Outside, there were huge snowflakes falling and cars were parked all along Road 38. Inside Prince Charles Public School, there was the hustle and bustle of the 13th annual Holiday Market, a cooperative effort between the school’s parents council and the Frontenac Farmers Market.
Alison Williams, the PCPS PTA chair had a big grin on her face when asked about the huge turnout.
“I have fun no matter where I go,” she said. “But actually, I’m over the moon about this.
“It’s our major fundraiser for the school and we did advertise the heck out of it.
“We have great community spirit here.”
While the Holiday Market stared 13 years ago, the school only became an official partner six years ago but it’s proved very successful for them, Williams said.
“Our job at the PTA is to enhance the school for our students,” she said. “Last year we bought stationary bikes.
“This year, we’re looking at sports equipment and an upgrade to our culinary classes equipment and maybe some lights for the holiday concert.”
There were more than 65 vendors this year, along with breakfast and lunch facilities. There were donation boxes for the school and non-perishable food items.
From the Farmers Market side, Laura Simmons said she was surprised at the number of shares the FaceBook page got.
“It’s the same weekend every year and we’re getting to the point where people look forward to it now,” she said.
And Simmons too was clearly enjoying the day.
“Yes, it’s a good time,” she said. “That’s part of the point.
“I really want to thank the volunteers and the community for all the support,” she said. “It’s not just a two women show.”
Central Frontenac Council passed a bylaw allowing for the installation of a stop sign on Cross Road at Armstrong Road at its regular meeting Tuesday in Oso Hall.
Acting Public Works Manager David Armstrong said this is the final stage of a project begun in September to provide clear sight lines and safe access at the three-way intersection.
The road work has been completed.
“This project began two or three public works managers before me when they began acquiring land,” Armstrong said. “It’s basically to clean up the intersection.
He said costs for these works are accounted for in the 2018 maintenance budget.
Frontenac Heritage Festival
Council promised to look at an increase in funding for the Frontenac Heritage Festival when it meets for budget talks Jan. 30.
Mike Procter and Joan Hollywood told Council that their ranks have been “somewhat decimated” and as such, they haven’t the bodies to go to businesses asking for donations.
“We’re asking Council for $2,000, which is what they used to give us but somehow that was reduced to $1,000 last year,” Procter said. “Last year, we got $1,100 in donations but we’re estimating that will be down to $500 this year.
“Our budget is about $2,000 but anything we don’t use goes right back to the Township.”
Cemetery plot price increase
The price of plots at the township cemeteries are scheduled to increase in 2019 with the cost to residents rising to $531.01 from $524.95 and for non-residents to $655.27 from $646.18.
Coun. Bill MacDonald said he thought prices for non-residents were too low, noting that plots in Toronto can cost “thousands of dollars.”
Administrative Assistant Donna Longmire said “it’s probably time we revisited prices for non-residents.
Central Frontenac will have a new Chief Building Official some time in the new year.
Andy Dillon, who was formally with DNN Contracting, is now on staff and will assume the position as soon as he completes the courses he needs to qualify.
Alan Revill will remain as CBO until Dillon completes his courses.
Construction numbers on a high.
2018 will go down as a good year for construction in Central Frontenac with a construction value of $9,561,283 through November. That compares with $9,239,860 in 2017 and $7,540,759 in 2016.
“Anything in the pipe that would edge that over $10 million?” asked Coun. Bill MacDonald.
“It would take almost $500,000 so I’m thinking no,” said acting CBO Alan Revill.
To a certain extent, last Friday’s Small Business Expo ’18 at the St. Lawrence College Employment Service in Sharbot Lake was a vendors’ market. Many of the local usual suspects were there and things were for sale.
But this one was a little bit different.
“We thought we’d take advantage of the expertise in the area,” said coordinator Karen McGregor. “We started calling it the entrepreneurs expo but that wasn’t sexy enough so . . . vendors sale.”
But, unlike the various craft shows and farmers markets, sales and fellowship wasn’t the only thing on the agenda.
“We wanted to tap into the wisdom of people who’ve been doing this for awhile,” she said. “It’s an opportunity to learn the do’s and don’ts from people who’ve learned them already.”
In order to accommodate this exchange in the marketplace of ideas, unlike most similar events, this one was free for the participants.
Also, they held it on a weekday.
“Most of our participants are busy with other shows on the weekends, particularly at this time of year,” she said. “And, having it next door to the Festival of Trees didn’t hurt either.
“Many people coming for the festival stopped in here too.”
One of the things McGregor said people were exploring was the possibility of teaming up.
“If I take half of your treasures to one show and you take half of mine to another, we cover two shows and double our exposure,” she said.
And another thing that set this show apart was the presence of Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation Director Anne Prichard.
“Anne’s an excellent resource,” McGregor said. “It’s one thing to say how do you make your jams and jellies sell and quite another to find loans and grants to get your business off the ground.”
This was the first such expo and judging from the response of the 10 vendors present, McGregor said they plan to do it again next year.
“It brings local entrepreneurs together,” McGregor said.
“You would not believe some of the things we get asked,” travel consultant Carrie Borer of Independent by Flight Centre told an audience at The Centre last Thursday in the first of what Rural Frontenac Community Services hopes will be a series of seminars. This one was called Tips for Air Travel.
“We had clients going to Las Vegas who wanted a room with an ocean view, another lady who didn’t want a window seat on the airplane because she’d just had her hair done and a guy who wanted two rooms — ‘one for me and my wife and one for my girlfriend.’”
Borer said she and colleague Eric Zierer are part of Flight Centre, “so we always have a wealth of information we can share.”
First and foremost, she said, was to always carry your passport and a photocopy of your passport when you travel.
“Before you leave home, take a photo with your phone of your passport, your insurance papers and itinerary,” she said. “You should always have a tag on your luggage but no name or address — people do hang around luggage carts to see who won’t be at home for awhile.”
A business card inside your luggage is a good idea, she said.
She said at $35 per bag each way for checked baggage, it pays to know how to pack your carry on.
“I like to use packing cubes and roll up clothes in them,” she said. “Usually, if your carry on is too heavy, they’ll let you check it for free.
“However, I can tell you something today that’ll be changed tomorrow.”
One thing that probably won’t change is the advice to contact the Canadian embassy or consulate in whatever country you’re travelling to to let them know how long you’ll be there and when you’ll be arriving and departing, she said.
“If something happens, like a natural disaster or terrorist threat, the Canadians the embassy knows about will be first in line for evacuation,” she said.
Also, taking expensive jewelry is a bad idea, she said.
“When I go away, I don’t take jewelry, just dime store things and my wedding band,” she said. “And guys, if you’re going to propose while on vacation, do it with a cheap ring and give her the good one when you get back home.”
Catherine Tyscick said RFCS is looking for others to hold similar seminars, particularly not-for-profit groups and not closed groups. You can contact her at 613-279-3151, ext. 201 if you might have a seminar.
A few years ago, Greg Ducharme started putting up Christmas lights one his Riverhill Farms house. His spread, at 1311 Struthadam Road, is just a short jaunt down the River Road South of Ompah (or north of the Ardoch Road).
“After awhile, we’d be sitting watching TV and noticed cars coming around the driveway to have a look,” he said.
That got him thinking.
Every year since, the display got a little bigger, people kept coming and six years ago they decided to open it to the public. This year, there are about 100,000 lights all over the property, including singing trees, magical villages and sparkling displays wherever you look.
“This has to be the biggest Christmas lights display in the riding,” said Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston MPP Randy Hillier, who brought his grandchildren to the opening Dec. 1.
“Every year we’ve added to it,” said Ducharme. “And yes, it does seem to have a life of its own.”
This year, the display is open every night from dark until 9 p.m. from Dec. 1 to Jan. 1. On Dec. 1, 8, 15 and 22, from 5-8 p.m. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be in Santa’s workshop. There are also horse-drawn wagon rides and fresh hot donuts, coffee and hot chocolate at The Flamingo cafe. There’s no admission charge, but there is a modest charge for refreshments as well as donation boxes around the property which go toward supporting the display. During these special Saturday nights, it’s foot traffic only.
“We’ve added a rather large parking lot for these nights,” he said.
Many of the displays are built from recycled material from when the farm was a cattle operation.
“It’s too hard to make a living from cattle these days,” he said. “Now we’re a maple syrup operation but my family has farmed this area for generations.
“My grandmother’s farm was just over that hill.”
And he’s nowhere near done yet.
“We’ve worked on Christmas Valley,” he said. “Hopefully for next year we’ll have a frozen pond for skating and a hill where kids can slide down on inner tubes.”
Ducharme admits to “having a soft spot for Christmas,” but with a twinkle in his eye, he does offer another reason as to why he does all this.
“I was a pretty miserable kid,” he said. “I thought I might need all these lights so Santa can find me.”
North Frontenac Township swore in its new Council Monday in the Plevna Council Chambers, and it’ll be back to business as usual.
They did some business, like adopting an emergency plan and discussing (at the urging of Coun. Gerry Martin) whether councilors should be paid for attending meetings outside of the Township, but primarily this was a welcome back meeting.
Four years ago, newly elected Mayor Ron Higgins said “our key challenge is to offset the increased costs that are being downloaded onto the Township.
“To address this, we need to increase our economic viability and work closely with our fellow Townships, the County, our federal and provincial members and the many organizations that have been formed to address key issues that affect all municipalities.”
This year, he referenced those words, saying “I believe this was a success in that we have worked closely with the other three Townships, the County and the Province.”
Higgins then outlined 19 accomplishments including squashing a plan for wind turbines, a fire master plan, the war memorial and a playground in Plevna, completing a new official plan and zoning bylaw.
He also outlined several things he believes council will have to be dealing with during this term including the restructuring of municipal councils (if Toronto is any indication), staff workload and seniors housing.
(Higgins’ full address is available on the North Frontenac website.)
About the only other items of business for this inaugural meeting were the re-appointment of Fred Perry as Deputy Mayor and the appointment of Gerry Martin to replace John Inglis as the Township’s second representative at County Council.
“I feel it’s important to have a fresh face at County,” said Inglis. “A certain amount of skepticism with processes sets in over time.”
As the new Addington Highlands Council held its inaugural meeting Tuesday in Flinton, it marked 30 years in municipal politics for Reeve Henry Hogg.
Hogg’s resume includes six terms as Reeve of Addington Highlands, two as Reeve of Denbigh and one as a councilor in Denbigh.
The first order of business was to name Tony Fritsch as Deputy Reeve. As per the procedural bylaw, the Deputy Reeve must come from the ward that the Reeve isn’t from.
Coun. Helen Yanch was appointed to be the alternate representative to County Council in the event that the Reeve and Deputy Reeve were unavailable to attend
Council then made its appointments to the library board, joint fire committee, conservation authorities, the veterinary services committee and Eastern Ontario Trails Alliance.
However, when it came to the various internal committees, at the suggestion of Hogg, such as personnel and finance or roads, bridges and waste, Council decided to defer the matter until such time as they could discuss the need for such committees.
“We need to take some time to decide what committees we want to have,” Hogg said.
“They (the committees) need to be relevant and they need to have both real and perceived value,” said Fritsch.
Central Frontenac swore in its new Council Tuesday with an inaugural meeting at Oso Hall in Sharbot Lake.
After Clerk-Administrator Cathy MacMunn opened the proceedings and called the roll, Rev. Jonathan Askwith held a brief devotional service, Mayor Frances Smith took her oath and assumed the chain of office.
The rest of Council was then sworn in unison.
“It’s good to see such a large audience here when it’s not something controversial,” said the Mayor in her address. “In my opinion, this is the best job you’ll ever have.”
She noted that Central is one of the youngest Councils in the area and has the highest percentage of female members in the area (four of nine).
“I’d also like to thank our volunteer firefighters for all they do and the rest of the volunteers in the community,” she said. “We truly do live in a safe, beautiful, friendly community.”
Councilors took turns thanking everybody that supported them with Coun. Brent Cameron noting that “we need to keep in mind all the people who can’t be here but depend on us for our judgment.”
Long-serving Coun. Bill MacDonald noted that he managed to find a photo of his first Council, in 1989, and observed “I haven’t changed a bit.”
MacDonald was also acclaimed as Central’s second County Council representative and Victor Heese named Deputy Mayor for a one-year term.
Guests included County Warden Ron Higgins and County CAO Kelly Pender.
John A. Macdonald didn’t have to deal with it. Neither did William Lyon Mackenzie King, Lester Pearson, Pierre Trudeau or even Stephen Harper.
But, in this, the 21st Century, everyone is having to deal with social media, and politicians are no exception.
Recently, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson was sued by three people he blocked on Twitter. They claimed he violated their charter rights.
And Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston MPP, Randy Hillier, isn’t immune either.
Hillier recently blocked Perth resident Jeff Collver on Facebook over a disagreement over the PC Provincial government’s decision to repeal Ontario’s cap and trade system.
Collver decided to go public with Hillier’s ban after the Watson incident.
“He blocked me too,” Hillier said in an interview this week.
Hillier said he sees his Facebook page as his forum, not an extension of the government and certainly not an ‘official’ communications outlet.
“There’s no requirement for MPPs to have a Facebook page,” he said. “It’s not an official communication channel for my business as an MPP and thus no one has a guaranteed right to either access its contents or post to it.”
Having said that, he did acknowledge that it can be a good communication tool, but no more so than the phone, mail, email, fax or a visit in person to his office.
“There are no rigid statutes for social media, just policies,” he said “And do we need statutes? I hope not.
“We have too many laws as it is.”
As far as policy goes, Hillier said he tries to treat social media as he does his office code of conduct.
“If a person comes in asking for assistance, we don’t ask them if they’re Liberal or Conservative,” he said. “But if they start swearing, I’ll throw them out.”
He said he has about 20,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter so “I must be doing something right.
“If there wasn’t good content, people would go elsewhere.”
He pointed out that media outlets like CBC moderate what goes on their pages and he intends to continue doing so.
“I’m having my hootenanny Dec. 16 with the Bowes Brothers at the Grand Hotel in Carleton Place,” he said. “It’s open to everyone.
“Nobody will be blocked unless they get unruly.”
Despite a rather lengthy agenda that included a public meeting on a unique proposal for a family recreational complex on Kashwakamak Lake, an afternoon information session/open house on the new Zoning Bylaw and recognition of long-serving employees, there wasn’t much actual business done at North Frontenac’s last regular Council meeting before the new Council takes over in December.
The proposed development on Kashwakamak prompted county Manager of Community Planning Megan Rueckwald to comment: “this is quite site specific.
“The Zoning Bylaw is not going to service every single property in North Frontenac.”
Rueckwald said they have received “a number” of letters and emails on the proposal.
“I know the Kash Association is against four or five families there because of potential congestion,” said Coun. Gerry Martin. “We didn’t even inform the lake association.”
“We have no requirement to tell the lake associations,” said Mayor Ron Higgins. “It was advertised in the paper.”
The proposal is unique in that Debbie Rucker owns 101 acres on two lots. There are four grown children who would like to create a family lodge along with parents and small children, 11 family members in total.
Writing in the proposal for the family, Debbie Rucker said: “The property was initially purchased with the intention of eventually giving ownership to the current owners’ four adult children.
“Its purpose was to be a place where the family can come together, and the owners’ grandchildren have a place to grow up exploring and making memories.”
There was a pre-existing trailer on the property when purchased and they have also used two additional trailers and tents.
If approved, the plan would include four sleep cabins of varying designs, an outdoor kitchen, bathroom and shower facilities, fresh and grey water, a power/storage shed, a water tower, a garage and a main dwelling.
“Our next planning report will address the comments we’ve received,” said Rueckwald.
“Today, we’re just getting information,” said CAO Cheryl Robson. “We’re still receiving public input.”
“I guess I’m concerned about precedent here,” said Coun. John Inglis. “What prevents anybody from doing whatever they want?”
Mayor Ron Higgins expressed concern that the amount of recyclables were going down.
“A lot of it is around plastic,” said Public Works Manager Darwyn Sproule. “There’s a shift in what packaging producers are sending us.”
“A lot of things are changing in the market so we’ll be bringing a report soon,” said CAO Cheryl Robson.
“Toronto is to be barred from shipping its waste to the U.S.,” said Coun. John Inglis.
“They’ll be turning their eyes eastward,” said Coun. Gerry Martin.
“We have the most capacity in the Frontenacs,” said Robson.
“And China isn’t taking as much plastic as they used to,” said Coun. Vernon Hermer.
Being this year’s recipient of the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Association’s (OFSAA) Leadership in School Sport Award wasn’t something Sydenham High School’s Leslie Lawlor was expecting.
“I was surprised,” she said. “But I’m really grateful and appreciative.”
The award came at the opening banquet for this year’s OFSAA AA Boys Volleyball Championship, which Sydenham hosted.
The award is presented annually at each OFSAA Championship to a teacher-coach who has made a significant contribution to their educational athletic program. The recipient exemplifies the values of fair play and good sportsmanship, while promoting enjoyment, personal growth and educational achievement through school sport.
Lawlor was a student at Sydenham High school, representing them at OFSAA track and filed and cross country.
She went to Queen’s University where she played five years on the women’s soccer team.
She’s been at SHS for more than 22 years, teaching primarily phys. ed. but also students with special needs and English. Before SHS, she taught at KCVI and the old Sharbot Lake High School.
As a coach, she guides the cross country team in the fall and then in the spring, she coaches both the Boy’s Senior Soccer team and is Head Coach of the Track and Field Team — a team that regularly features more than 80 athletes.
“I have known Leslie personally for over a decade and have come to know the amazing rapport and mutual respect she has earned with the students at our school,” said fellow teacher-coach Mark Richards. “I have seen first hand how Leslie has truly made each of her athlete’s lives better in many areas.”
Addington Highlands Township seems to be a bit ahead of its neighbours on the cannabis question and last week held a special Council meeting to determine what its options might be.
To that end, Council invited Nancy Wartman, a planner with the IBI Group, to run them through what the rules are as they currently exist.
Wartman outlined the various governmental roles — federal, provincial and municipal — as well as cannabis for medicinal use, and cannabis for recreational use.
But most importantly, she outlined the issues municipalities have to consider, including cultivation, processing, personal cultivation, both recreational and medical, retail stores for recreational use and the opt-in/opt out aspect which municipalities must decide by Jan. 22, 2019.
“When regulating the following — cultivation, processing, personal cultivation, retail stores (coming April 2019) — we need to be thinking about land use compatibility, odour, noise, traffic/parking, secutiry/safety and servicing,” Wartman said.
All of these pertain primarily to recreational marijuana.
“The federal government regulates medical marijuana,” she said. “And Health Canada is to inform municipalities when there is a a grow-op in their jursidication.”
“Except that they don’t,” interjected Reeve Henry Hogg, referring to grow-ops on Upper Flinton Road and Clarke Line Road. “The biggest issue we’ve had is grow-op.
“I’ve been told there are 8,000 plants in the Township.”
“We’re not entitled to know the exact number of plants under the Protection of Privacy Act,” said CAO/Clerk-Treasurer Christine Reed.
Still, when it comes to medical cultivation of cannabis, there likely isn’t much a municipality can do, Wartman said.
For federally licensed producers, the considerations are, she said:
• Do you want large scale producers to come to your municipality
• Do you want farmland to be utilized for growing of cannabis
• What level of servicing is required for indoor/greenhouse/outdoor growing
• Do you want to differentiate betwwenn indoor growing versus greenhouse growing versus outdoor growing
• Are there lands available for these types of uses/where do you envision them locating.
And, when it comes to medical cultivation, local regulation of medical cannabis potentially engages Charter (of Rights and Freedoms) issues, she said.
When it comes to personal recreational use cultivation, it could be handled in the Official Plan, Zoning Bylaw, a new licensing bylaw or a nuisance bylaw (for odour).
“But can we really regulate where it is grown or if it has to be grown in a greenhouse?” said Hogg. “We’ve had odour complaints about a pre-existing operation but how much control can we have?”
“I guess we have to realize we have quite the underground economy here and of course you can get it online,” said Dep. Reeve Helen Yanch.
When it comes to retail operations, there are some incentives to opt in, such as $15 million in funding available from the provincial government, job creation, tax assessment and tourism.
However, they require a municipality to opt in before Jan. 22, 2019.
Wartman said she thought a municipality would have considerable control over the location of retail operations through zoning, either by treating it as retail use (ie C1 Zone) or defining a Cannabis Retail Facility and permitting it only in new, use-specific zone or existing zones where appropriate. Such a new zone would likely include provisions to regulate separation from sensitive land uses, separation from other retail cannabis stores, parking, signage, lighting, hours of operation, etc.
Reed pointed out that if you opt in, that’s it, you’re in for good. If you opt out (ie prohibiting retail sales), you can opt in at a later date, but it’s likely that the $15 million in funding would no longer be available.
“My recommendation would be to opt out to buy some time,” said Reed.
“It would be good to have some more public input which could be a survey on the website,” said Coun. Kirby Thompson. “We enjoyed the presentation but It just kind of makes our water a little more murky.”
“I don’t think this going to work out the way the federal government thinks,” said Coun. Tony Fritsch. “If you can grow your own, why would you buy it?”