North Frontenac passed a resolution at its regular meeting Monday morning in Plevna to hire a consultant to conduct interviews with its Ward 1 firefighters.
Director of Emergency Services/Fire Chief Eric Korhonen told Council that “our Ward 1residents aren’t getting the same level of service the other two wards are, for one thing, there are a number of different bylaws” and “I do believe there is a cost savings to be had.”
The measure wasn’t on the original agenda, which led Coun. John Inglis to ask “it’s a bit of a news item to me — am I alone on that?”
North Frontenac has a joint agreement with neighbouring Addington Highlands Township to provide fire and emergency services to the former Barrie Township, North Frontenac’s most westerly ward through the joint Kaladar/Barrie Fire Department.
North Frontenac took a look at how it delivers these services in Wards 2 and 3 previously, a study that included interviews with firefighters and support staff.
Coun. Gerry Martin supported the idea.
“We got good results interviewing Ward 2 and 3 volunteers,” Martin said. “We should do the same with Ward 1.
“We got a better fire department because we talked to those people.”
But other councilors weren’t so sure this new study would be such a good idea.
“I’m not in favour,” said Dep. Mayor Fred Perry. “We’ve improved this agreement over time and I don’t want a witch hunt.
“If you make the wrong move, you’re going to have an issue.”
“We might be poking a bear here,” said Coun. Vernon Hermer. “We could be alienating some people.”
Inglis asked how this proposal came about and CAO Cheryl Robson said: “this was all discussed during the Fire Master Plan debate.
“We’re not asking Addington Highlands for any money, we’re just asking the joint committee for approval and I’m looking at whether to put this in the budget.
“I don’t know what the recommendations will be.”
“So this isn’t coming about because somebody is screaming at us about service,” said Inglis.
Korhonen tried to argue for more latitude for the consultant but Council was leery of that.
“I think the consultant will need a little more freedom than just interviewing staff,” Korhonen said.
He also said that he wasn’t aware of any similar joint fire committees in the Province.
• • •
During a rather routine zoning amendment procedure, it was noted that the property was on a private lane with a locked gate.
Fire Chief Eric Korhonen was asked if that presented a problem in the event of an emergency.
“We either roll over them (locked gates) or we cut the lock,” he said. “There isn’t much that can stop our equipment.”
• • •
Council approved the hiring of a summer student to help with the efforts to study and control the infestation of Eurasian Milfoil on Malcolm and Ardoch Lakes.
“It’s an experiment the MNR has approved,” said Mayor Ron Higgins.
“I’m not sure if we’re throwing money away but if they learn something, that will be applicable to our other lakes,” said Coun. John Inglis. “The major (tax) contributors are our seasonables and this addresses their issue.”
• • •
Coun. Gerry Martin took exception to the existence of the Mississippi-Rideau Source Water Protection Committee and how its members are selected.
“This is just bureaucratic system creep and what Randy (MPP Hillier) was talking about,” Martin said. “There’s some empire building going on.”
“Is this the thing where they’re going to tax our private wells?” said Coun. John Inglis.
“Ottawa has two members, Perth, Smiths Falls and Carleton Place have one,” said Martin. “They all have municipal water supplies.”
“I’ll talk to the other mayors and come back with some information in February,” said Mayor Ron Higgins.
“We’re still looking for jumpers,” said Janet Barr, organizer of this year’s Polar Bear Plunge which is now in its ninth season as part of the annual Frontenac Heritage Festival. “We have four people signed up already.”
The Plunge has become a highlight of the Sunday festivities of the Festival, which is held on the Family Day long weekend in February.
This year’s plunge goes Feb. 17 at noon.
Besides being one of the Festival attractions, the Plunge also raises money for local charities. This year’s recipients will be The Treasure Trunk, Northern Connections and the Central Frontenac Fire Department.
Pledge forms are available at The Treasure Trunk, Community Living North Frontenac or by calling Barr at 613-279-2113.
There are prizes for best costume, most pledges, youngest plunger and oldest plunger, she said.
Barr said they’d like to get more than last year’s 20 participants and maybe even beat the all-time record of 45 plungers.
The meeting began with Deputy Mayor Sleeth being sworn in.
Ad Bag Delivery Contributing to Roadside Littering
Last meeting, Mayor Vandewal gave notice of a motion that ad bags should not be permitted to be tossed along the roadsides. This was brought to Council in the form of a recommendation that staff be directed to review the regulations with regard to ad bag delivery, along with options for restricting the practice of them being thrown alongside roads in South Frontenac. All agreed.
Hartington Well Testing
In 2017, a motion was made recommending the Township cover the cost of testing the well water twice annually for residences within 300 metres of the former gas station in Hartington, but was deferred until legal proceedings were finalized at the OMB. Councillor Revill asked for deferral until new well tests as recommended earlier, were carried out. Council agreed.
Hartington Community Association Expenses Request
Hartington Community Association had requested reimbursement of $28,792 for costs incurred in their unsuccessful appeal to the OMB, attempting to reverse an application approval for a 13 unit subdivision in the hamlet. Councillor Sutherland said that although he was sympathetic to the HCA, he felt this “would undercut the democratic process if (the Township taxpayers paid for both sides.)” Deputy Mayor Sleeth said, “I don’t generally agree (with Councillor Sutherland), but I think it’s time to move forward. Leonard, Barr and Revill agreed, saying this would set a bad precedent. Roberts asked for a recorded vote: the motion to reimburse was unanimously defeated.
Compressor and Pagers for Fire Department
Council approved the immediate purchase of a mobile air compressor unit ($32,950) and 49 pagers ($31,360) for the South Frontenac Fire Service, as recommended by Fire Chief Knott. CAO Orr said that the compressor would be funded from the 25-year capital replacement fund, and the pagers will come out of the working fund. 25 of the pagers are for the projected new recruits, and the rest will be distributed as badly-needed reserve equipment.
Committee of Adjustment
Council debated the composition of the 8-member Committee of Adjustment, which is a delegated and independent approval authority for minor variances and land severances/consent. The CofA may be made up of all community members, all Council members, or a combination. Surrounding municipalities, with the exception of Frontenac Islands, Central Frontenac and Loyalist, which are all Councillors, are all-citizen committees. South Frontenac, with the exception of Councillor Sutherland (who wanted an all-citizen group), agreed to continue the practise of 4 Councillors and 4 community members.
Next Council Meeting
Tuesday January 8
With the holiday season upon us, we are entering one of the most festive times of the year. But it can also be a deadly time of the year.
Central Frontenac Fire & Rescue is urging everyone to pay special attention when cooking during the holidays, and to drink responsibly. Provincial statistics reveal that careless cooking is the number one cause of fires and the second leading cause of fatal fires.
“The hustle and bustle of the holidays can dramatically increase your risk of having a fire” said Fire Chief Greg Robinson. “All too often, these fires are started by unattended cooking and in many cases alcohol is involved.”
Smoking is another leading cause of fires during the holiday season. “Make sure smokers extinguish cigarettes in large deep ashtrays – not in plant pots which may contain peat moss or shredded bark that can easily ignite,” continued Chief Greg Robinson. “Ashes should be emptied in a metal container – not the garbage can – and put outside.”
The Central Frontenac Fire & Rescue also is reminding everyone about the law requiring working smoke alarms on every storey of the home and outside all sleeping areas. Take a few minutes to test your smoke alarms and make sure everyone in the home knows exactly what to do if the smoke alarms sound in an emergency. Develop and practice a home escape plan with everyone in the home.
Enjoy a fire safe holiday season by following these tips:
Stay in the kitchen when cooking. Cooking is a major cause of home fires, so don’t leave the kitchen if there’s something cooking on the stove. If a pot catches fire, don’t try to move it. Cover the pot with a lid to smother the flames and turn off the burner.
Keep things that can burn such as cooking utensils and paper towels a safe distance from the stove as they can easily ignite if they are too close.
Keep an eye on any drinkers in your household and make sure all cigarettes are properly extinguished and the stove is off before going to bed.
Cigarettes can smoulder among upholstered items for hours before igniting. Check sofas and chairs for cigarettes that may have fallen between the cushions. Provide large, deep ashtrays for smokers.
Drink responsibly. Excessive alcohol consumption is a contributing factor in many residential fires.
Install and maintain working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms outside all sleeping areas of the home. Smoke alarms also are required on every storey. Failure to comply with the smoke and carbon monoxide alarm requirements can result in a ticket for $360 or a fine of up to $50,000 for individuals and $100,000 for corporations.
Develop and practice a home escape plan with everyone in the home.
South Frontenac Council began their COW meeting an hour early, in order to hold a closed Session prior to the main meeting. The four agenda items for the closed session were listed as:”Litigation; Matters concerning an Identifiable Individual (listed twice, as two separate items); and Matters subject to Client Solicitor”. This is South Frontenac’s usual way of introducing “in camera” sessions.
This week Councillor Sutherland attempted to make a motion challenging the minimal nature of the information given to the public concerning the nature of the matters to be discussed, prior to going into closed session. Quoting the Ontario Ombudsman who said the motion to hold a closed meeting must: “give as much information about the subject as possible, without undermining the reason for closing the meeting,” Sutherland contended that telling the public what the general subject of the meeting is to be, would increase transparency and openness. He registered his disapproval at what he saw as ‘improper procedure.’
Mayor Vandewal reminded Sutherland that this was a Committee of the Whole meeting, and motions could only be voted on at Council meetings. He deferred to CAO Orr, as the authority on procedure. Orr said he had ‘sought advice’ on the issue, and felt Council was acting appropriately. “We are following the procedure we have used for the past nine years.”
“I will bring this motion back,” said Sutherland, as Council moved into closed session.
Splash Pad Report
Recreation Supervisor Tim Laprade presented a feasibility report on a splash pad park, prepared at the request of the Loughborough and Portland district recreation committees. The report listed preferred locations, benefits, risks, capitol and operating costs, and included comments from other municipalities. There seems to be strong support from the increasing number of young families in the area, and almost all the municipalities that have installed splash pads report that they are extremely successful and well-used. However, there is little question that they are expensive to build, and have high ongoing operating costs.
All the returning Council members were reluctant to move forward without first taking into consideration the rest of the Township’s recreational costs and needs. Councillor Morey asked whether any community groups had shown interest in doing serious fundraising for the project. Laprade said there had been ‘some awareness’. Sleeth was not in favour; “There are lakes everywhere we look.” (One of the proposed sites was Harrowsmith, where there is no nearby lake.) Revill, though listing some of the pending costs for maintaining the Township arena, said the demographic was changing. Mayor Vandewal said “There will always be large-ticket items; I’d like to see a more strategic long-term recreation report, which would include (this proposal) as well as other pending recreation needs. if we’re putting this off for now, the public needs to know why, and what our long-term vision is.”
Skate Park Feasibility
Laprade’s second report recommended Council increase the budget for a skateboard feasibility study from 2018’s (unused) $5,000 to a maximum of $15,000 for 2019. The study was not done last year, for study proposals from skate park companies had ranged from $13,500 to $50,000.
For several years, there have been delegations and petitions to Council asking for a skateboard park in South Frontenac. A feasibility study based on consultation with the skate park advisory group would provide a concept plan, a draft implementation plan including costs, funding opportunities, and location recommendations.
Mayor Vandewal said that the increasing number of young families meant that a splash pad would have more ‘uptake.’ Sutherland said the skateboard group is a poorly-served population, and Roberts said that there have been skateboard requests coming to Council for many years, now. Revill said a feasibility study would give Council ‘something to work with.” Laprade’s recommendation will go forward for budget consideration.
Fire Services: Operational Review and Recommendations
Fire Chief Darcy Knott spoke to a 51 page report with 25 recommendations. (“I trust you have all read this,” said Mayor Vandewal to Council.) Saying that “The current state of the department is good and has a potential to be great,” Knott outlined the needs for an increase in the level of service to residents, greater accountability, and steps to mitigate liability. Some of these issues can be attributed to changes in legislation, and some to lack of full amalgamation of the Township’s fire services.
Knott listed his top priorities:
Hire an Assistant Deputy Chief of fire prevention,
Recruit 25 more firefighters, using a publicity campaign and orientation sessions,
Close Station #9 (off the Burnt Hills Road, East of Battersea.) It is moldy, unused and full of rodents,
Repurpose Station #8 (Sunbury) and construct a new station a few km north, to serve Battersea and Sunbury,
Surplus the old station #6 Perth Road,
Get budget to buy a demo Air Trailer Unit. This would be used to refill the Department’s 100 air bottles, both annually and after each use. Usual cost of such units is between $135,000 and $155,000 new: Knott has an option on a lightly-used one for $32,000, fully serviced and warranted. Currently the Township has the use of a non-mobile unit on short-term loan.
Spare pagers: some are needed for reserve when the present ones need repairs.
Council agreed that Knott should not have to wait for the budget process to get the Air Unit: reserve funds could be used now, and replaced from the 2019 budget. They also asked him to get prices on a bulk purchase of pagers to serve present needs and to supply the anticipated new volunteer recruits. Knott will bring this information to next week’s Council meeting.
Cataraqui Trail Restructuring
Councillor Sutherland reported from the Cataraqui Conservation Authority that there had been a restructuring of the responsibilities for the Cataraqui Trail. Though the Trail has always been owned by the Conservation Authority, it has until now been maintained by a volunteer work group of Friends of the Cat Trail. However, due to some major need for expensive repairs (especially several washouts), the Conservation Authority will assume responsibility for the trail upkeep, with continuing assistance from the volunteer group.
Deputy fire chief says he's being pushed out
Bill Babcock, Deputy Fire Chief in Portland, addressed Council about his pending retirement: “I feel that I am being forced to retire: some of my duties have been removed, and I signed my agreement (to retire) under duress.” Babcock said he was 73, in good physical condition, and in the 48th year of service in the department; “April 20, 2020 is my 50-year mark, and I’d like to complete my service then.” He gave Council a document certifying good health, and letters of support from the community. Mayor Vandewal told Babcock that he had asked for a full staff report, in order to bring all council members up to date on the situation, before further discussion. Over 30 supporters left Council chambers with Babcock.
The inaugural meeting of South Frontenac Council opened with the swearing-in of Mayor Vandewal and Council members, three of whom, Ray Leonard, Doug Morey and Randy Ruttan are rookies: Pat Barr, Alan Revill, Norm Roberts, Ron Sleeth and Ross Sutherland were all on last Council. “South Frontenac Township is in a strong position, both financially and organizationally,” said Mayor Vandewal in his welcoming address; “but lots of work lies ahead. You will have to make many decisions, not always popular ones. It’s up to you to do what you feel is right.” He listed updating the Official Plan and hiring a new CAO as two of the many challenges ahead, along with the ongoing pressures of taxation and financing.
Warden Higgins brought greetings from the County.
Rezoning the Rezoning
A property on Bedford Road Sydenham had been rezoned last May to recognize a reduced road frontage and lot size for a new residential lot and a retained parcel. The intent was to remove a frame house and garage which were very close to the Bedford Road improvement area, and to permit two residential lots in their place. However this rezoning had been prematurely brought to Council by the then planning department, before the survey was completed. In October, when the survey was submitted, it was found that both lots had shorter frontages and one had a smaller lot area than had been indicated in the original information. The current rezoning is a largely technical correction, as the properties are within the Sydenham settlement area, and will be served by municipal water. Only one comment came from a neighbour: “I’d like to see them get on with (tearing it down!)” When Council passed the new amendment, they also agreed to charge the applicant only half the usual fee, for although the change required staff time and work, it appeared to have been a staff decision to initially bring the issue to Council with incomplete information.
Two motions related to the Hartington Subdivision, one requesting reimbursement of $28,792 to the Hartington Community Association for consultant fees, the other for Township funded twice annual private well testing, were deferred until the appeal period of the OMB decision is completed.
Tim Laprade, Township Recreation Supervisor, asked Council to authorize and include in the 2019 budget, the engagement of an external facilitator to help in the revision of the Recreation Committee structure in order to better meet the current and projected recreation and leisure needs of the whole Township. He also asked for budget approval for a new software package to do program registration and facility booking. The current software has been discontinued. This would be a one-time capital cost of $6,000 and an annual operating cost of $8,650.
Council accepted these reports, and Laprade assured them that the review and revision will recognize the continued importance and involvement of community volunteers. Sleeth emphasized that he is opposed to any ‘centralization’ of recreation committees, and wants to keep the local rec committees.
Private Lane Upgrades
Mark Segsworth, Director of Public Services, asked Council to approve payments totalling $78,109. for 2018 Private Lane Upgrading Assistance. It is the tenth year for this popular program which subsidizes up to 50% of completed private road work which will improve access for emergency vehicles. This year, 27 lane groups were approved to submit invoices for subsidy of completed work. Mayor Vandewal complimented Segsworth for all his work in having initiated and developed this very successful program.
2019 Budget Schedule
Council received the 2019 budget schedule which will begin Dec 11, and wind up in mid-February or early March. CAO Orr reminded Councillors that Saturday Jan 26 must be set aside for an all-day budget session.
After some minor wrangling about procedure, Council selected Deputy Mayors, and agreed that each Deputy Mayor should serve for one year, in the following order: Sleeth, Sutherland, Barr and Leonard.
Councillor Revill was chosen to serve the next four years as Township representative on County Council, along with Mayor Vandewal. (Sleeth was also nominated, but respectfully declined.)
Angela Maddocks was promoted to Township Clerk and Division Registrar for South Frontenac, and the role of Deputy Clerk was transferred to CAO Orr. Maddocks has completed Clerk I and II training in the past year, as well as training in election operations.
Emily Caird was welcomed as the new Executive Assistant, and Michelle Hanna has been hired as a Planning Assistant.
Bale Wrap Recycling
Sleeth commended Mark Segsworth on his leadership in developing a means of recycling bale wrap. Segsworth reminded him that Councillor Larry York had been the one who had pioneered the idea.
Three-way Stop a Good Start
Council agreed with Mayor Vandewal’s motion to make the corner of Latimer and Round Lake Roads a three-way stop, until completion of projected construction to improve the intersection.
January 2019 meeting Dates
Acknowledging a reluctance to hold Council meeting on New Year’s Day, Orr announced the January meeting schedule will be moved forward one week: Council will be on Jan 8 and 22; Committee of the Whole will meet January 15.
On Sunday evening (Sept. 30) a fire swept through a residential building that at one time was the schoolhouse for the Village of Ompah. The building had been converted into a single family dwelling in the years following the school’s close in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s. It was occupied by a family of 4 until this week. The family is reportedly living in Perth and a number of local people are attempting to reach out to support them.
“The good news was that no one was injured in the fire. I believe the family pets made it out unscathed as well,” said North Frontenac Fire Chief Eric Korhonen.
Korhonen said that North Frontenac Firefighters and the Kaladar Barrie department responded to the fire. By the time they arrived, the building was beyond saving and the efforts were focussed on preventing the fire from spreading and making sure it was completely out.
The department still needs to complete an investigation, but Korhonen said it looks like the fire will be classed as “cause undetermined” because the building had burned completely and all evidence about what may have caused it has been destroyed
The Ompah Schoolhouse was built around 1870, roughly at the same time as the Anglican Church in Ompah. It closed about 100 years later, when Clarendon Central Public School opened in Plevna.
Barbara Sproule was the teacher in the one room school between 1958 and the school’s closing. She remembers that the building was rather basic; the school was heated by a wood stove, and did not have running water, although it did have a well and hand pump.
“We had a caretaker who came in early to start up the stove, but there were winter days when we started the day with the children sitting around the woodstove until the building warmed up.” She said, “but we made do and everyone co-operated. Those were good years.
Sproule was only 16 when she started teaching at the Canonto school, and 17 when she started teaching in Ompah, not much older than some of her students.
“I never told them my age, but I think they knew,” she said.
Not only did she teach in the Ompah school, Sproule also attended the school, as did both her mother and her son.
When the school closed it was purchased by members of the Thomas family as a cottage, and it was later renovated into a family home. The current owners have lived there for several years.
It was billed as “Brought to you by: All of us in Arden.”
“It was the seed of an idea that fell on fertile ground,” said organizer Jordan Chatwin. “This really is a great place to grow a community.”
Earlier this year, Chatwin got to talking with a few people about the possibility of holding a Family Field Day at Arden Recreational Park — you know, races, games, a barbecue, wagon rides, ponies for petting.
So, he started getting together with groups like the (District 1) rec committee, the United Church, Matson Construction and the Fire Department. And last Saturday, it all came together.
“It’s just to promote recreation for kids and families in the area,” he said. “But I kind of envision it as like every fair you’ve ever been to as a kid.
“We even have cotton candy.”
Chatwin said it’s “100 percent” that they’ll hold another one next year, and he’d like to see it as a two-day event.
“We can’t be sure between now and then, but I’d like to involve business more,” he said. “I’d like to see those booths where you can get switchblade combs.
“Getting back to the fertile ground metaphor, the sky’s the limit and we’ve laid the foundation.”
“It’s a day in the park,” said Arden Coun. Cindy Kelsey. “We just need some bands playing music.”
And strangely enough, while it was set up for Arden residents, it seemed to attract a significant number of people from outside the immediate area.
“Many of the people I’ve been talking to are not from Arden,” said Louise Moody, who was there with an EarlyON booth. “I like doing this.”
“There must be a lot of people from outside the area,” said Malcolm Sampson. “I don’t believe we have this many kids in Arden.”
Please be advised that effective July 3, 2018 there is a Level 1 burning ban in effect in all four districts of South Frontenac. A level “1” fire ban prohibits all open air burning except for camp fires and cooking fires.
Residents are reminded to follow burning restrictions set out in By-law 2012-68.
For further details on the current burning provisions, please consult our By-law on our website at www.southfrontenac.net or South Frontenac Fire and Rescue at 613-376-3027, Ext. 2234.
Any infraction of this by-law will result in significant financial penalties.
Your cooperation in protecting our citizens and property is sincerely appreciated.
Darcy Knott, Fire Chief
South Frontenac Fire and Rescue
Fire Chief/Manager of Emergency Services Greg Robinson presented his Phase Two Organizational and Operational Review, a lengthy document containing 142 “gaps” or problems with the Central Frontenac Fire Department at Council’s regular meeting Tuesday in Mountain Grove.
Given the length of the documents, there wasn’t a lot of discussion but Robinson suggested that it was being presented now to give Council a chance to read it before a discussion scheduled for the June 26 Council meeting and several other presentations from the review over the next three months.
“Any fire chief that would give me this much reading before a long weekend . . . I don’t know,” said Coun. Bill MacDonald.
“With documents of this magnitude, I think it’s important that we take our time and ask the right questions,” said Mayor Frances Smith.
“I spent a few hours on this and many points caught my eye,” said Coun. John Purdon. “One of which is we were told we’d have a Fire Master Plan in April.”
Robinson responded that it wouldn’t be possible to have a master plan until many of the gaps had been dealt with.
As for the gaps, they are organized into nine categories (number of gaps in each in brackets):
Emergency response operations (26)
Training and Education (9)
Equipment/apparatus/building maintenance and repair (18)
Fire prevention and training (8)
Water supply (5)
Records management systems (14)
Simplified risk assessment (6)
Robinson’s report advocates many changes, some of which are already underway and the report also acknowledges there will be (is) reluctance to change in certain changes.
“The phase one and two reports demonstrate the need for numerous operational changes and significant organizational changes,” the report said. “Firefighters have deeply entrenched cultures and are very reluctant to change.
“Still having amalgamation issues within CFFR exasperates this unwillingness to change.”
The full report is available on the Central Frontenac website under the agenda for the May 22 Council meeting.
• • •
Council passed a new procurement policy bylaw Tuesday.
The previous bylaw was passed in 2004 and amended slightly in 2010.
Treasurer Michael McGovern said there was “some verbiage” changed such as “pecuniary interest” to conflict of interest” because it covered more ground.
However, he said the biggest change was to raise the request for tender threshold to $50,000 from the current $20,000.
“We will actually save money with this because since it takes about four hours to process each tender, we incur costs,” he said.