Jeff Green

Jeff Green

Wednesday, 15 August 2018 10:31

Vandals attack…begonias and gazanias?

Phil and Lorrette Gray of the Maples restaurant can’t figure it out. Nor can Trina Wilson, the gardener who for the last six years has been diligently working the garden beds that surround the restaurant.

Starting pretty much as soon as she began transplanting annuals in June, Wilson noticed that some of them were being dug up. In July, when the plants were established and were filling out the gardens with colour, they started being dug up in earnest, one or two a night.

It’s all pretty disheartening for Wilson and the Grays, who see the gardens as a way of beautifying both their own property and Sharbot Lake as a whole.

“There are a lot of nice looking gardens in Sharbot Lake, and I wonder if they are being vandalised as well,” said Phil Gray.

Trina Wilson points out some tiny geraniums that she has put into the largest of the garden beds after the gazanias and begonias that were in full flower had been dug up. And it is not only annuals that have been taken. A two-year-old purple coneflower that was coming into its own and a well-established sedum plant that was located next to it are gone as well.

“You see they cut thought the sedum, maybe it didn’t fit into their pot, so I could re-plant what was left,” said Wilson, pointing to the plant that is sitting in the middle of the empty spot that had been filled by the larger bush and the coneflower.

Most of the other plants in front of the restaurant, including striking morning glories climbing up the banister by the front door, are set off by the lush perennial bushes that frame the property, demonstrating how nicely things had been coming along before thieves began lifting plants.

“At first they were leaving holes, but lately they have been repairing the ground around the plants and leaving it looking as if nothing had been there,” said Wilson.

“None of this makes a lot of sense, except if someone is transplanting these plants into their own garden,” said Lorette Gray, “but why would someone do that?”

The Maples has reported the thefts to the OPP, but unless someone is caught in the act, it will be a hard crime to prove. In the summertime, Maples staff are generally in the restaurant from 7:30am until about 10:30pm since it is so busy, so the thefts are taking place in the dead of night.

It’s disheartening for everyone involved.

“We pay for the plants, we pay Trina to take care of the garden all summer, and it is not something we do for profit as it has nothing to do with sales, but our customers like it and it is good for the community, and it’s nice to see flowers coming up in the summertime. It adds so much colour. But we don’t really know what to do. This has never happened before,” said Phil Gray.

If anyone has any information to share, call the Maples at 613-279-3200.

Wednesday, 08 August 2018 10:29

Is this Rural Ontario’s summer of IPA?

I’ve been planning to write a summer beer column for a few weeks, but it has take this long into the summer to get a sense of what is readily available this season locally and in nearby larger beer markets such as Kingston, Perth, and Napanee. Also each year there is a flavour that catches my own taste, and it took a while but this summer I am most interested in summer saison beers, heffeweizen, session ales, and some of the less sour of the sour beers.

The local LCBO stores seem to be serving up a host of India Pale Ales, which is not necessarily a problem for me. There has been a bit of a backlash in some circles, however, reminiscent of what happened a few year’s ago in the United States craft beer world when the IPA style was so dominant in those markets. Last week, an article in the National Post, written by a man named Tristin Hopper, lamented to hoppiness of many popular beers.

The India Pale Ale or American Pale Ale styles that have taken the LCBO stores by storm are the main culprit, as Hopper (that is his real name) pointed out. For many beer drinkers, the first sip of a beer like Amsterdam Breweries Boneshaker, NickleBrook Breweries Headstock, or Muskoka Breweries Mad Tom, is an assault on the back of the tongue. Any hint of citrus or sweetness is overwhelmed by a bitter, hoppy finish. For some people, one sip is enough and that is the end of their IPA experience. For others, a second and a third sip, especially if they are starting with a more subtle version, perhaps a fruity, low alcohol Session IPA, other flavours emerge on the palate. Eventually they become hop-heads, craving that big taste and bitter finish. And there are a lot of hop-heads around rural Ontario these days, that’s why there are a dozen IPA’s in the Sharbot Lake Liquor store, and about as many at the local beer store as well. And there aren’t that many hipsters from Toronto in those stores, some of us must be drinking the stuff.

The backlash against hops is not really about IPA beers, it is about the use of hops in other beers, in lagers and even in ciders. So unwitting golden ale and lager drinkers are now being inconvenienced by the hop forward wave. I thought the critics were overstating their opposition, but then I tasted a new ice cream from a normally reputable company, Kawartha Dairy. They have a new flavour, produced in conjunction with Muskoka Brewery, Pralines and Cream Ale. When asked about what it tasted like, the sales clerk at the store when my wife Martina and I purchased the ice cream said it “tastes like beer, it really does.”

That was true, but what she did not say was that it was more of Pralines and Cream IPA. It has the sweetness of Pralines and Cream ice cream, which in itself can be a bit overpowering, followed by a genuine hoppy finish. The overall effect, and this is based on the opinion of at least a half a dozen people, is not good, not good at all. It is actually bad, very bad. Sorry Kawartha Dairy, but this is not a winner. Maybe try a chocolate stout next time, if there has to be a next time.

In any event, there are other styles of beer that are, to my own taste, the defining taste of the hot summer of 2018, and for me, it is all about the wheat.

Wheat beers, or Whit beers, have a sweetness, a tartness and a lightness, along with a bit of a mustiness in some cases, that slides down the throat leaving only a floral, citrusy aftertaste. They are sometimes hopped, but even then the hop flavours cannot overwhelm all the other flavours.

At 4pm, after a run, a battle with deer flies in a hot garden, or slaving over an article on local politics (a bit too personal, I know) a good Heffewezen, the German version of summer wheat beer, a Belgian Summer Saison, or one of the Farmhouse Ales that some local brewers are producing these days, not quite as chilled as a Coors Lite needs to be but almost that cold, is a thing of beauty.

A slice of orange, lemon or lime, can be a welcome addition, particularlty to Farmhouse ales.

These beers are not as easy to find these days as IPA’s are, but there is a good farmhouse ale from Bench Brewing of Beamsville. They also make a nice Session IPA and a Citra Sour. The sour is a bit less lip puckering than some others, but sour is also a style that people need to work their way into. Muskoka Brewery makes a Summer Heffeweizen as well, and Frontenac’s own Wolfe Island Spring makes an excellent whitbeer, Orange-White. If you have a bit of money and don’t know what to do with it, Stone City Ales in Kingston almost always has something light tasting and flavourful on the go in the summer, but don’t get too attached because the beer is always changing. The always have Windward, an Belgian Wheat available, but if you can find a Chloe, June, Darling, or Ophelia, cough up the cash and enjoy. And they also make a truly excellent Double IPA, which is called Hard to Say DIPA. Double IPA’s don’t actually taste as hoppy as single IPA’s. They are high in alcohol and less carbonated, and in the best of cases they are cloudy and a bit musty on the nose, with a grapefruit aroma and a kind of soapy aftertaste. But if you are driving, stick to one because at 9% alcohol, a 500 ml bottle is the equivalent of almost 21/4 bottles of Budweiser or almost 31/2 bottles of Coors Lite. (On a hot day, a Bud or a Coors Lite can also taste pretty good, but don’t let anyone know I said that)

There are literally dozens of options for flavourful summer beers available these days, and it is really about individual taste. The best advice I can give is to find a brewer you like, be it a larger craft brewery whose beers are pretty readily available, such as Beau’s, Muskoka, Amsterdam or Flying Monkey. Then try the different styles they offer.

The second thing to do is to give some of the more local breweries a chance. They may be a little harder to find at the LCBO or Loblaws outlets, but you might be able to visit their brewery store once in a while. Mackinnon Brothers in Bath, Stalwart in Carleton Place, Perth Brewery are all good options.

Finally, take a chance, buy a single bottle of the strangest sounding beer you see at the store. You could be spending $3 on something you take a sip from and then toss out, but you might get lucky and find a new flavour you like.

Here’s a good example. My wife picked up a can of Collective Arts Breweries Liquid Art Fest IPA the other week. It is milkshake IPA (which is not a bad substyle, trust me) with lots of mango, passion fruit and vanilla. It pours and looks like mango juice and is actually pretty thick at the bottom of the bottle. The flavour is pretty unusual, kind of sour and fruity with a vanilla finish. It is not really hoppy or heavily carbonated and doesn’t really taste anythig like an IPA, but the whole thing works. I might not want to drink two in a row, but the next time I see them I’ll pick up a couple of cans.

Tropical mango and passion fruit flavours might be just the ticket for a 32 degree day with a humidex reading in the mid 40’s.

(Editors note - this item has been altered since it was first pbliched on August 1. Information received after it was published in the paper version changed the report on Addington Highlands for both wards)

There will be an election for Reeve in Addington Highlands between Henry Hogg and Alice Madigan. Also, in ward 1 incumbents Tony Fritsch (who submitted his papers near the close of nominations) and Kiby Thompson are running, as is Royce Rosenblath. In ward 2, incumbents Bill Cox and Helen Yanch are running again, as is David Miles.

In North Frontenac, 6 incumbents have been acclaimed (Mayor Ron Higgins, Councillors Wayne Good and Fred Perry – ward 1, Gerry Martin and Vernon Hermer – ward 2, and John Inglis in ward 3) Fred Fowler, who ran in ward 3 in 2014 and lost, will be joining council this time, as he was also acclaimed.

In Central Frontenac there are contests in 3 of the 4 districts, the only exception being Oso Disrict, where incumbents Bill MacDonald and Sherry Whan have been acclaimed as has Mayor Frances Smith.

In Kennebec District, incumbants Tom Dewey and Cindy Kelsey are seeking re-election, and they are being challenged by Isaac Hale.

In Olden, there is only one incumbent running, Victor Heese, along with former Reeve of Olden Township Elwyn Burke, Dan Cunnigham, and Bill Everett.

In Hinchinbrooke, incumbents Phil Smith and Brent Cameron are being challenged by Nicki Gowdy.

In South Frontenac there is a 3 way race for Mayor. Incumbent Ron Vandewal is being challenged by Mark Schjerning and Phil Archambault.

In Portland District, incumbent Brad Barbeau, Bruno Albano, Tom Bruce, Doug Morey and Ray Leonard are all seeking the two positions.

In Loughborough, incumbent Ross Sutherland is running again, as are Fran Willes, Randy Ruttan, and Farrah Soaft.

There will be no election in Bedford and Storrington District. Incumbents Pat Barr and Alan Revill were declared elected in Beford and the same is the case for Ron Sleeth and Norm Roberts in Storrington.

In Tay Valley, there are three candidates for Mayor, Incumbent Keith Kerr, Brian Campbell and Susan Freeman, two candidates for Deputy Mayor, Barry Crampton and Judy Farrell, and three candidates for he two South Sherbrooke Ward positions, incumbents Roxanne Darling and Mark Burnham, and Rob Rainer.

In Lanark Highlands there are three candidates for Mayor: Terry Lee Donaldson, Perter Mclaren, and Brian Stewart. There are three candidates for Deputy Mayor: John Wilson Hall, Bob Mingie and Bill Nelson.

In ward 5 there are three candidates for one position: Ryan Hunter, Jeannie Kelso and Mary Kirkham.

Finally there will be one familiar and one new face representing Frontenac Islands at the Frontenac County Council table. Mayor Dennis Doyle will be back as he has been acclaimed, as have both candidates for Wolfe Island Council positions, Barbara Springay, and Jarda Zborovsky. Because Doyle lives on Wolfe Islands, the county rep will be the candidate from Howe Island who receives the most votes. The candidates for the two Howe Islands spots are Bruce Higgs, Tim Kirby, Noreen MacDougall, and Eric Wainwright. Natalie Nossal, the current county rep from Howe Island, is not running.

School Board elections

There are two candidates for Limestone District School Board trustee for South Frontenac, incumbent Suzanne Ruttan and Roger Curtis. In Central and North Frontenac, Karen McGregor has been acclaimed to a second term as Limestone Trustee.

Leslie Ford is challenging incumbent Wendy Procter for Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic Board Trustee for Frontenac County.

Diane Burns and Michel Charron are both running for French Language Separate School Board Trustee. Rachel Laforest has been acclaimed as French Language Public School Board Trustee.

Last Friday, (July 27) the Limestone District School Board joined with other boards in Ontario who are urging the new Ford government to reconsider its decision to pull the health and physical education curriculum that was instituted in 2015 from Ontario schools.

In a letter to Minister of Education, Lisa Thompson, , Board Chair Paula Murray and Director of Education Debra Rantz ask for clarity around recent direction to revert to the what they called an “antiquated 1998 curriculum which does not support today’s students or families.”

The Board is asking the Ministry to “maintain the 2015 documents so educators may continue to support our students on important topics such as gay marriage, gender identity, sexting and sexual consent.”

In their letter, Murray and Rantz referred to the Ontario Equity Action Plan (2017) to illustrate the role that the curriculum plays in the healthy development of the students in the Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington region who attend Limestone schools. The Act says that the “the success of our graduates necessitates building their confidence in who they are and their resilience in the face of adversity and ensuring they feel accepted and included … Students must also experience teaching and learning that is reflective of their needs and of who they are.”

In the Limestone context, the letter says “in Limestone, we know firsthand the importance of this work. We know that our students must see themselves reflected in our curriculum, in our buildings, in our culture, to feel safe and supported, and to ensure their well-being. Our staff has used this curriculum to help empower our students to reach their full potential while supporting their emotional, mental and physical needs. Reverting to an outdated curriculum flies in the face of this progressive work and the Board does not support such a move.”

Within the City of Kingston there was a 53% increase in reports of sexual assault in 2017. Rantz and Murray say the increase may by in part due to the #MeToo movement giving confidence and support to Kingston residents to come forward.

“Our students need to learn about the concept of consent and the vocabulary of body parts so that they can speak clearly to police, and we can all work together as a community to prevent sexual abuse and ensure the safety and well-being of all of our students. This partnership is well supported by dedicated and experienced educators who have been professionally trained on how to respond and support students in need,” they wrote.

Finally, they referred to the “three pillars of Wellness, Innovation, and Collaboration” that the board adopted as core priorities several years ago.

“We are fiercely committed to those priorities, which include inclusion and equity for all,” they wrote, saying that the 2015 Health and Phys Ed curriculum plays a significant role in making the “board responsive to our students’ needs and ensuring they have the learning opportunities they deserve in 2018.

“We want everyone to see themselves in Limestone and this curriculum is key to helping achieve that goal.”

As of Tuesday (July 31) 20 Ontario Boards have sent similar letters to the Minister, including the Toronto District School Board, Durham District School Board, Kawartha Pine Ridge, Thames Valley, Ottawa Carleton, Simcoe County and Lambton Kent.

Opponents of the change in curriculum point out that the old curriculum, which is slated to be re-instituted this year, had been in place since 1998, when the impact of the Internet and Social Media on students was not yet a factor.

For her part, Minister Thompson referred only to the recent past in defending the old curriculum.

“Teachers are going to be going back to what they taught in 2014, and they’re familiar with that curriculum,” she told the Toronto Star

I have no way of knowing why the Government of Ontario decided to institute electoral reform in the City of Toronto a couple of days before the close of nominations for an election that is 21/2 months away.

It does appear to be some kind of a personal agenda of the Premier, who sat on that council and ran for Mayor once upon a time, and it is odd to pick on one municipality in particular instead of looking at the entire province. That might also indicate where the premier’s focus is going to be for the next four years, which is something the electorate should have seen coming, as this is the first time in my memory that the provincial government is being headed up by a politician that has no track record at all other than within the internally-focused world of Toronto politics.

But I will leave that to those more versed in Toronto and Queen’s Park politics to ponder.

Doug Ford’s directive about this, and the fact that on first glance it seems to be a legal (if unorthodox) move, underlines something that is brought up occasionally at council tables all across the province.

“Municipalities are a creature of the province” is the way it is often put.

Municipalities derive all of their authority, from the right to levy taxes, where and how to collect and store garbage, how to respond to a fire call or dispatch an ambulance, from the Province of Ontario. The Municipal Act of Ontario is the source of all their authority. The City of Toronto operates under its own similar act, the City of Toronto Act.

The province can amalgamate or abolish municipalities if it so chooses; it can download or upload costs and services at will. Municipal Councils serve at the pleasure of the Province, as candidates in Toronto are finding out.

This is usually played out, at least in the rural context, though directives from staff within the Ministry of Municipal Affairs or other ministries, such as the Ministry of the Environment, or the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. It is done generally without fanfare, usually through a paper trail and the occasional meeting. For example, when Frontenac County was attempting to receive approval for its first ever Official Plan, the plan was submitted several times to the Ministry, and each time it was returned with “suggested” amendments. The document was never going to be approved unless those exact amendments were made, or through painstaking negotiation the ministry agreed to a slight alteration. The whole process is slow and dreary, but at its core is the same reality that Premier Doug Ford has exploited in blunt fashion over the last week, municipalities must do what the province says.

The second thing Toronto situation has brought into focus is how over represented Frontenac County residents are on municipal councils. Currently, before the change, Toronto is governed by 48 municipal politicians. 47 councilors and a mayor, overseeing services for over 2.8 million people. And there are a lot of services. The 2018 operating budget was over $11 billion and there is a 10-year, $26 billion capital plan on top of that.

In Frontenac County, there are 30 politicians, serving a population of 28,000 full time residents.

So, we have 63% of the number of politicians as compared to Toronto to cover 1% of the population. And if the changes go through in Toronto, by November we will have more politicians in our employ than the residents Toronto will have, fully 115% of the number of politicians for 1% of the population.

There are economies of scale to these things for sure but still you would think that the province would look at rural municipalities first if they were concerned about unnecessary representation. But why stop there. There are 4 Mayors in Frontenac County and 1 Mayor of the City of Toronto.

Does this really matter. A member of Council in Frontenac is paid less than $15,000 per year, including expenses, sometimes a lot less, and they have no office budget. But a member of Toronto City Council comes with a large salary, a staff and office costs, at an estimated cost of $290,000 per year. Still, that $15,000 translates into more taxes per ratepayer than Toronto taxpayers are paying for their representatives.

And when you look beyond politicians to the bureaucracy itself, you see an even more lopsided equation. As a single 2.8-million-person entity, the City of Toronto has a vast bureaucracy to be sure, but at the top there is one City Manager, who makes about $350,000 a year. Frontenac County has 5 Chief Administrative Officers, one in each township and one at the upper tier, county level. None of them make $350,000 per year, but just adding the salaries together of the 3 of those 5 who are on the provincial sunshine list, the total exceeds $417,000. The total for all five is likely close to $600,000.

Not only are there 5 CAO’s in Frontenac, each township has a front office staff, a set of managers, etc.

Perhaps, however, this is all a false debate. Do the number of councilors and the size of small municipal governments relative to large ones lead to inefficiencies? Not necessarily.

But, and this is something that might be worthy of debate during the upcoming municipal campaign, are the future prospects of Frontenac County residents aided or harmed by the hyper local focus of small municipalities.

2 of the 4 Frontenac municipalities, Frontenac Islands and North Frontenac, have less than 2,000 permanent residents. They have 5 and 7 members of Council respectively. If the changes Toronto go through, each Toronto councilor will represent over 100,000 permanent residents. The difference seems rather extreme.

The difference in tax rates is rather extreme as well. The highest taxed jurisdiction in Central Frontenac, at $1218 for every $100,000 worth of tax assessment. Toronto ratepayers pay $468 for every $100,000 in assessment. Since property values in Toronto are way higher than those in Central Frontenac, people still pay as much or more in taxes. But Toronto residents also have all that equity in their houses to soften the blow. We pay high taxes for less service in rural communities, but the difference seems to be creeping up.

The Ford government may never turn its attention to Frontenac County, but if it does it may conclude that we are over-governed, and we just might be.

Maybe we should take a look at this ourselves. A single 5-7 member council could replace all of the townships and the County of Frontenac easily enough. A single treasury department could manage the finances for a municipality that has 56% of the population of a small city like Belleville. Planning and IT are already centralised, and other functions could easily follow.

It starts by looking at what the municipal functions are and considering if they can be done more efficiently. And we go from there. It shouldn’t take too long to figure out if we should be considering a major change.

The last time the Conservatives were in power at Queen’s Park, forced amalgamation followed. This time we have a chance to get ahead of the curve.

This is the final version of an article originally written on July 24, reflecting the status as of the close of nominations on July 27

Phil Archambault, an Inverary resident who ran for the Liberal Party in the 2016 Federal election, finishing second to long time Conservative MP Scott Reid, is making the move to municipal politics.

“I think it is time for a change,” Archambault said moments after submitting his nomination papers on Tuesday afternoon (July 23)

There are now three candidates for Mayor of South Frontenac, incumbent Ron Vandewal, and current Loughborough Councilor Mark Schjerning.

In other locations,there is less of a contest.

In Addington Highlands (AH), there is  a single contested position, that of Reeve. Alice Madigan has jumped into the race this week, preenting long term incumbent Henry Hogg from being acclaimed to the position once again. There are two candidates for two positions in both ward 1 (Kirby Thompson and Royce Rosenblath) and ward 2 (Bill Cox and Helen Yanch),  and a single candidate for all of the relevant school board councils in the towsnhip

In neighbouring North Frontenac, the only contested position as of early this week was one of the ward 3 (Palmerston-Canonoto) spots, but then incumbent Denis Bedard withdrew. If the nominiations are ratified next week, the new council will be same as the old one, except Fred Fowler will be one of the Palmerston Canonto councillors in place of Bedard,

In Central Frontenac there will be a contest in ward 4 (Hinchinbrooke) as incumbents Brent Cameron and Philip Smith are being challenged by Niki Gowdy.  There are also contests In ward 2 (Olden)  where Victor Heese, Elwyn Burke, Dan Cunningham, and Bill Everett are all running. In ward 3 (Kennebec) Tom Dewey, Cindy Kelsey and newcomer Isaac Hale are running. Elsewhere in Central, no one is challenging Mayor Frances Smith thus far, and in ward 3 (Oso) incumbents Bill MacDonald and Sherry Whan are the only ones running.

In South Frontenac, aside from the race for Mayor, in both Storrington and Bedford wards acclamations are looking pretty likely at this point. The incumbents, Alan Revill and Pat Barr (Bedford) and Norm Roberts and Ron Sleeth (Storrington), may see themselves declared elected next week.

 The other two South Frontenac Districts are being contested, however. In Loughborough incumbent Ross Sutherland is running again, as are Fran Willes, Randy Ruttan and Farrah Soaft. And there is a crowded field in Portland District, which is essentially an open contest. Brad Barbeau, who finished third in 2014 but was appointed to council when Bill Robinson died, is running again. Four others, (Ray Leonard, Doug Morey, Bruno Albani, and Tom Bruce) are also seeking election. Incumbant Councilor John McDougall is not running. There are also numerous trustee races taking place..

Our readers in the Maberly area of Tay Valley Township will be inundated with electioneering in comparison to everyone else. There are three candidates for Reeve, incumbent Kieth Kerr, Susan Freeman, and Brian Campbell , two candidates for the Deputy Reeve position, Barry Crampton and Judy Farrell, and three candidates for the two South Sherbrooke ward position, incumbents Mark Burnham and Roxanne Darling as well as Rob Rainer.

 

 

It might seem like an elaborate sleight of hand manoeuvre, but Frontenac County Chief Administrative Officer Kelly Pender is asking members of Frontenac County Council to consider setting up a county roads system, on paper only.

And the payoff could be some heavy virtual paper money, as much as $5.7 million in grant money, every second year.

Over time, the Federal and Provincial governments have developed different funding programs aimed at helping cash strapped municipalities pay for expensive infrastructure maintenance and upgrades on roads, bridges and other assets. The source of funding that has been available for this for the last 10 years is the Federal Gas Tax program, which provides $840,000 each year that is split among the townships on the basis of the amount of property assessment they each have, with another $840,000 going to Frontenac County. Since all the roads and bridges in Frontenac County are owned by the local township, for the past 5 years the counties’ $840,000 has been transferred to the townships

“The County has been informed that, starting next year, the federal gas tax program will bring less money to Frontenac,” said Kelly Pender. “It will be tied to population and since population growth in Ontario is under the national average and rural Ontario population growth is lower still, we project a decrease in our funding.”

A new program, the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund, (OCIF) is now on stream as well. It is split between upper tier (County Level) and Lower Tier (Township level) funding in a similar way as the gas tax is. However it differs in two significant ways. While the gas tax can be used for a more broad range of infrastructure purposes, including trails, the OCIF is more narrow. It can only be used for roads, bridges, water and wastewater projects. The second difference is that only jurisdictions which are in possession of these kinds of assets can apply for the funds.

That’s where the need for a Frontenac County virtual roads department comes in.

“In order for Frontenac County to be eligible for OCIF funding, we need to have ownership of eligible infrastructure assets,” said Pender.

The easiest way for Frontenac County to do this would be to assume arterial roads from the townships, and the contract back the maintenance on them to the township roads departments. That way nothing changes on the ground or in staffing at the roads departments, but extra money would come to the county to cover major repairs and upgrades to those roads every two years.

In order for this to happen, Pender is presenting a path forward to Frontenac County Council this week.

His proposal is to explore setting up a virtual roads system and report back in January to the new council, which takes office after the upcoming municipal election. The most likely scenario would be for the county to assume the former provincially owned roads that were downloaded in 1998 (Road 38, Perth Road, Road 506/509, Road 96 on Wolfe Island, and Road 22 on Howe Island) The Public Works Managers from all four townships meet with each other regularly to foster communication and co-operation and if the road plan goes through the managers group will take on a more decisive role.

Another part of the proposal would be for the townships to re-flow some of the federal gas tax money back to the county to help fund county-wide initiatives that gas tax money can be used for but OCIF money cannot be used for. These initiatives, including trails and investments in plugging gaps in cell coverage, are already in the county spending plans and will need to financed through direct taxation of borrowing otherwise, according to Pender.

The proposal provides for an option for each township to opt in or out of the virtual roads system, and can only go forward if at least two townships opt in. It also carries a guarantee that the benefit of OCIF funding to the local townships will be greater than any loss of gas tax funds.

(The meeting where this matter is being raised takes place on Wednesday, July 18 and council’s decision will be posted on Frontenacnews.ca)

OCIF, which is also based on federal and provincial funds, is a $100 million fund, and is slated to grow to $300 million, although that will need to be confirmed as the result of the recent change in government in Ontario.

If the fund remains at $100 million, Pender projects it will be worth about $950,000 per year to Frontenac County, and that figure would triple to $2.85 million per year if the new Ontario follows through with an increased commitment to bring the fund to $300 million per year after 3 years.

Until late last week, The Wintergreen Energy Co-op (WGC) had thirteen 250 kilowatt solar energy projects ready to proceed in South and Central Frontenac and rural Kingston under the Feed-in-Tariff (5) program. Not anymore.

The WGC projects are among the 758 green energy projects that were cancelled this week by the new Ontario government.

WGC President David Hahn said on Tuesday that the solar projects had been waiting for the final go ahead from Ontario’s Independent Electricity Service Operator (IESO), which was to come in the form a Notice to Proceed (NTP).

“My understanding is that all of the projects waiting for the NTP have been cancelled,” he said when contacted at his farm on Canoe Lake Road, “which would include our projects”.

Hahn said that Wintergreen itself was not facing a large financial loss as the result of the cancellations.

“We invested time and effort in it, and some money, but the way these work we don’t take ownership until the project is up and running. Our partner, SolarShare, and the contractor we work with, Soventix, as well as the landowners who will not be getting any benefit from the land leases, are all out of pocket for all the work and costs associated with getting approvals and arranging for the tie-in to the grid. They are all worse off than the co-op itself from these cancellations.”

Hahn said that projects were all set to create jobs locally and regionally, but “that is all gone by the wayside now.

For the WGC, the future is unclear as until now they had been promoting community based renewable projects under the soon to be scrapped Green Energy Act, but Hahn thinks it will continue to have a role to play.

“We will discuss this at our Annual General Meeting in the Fall, but I am hopeful that net metering projects will still be viable, and maybe we can do some of those on a community basis.

Net metering refers to small scale projects that feed energy back into the electricity grid, lowering or eliminating hydro charges to the customer who produces the power,

“If we can pool groups of homeowners to feed energy back into the system, hopefully that will still be something that will be acceptable to the new government,” he said.

The Wintergreen Energy Co-op was set up in 2012 to promote community based green energy projects in Kingston Frontenac and Lennox and Addington.

“We envision a region where our energy needs are met through renewable and clean energy technologies. Community ownership and participation provide the foundation for all Wintergreen Energy Co-op projects” is how its mission is described on its website.

Dr. John Muscedere, from Kingston General Hospital and the Queen’s School of Medicine, is also the scientific director for the Canadian Frailty Network. The CFN is dedicated to improving care for the estimated 1 million Canadians who fit the definition of frail that the CFN has developed.

He was the keynote speaker at the Annual General Meeting of Southern Frontenac Community Services (SFCSC) last Friday morning (June 22) at the Grace Hall in Sydenham.

SFCSC provides programming for populations other than seniors through its food program, homelessness prevention program and other activities, but the agency has a primary focus on providing supports for seniors within the community.

As Executive Director David Townsend pointed out in his remarks, SFCSC has had increased uptake for most of its senior’s services over the last year, a 20% increase in the use of the Adult Day Program for the frail elderly, a 25% increase in the number of deliveries through its meals on wheels program, and a 6% increase in the number of rides provided for seniors.

“In all of those cases, we are providing more service than we are funded to provide by the LHINS (Local Health Integration Network, SFCS’s primary funder for senior’s programming). We do that because the need is there in the community, and the only reason we are able to do that is because of the funds that we raise each year from the community,” he said.

Townsend’s remarks paved their way for Dr. Muscedere, who hobbled to the stage on two crutches.

“I was attempting to stave of frailty for myself,” he said, “by taking a hiking trip in Scandinavia. That’s where I got a broken ankle.”

He started his presentation by talking about some global numbers. The number of people in the word age 0-64 is expected to go up by 22% by the year 2050. Over the same timeframe, the number of people 65 and over will go up by 188%, the number over 85 by 351% and the number over a hundred will go up by 1004%.

He said that this kind of information is behind all of the doom and gloom scenarios about the future of our health care system and the need for long-term care.

“People use a phrase that I detest, ‘the aging Tsunami’,” he said, “but the reality is that not all aging is the same, and as more people age, more people will also be aging well, aging healthily through exercise, nutrition, good social interaction, etc. There is a very real difference between chronological and biological aging, and this is important when you look at frailty.”

He put up a slide that featured a photo of an old, thin man, crossing a finish line.

“This a photo of Ed Whitlock, who set a world record by finishing the Toronto marathon in under four hours at the age of 85. He is not frail by any means, but if you saw him in a hospital bed, you might think he was.”

There is a clinical frailty scale, ranging from level 1 (very faint), to level 8 (terminally frail), and the CFN advocates to keep people from slipping down the scale, and for better supports and care systems for those who have reached advanced stages of frailty, from which they cannot recover. As well, dementia plays a key role.

“Where dementia is present, the degree of frailty usually corresponds to the degree of dementia,” said one of the slides.

In order to deal more effectively with frailty, the CFN advocates for better recognition of frailty, more study, and better organization of the healthcare system.

To end, Dr. Muscedere talked about Denmark, a country with a population that has completely revamped its healthcare system over time. Since the late 1980s, Denmark has focussed its resources away from hospitals and long-term care, and towards community-based medicine. In terms of seniors, home-based care is prioritized over long-term care facilities.

“We are a very long way from that model in Ontario,” said Muscedere, “and another key piece is that lack of integration in our system as compared to theirs. To address frailty, we need a multi-pronged approach including increased recognition, increasing evidence for its treatment and multi-institutional, multi-jurisdictional efforts to break down silos and implement holistic models of care in the system.”

The final point that be made was that frailty is not solely a healthcare issue, and that “better care for seniors living with frailty will only come through improvements in both health and social care.”

There is only one race for Mayor thus far in Frontenac County, and races in only a single district in North, South and Central Frontenac as the deadline for nominations nears.

In North Frontenac, Mayor Ron Higgins is running for re-election, and incumbent Fred Perry is the only candidate for the two ward 1 (Barrie) positions. Gerry Martin and Vernon Hermer are both running again in ward 2 (Clarendon-Miller). In ward 3 (Palmerston) Fred Fowler is challenging the two incumbents, John Inglis and Denis Bedard.

In Central Frontenac, Mayor Frances Smith is uncontested thus far. Incumbent Tom Dewey is running in ward 1 (Kennebec) as is Isaac Hale. In ward 2 (Olden) only incumbent Victor Heese is running, and in ward 3 only incumbent Bill Macdonald is the only candidate thus far. The only contested ward is Number 4, where incumbents Brent Cameron and Phil Smith will be contending with Nickie Gowdy for the two council spots.

In South Frontenac there is a race for Mayor between current Mayor Ron Vandewal and Loughborough District Councillor Mark Schjerning. The Storrington ward incumbents, Ron Sleeth and Norm Roberts, are both running, as are the incumbents in Bedford District, Pat Barr and Alan Revill. In Loughbrough, Ross Sutherland is seeking re-election, and Fran Willes is running as well. The only contested district thus far is Portland. In what promises to be a wide-open race, incumbent Brad Barbeau (who was appointed when Bill Robinson died) and Ray Leonard, Bruno Albano, Doug Morey and Tom Bruce are all seeking one of the two council positions.

And in Addington Highlands there are only three candidates in the entire township: One for Mayor (incumbent Henry Hogg) and one each in ward 1 (Denbigh - Royce Rosenblath) and ward 2 Kaladar – incumbent Bill Cox). Down in Frontenac Islands it is the same story. Dennis Doyle is running for re-election and there is one candidate in both Howe (Bruce Higgs) and Wolfe Island (Barbara Springgay) for the two seats that are available.

Over in Tay Valley, there are three candidates for Reeve: incumbent Keith Kerr, Susan Freeman (former Deputy Reeve), and Brian Campbell (current Deputy Reeve). In Sherbrooke ward there are two candidates for the two spots: incumbent Mark Burnham and Rob Rainer.

Finally, in Lanark Highlands, there is a contested election for Deputy Mayor between incumbent John Hall and Bob Mingie, Terry Donaldson is the only candidate for Mayor, and in ward 5 Jeannie Kelso is seeking re-election. There is only one councillor per ward in Lanark Highlands.

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