The future of Sharbot Lake is a big part of the new Central Frontenac Official Plan, Planner Joe Gallivan told Council at its regular meeting Sept. 24 in Piccadilly Hall.
While there were comments like backyard chickens and special protection for White Lake at the previous open house held in July, Gallivan said there are three things that could greatly affect Sharbot Lake in the future and wanted to see suitable protections included in the Township Official Plan.
“Sharbot Lake could become a community hub for the northern part of Frontenac County,” he said. “It’s well on its way to becoming a Trail Hub but if Highway 7 becomes four lanes (from Peterborough to Ottawa) and/or the ViaRail plans go through, it will change a lot of things.”
Of the three potential game changers (trail/rail/hwy7) Gallivan sees the highway as something that could become an asset if done in the manner of a parkway (such as the 1,000 Islands Parkway near Gananoque) as opposed to a 400-series highway.
He said the parkway design would have less impact on area businesses and properties and allow Sharbot Lake to be more of a destination rather than an on/off ramp as it would likely be if the proposed roadway becomes another 400 series highway.
As far as the Via High Frequency Rail line goes, Sharbot Lake has been identified as a stop in the current plan. (The village of Perth has been lobbying to also be a stop but isn’t on the latest map.)
“There will be significant train traffic through the area if it goes through,” he said, adding that the new tracks are welded together.
That prompted Mayor Frances Smith to quip: “No click-clack, just brrrrrr.”
The new trains would have spaces to accommodate “backpacks and bicycles,” Gallivan said.
Gallivan said that while the Zoning Bylaw acknowledges the significance of White Lake and its fish rearing facility, there is no special policy in the previous OP.
He suggests a special zoning with larger lot sizes and water frontage and fewer permitted uses for better lake protection.
Gallivan said they’re planning another open house on the OP for 2019, probably after seasonal residents beginning returning.
“It will be a very different OP to the one seen in the last open house,” he said.
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“We’re not making the progress we were hoping for,” Fire Chief Greg Robinson told Council, referring to the Gap Analysis of the fire department.
“Code enforcement is by request only,” he said. “We still have a lot of catching up to do.”
He said there are still no dry hydrants but “it is in the budget” and after the department buys the valves and piping, they’ll try some installations themselves and contract out some to see which method works best.
He said the goal is 50 dry hydrants at a cost of $1,500 to $2,000 each. Use of a dry hydrant cuts down on the number of tankers required as well as travel time, he said.
But perhaps the biggest headache for Robinson has come in the area of records and data.
“Firehouse (software package) was going to be our saving grace,” said Mayor Frances Smith.
“It’s still a work in progress,” said Robinson. “It has affected all our planning.