Central Frontenac will look at putting some money into reserves to cover potential wild fires after this summer’s blaze July 12 to July 20 east of Arden Road to the Stone Mills Township boundary.
In his report to Council’s regular meeting Tuesday in Sharbot Lake, Fire Chief Greg Robinson said that while there were no injuries due to the fire and no buildings lost, the Central Frontenac Fire department did suffer some equipment loss and the expenditure of consumables such as foam that could lead to an overage on the emergency response capital budget of about $8,000 and an overage of the operating budget of about $14,000.
“Central Frontenac Fire and Rescue (CFFR) received direct firefighting assistance from Ministry of Natural Resources fire rangers and helicopters, our mutual aid partners from Stone Mills, South Frontenac, North Frontenac and Kingston Fire,” Robinson said. “CFFR firefighters worked long and hard hours during the eight days of firefighting and due to extreme dry conditions, the fire burned underground and traveled unseen through tree roots and rock crevices, making extinguishment very challenging.
“During large wild fires, equipment gets destroyed or damaged and small items get lost (and) some of the equipment suffered damage due to being too old and not well maintained.”
Robinson said a Mark 3 pump is unrepairable and represents a loss of $5,398. Other loses include a hose back pack, two hose stranglers, four nozzles, gated Wye, $1,836 worth of hose, $1,200 worth of foam, water and food for a total cost of $10,315 in losses. He said the destroyed and lost equipment has been replaced with newly purchased equipment through the emergency response equipment capital budget.
While Council agreed to look at a new reserve fund, Treasurer Michael McGovern said that since it’s impossible to predict when these emergencies might occur, general reserves are usually used to make up such shortfalls.
Central Frontenac will be participating in a “waste audit” Aug. 20-31, Council heard at its regular meeting Tuesday night in Sharbot Lake.
Clerk-Administrator Cathy MacMunn told Council this is a County initiative and Central Frontenac was chosen as the test site to determine what’s going into landfills. Part of the exercise will be to look into garbage bags to determine if recycling is still being put into bags.
“Should we be publicizing this?” said Coun. Bill MacDonald. “This could be a public relations issue if people come in and have their garbage examined?”
“I think they want to see what’s going in the landfills on an ongoing basis,” said Mayor Frances Smith.
MacMunn said the Oso (Crow Lake Road) site has been chosen for the audit and it was her understanding that people won’t have to wait around while their bags are checked.
“They just want to have somebody open them up and audit what’s going in,” she said.
Still with fire, Robinson said there will be one more report before his final one on the fire and emergency gap analysis. He said that many of the areas have and are being addressed but one area of concern is still the recruitment and retention of firefighters.
“We’ve developed a training program but not yet implemented it,” Robinson said. “We’re still tweaking it and not yet getting sufficient ‘buy-in’.
“We want to take baby steps with it but the first step is going to be a big change for our firefighters.”
“The term you used, ‘buy-in,’ tweaked my interest,” said Coun. Phillip Smith. “How are you going to go about getting that?”
“There’s a big section about that in the report,” Robinson said. “There’s a thing called trench culture.
“People have been doing things in certain ways for years and fire services are notorious for that.”
Mandatory septic redux
Council passed a resolution asking staff to bring back a mandatory septic system inspection bylaw for a future Council meeting even though many of the details such as cost to residents ($100 of the expected $125 was mentioned) have yet to be worked out.
Dep. Mayor Tom Dewey, who is a member of the committee studying the issue said they want to get the bylaw passed first and then settle on the details.
Legion get tax break
Council passed a bylaw to exempt the Legion branches in Sharbot Lake and Arden from the municipal (township and county) portion of their taxes for a further 10 years. Legions still pay the education portion of their taxes.
Cemeteries to be assumed
Council asked for a report on whether or not to assume the St. Paul’s Zealand Cemetery. Concerns were raised as to how many other cemeteries there are in the Township in similar situations. Consensus was there are at least four or five.
Council also passed bylaws concerning a shared services agreement with North Frontenac and establishing the Kennebec Wilderness Trail.
CBO search on again
Council decided to continue advertising for a new Chief Building Official as they were looking for more qualifications than those offered by the three applications they did receive. Alan Revill will continue in the job until a replacement is found.