Following up on a very good construction year in 2016 ($8.7 million in construction value and $125,000 in permit fees collected), values jumped 18% to $10.34 million in 2017. Permit fees also jumped to $147,000. Looking further back to 2015, construction values are up by almost 50% over a two year period.
Permits were taken out for 30 new homes in 2017, a high water mark for the township, and although there were only 7 permits taken out for Commercial/Industrial construction in 2017, that still represents a large increase as only 1 commercial/industrial permit was purchased in each of 2015 and 2016.
The totals for 2017 were somewhat augmented by the permit for a single project, an Ultramar Station on Highway 7, the numbers as a whole represent a “positive trend” said Chief Building Official Shawn Merriman.
In addition to his December report, which rounded out the year, Merriman reported on January of 2018, and the new year has not exactly gotten off to a hot start in terms of permits.
“Only one permit was purchased in January and it was for a wood stove,” Merriman said.
The total construction value for 2018 is therefore pretty low, only $5,000, but the year is still young.
Canada 150 revisited
Central Frontenac is on the receiving end of some Federal Canada 150 infrastructure grant money that the original recipient municipality was not able to spend. The township applied for $150,000 from the program, intending to spend it on the long awaited Olden Ball Park in Mountain Grove, but were passed over in the initial grant intake. The township is now eligible for $50,000 provided the spending is matched by $100,000 in local spending and it is all complete by the end of March. Treasurer Michael McGovern said that there should be no problem, because spending on the project that the township already undertook last year is eligible for matching funding and the township can also purchase lighting for the park, the next major expense in the project, before the end of March.
Don’t look a gift park in the mouth
Gord Brown, from Arden, made a presentation to Council on behalf of the Kennebec Lake Association, the Friends of Arden and the Kennebec Recreation Committee, about the 6 km. of trails the three groups have been developing with Mark Snider, the owner of the Kennebec Shores development. As part of the Kennebec Shores plan of subdivision process, a 150 acre park was created and transferred to the township. The property, which used to be owned by Ross Baker, was at one time as ski hill with cross country ski trails.
Brown described them as “a nice mix of forest and vegetation, hills, ridges, cliffs and valley. The hilly terrain offers an experience that is significantly different than local flat rail-bed trails.”
He said that Mark Snider “knows the property extremely well and has expressed an interest in further trails development,” and added “the parkland also hosts an open hill for tobogganing and a pond for skating.”
He then described some of the work of the three groups are doing on the property, including developing signage for the trails that are already well marked, developing public parking lots, bridges and walkways over creeks, and more.
He asked the township to invest $8625 into materials that volunteers plan to use to build some fences, put up signs, install gates to prevent ATV’s from using the trails, etc.
Mayor Frances Smith said that the park could be an “asset to the township for recreation and economic development. She proposed a motion to receive Brown’s report and enlist township staff to look at the trails and the park in terms of safety and accessibility.”
Members of council spoke out as well, all expressing support for the project but expressing concerns over liability since the township owns the property.
The matter will likely come back to Council in the late spring.
Purdon named to Council
In response to the resignation of Olden Councillor Jamie Riddell, who has taken on the role of Deputy Fire Chief, Council appointed John Purdon, a former Olden Councillor who finished fourth in the 2014 election contest in Olden District. Riddell, and Victor Heese, were both first time candidates who were elected that year in Olden.
“John has been approached and has agreed to join council,” said Mayor Smith. “He is experienced and is not intending to run for council this year.”
Council voted unanimously in favour of inviting Purdon to join them at the council table. He will be sworn in at the next meeting, on February 27th.
Public Works briefs
Council accepted a bid from Morris Chemicals for the dust suppressant, Calcium Chloride after a joint tender process with Frontenac Islands. Central Frontenac will also join with the other Frontenac Townships to commission of a study of signage in the township with a view to assess the retro-reflexivity of township signage.
Without comment, Council approved the 2018 budget and spending estimates. The budget will increase the levy to Central Frontenac residents by 5.9% over 2017, with much of that increase going to replenish.