|Back to Home||Editorial - July 19, 2012|
Musings on too hot a dayEditorial by Jeff Green
I resisted the temptation to write an editorial about the hot weather, because I know nothing more about the heat than anyone else. Then again, if knowing more about a topic than others know is a prerequisite for writing about it, I would probably write about one editorial every five years.
Nontheless, I have two short items this week that might be semi-topical if not semi-tropical
Road closing will wreak havoc on commuters, tourists, next week
Central Frontenac Township will be re-routing all northbound and southbound traffic between Parham and Sharbot Lake to Long Lake Road between midnight on Tuesday, July 24 and 2:00 pm on Thursday, July 26.
That will add at least 30 minutes each way for commuters between Sharbot Lake and Kingston - and that is without factoring in slowdowns resulting from increased traffic on Long Lake Road.
The township says the detour “could add up to 20 minutes of travel time”, but it would take some driving to make the trip from Parham to Highway 7 and then east to Sharbot Lake on Hwy. 7 in 20 minutes.
And there is every possibility that construction on Hwy. 7 between Sharbot Lake and Mountain Grove will cause a further delay. The delay caused by Hwy. 7 construction this week has been up to 10 minutes.
While Long Lake Road is the only paved alternative to bypass the train tracks on Road 38 at Tichborne, there are at least three viable alternative routes using gravel roads that involve much less distance and travel time.
We tried to contact the township on Tuesday (July 17) for comment on why only the Long Lake Route is being identified as a detour, but did not get a response before publication of this week’s paper.
Who approved the Fairmount Home auditorium rebuild?
I must have been missing something, but as far as I know, Frontenac County Council has never allocated money towards a rebuilding project for the Fairmount Home auditorium.
A fundraising campaign, which was started up against the objections of former county council member Jim Vanden Hoek, has a target of raising $200,000 for the million dollar plus project, and while the campaign is underway, the project has never been given any formal go-ahead by County Council.
At the June Council meeting, after a presentation about the ongoing fund-raising campaign, which included concept drawings for the new auditorium, Frontenac Islands council representative David Jones asked county staff if tax levy dollars would be needed for the project. He was told that tax levy dollars would not be needed; there are reserve fund monies available.
The County collects tax dollars from Frontenac County and also City of Kingston ratepayers towards the operating budget of Fairmount Home. This year, Frontenac County ratepayers paid $745,000 and City of Kingston ratepayers $1.8 million.
The County is also paying off the $17 million rebuild of the home, which took place in 2003, through a 20-year debenture, which still sits at $7 million after this year’s payment of $335,000 by the County and $712,000 by the City.
The only sizeable reserve fund the home has is a “capital reserve fund” that sits at over $2 million. It was established for the redevelopment of the home.
The idea that the auditorium project can be done without seeking new money from Frontenac County and City of Kingston taxpayers is either specious, or it involves gutting that “capital reserve fund” which will then have to be built up again using tax levy dollars.
The Fairmount Auditorium rebuild is a worthy project. It would improve the quality of life for Fairmount Home residents in a very real way.
But although Fairmount Home is central to the working lives of Frontenac County staff, it is not central to Frontenac County residents. In fact it is as much a Kingston asset as it is Frontenac County asset.
If indeed Frontenac County Council would like to take on the Fairmount auditorium as a project, let them debate it and make the decision to follow through with spending our money on it.
That’s why we elected them, and that’s why we will have the opportunity to re-elect them, or not, in just over two years' time.