Just in case the return of rail service from Toronto to Ottawa via Peterborough is indeed a go, Frontenac County and Central Frontenac Council are both looking at making sure the case for a stop in Sharbot Lake is made to VIA rail, the builder, and the government of Canada, the funder.
As well, the Sharbot Lake Business Group, which was formed over the last year, to promote the interests of the business community in the vicinity of the hamlet, is looking at what needs to be done to ensure Sharbot Lake, and Central Frontenac, are enhanced by the return of passenger rail to the region.
(See article by Bill Bowick)
According to reporting from the CBC, VIA Rail is expecting a decision from Transport Canada on the $4 billion project in 2019, and if the go ahead is coming, it will likely be referred to in the Federal Budget, which will be tabled next week.
Paul Langan, who lives in Cambridge, is a long-time advocate for High Speed Rail, and runs the website Highspeedrailcanada.com. He is not, however, a supporter, nor a believer, in the Shining Waters Rail line.
“I question how VIA rail is making a proposal for $4 billion in federal dollars for a project that does not have a business plan attached to it. VIA has not even talked to the planning department of the City of Ottawa about the impact on the rail station from this new service,” he said.
VIA is promoting the line as a “high frequency train” rather than a high speed train, and Langan argues that the speeds that VIA is proposing will not make the train any more successful than it was when passenger service ceased, along the corridor, over 50 years ago.
“This 4 billion dollar debacle has VIA trains travelling at 1975 era speeds through sparsely-populated areas on an abandoned Ontario-Quebec Railway line. (Toronto-Peterborough-Ottawa). Then the line travels on to Montreal-Trois-Rivières-Québec City.”
He also points out that the proposal to run trains along the old line would result in level crossings at dozens of locations along the line, which would pose a safety risk. Langan says that railways around the world have implemented a standard of “Positive Train Controls” (PTC) on their passenger lines, to prevent accidents, but VIA has not adopted them.
“There is no information in what VIA Rail has released in their $4 billion plan that suggests PTC will be implemented on the track they will be building. Track that VIA Rail currently runs on, mostly CN Rail, is not slated to implement PTC systems. The plan should never be approved, but if it is approved, the federal government must demand PTC along the line,” he wrote.
In particular for Sharbot Lake, Langan points to a presentation made by VIA in Quebec last year, which presents a map that does not include Sharbot Lake or Tweed. This contradicts a map that includes both stops that was sent earlier to Central Frontenac and Frontenac County. This, he claims, shows that stops in Sharbot Lake and Tweed are not really planned for the proposed line, but that VIA is saying they will work out those details later.
However, the map that Langan included in his article only came from a presentation, and may only have been included to give a more general impression of the proposed rail system, skipping smaller stations that are still part of the plan. The map he points to also misses several stops in Quebec, including Dorion, Dorval and Laval near Montreal, and Ancienne Lorette and Sainte Foy near Quebec City.
In a phone interview this week with the News, Langan said that if people living in Sharbot Lake end up with a station and a service that helps the community, “I would be happy for them. I don’t oppose anyone in Sharbot Lake. I just think that there is a reason why passenger service was canceled many years ago and the same economic logic is still the same. VIA is using deception to get communities along the line to buy into their plan.”
While VIA has communicated with officials from Frontenac County and Central Frontenac Township over the last year or so, no details about the plan have been released other than the station map that came out a year ago.
According to Langan, “the facts are clear, VIA rail does not want the public to know the details of their plan. If they were a private corporation that would be fine, but they are a public corporation and they are seeking government money for their plans, so the public should be informed.”
The idea of South Frontenac Township, Frontenac County and the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority sharing an administration building isn’t looking too likely, at least in the short term, following a discussion at South Frontenac’s Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday night in Sydenham.
“It’s been pointed out that we really haven’t had that discussion here at this table,” said Mayor Ron Vandewal.
Well, Tuesday night they had that discussion and while there was general consensus that a new facility would be nice from several angles, South really doesn’t need it and there isn’t much of an appetite for it.
“There’s a need to be cautious,” Vandewal said. “I don’t see this building as being at its breaking point yet.”
Vandewal said he needed some pretty clear direction soon as he and CAO Wayne Orr were to meet with the other two stakeholders this month. He said he didn’t want to string them on only to “send a terse email later on saying ‘we’re out.’”
Virtually no one on Council argued for a new joint facility and some, like Coun. Ray Leonard, said: “I’m not really in agreement with this new building.”
“How would we repurpose this facility were we to be in on this?” said Dep. Mayor Ron Sleeth.
Coun. Ross Sutherland said: “I do think we’re overcrowded here but I don’t think we need 130 per cent more office space (as suggested in some of the architectural drawings.
“I think we need to look at other options (such as a new building for South or expansion of the existing facility).”
“Is there room where we could add on to this building?” asked Coun. Norm Roberts.
“There is land but I just don’t know if we could build on it,” said Orr.
There were suggestions that space now used for records storage might be used for expected staff increases as the demand for services increases (Orr cited projections that staff could grow by as many as eight people in the long term) but Coun. Alan Revill pointed out that proximity to records is important to the planning, building and financial departments.
“We should look at getting those records digitized,” said Sutherland.
Vandewal suggested some staff (for example public works and fire) could be accommodated in other facilities the Township owns but in any event, that’s way in the future.
“There are a lot of challenges to spending $5 million on a new building right now,” he said. “For example somebody might want a new firehall and Road 38 is always going to be there.”
Frontenac County Strategic Plan
Geography certainly plays a big roll when it comes to what townships’ expectations for Frontenac County’s priorities should be.
Consultant Rob Wood was at Committee of the Whole Tuesday night to complete a process where each of the four member townships of Frontenac County were asked for their thoughts.
For example, in the two northern townships, wifi and cell phone coverage are high on the list, as is waste disposal.
In South Frontenac, the No. 1 priority seems to be planning. Of the four, South is the only Township that has its own planning department while the other three use County planners.
“We’ve talked about South Frontenac being the planning authority for South Frontenac rather than have a separate body do it,” said Dep. Mayor Ron Sleeth. “Those individuals at County who vote on the decisions are so far removed from what we think is important — both positively and negatively.”
“The devolution of planning powers to South Frontenac,” said Coun. Ross Sutherland. “The goal should be for them to work with us.”
And like all municipalities, economic development is something the politicians like to trumpet. And tourism is a huge component of that.
However, things are a little different in South Frontenac as pointed out by Sleeth.
“There is a market of 140,000 people just to the south of us that likes to make day trips,” he said. “In the north, it’s about coming to a lodge or renting a cabin but here, we need to create ways to entice people to drive out of the city for the day to spend $100 on things.”
One thing all of the townships seem to agree on is the need for the County to create a roads department — not to fix potholes and remove snow but to access upper tier roads money from the Province in much the same manner that Lennox & Addington County operates.
Mayor Ron Vandewal had an additional priority of his own.
“Do we need five CAOs?” he said. “The County CAO is very good outside of the County with the Eastern Ontario Wardens Caucus and regional groups, but what is provided for the County I don’t know.
“The paramedic service has a manager; Fairmount Home has a manager. Do we need an extra layer of management over them?”
“I agree with the mayor,” said Coun. Norm Roberts. “What do we get for our money.”
Acting Public Works manager David Armstrong submitted a report on the waste amnesty program, a free trailer load of waste that applies to occupied properties in the township. After consulting with the waste site attendants, Armstrong recommended that instead of allowing the load to be brought to the waste site at any time between mid - May 24 and mid- September, as has been the case for several years, two weeks be designated instead. He recommended May 20-26 and August 26 – September 1st.
“The site attendants said that not knowing when the loads were coming sometimes resulted in several loads coming in while the sites were already very busy, leaving them unable to keep up. By choosing two weeks during the season we can put extra staffing on during those weeks to make things run more smoothly,” Armstrong said.
Councillor Tom Dewey said he did not agree with Armstrong’s analysis, and thought the system should remain as it has been. Councillor Nicki Gowdy agreed, saying that it is better for residents to be able to make use of their free load when it suits them, not the township.
Councillor Bill McDonald proposed an amendment. He said that a third week should be added in the early summer for the summer residents.
A vote on MacDonald’s amendment was approved as was the motion to restrict free loads to specific weeks. Dewey and Gowdy both voted against the motion. The dates for the third week will be determined by staff.
Alan Revill, Acting Manager of Development Services, reported that the Piccadilly Hall renovation will be complete by the end of March, and after a clean up the building will re-open for community use.
“The building will be much brighter inside with the painted walls instead of the dark panelling so it will be a very bright space to enjoy,” he said.
The Piccadilly Hall project will be completed within the revised budget that was approved several weeks ago.
The next facility that will be addressed in the township will be the stairs in front of the Oso Hall in Sharbot Lake. Revill said that some excavating work will need to be done before the exact scope of the project is determined and can be put to tender.
“The entrance will be closed when the project is underway and we will try to minimise the time that it takes to complete because the hall is used very often. The kitchen door will be used as the entrance while the stairs are being done,” he said.
The project was budgeted and the money will go over to the 2019 budget.
A joint tender with Frontenac Islands resulted in the bid from Morris Chemical being selected to deliver and apply Calcium chloride on gravel roads in both townships this summer. The projected cost of calcium chloride will be within budget expectations.
A joint tender with all three of the other Frontenac townships resulted in a winning bid by Trillium Pavement Marking for just under $54,000 to Central Frontenac. This a marginal savings of $41 dollars as compared to the bid by the only other bidder, Provincial Pavement Marking.
New plows ordered in 2019 and 2020.
David Armstrong made a request that Council approve the purchase of new snowploughs in each of the next two years. Armstrong explained that the company that has been contracting to make the truck will not be able to deliver a tandem truck until March of 2020, after the end of the winter season next year. But the company has a truck available now that does not meet the specifications in the tender, but would serve the township in the 2019/2020 season and be useful in the future as well.
When it was explained that staff already had intended to seek funds for new trucks in subsequent years anyway, to bring the fleet up to standard, Council approved purchasing both trucks.
No love for train whistle opponent.
Donald LaFleur, a resident of Crow Lake, brought two familiar issues before Council, speed limits and the trains that whistle when they pass over the Crow Lake road.
His proposal regarding speed limits was for a 50 km an hour zone to be put in for one kilometre to the east and one kilometre to the west of the 40km/hr zone that is in place within the hamlet area of Crow Lake.
That proposal was referred to the public works staff for comment.
On the issue of the train whistle, which he has been brought to Council in the past without success, LaFleur prepared a comprehensive submission. He pointed out, for example, that even in cases where there have been fatalities at rail crossings where the whistle does not blow, the missing whistle is not cited as the reason and trains still pass over the crossing without whistling.
He also pointed out, as he had when he came to Council two years ago, that the township would not create any liability if it asked Transport Canada to consider causing CP Railway to cease the trains from whistling at Crow Lake.
“The township only makes the request, it is Transport Canada who then considers whether it is safe, and if any changes are necessary. They make the decision and take responsibility,” he said.
Council did not see it that way.
“We look at it as a safety issue,” said Mayor Frances Smith.
CP trains cross over road 38 at two locations where there are clusters of households nearby, in Parham and Tichborne. The train whistles at those crossings.
Council decided not to act on Mr. LaFleur’s request.
The Ontario Good Roads Association (OGRA) was founded in 1894 as an offshoot of the “Good Roads Train” that pulled into Eastern Ontario Rail stations with the latest in road building equipment for local farmers who were in need of better roads for horses and buggies. One of its goals was to prepare municipalities for the transition from horse drawn to horse-less carriages (ie motor vehicles).
The Association remains in place today as a body representing municipal interests in road construction and maintenance to higher levels of government and industry.
The annual conference of OGRA and the Rural Ontario Municipal Association in February, known as the Good Roads Conference, has long been the most prestigious gathering place for rural municipalities each year. In recent years it may have been supplanted by the annual Association of Municipal Organizations (AMO) meeting in late August, but it still draws a large number of municipal council members to the venerable Royal York Hotel in Toronto.
OGRA now has its eyes firmly set on the future, and that means autonomous vehicles, also known by the more descriptive ‘driverless cars’.
In the summer of 2016, OGRA members from some of the technology driven communities in Ontario, most of them in Southwestern Ontario, with the notable addition of Elliott Lake, held a meeting to establish a group called the MACAVO (pronounced Muh-Kay-Vo) which is an acronym for ‘Municipal Alliance for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles in Ontario’.
The alliance has been meeting ever since with a view towards paving the way for the next wave of transportation technology, which is coming at a faster rate than had been anticipated, even a few years ago.
“We openly invite all Ontario municipalities who are prepared to start researching, testing and integrating these technologies in some capacity, to join MACAVO”, said Thomas MacPherson, York Region Manager of Transportation Asset Management and Chair of MACAVO, in November of 2017.
“Efforts across the province need to be co-ordinated to maximize the long-term benefits that CVs [Connected Vehicles] and AVs [Autonomous Vehicles] can provide our communities. At MACAVO, we are ready to work with all CV and AV stakeholders, including: the automobile industry; young entrepreneurs; the education sector; and local, provincial, and federal governments.”
Robert Burlie, then President of OGRA said, “… It is estimated that 50% of all vehicles on our roads will be fully autonomous in the next 15 years and will assist all municipalities who are making substantial efforts to improve road safety and ease traffic congestion. This technology is improving so rapidly that there will certainly be other benefits to all our communities and municipalities in Ontario, and will allow our roadways to be completely transformed for better use by pedestrians, cyclists, public transit, vulnerable users and vehicles."
Municipalities that have joined with MACAVO have been able to designate which of their roads they would like to see become part of a test corridor for CAV’s (Connected Autonomous Vehicles), naming them as “preferred” roads, and to choose which roads they would like to list as “avoid” roads for CAV.
Eastern Ontario is now becoming much more oriented to the issues that MACAVO is working on, ever since the “Windsor to Ottawa CAV (Connected Autonomous Vehicle) Test Corridor” at the most recent Good Roads Conference on February 24.
“Through the municipal and provincial collaboration on this project, we have now identified over 5,500 kilometres of specific municipal roadways across thirty-three municipalities in the area of Windsor to Ottawa”, said current OGRA President Rick Kester.
OGRA Executive Director Rick Tiernay said “based on our findings, this is by far the longest AV test corridor in the world today. Combining this with the fact that the province already has a solid AV Pilot Regulation in place, there is no better place in the world to grow and establish communities and businesses, than in Ontario.”
The test route in Eastern Ontario includes Highway 7, making Central Frontenac, Addington Highlands, and Tay Valley three of the municipalities who are included in the corridor.
In a report to Central Frontenac Council on the preferred route, Deputy Clerk Cindy Deachman pointed out that Central Frontenac has not been involved with MACAVO thus far, but since the test corridor is coming through the township, the township may want to change that.
The township has the option of remaining on the periphery of the project, seeking the status of a “friend of MACAVO” which would enable to the township to stay informed about the test corridor and have access to the mapping that MACAVO has developed, or to take a more active role.
“In order to have optimal information from, and representation to MACAVO, it is recommended that we request to have a staff member appointed. This appointee would have access to the mapping of the preferred/avoid routes, and if Council wanted to include other local roads on that route (either as a preferred or avoid route) we would then have the ability to add those routes to the map,” she wrote in her report.
Central Frontenac Council decided to join MACAVO and appointed Acting Public Works Manager David Armstrong as the township representative to the Alliance.
A class of graduate students under Professor John Meligrana at the Queens University School of Urban and Regional Planning is looking for help from local landowners in Central and North Frontenac. The students are working on a project that is focussed on the issues that impact land use planning in rural areas.
Such regions are common in Eastern Ontario, and this project has used North and Central Frontenac as an example of rural areas with a wealth of lakes, the landscapes that contain them and few urban areas.
As part of their work, the students have been looking at a number of topics, including Rural Land Stewardship: Ideas, Concepts, and Indicators; Servicing Options for Private Land Owners; Shoreline Planning Considerations; and Rural Green Economies.
They have consulted with township and county staff and politicians, public and private sector planners, and others, and have prepared presentations about what they have learned.
The next step, according to Professor Meligrana, is to engage local individuals and property owners in their work. A free workshop, which is set for St. James Catholic Church Hall in Sharbot Lake on Friday, March 22, from 10am-3pm (free lunch included) will feature those presentations, followed by an engaging set of exercises that have been designed to bring out the insights of the local population on the true needs of the community and the local environment.
This first study that the students have completed will be extended by a second, more detailed study in the upcoming university term, which will incorporate what the students learn at the workshop. Beyond that, we hope that findings from these studies can be usefully extended to other similar areas in our region.
The Frontenac Stewardship Council has funded this work in the belief that good stewardship in non-urban areas will be enhanced by fresh planning approaches that acknowledge lake and landscape features as foundation elements of resilient communities of the future. The complete project will attempt to gather and incorporate, into those foundations, the views and hopes of people on the land.
Earlier this year, Lisa Matson and a few others were wondering what they could do to fix up the rink in Arden. They’d noticed that just about every night, kids were coming from all over, starting about 5:30 till 9pm or so and the ice surface wasn’t in the best of shape. After all, the original rink was built in 1967.
They came up with an all-night skate-a-thon to raise some funds and when it was all over, they’d raised $2,450 along with a few other donations of materials.
“We were just tossing around ideas,” she said. “We didn’t realize we’d get such a big response.
“It’s March weather, so if you get a warm day, the ice could be a little soft,” said co-organizer Jeff Matson. “It takes a lot of work to maintain the rink as the ground is not level and water can run down the hill and get under the ice, creating soft spots.”
So, they made a plan and people started getting on board, including people from outside the community making donations and prizes to raffle off.
“Karen Knight used to live here and now she works at Lifestyle Sunrooms in Peterborough,” Lisa said. “The owner, former NHLer Billy Carroll, donated a door and four windows for the canteen.
“DA Integrated in Ottawa, donated two tickets to the Senators-Toronto game, Play It Again Sports donated two Frontenacs tickets and Upper Canada Office Supply in Belleville donated two tickets to a Belleville Senators game.”
“And Crains donated crusher dust to resurface the base,” Jeff said.
“We’ve got a good group of kids who are using the rink,” Lisa said. “Them helping raise funds like this gives them pride and a sense of self-ownership.”
“A group of us will be going to Council on March 12 to solicit a little something,” said Jeff. “It’ll be good to show them we’ve done something to contribute.”
North Frontenac’s recommendations to the Frontenac County strategic plan were remarkably similar to Central’s, following Kathleen Vollebregt’s visit to Council’s regular meeting last Friday in Plevna.
The County has been asking its member townships what they’d like to see in its strategic plan and so far, with the two northernmost municipalities weighing in, broadband and cell phone gaps and what to do about waste seem to be priorities. And, a County road system, but in name only so that provincial money can be accessed, would be nice too.
“Broadband gaps and cell phone services — everything hinges on that — bringing people into the community, economic development,” said Coun. Gerry Martin.
“A County road system,” said Coun. Vernon Hermer. “And possibly the County could consider a localized incinerator.”
“I’m still impatient on the post-landfill world,” said Coun. John Inglis. “That was a priority last time around and very little was done.
“(And) I don’t think the County should get any more involved with transportation than funding.”
“Cell phones,” said Coun. Fred Fowler. “We live in an abyss in Snow Road.
“It’s a big concern for a lot of people.”
“The last one on my list is Fairmount Home,” said Dep. Mayor Fred Perry, who was chairing the meeting while Mayor Ron Higgins is in Cuba. “Not many people from here go there.”
Council also had comments on the perceived risks question.
“Losing our identity is a concern,” said Martin.
“The more shared services there are, the more their budget will grow,” said Inglis. “We’ll have to watch that.”
13 systems inspected in 2018 re-inspection program
In North Frontenac’s 2018 septic re-inspection, there were 13 participants resulting in five no concerns, seven systems needing some remedial work, one with more information required and zero system replacements required, Eric Kohlsmith of the Mississippi Rideau Septic System Office told Council.
Public Works Manager Darwyn Sproule said the 2019 program will focus on Mazinaw, Hills, Kring, Mackie, Shaw, Turtle, and Cards Lakes, which contain a total of 378 properties with cottages/residences.
The 2018 program focused on Big Ohlmann, Brule, Crotch, Fortune, Minktrack, Mud, Norcan, Redhorse, Shawenegog, Story, Sunday, Malcolm and Sand Lakes, which contain a total of 355 properties with cottages/residences
Not for profits to get discount on permits
Council passed a resolution to provide a 30 per cent discount to all not-for-profit user groups and/or for the purpose of fundraising and/or organized events in regards to purchasing Daily Road Access Permits for future events on the Crown Roads within the Crown Land Stewardship Program.
“It’s the right thing to do,” said Coun. Gerry Martin.
Addington Highlands Council voted to replace two failed oil furnaces at the Northbrook Medical Centre with propane furnaces at its regular meeting Tuesday afternoon in Flinton.
During an inspection, Bosley Heating & Cooling reported that both oil furnaces have failed heat exchangers (these units were installed in 1995); the fuel oil supply tank is not approved to be used as a heating fuel tank and is installed too close to the building; and the existing propane furnaces are in good working order.
The cost to supply and install 1300 000 BTU propane furnace with duct adaptors, including removal and disposal of existing oil-fired equipment is $13,560 including GST on sales.
Replacing the existing oil furnace and tank would cost $20,114.
“It has to be done and we have a month to do it,” said Dep. Reeve Tony Fritsch, taking the chair for vacationing Reeve Henry Hogg. “We’ll have to look at the budget to see if we want to sacrifice something else.”
There was a concern raised over sole sourcing but Fritsch said they didn’t have time to send the work out to tender.
“They gave us four weeks to fix this,” he said. “If we had six months, we’d be going in a different direction.”
Fire Chief Casey Cuddy said the Township has a contract with a propane supplier from whom they get better rates “and they supply tanks.”
Council approved a request to waive the rental fee for a free concert by The Tri-Ensemble at the Denbigh Hall July 20. The concert is in support of the Denbigh Food Bank.
Council passed a bylaw restricting the gross weight of vehicles on Trepanier’s Bridge on Clark Line Road to 10 tonnes in the case of a single vehicle (empty or loaded), 18 tonnes for a combination of two vehicles and 25 tonnes for a combination of three vehicles.
Council members pay for 2018 was: Reeve Henry Hogg - $25,860.07 including travel and per diems, Dep. Reeve Helen Yanch - $20,760.31 including travel, Councilor Tony Fritsch - $15,543.20 including travel, Councilor Kirby Thompson - $15,267.52 including travel, Councillor Bill Cox - $14,337.58 including travel, per diems and expenses, and Councilor David Mile - $1,255.44 including travel.
Also Thompson was paid $2,144.06 by the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority and Hogg $991.50 by Quinte Conservation for travel and per diems.
Getting the funds for broadband and cell phone infrastructure improvements and waste management were the two most desirable “breakthrough goals” for Frontenac County, Central Frontenac Council decided at its regular meeting Tuesday evening in Sharbot Lake.
“And a million dollars for our roads,” added Mayor Frances Smith.
Council was responding to a questionnaire led by Kathryn Wood for Frontenac County’s strategic planning.
“Our goal for this consultation is to explore Township perspectives on county-level issues as the County develops its strategic priorities directions and plans for the current term of Council,” Wood said.
To that end, she asked four questions: asking councilors to rate a list of priorities; what would be the most important outcomes to be accomplished by the County through its next strategic level; opportunities, risks or challenges Council sees in working more closely with the County to deliver services; and, if the County could establish breakthrough goal in its next strategic plan, what do you feel that should be.
Coun. Tom Dewey started things off by listing waste management as his top priority.
“We’re getting closer to the time when our dumps are full,” he said. “I’ve been here eight years plus and while we’ve talked about it a lot, we haven’t done very much.”
Coun. Bill MacDonald agreed.
“I think there will be changes coming that one small township won’t be large enough to take advantage of,” MacDonald said.
Dep. Mayor Victor Heese brought up broadband service, which he said went hand in hand with economic development.
“In the more rural areas, satellite just doesn’t cut it,” Heese said.
“And around the lakes,” added Smith. “But EORN (Eastern Ontario Regional Network) is just waiting for approval.
MacDonald wanted to see the County get more involved in roads and bridges.
“I think there’s an opportunity for the County to advocate more for lower tiers in terms of grant money,” MacDonald said.
Most of Council agreed.
“What bothers me most is roads and bridges,” said Coun. Elwin Burke. “There’s been a lot of neglect in the last 10 years.”
“Lennox & Addington has a County road system in name only,” said Smith. “The Townships do all the work.
“Maybe that’s a direction we should go.”
“I can’t see the County playing much of a role in roads, but transportation is a need with our aging population.”
Coun. Brent Cameron said that whatever priorities the County sets, they need to be driven by our demographics.
“We won’t be getting any factories and most of the people moving here are at or nearing the end of their working lives,” Cameron said.
That prompted a discussion about seniors housing facilities but several councilors wondered about just how to address that situation given that the number of seniors is a factor of the baby boom and will likely represent a 20-40 year ‘bubble.”
“Are we going to build a lot of seniors’ residences only to have to tear them down eventually like we did with elementary schools?” said MacDonald.
High frequency train service
Council passed a resolution of support for the proposed Via Rail High Frequency Train project.
As part of the resolution, Council “calls on VIA Rail and the governments of Canada and Ontario to ensure that the project is carried out in such a way as to have a station located in Sharbot Lake to enable residents of Frontenac County direct and fast access to other communities across Ontario and Quebec.”
The rail line, which would use a hybrid electric and diesel engine system, and as proposed, would either use the existing rail bed right of way or bypass Sharbot Lake close to the hamlet.
Coun. Tom Dewey wanted Arden to be added as a potential stop but Mayor Frances Smith put an end to that notion.
“Arden has never been mentioned and we don’t want to create a rivalry between the two communities,” Smith said. “It’s important to be as supportive as possible.”
“Arden is important to me,” said Dewey.
“I concur,” said Coun. Cindy Kelsey, who along with Dewey, also represents Kennebec District.
When Paul Charboneau announced he was going to retire from Frontenac Paramedic Services last week, he made sure to reference his commitment to continuity, saying that identifying and training the next generation of leaders is one of the primary ways that he measures his success as Chief Paramedic.
“The team we currently have in place is built on a strong foundation; from the frontline paramedics, to the leadership team, to the administration group, we all have one vision; the best care to the patient,” Charbonneau said.
Part of that preparation for the future has been establishing a successor. Deputy Chief Gale Chevalier, has been the acting chief since September of last year, and will likely be a strong candidate should she seek the job on a permanent basis. A recruitment campaign is already formally underway.
The service that Charbonneau is leaving is a much stronger service than the one he took on in 2004.
When management of paramedic services, and 50% of the cost, was essentially foisted onto municipalities by the Harris government, it took a while for things to settle down. An attempt was made to establish a single service for four Southeast Ontario Counties, and then for two before Frontenac Paramedic Services was established, with responsibility for the City of Kingston and Frontenac County.
Although Paul Charbonneau was hired by Frontenac County back in 2004 and has reported to its council on a monthly basis since then, he has had to face numerous other pressures as well.
Frontenac County Council approves the budget for FPS each year, but the paramedic services are subject to ever changing provincial regulations, and a contract with a public sector union local. There are also 124,000 residents concentrated in the City of Kingston who rely on the service and only 28,000 residents scattered throughout Frontenac County, so service to Kingston has always been a priority.
Before coming to Frontenac County, Paul Charbonneau worked in northern Ontario, managing paramedic services in remote communities. When it was time to look at the facility needs for FPS, the rural area was the first to be studied, resulting in the construction of a new base in Sydenham in short order, and eventually new bases in both Marysville (Wolfe Island) and Robertsville (North Frontenac). There are 24 hour a day services based in both Sydenham and Parham, and a 12-hour service based in Robertsville, and while this may have been the case if Frontenac County did not oversee the service, it may not have.
Paul Charbonneau dealt with difficult, divisive, contract negotiations during his tenure. He dealt with county politics as well, particularly over the new base in North Frontenac, and also dealt with County Council concerns over absenteeism. He took on the union at times over that issue, and he took on county councillors as well. On one particular occasion when he felt the integrity and professionalism of the paramedics under his charge was being challenged by a member of Frontenac County Council, he lost his cool and fought back
He has been heavily involved in the introduction of community paramedicine, starting in Frontenac County, and an entire basket of issues around physical and mental health among paramedics that were not even on the radar back in 2004.
As residents of Frontenac County, we are very well served by Frontenac Paramedic Services, and that is thanks to the dedication of the paramedics and the administration that stands behind them, the Chief of Paramedic services being a key player in all the improvements that have come about over the years.