items from SF Council:
ATV complaints protocol
A report by township CAO Gord Burns outlined the protocol he intends to follow in monitoring complaints about the township’s ATV bylaw during its probationary year.
Burns has written to Police Chief Glen Fowler, and asked the police to log complaints they receive by district, and include the nature of the complaint and any action they take in response to the log. Burns also recommends that complaints that are submitted to the township in writing be kept in a file for presentation to Council at an appropriate time.
“I thought we agreed that we weren’t going to hear complaints,” said Councillor Bill Robinson. “I’ve had people come to me and say ‘I’ve heard ATV’s squeal their tires’. Now how can an ATV squeal their tires? I thought we only wanted to know when a law has been broken.”
“I agree with Bill,” said Councillor Gary Davison, “if you accept every complaint, every phone call or email, you’ll get a build up of nuisance complaints.”
Councillor Dave Hahn couldn’t believe his ears.
“I’m hearing the township doesn’t want to hear complaints. People have a right to lodge a complaint,” he said.
“Everyone has a right to complain,” said Councillor Del Stowe. “We should accept them all, so long as they are in writing, and we can look at them and decide if they are legitimate.”
There was no motion attached to the protocol, which had only been presented to Council for information purposes, so the discussion ended.
Badour Estates A bylaw was approved to establish zoning for the lots in the Badour Estates project on Crow and Bobs Lake. Councillor Don Smith expressed concern about provisions for drawing water for fire crews in the proposed development, a matter which will be considered in the next two weeks, and then the project will move to the plan of subdivision stage which will eventually be brought before County Council.
Fire Services grant – Council approved the expenditure of $22,500 for a provincially mandated incident management course, and $16,800 ($4,200 per district) for new bunker gear, thus allocating over half of the $70,000 provincial grant the township has recently received.