Scott White, a transplanted painter and carpenter originally from Newfoundland and now residing with...
Jon Roberts from Hydro One's Kingston office presented $10,000 to the Hinchinbrooke District Recreat...
Politicians from South Frontenac had been waiting for a year to find out if their ratepayers would b...
Early this year, Central Frontenac Council gave township staff instructions to bring in a budget wit...
Elected officials from the Township of South Frontenac and Frontenac County Council along with membe...
When Jan Hassler was 19 years old, he decided to leave his native Holland and seek a new life in Canada. One of the reasons he left was that after living through World War 2, he was facing the obligation to join the Dutch army and be deployed to Indonesia to defend Dutch colonial interests. Instead he applied to come to Canada, and that led him to Wolfe Island. At that time, in order to migrate to Canada, sponsors were needed. A Wolfe Island fishing lodge owner, Jack Campbell, needed a hired hand, so Jan Hassler was sent to work for him. After one year he had fulfilled that commitment and he was free to make his life in Canada. Although he did travel around the country he ended up making his life on Wolfe Island, even if he knew from the start that Wolfe Islanders took family history on the island pretty seriously. “Wolfe Island is Wolfe Island, and the residents here - they thought they were the only Wolfe Islanders. A couple of them told me, you know, you'll never be a Wolfe Islander unless your grandparents are buried here. So I said, I'll tell you what I'll do. If I like it and stay here, then maybe I'll have them shipped over,” he said, during an interview from his house in Marysville on a cold, blustery day this past January. In 1962, he was working in Kingston in financial services when he was drawn back to the island to work with his brothers-in-law at the General Wolfe Hotel, which he managed until 1977. At that time he purchased a fishing lodge, Hitchcock House, and he kept that business until 2010. After establishing himself as a Wolfe Island resident, raising a family, and becoming part of the business community, he was approached to join Wolfe Island Council, which he did in 1985. He served a term as a councilor, a term as deputy reeve, two terms as reeve and a term as the first ever mayor of Frontenac Islands between 1998 and 2000. He was the warden of Frontenac County in 1997, the year before municipal amalgamation. That put him into the middle of a lot of different political debates on the island, and throughout the County. “A lot of things were shaken up in the 1990s. One was the idea of making Wolfe Islanders pay for the ferry. It was Gilles Poulliot [Minister of Transportation under the Bob Rae NDP government] who first came to us and asked if we would mind paying a bit of money for the ferry, maybe a loonie or a toonie. We said that might be ok but what if it goes up to $5 or $10 in a few years? A number of ministers came and went and we kept saying we didn't want it of course, but the idea didn't go away. In fact I think they even printed up tickets. They're probably in a warehouse somewhere in Kingston still. Then I got a call from Tony Clement, minister under Mike Harris, asking me to come to Toronto, where he said ‘I have good news for you, the fee is not coming in.’” When municipal amalgamation was forced on Ontario townships, Hassler and the Wolfe Island Council had some decisions to make. The question of whom to join was paramount. “We talked to Pittsburgh Township about joining with them and forming a new township, and the idea of Howe Island joining with Gananoque also came up. But when Pittsburgh joined with Kingston we were left with a choice between Kingston and remaining with Frontenac County,” he said. His fear about Kingston was that Wolfe Island, or even all the islands together, would become a single ward in the new City. “That would have left us with one vote out of 12 on Council, and no independence,” he said. “As far as I was concerned that was not an option.” In the end the Frontenac Islands were the last to sign on to join the Frontenac Management Board (which became Frontenac County again a few years later.) “At the end everybody had agreed but I hadn't agreed. If I had decided Wolfe Island is not going to go for it, the whole thing would have fallen apart. I said yes as you know. It wasn't a perfect marriage but I don't think there are any perfect marriages. I think we made the right choice.” One project that he still looks on with pride from his years on council was the construction of the new Wolfe Island branch of the Kingston Frontenac Public Library, which was built under his watch and was recently dedicated to his predecessor as reeve of Wolfe Island, the late Timothy O'Shea, who served for 33 years from 1959 to 1991. Jan Hassler is retired now, but he continues to keep an eye on comings and goings on Wolfe Island, and when pressed, he still gets animated about a topic that is a perennial controversy on the island, the possibility of a bridge to Kingston. “You never worked on a bridge?” I asked as we were at the end of our interview and thinking about timing our return to the mainland to meet the afternoon ferry schedule. “Don't ask me about a bridge,” he said. “It's been years since I thought about this bridge business. When we looked at it years ago, it would have cost $50 million to build a bridge and it was costing almost $10 million each year to run the ferry. Anyone who studied math even a little bit can tell that a bridge is cheaper in the long run, and it would not take that long to pay off, but someone has to invest in the first place. “Even if a bridge costs $100 million it will still pay off. They are talking about spending $75 million on a bigger ferry. But I never could get anyone to take a bridge project seriously, and there are those on the islands who are opposed and will always be opposed. So I don't think about it anymore.”
Local quilter, Debbie Emery of Plevna, won the quilt design competition put on by Frontenac County in August last year in their effort to have a unique quilt designed and created to celebrate the County’s 150th Anniversary. Emery, who moved to Plevna over six years ago, has been quilting for close to seven years. She found out about her win just before Christmas and said that since she does not feel she is “an artist”, she was a bit surprised. At the same time, though, she feels that she did her research well and knew, going into the competition, that she had some pretty good ideas for the project. She said it was her first time entering a competition and that she was thrilled to have her design chosen. The competition was judged by well-known local quilters/fibre artists Bethany Garner and Beth Abbott. Emery describes her winning design as a “story quilt”, one that “reflects the unique culture and people of Frontenac County from the past, present and into the future.” The quilt, which will measure 48 x 60 inches, will incorporate multiple quilting techniques including appliqué, embroidery and hand quilting. Emery chose different subject matters to represent the various regions of North, Central and South Frontenac and said that she focused on the unique histories and characteristics of each part of the county to show their diversity. For the north she will depict Bon Echo Provincial Park and the Dark Skies, the latter of which she says “brings the north into the future”. In Central Frontenac she is focusing on the history of the railroads and will create a steam engine as well as elements of the area’s farming and logging history. In the south she has chosen to depict the windmills of Wolfe Island and also a lighthouse to show the proximity of the southern most portions of the county to Lake Ontario. In order to incorporate some of the more general aspects of the area as a whole, the quilt will feature some historic architecture including an old church, and school and a log cabin. Emery said that she also wanted to include the Aboriginal history of the area and she has included in her design an Aboriginal woman, a teepee and the wild rice of Ardoch Lake, the latter of which recalls the historic stand off between locals and the government in the 1970's. Emery said that she is honored to have had her design chosen. “To know that it will be hanging in the County offices and people will be seeing it well into the future is quite exciting for me,” she said. Judging by the sample section that she had on display at the Frontenac Heritage Festival’s craft show at St. James Major Catholic Church hall on the weekend, her win is no doubt well deserved and she said it has definitely “got her creative juices flowing.” Emery’s quilt will be unveiled at the official opening of the 150th ceremonies, which will take place in Harrowsmith from August 28 to 30. After its unveiling the quilt will be hung at the offices of Frontenac County near Battersea. Emery also makes and sells various fashionable accessories from her home in Plevna. For more information, contact her at 613-479-8057.
Unlike a number of people being profiled for the Frontenac County 50 stories/150 years project, Gray Merriam does not have deep family roots in Frontenac County. He first came to Kennebec Lake, with his wife Aileen, because they were starting to look for a place to move to after Gray had retired from Carleton University, and they happened to be headed to Toronto for a conference. “There was a property on Kennebec Lake, and it was on the way so we stopped in,” he recalls. It was early March and they could not take the road all the way in to the property for fear of not getting back out, so they left their car behind and walked in. “I wanted to live within two canoe lengths of the water, which this property had since the house is right on the Salmon River, where it flows from Kennebec Lake. To tell the truth even before we got to the house I was sold on the property because of the snow fleas that made it look like the snow was moving in waves.” Gray began his academic career as a population ecologist and was one of the people who developed landscape ecology as an academic pursuit. “I began my career as a population ecologist and developed landscape ecology, with others, during my time at Carleton,” he said. Landscape ecology was different at that time because it was based in Europe and was urban-based. It was connected to urban planning. “When we started looking at it here it was more about large mosaics of various habitat types. It was farmland so you had little sugar bushes at the back of the farm, farm fence rows, crop field, hay fields, little creeks with some brush along them, and that entire mosaic was what the organisms were living with so we tried to study that entire mosaic. Previously ecologists tried to narrow things down to one little homogeneous bit, but it was clear to us that everything around it was the driving variable for how it all worked.” This approach was used at first to determine, for example, how populations of bird species could survive in farmlands where there are only small pockets of suitable habitat. “It turned out, that while small populations were vulnerable because they did not always breed, other populations would migrate to the habitat if it was not being used. So this tells you that the fate of a population in a single woodlot goes on and off like a little neon light but the fate of population in the region has a very high level of security. What that led to is a realisation that the organisms located between different patches of habitat are very important for the species to be able to migrate from one patch to another. It's the nature of the movements between patches of habitat that determine the success rate. So we did a lot of work on farm fence rows as a connectivity." This kind of academic pursuit brought Merriam into contact with ecologists and other academics from across North America and elsewhere. When he retired he took on the goal of seeing if the principles of landscape ecology could be applied in his new community. “The first thing was to bring the idea of ecological processes in lakes to try to engage the folks on the lakes about water quality sampling, shoreline surveys, and that led eventually to the lake planning that has become popular everywhere. Lake plans are based on the ideas of landscape ecology, especially when they extend to looking at watersheds as a whole,” he said. One thing that Merriam did was to start writing articles for the Frontenac News, and writing books. He also founded the Friends of the Salmon River, and became instrumental in the work of the Frontenac Stewardship Council, which is now the Frontenac Stewardship Foundation. When Frontenac County began to set out an Official Plan, he began pushing for a Stewardship Plan for Frontenac County, a goal that he is still pursuing. “The Friends of the Salmon came about when I met some neighbours downriver and we started talking about the health of the river and how we could monitor it. So I held a meeting at my house and a number of people came and they became the Friends of the Salmon.” He expected he would find hot spots and complaints about the state of the river. “There weren't any, which makes it more difficult to organize people but there you have it.” If there is a single issue that is most important about the future of the lakes along the Salmon River watersheds and all the watersheds in Frontenac County, he says it is phosphorous. Most of the phosphorous affecting lakes here is coming from faulty septic systems. “We understand the role of septics, but the problem is the people, who resist being told what to do, and the potential cost is an issue as well. But by focussing on waterfront properties the people who own them tend to have more money available. The properties on the hillsides don't have the same problem because the runoff from the septics is taken up by vegetation, trees, etc.” he said. On all the groups he has been involved with he sometimes comes into conflict over what he calls his “insistence that projects that get done make ecological sense.” Another thing that he has pushed over the years is the interest of the north end of the county over what he sees as a bias towards the south. “When I first was introduced to the Stewardship Council it was known as the South Frontenac Stewardship Council and it did not consider that it would ever extend north of Highway 7. We had to convince them there was life up here,” he said. One of the things that he has been able to focus people's attention on is the two different geological regions in Frontenac County, the Limestone substrate in the South and the Canadian Shield landscape to the north. These issues will be discussed in the extended version of this article, which will be published on February 26, in the 50 articles / 150 years supplement that will be a monthly feature of the Frontenac News for the rest of the year.
5.29% increase on tap for North Frontenac ratepayers It was a long day for councilors at North Frontenac's special budget meeting on February 17. Treasurer Angela Millar presented the draft budget and Council spent the day going through it with a fine-toothed comb. Looking to cut the fat where they could, they approved, in principle, a new budget that will mean a 5.29% increase in the total to be raised from North Frontenac residents as compared to last year, or a $274,820 increase in actual dollars. However, the increase in the assessed value of North Frontenac properties will mean a 0.52% decrease in the tax rate at the township level. Councilor Inglis was concerned about whether the assessment funds were higher because of new construction or just re-assessment. “If [the increase] was entirely due to everybody's houses being re-assessed then you don't have an argument to increase their taxes,” Inglis said. Policing is the biggest challenge for North Frontenac Township as they begin to shoulder the cost increase in policing by the OPP. Policing will cost North Frontenac residents $365,996 this year, up from $230,000 in 2013, representing 45% of the increase in township taxation. OPP costs will grow to $845,817 by 2019. “Who are the crooks in this community?” Councilor Gerry Martin asked jokingly. Mayor Ron Higgins plans to ask Frontenac County about commissioning a study on sharing policing and fire services throughout the Frontenacs, in hopes that there might be some way to reduce future costs associated with these services. Councilor Denis Bedard was in agreement, saying, “If we could share services in terms of tendering equipment...if we have to tender a tanker for example, and we can tender two or three at the same time...I'm sure that could be coordinated. There is a huge cost savings in something like that. If you're buying three tankers from the manufacturers instead of one....” Treasurer Millar's presentation pointed out increases in WSIB fees and heating costs, along with the policing expenses. She also highlighted a decrease in fuel costs, and over $12,000 in savings on hydro. A big portion of those savings comes from the L.E.D. streetlights that Corey Klatt, the Manager of Community Development, installed throughout the township. Treasurer Millar said, “It's proven to be a real positive thing for us to do. We're seeing a huge savings.” As well, there was revenue generated from the MicroFit program, which brought in over $5,000 of revenue from the solar panel array on the roof of the township office. It was evident that the size, and remoteness, of the township creates a serious problem when budgeting. Animal Control, for instance, is projected to lose over $6,000 this year because the closest service provider has to come from Kingston. The large territory to be covered is part of the policing issue as well. The breadth of the county makes resource collaboration a challenge, which is reflected in inflated service fees. Both Mayor Higgins and Councilor Inglis suggested that Council look to the county level when preparing their next budget, as both were impressed with how effectively Frontenac County presented their budget earlier this month. Council “privy” to eco-tourism development Council decided during Tuesday's budget draft approval to go ahead with the purchase of four accessible privies to be located throughout the township. The locations weren't yet confirmed but the idea is to place them in high-traffic areas where there are currently no available washroom facilities. Corey Klatt explained, “Most of these places are at the boat launches...our scenic routes. They come from three hours, four hours away and they don't have a place to go to the washroom so they go at the boat launch and we're constantly picking up toilet paper...”Council also approved, on the budget draft, the purchase of a new tractor to be used for clearing snow and flooding the ice at the Plevna rink and clearing snow off the star-gazing pad. It could possibly also be used for other applications, such as dragging beaches. This will eliminate a current contract for rink maintenance. Councilor Inglis worried about losing his shirt Councilor Fred Perry made a suggestion to council that they look into purchasing jackets with the North Frontenac logo on them, to be worn when councilors are out representing the county at conferences, meetings, etc. He said “if you want to be professional you have to dress professional.” Councilor Inglis was not impressed. “I'm not in school anymore,” said Inglis. Councilor Bedard explained, “We're trying to sell our brand. We're trying to sell this municipality. What better way to do it? And it's cheap.” Mayor Higgins agreed that it was a good way to promote the township. It was decided that money would be pulled from a marketing reserve to cover the costs of seven jackets, or shirts, which will feature the North Frontenac logo/name.
submitted by Snow Road Snowmobile Club The Telus Snowmobile Ride For Dad raises money for prostate cancer research and awareness. Prostate Cancer is the most common Cancer in Canadian men. One in seven Canadian men will develop prostate cancer during his lifetime. The event is national in scope but funds remain in the host community. You have an opportunity to participate in this first ever snowmobile Ride for Dad locally on February 28 at Snow Road Snowmobile Club, 1106 Gemmills Road. Registration or donations can be made online at RideForDad.ca or the day of the ride from 8am to 10 am. Donuts and coffee will be served at the SRSC Clubhouse. The planned trail ride covers approx 150km through the scenic trail network of the K & P Snowmobile Trails Association. Lunch will be provided at Civitan Club in Lanark. Prizes will be handed out at the close of the run at SRSC. Supper will be available following presentations. Trail ride begins at 10am; event cost is $30 (includes HST); free registration for riders collecting $100 or more in pledges. Therefore you are encouraged to get busy and line up your pledges.
Mayor sees a long shadow from Ardoch Lake development “These are precedent-setting decisions,” said Mayor Ron Higgins regarding how the township should move forward on a development proposal for Ardoch Lake. The Malcolm/Ardoch Lake Association (MALA) has requested that council hire an independent planner to research the environmental impact of the 34-lot vacant land condominium development proposed for the lake. Ardoch lake Property Owners have already hired their own consultant, Gord Neilsen from Michalski Neilsen Ltd. Neilsen, in his report on the proposal, said that Ardoch Lake is a “high-quality water lake” and that although his opinion is that the lake “can withstand some additional shoreline development ... the scale of currently proposed development is of major concern.” Neilsen goes on to say that “changes in the water quality, recreational, aesthetic, fisheries and wildlife qualities of a lake, which can be brought about by excessive shoreline development, are generally irreversible” and that increasing the dwellings on the lake by approximately 400% must be approached with considerable caution. Mayor Higgins said that council needs to be “careful in how it navigates this proposal” as it will set the tone for how the township balances economic development with environmental concerns in the future. Councilor Gerry Martin suggested that if the township was to bring on a consultant for this purpose it would be a bad decision to hire Neilsen as it could show a bias that might possibly work against them if the matter eventually finds its way into the court system. There was some concern expressed about the cost of hiring a new consultant to prepare a similar study on the development and North Frontenac Planning Coordinator Jenny Duhamel said she is looking into the developer's responsibilities regarding covering the costs of such a research project. Council also plans to consult with Joe Gallivan, the manager of Sustainability Planning for Frontenac County.Mayor Higgins and Councilor Martin both said it is best if they step away from future discussions regarding the Ardoch Lake development due to a conflict of interest, as they both have residences on adjoining Malcolm Lake. Strategic plan moves forward Councilor John Inglis expressed a concern about the township's new strategic plan. In reference to the new plan Inglis said to Mayor Higgins, “I'm a little surprised by the process....a little nervous, [it seems] a little too centred on you”. Higgins, who comes from a consulting background, explained how the plan was drafted based on the previous strategic plans and goals. He said that his approach in his first year as mayor was to not take on too much at the county level so that he could focus on implementing this new strategic plan, and expressed his comfort with the associated workload. A motion to go to the public with the new plan was passed with only a slight amendment; the term “balanced score card” was changed to “progress report.” The township is preparing to roll out the new plan in a series of town hall meetings as well as press releases. War memorial well underway Councilor Martin updated council on the progress of the war memorial. The cement footings have been poured and the next steps are on hold until the frost is out of the ground. Martin mentioned the possibility of obtaining a piece of military field equipment to have on site permanently as well installing some benches. There was some discussion as to whether it was feasible to have local soldiers' names carved into the stone of the memorial but some councilors raised concern about the difficulty of accounting for everyone and felt that missing someone on the list would be problematic to the public. All councilors present were very impressed by the memorial progress. Martin also said that one of his goals as councilor is to have archives set up for North Frontenac. “We are losing our history,” Martin said, “I'm passionate about conserving the important past of the area.” He said there will be more news forthcoming. A year-round future for Bon Echo? Officials from the Land O'Lakes Tourist Association, Lennox and Addington County, and Addington Highlands met with MPP Randy Hillier earlier this year to discuss the possibility of keeping Bon Echo Provincial Park open all year round. It currently closes in October and opens again in May. The plan is to have yurts - built with assistance from Algonquin College's construction program – available to rent as winter accommodations as well as snowshoe trails and other winter activities in the park. Yurts, circular, domed tents typically built on solid wooden bases, are easy to heat and ideal for this type of application. They are quite popular in other Ontario Parks that are open in winter, like Algonquin and Killarney. LOLTA reached out to North Frontenac council to see if they would be interested in having a representative from the township participate in the conversation. The council voted to have Councilor Fred Perry represent NF Township, with Councilor Gerry Martin as an alternate. Perry and Martin both have connections to the park.
Volunteers and staff at the Snow Road Snowmobile Club (SRSC) seem to know the best way to attract riders and non-riders alike to their club. The club's regular bi-weekly Saturday breakfasts have long been popular with both snowmobilers and non-snowmobilers, and on January 24 volunteers served up no less than 170 breakfasts to early morning diners. Some came from the local area and some from as far away as Kingston, Smiths falls, Clayton, Perth, Westport, Carleton Place and Almonte. The breakfasts consists of a hot and hearty serving of eggs (as you like them), bacon AND sausages, beans, home fries (with or without onions), toast, juice, coffee or tea plus a wide selection of homemade dessert treats to boot. At a cost of $8 for adults, $4 for children ages 8-13 and free of charge for kids ages 7and under, the breakfasts are a real deal and they run on alternate Saturdays from 8-11am. The next one takes place on Sat. February 7. Club president Ruth Wark said that the club, which formed in 1976, depends on the regular breakfasts for its regular upkeep and to help support ongoing renovations. The clubhouse has undergone numerous changes over the years. In 1979 a new addition was built. In 1992 a new kitchen and new bathrooms were added and in 2011 the club received a $60,000 Trillium grant, which together with the $24,000 that the club fundraised themselves, allowed them to expand the building and put in in-floor heating as well. Club members are currently raising funds to put in automatic doors in the washrooms and entrance ways, change tables in the washrooms and a new dishwasher in the kitchen. The club not only serves snowmobilers from all over Ontario but also acts as a gathering place for locals. Upcoming on Sat. Feb. 28 will be the SRSC's first ever Ride For Dad event. The event, which is a fundraiser for prostate cancer, invites riders from near and far to take part. Registration costs $30 but is free for participants who have raised upwards of $100 in pledges. Riders can either register online or on the day of the run at the club from 8-10am. The 160km ride begins in Snow Road and runs through Hopetown, Middleville with a lunch stop in Lanark (location to be announced). The scenic four to five-hour ride continues on through Perth and Silver Lake and ends back in Snow Road. Riders can enjoy free coffee and donuts at the start of the run and the club is offering up free prizes plus a spaghetti dinner afterwards, with proceeds going to the club. Riders are reminded to stay on the trails at all times. The Snow Road Snowmobile Club is located at 1106 Gemmills Road in Snow Road.
Jon Roberts from Hydro One's Kingston office presented $10,000 to the Hinchinbrooke District Recreation Committee and Central Frontenac Mayor Frances Smith on Tuesday. The money comes from the Hydro One Power Play granting program, and will help pay for a play structure in Parham. “We operate equipment in almost every town in Ontario,” said Roberts, "and all of our employees ... are committed to making Hydro One a good corporate citizen. Hydro One invests in our communities to build and maintain safe, healthy places for healthy, active lifestyles.” Power Play is a granting program that was established by Hydro One in 2008 to support and enhance sports and recreation facilities in Ontario. The Hinchinbrooke Recreation Committee has raised $10,000 on their own towards the project, and there is $15,000 in the draft 2015 township budget as well. With the additional $10,000 from the Power Play grant, the committee is now planning to purchase a $33,000 play structure and spend a further $2,000 on either wood chips or sand to go under the new structure. The township public works department as well as Rec. Committee volunteers will be doing site preparation in the spring as soon as the ground is ready to be worked. The entire project has been costed out at $35,000 in cash, plus up to $15,000 in volunteer and township labour. “On behalf of the Township of Central Frontenac, I want to congratulate the Hinchinbrooke Recreation Committee for all their hard work and many hours of fundraising in order to provide new playground equipment to be placed at the ball field in Parham,” said Mayor Frances Smith. Caption – (L to R) Jon Roberts from Hydro One; Mayor Frances Smith; Bob Teal of the Hinchinbrooke Rec. Committee; and Barrie Stanbury from Hydro One posing with a ceremonial $10,000 Power Play Cheque at the Central Frontenac Township office on February 24.
Early this year, Central Frontenac Council gave township staff instructions to bring in a budget with an increase of no more than 2.5%. This translates to an increase of $158,465 in the levy, the total amount that Central Frontenac ratepayers will collectively pay this year in township taxes. Treasurer Michael McGovern prepared a budget that hit those numbers, and if Council ends up approving the draft budget that McGovern presented on February 20, all but $5,000 of the increase will be going to cover an increase in OPP costs. As part of an effort to bring in a new funding formula, the OPP is billing most of the small rural townships more than previous years, and some larger towns such as Carleton Place and Smiths Falls are seeing a decrease. The $153,807 increase in the bill for Central Frontenac ratepayers does not end this year. An equal increase is set for 2016, followed by a smaller increase in 2017, when policing costs in Central Frontenac will have risen to over $1.2 million per year. The draft budget includes money for the completion of the $3 million plus upgrade to 5th Depot Road, which is covered by a grant from the province, as well as a $1.17 million project to eliminate the bridge over the former rail-line on Road 38 in Sharbot Lake that will be paid for by a federal grant if, as is expected, a federal grant is secured. In terms of road projects being paid for entirely through taxation, the only roadwork that is included in the budget is a 1.3 kilometre stretch at the northern edge of Frontenac Road and the adjacent Mill Road that joins Frontenac Road with Mountain Grove, at a total cost of $388,000. There is also $225,000 in the budget for a new tandem truck and $120,000 for a tractor/brusher mower. The budget also includes $185,000 in taxation for a new fire hall in Parham, which is slated for construction this year, and $40,000 to complete a new ball field near Land O'Lakes Public School in Mountain Grove. In sticking to a 2.5% increase, township staff have deferred a number of road projects. These include: $230,000 for work on Arden Road; $160,000 for Zealand Road; $20,000 for Medical Centre Road; and $208,000 for the stretch on Henderson Road between Highway 7 and the bridge over Kennebec Lake. These are listed as options in the budget, and if Council decides to do them all this year, the budget increase will balloon to 12.23%. Council spent six hours last week going over the budget in detail without recommending changes, and the document will be back before them at their regular meeting on March 10. At that point they will have the opportunity to make revisions if they so choose.
The students and staff at Granite Ridge are hard at work preparing for their Fundraising Dinner and Talent show to be held on February 25th. Musicians, vocalists, dancers, story tellers and song-writers will be sharing their talents. A greek dinner (chicken, greek salad and rice) is being prepared, as well as desserts and a pie/cake auction. Proceeds from the dinner support Parent Council. Proceeds from the pie auction support the grade 8 graduation trip to Montreal. The cost for dinner and show is $10 for adults, $5 for children 5-12 years old, and free for children under five. Admission for the show only is $2. Dinner starts at 5:30, auction at 6:30 and the talent show begins at 7:00. Reservations for dinner can be made by calling the school at 613-279-2131, or Penny Cota 613-375-6343. See you there! Thanks for your support!
As usual, the Sharbot Lake Snow Drags, which took place at Oso Beach on Saturday February 14, attracted winter speed demons of all ages. The annual event, now in its fifth year, was resurrected in 2011 after a long hiatus by an enthusiastic group of young participants in the YAK program. Official snow machine races are few and far between in Ontario, and so the Sharbot Lake Snow Drags continue to attract hundreds of riders from all over Ontario, Quebec and New York state. This year the event attracted 125 registered machines, 10 more than last year and more than that number of racers, proving that it continues to grow in popularity. There were participants from Vals-des-Monts and Saint Jolie, Québec as well as American riders from Hogansbury and Ogdensburg, New York. In addition to the regular races, a few new classes were added to the lineup, including an improved stock trail class and a King of the Trail open class. This year Rob and Jen Day of Kingston put on the BBQ lunch to feed the hungry riders and announcer Robin Flaro did a stellar job announcing the races. Youngsters were awarded their trophies right after their races and the other awards and prizes were handed out at a special awards ceremony at Oso hall once when the races wrapped up in the early afternoon. The event is put on by the Oso Recreation of Central Frontenac with the help of a number of dedicated community volunteers. Key volunteers include Scott and Mitch Cox and their crew, who prepare the snow tracks. Mitch Cox said that the work for him and his crew this year was considerably lessened when professional groomers from the Snow Road Snow Mobile Club offered to groom the snow track. Previously, it had to be packed down by countless volunteer riders prior to race day. Spencer Robinson and his crew took charge of preparing the ice track. This year, conditions were perfect for the races and Mitch Cox said that riders, observers and volunteers really lucked out on race day because the weather was considerably warmer than the biting temperatures on Friday and Sunday. The races also give young riders a chance to show their skills. Seven-year-old Kaylee Mustard of Westport, who has been sledding for just over two years, raced for her very first time and it was a happy day for her when she took home a trophy after placing first in the Kitty Kat half track class. Hats off to all of the organizers and the countless dedicated volunteers who together put on another safe, smooth and seamless event that keeps sledders coming back year after year.
Elected officials from the Township of South Frontenac and Frontenac County Council along with members of the County's 150th Anniversary committee helped celebrate the 5th annual Family Day at the Frontenac Arena in Piccadilly. The celebrations included giving out 150 free barbequed sausages courtesy of Gilmour's on 38 in Harrowsmith. Though the temperature was chillier than normal, many families came out to celebrate with their young ones in tow and enjoyed outdoor games, snow shoeing, a free skate, a fireside marshmallow roast, horse-drawn wagon rides and more, with organizers expecting 800-900 visitors throughout the day. The event was catered by Jeanette and Carl Pixley of Pine Ridge Catering in Yarker. It also included a draw celebrating community volunteers in South Frontenac, who were recognized by fellow residents for the important work they do in the community. A total of 20 winners took home a number of locally donated prizes. Dan Bell and Pam Morey organized the Family Day event along with the help of a number of community volunteers. Both Bell and Morey are long-time volunteers in South Frontenac, both with the Portland District and South Frontenac recreation committees and the S &A Club, and together they are coordinating the 150th Anniversary celebrations for the county. The two decided that Family Day would be a great way to spark off the celebrations. This is just the start of the fun and the official three-day anniversary party is scheduled to take place at Centennial Park in Harrowsmith on August 28, 29 and 30. This free summer event will include opening and closing ceremonies, an anniversary parade, fireworks, the Frontenac County Plowing Match, a Strong man competition, a dazzling line up of live musical guests, a vendors' market, a BBQ lunch and a beer tent. Other attractions will include a wide variety of fun family activities, a wide range of heritage and community displays, and a special Heritage Ball that will be held at the Golden Links hall in Harrowsmith. Organizers hope that people will mark the date now on their calendars and bring along family and friends for what is sure to be a fun-filled weekend. A detailed program of all of the events will be posted on the County's website come April. Alison Vandervelde, communications officer with the County, said that she is very excited about the plans for the County celebrations. “This summer's 150th anniversary showcase will be a fantastic event and we are hoping that residents bring along their friends and family here to the Frontenacs in August to help us celebrate.”
They may not have cycled to the town hall on a cold February night, but the 18 South Frontenac residents who came out to talk about cycling in the township on Monday, February 16, certainly had less snowy roads on their minds. Rookie Loughborough District Councilor, Ross Sutherland, called the meeting, and he was surprised by the numbers. “I didn't have expectations of more than 10 people coming out, so I was really pleased with the turn out and with the discussion,” he said. The cyclists talked about their favourite routes in the township, and a wide range of ideas were discussed on ways to promote bicycling in the township. They decided to form a group, which they are calling South Frontenac Rides. Three co-chairs came forward to get things underway quickly. They are Leslie Kirby-Olcet from Perth Road Village, and Scott Gordon and Alastair Lamb from Sydenham. Among those at the meeting was a representative from Kingston Frontenac Lennox and Addington Public Health, who said that the group's goals tie in nicely with Public Health's priority on active transportation, and that money was available to help promote activities. Cycling also fits in to Frontenac County's trail initiative, which is slated for completion next year, and the Cataraqui Trail is another option for cyclists. Three particular routes will be featured at South Frontenac Rides' first bike promotion day, which will take place in early June. Maps of the routes are already in the planning stages and other information for the novice cyclists will be available as well on that day. The group hopes to be able to create maps of numerous bike routes as they roll into the summer and fall biking season. “The South Frontenac roads department has been widening roads by 2 feet whenever they have been doing repaving, which is a benefit for cyclists,” said Ross Sutherland, who cycled many of the roads in his own Loughborough District last summer during the municipal election campaign. The next meeting of South Frontenac Bikes is set for March 9 at the township office/hall. For more information call 613-532-7846
Three days were set aside last week for Frontenac County Council to hammer away at the 2015 budget. In the end it took only two days for the council to accept not only the base budget proposed by County staff, but the extra projects that were proposed as well. Staff had targeted a 2.8% increase in the amount that ratepayers will be charged for county services this year, based on the annualized consumer price index (CPI) that came out last October. The CPI is a standard that is commonly used in municipal budgeting, as that is when budgets start being put together. They added a 0.65% capital levy in order to put money aside for asset management to cover for long-term replacement costs. This resulted in the 3.45% target, and in his summation of budget, Chief Administrative Officer Kelly Pender said that the budget numbers reflected what is needed to maintain service levels. “Our job is to bring you a budget that reflects the service delivery that exists,” he said. He also described a long-term budgeting process that has been instituted, whereby increases will be predictably tied to the CPI with a 0.65% capital replacement cost added on, yielding a predictable 10-year projection of tax rates. “Surprises aren't good in the budgeting world,” he said, in describing his approach. Treasurer Marian Vanbruinessen presented the budget detail, contradicting Pender's assertion with irony; “I thought this was the most exciting part of everyone’s life,” she said. Most of the debate at the two budget meetings last week centered on the nine project proposals that were included in the overall budget numbers that were presented, but which are outside the required functions of the county. They could have been set aside if council did not want to proceed with them. The projects ranged in scope from $8,500 for a consultant to review the pay rates for members of council, to $270,000 to extend the K&P Trail to the north, with a view towards having it completed, from Orser Road at the border with Kingston, to meet the Trans-Canada Trail in Sharbot Lake by the end of 2016. Other projects include: a $60,000 study of the cost impact of development on private lanes; $77,000 for Community Improvement Plans; $40,000 to purchase a 4x4 vehicle for use by the planning, economic development and GIS departments and for special County events; and $735,000 for the purchase of Power Lift stretchers for the Frontenac Paramedic Services. Few of the costs associated with these projects will be taken from the 2015 levy to ratepayers. For example, all of the trail development costs come from federal gas tax rebates the county received in the past (all current and future gas tax rebates are transferred to the local townships for use on road and bridge projects). The Power Lift stretcher project will be 80% funded by the City of Kingston, which is served by Frontenac Paramedic Services, reducing its impact on the county levy. In the end, none of the nine proposals were rejected. The budget will come forward for formal approval at the regular February meeting of Council, which takes place next Wednesday, February 18. Barring any last minute amendments, the increase will be 3.45%. The county levy is included as part of the tax bill that is sent out by each of the townships. Local taxes, which are set by each township, as well as education taxes, are all combined to make up the municipal tax bill.
Two talented musical groups will be joining forces for the first time at a special one time concert that will take place Friday, February 20 at the Kingston Christian Fellowship Church. The concert will feature performances by the 19-member Trinity United Church choir of Verona/Harrowsmith under the direction of Annabelle Twiddy and the 40-member Kingston Community String Orchestra under the direction of Wayne Tindale. The concert is the brain child of Rennie Hutzler, a member of the orchestra who has been a long-time loyal fan of the Trinity choir. Last summer Hutzler initiated a meeting between the groups' two conductors, who decided to put on the one-time concert. Sing 'N Strings begins at 7:30pm and will offer up a 1 hour, 10 minute repertoire that will include offerings by both groups individually as well as a number of combined offerings, which will include the ancient chant of eucharistic devotion, “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” and a moving and melodic spiritual set to the tune of Dvorak's New World Symphony. The finale will definitely be a show stopper and I will not give away here; suffice to say that is sure to be especially moving and memorable. I will only hint that it is a favorite pop classic that listeners will remember from decades ago and that should leave them with a warming of their hearts and souls on what will likely be another cold February day. Live music remains one of the more humane, friendly and universal mediums, and though it has been noted that listening to accomplished musicians will not make one's wallet bigger nor slake one's thirst or hunger, still, it has the ability to leave one with a sense of wonder and enchantment, and the feelings of hope and comfort that only accomplished singers and players coming together can bring. The concert is free of charge and listeners are invited to make a free will offering at the door. The Kingston Christian Fellowship church is located at 2621 Road 38 just south of Harrowsmith. The church is 100% wheelchair accessible and there is plenty of parking available.
The strike by 230 care co-ordinators who work for the Southeast Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), which covers Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington, Leeds Grenville, Lanark and Hastings Counties, is already having an impact on patient care, says Lisa Turner, the president of the Ontario Nurses’ Association branch that represents the workers. The strike began last Friday, Feb. 6, at the same time as similar workers in nine of the 10 regional CCACs in Ontario rejected offers from management. According to Turner, workers are seeking a 1.4% increase each year, but management is offering a lump sum payment in lieu of an increase in year one, and 1.4% in year two. “Our demands are very reasonable; they are less than other bargaining units, and by offering a lump sum payment they are not moving the pay grid forward, which is not acceptable. We have had our wages frozen for two years before this,” said Turner, who also said that no further negotiations have been initiated by management since the strike began. Turner said that claims by the CCAC that management personnel are able to handle intake and changes in care plans are not believable. “They do not have the staff available,” she said, when contacted at a mass rally of striking workers, which was held at Kingston General Hospital on Tuesday (February 10). Striking workers include registered nurses, nurse practitioners, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and social workers. Services offered by the CCAC are designed to help people stay in the home longer or leave hospital sooner. Ongoing CCAC service is not affected by the strike; it is only those seeking new service or a change in the service that is offered by the CCAC that are affected. According to Gary Buffett of the Communications office of the Southeast CCAC, about 20 management personnel, who are trained health care professionals, are handling the work load during the strike. “I would not say it is business as usual,” said Buffett, “but we are keeping our head above water.” The focus for the CCAC has been to deal with people leaving hospital and needing service after their release. Home visits by care co-ordinators, such as those provided by the co-ordinator normally based in Northbrook, are not taking place except in rare cases, Buffett said. “We are doing assessments over the phone right now in most cases and extending service that way,” he said. “Nobody is working out of KGH, where 20 people are normally based,” said Lisa Turner., “there is no way they can keep up with the volume. There is a whole swath of people that are not getting access to care. We need to get the word out there that the most vulnerable patients are losing access to care.” The negotiations between the CCAC and nine out of 10 Ontario Nursing Association bargaining units are being handled out of Toronto even though each CCAC has a contract with their own workers. The issue separating the parties is money, and it is unclear how far apart the two parties actually are in terms of money. Both sides also claim that they are willing to re-enter negotiations and the other is refusing. What is clear, at least from the statements by both Lisa Turner and CCAC spokesperson Gary Buffett, is that both sides recognise the strike is stressing the system. According to Gary Buffett, the stress to the system is not compromising patient care. “We are providing the referrals and we will clean up the mess later,” he said. Lisa Turner, however, said that patient care is already being impacted.
Absenteeism at Fairmount Home concerns new council Throughout the 2011-2014 term of council, former Frontenac County councilor, David Jones (Frontenac Islands), spoke at length and with considerable vitriol about the absenteeism rate at Frontenac Paramedic Services. Now that Jones is gone, North Frontenac Mayor Ron Higgins seems to have taken up the torch, in a less aggressive way. In response to the year-end absenteeism report for 2014, which was presented to Council at their January 21 meeting, Higgins said “When I see this report it appears there is a problem at Fairmount Home, but without some information about the size of the workforce, the percentage of absenteeism to overall hours, and possibly something to compare the rate at Fairmount to other similar-sized facilities, I really don't know what it means,” he said. The report showed that the total hours lost to absenteeism at Fairmount reached a three-year high in 2014. 14,800 hours were lost in 2012; however, the number dropped to 11,519 in 2013, and then jumped to 16,040 in 2014. By contrast, Frontenac Paramedic Services hit a three-year low in 2014, losing 18,923 hours as compared to 21,913 in 2013 and 19,653 in 2012. The other category of worker covered in the report, those who work in corporate services at the county office, saw a return to historic levels after a spike in 2013. In 2014, 399 hours were lost to illness, as compared to 977 in 2013, and 481 in 2012. Frontenac County ratepayers pay a small portion of the operating costs of both Fairmount Home and Frontenac Paramedic Services, which receive significant finding from the Province of Ontario and the City of Kingston. County ratepayers pick up the entire cost of Corporate Services, however. County Chief Administrative Officer Kelly Pender said that staff are working on an improved absenteeism report. “We recognize that the report does not give council members the kind of useful comparative information to help them provide proper oversight,” he said. The other missing piece of information, according to Ron Higgins, “is any sort of root cause analysis of why people are calling in sick in these numbers.” Community Paramedicine Initiative: A pilot project to come up with a viable community paramedicine initiative for Kingston and Frontenac County, which received $158,000 in provincial funding, has seen half of the money spent on a study to be completed by a Queen's professor. The $81,000 project includes research into existing paramedicine projects based on a detailed literature scan, a list of potential partners in the project. The contract will be completed by the inclusion of a “demonstration program logic model to guide implantation and evaluation of a demonstration home visit/wellness program aimed at addressing the needs of the community, and to support healthy aging in the home across the geographical area of the County of Frontenac and the City of Kingston,” to use the wording of the Queen's University proposal. Councilor John McDougall was underwhelmed by the proposal. “My difficulty with this is that we are going to get high level information back when the goal is to establish a solid framework for future core paramedic programs and a communication plan .... this looks like a lot of things we could already pull up from what has been done before,” he said. Gale Chevalier, the Deputy Chief of Frontenac Paramedic Services who is leading the entire paramedicine initiative, agreed with McDougall, in part. “You are correct, we went out with an RFP [Request For Proposal] to see if we could get all of the work done to get a program up and running, and no one responded to it. But one thing we do need done in any case is the research part, which is something we do not have the internal expertise to do, so this covers that part off. I agree this project from Queen's is not developing the communications link,” she said. “They are going to do a literature review and provide information but the onus is still on you to move this forward beyond that,” said Councilor Natalie Nozzal (Frontenac Islands) to Chevalier. “Communications is a large part of this. There will need to be budget money for that because Queen's will not deliver it,” said Ron Higgins. “I still think that the part that Queen's is going to provide has already been done.” said McDougall. Despite the stated reservations, Council approved a motion to enter into the $81,000 contract with Queen's. Councilor McDougall voted against the motion.
by Derek Maggs The Friends of Bon Echo Park are pleased to announce the presentation of two $500 bursaries to Jared Salmond of Flinton and Abby Follett of Omemee, Ontario. The Friends of Bon Echo Provincial Park have been providing bursaries to deserving students of the North Addington Education Centre and summer employment students at the Park. Eligible candidates must be engaged in a post- secondary program that resonates with the goals of the Friends. In recent years the bursaries have been donated by the McLaren family in memory of Doris and Keith McLaren, long time volunteers with the Friends. Jared Salmond graduated recently from the North Addington Education Centre in Cloyne and is currently studying Engineering at Queen's University. Jared's knowledge and commitment to Bon Echo Provincial Park began many years ago. From the time he was a young child, Jared has spent many weeks every summer camping with his family. As soon as he was old enough, Jared was involved with the Mazinaw Lake Swim Program, first as a student, then as a volunteer, an instructor and as the Program Supervisor. For the last three years, Jared has worked at Bon Echo--initially as the Wood Lot Attendant and most recently as a Gate Attendant. For Jared, summer has meant Bon Echo. He understands the importance of community and volunteerism and has spent countless hours working with community children in a variety of activities. Although pursuing further education has taken Jared out of his community, his hope is to return and continue this contribution in new ways. Whatever the future brings for Jared, one thing is certain. The roots he has in Bon Echo have enriched and encouraged his genuine interest in people and the environment. Abby Follett is in the Environmental Science/Studies program at Trent University, currently completing her third year. Her courses are focused on environmental law and species-at-risk with the hope of going into one of these fields once she completes her degree. This past summer was her first at Bon Echo. She served as a Natural Heritage Educator and found the experience amazing and very fulfilling. She hopes to return this summer. Abby was fortunate enough to spend the majority of her childhood summers traveling across Canada with her family on camping trips. She loved being outside, taking part in programs and activities where she could help the environment. She was a junior member of the horticulture society, and helped plan Earth Day clean up programs in her neighbourhood. In high school, she was part of the Green Team and initiated recycling programs. Abby is committed to do her part to enhance awareness and to motivate others in efforts to serve the
The High Land Water Métis Council held an information and nomination meeting on January 31 at the Northbrook Lions hall, which was attended by close to 30 people. The meeting’s dual purpose was to attract new members and to nominate representatives for positions on the council. The High Land Waters Métis Council, which has been in existence for just seven years, is one of Ontario’s 29 Métis community councils. Its members represent part of region six, one section of the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) that stretches east to Perth, west to Peterborough, south to Kingston and north to Bancroft. The 29 councils together make up the Métis Nation of Ontario, which is the organization officially recognized by the provincial and federal governments, and which through the Provisional Council of Métis of Ontario (PCMO) works with the Ontario government to discuss current issues and to implement their objectives. Representatives on the council strive to bring Métis awareness to their communities and to let members know what services are available to them. Currently there are 500 card-holding members of the MNO in region 6. Present at the meeting were Amanda Cox and Tracey Dale, both staff from the MNO's Bancroft office, and respectively, from its employment and health branches. Each spoke about the various services that are offered to members of the MNO but that are also made available to anyone in need. These services cover a wide range of health, employment and training programs through the MNO. Also present at the meeting was Hank Rowlinson, manager of Community Relations with the MNO, who gave an overview of current issues facing the MNO at the provincial and national levels. Rowlinson also stressed the importance of community involvement. “This community has been working hard for the last seven years to create their own charter and what we are trying to do now is help them to sustain that charter. The best way to do that is to get more people involved,” he said. “Having a community here that is visible and practicing their culture is the best way to spread community pride.” Rowlinson said that one of the major issues currently facing the Métis involves an upcoming 2015 hearing at the Supreme Court of Canda concerning the Daniels vs Canada case. The MNO will be seeking intervener status during the hearings in that case in the hopes of upholding a decision made previously by the Federal Court of Canada, which asserted that the Métis are the responsibility of the federal government and should be defined as “Indians” under the Canadian Constitution, thereby receiving the same rights and benefits. Deirdre Thompson, current president of the High Land Waters Council, who lives in Northbrook, said that she hopes to see membership numbers increase as a direct result of the recent meeting in Northbrook. She said that for a long time Métis people struggled with an identity that considered them “too white to be native and too native to be white.” “We are trying to let people know that we exist and that we have rights as Aboriginal people.” Thompson said that the long-term goal of council is to spread awareness that the Métis are a distinct Aboriginal group. “We want to have the same recognition as other native peoples.” Included on the Métis Nation of Ontario’s website is an in depth history of the Métis in Canada, outlining their origins, which began in the late 17th and early 18th century with the establishment of the fur trade in this country. This unique group of people formed when male European settlers and Aboriginal women began forming relationships and having children. Soon after, these populations and communities began to self-identify as their own distinct communities. The MNO website highlights the struggles the Métis went through and which continue as they try to protect their lands. It explains how they began to formally mobilize and in 1869 how the Métis National Committee was formed. Louis Riel, best known for leading the Northwest Rebellion in the mid-1880s, for which he was tried and hung, is a celebrated hero for the Métis people and his history is well documented on the site. Also highlighted are the current accomplishments and victories that the Métis people have made, many in the courts and many in the last 30 years and that include their inclusion in the charter as one of the three distinct Aboriginal peoples of Canada. The formal nominations for the new council for 2015 wrapped up Saturday’s meeting in Northbrook. Secretary/treasurer Candace Lloyd, and youth representative Gwendalyn Lloyd were acclaimed. The councilors nominated and elected by acclamation were Terry Conners, Gertrude Conners and Thomas W. Thompson. Nominated for president were Scott Lloyd and Catherine Thompson and nominated for the position of chair were Marlon Lloyd and Benjamin Saulnier. The position for women’s representative is still open. The elections will take place at the Northbrook Lions hall on Sunday, March 8 from 9am-5pm. Voters must have their Métis Nation of Ontario citizenship card in order to cast a ballot. photo- 2046
Crowded into a tiny office tacked onto the north end of the Barrie hall in Cloyne are the small offices of the six staff members who make up Mazinaw-Lanark Forest Inc. (MLFI), a private company that works year round managing the Crown land forest in Lanark and Mazinaw. The land they manage covers a huge swath totaling 305,000 hectares in an area that stretches west to Marmora, east to Carleton Place, north to the Madawaska River and south to Tamworth. The company, which started up in 1998, is owned and funded by local shareholders including 13 independent logging companies, seven sawmills and one pulp mill. The company operates under a sustainable forest license and its primary role is to prepare forest management plans, site-specific prescriptions and annual work schedules, while simultaneously meeting forest renewal obligations, plus all government reporting requirements, and ensuring that all operations comply with the Crown Forest Sustainability Act. The act aims to “manage Crown forests to meet the social, economic and environmental needs of future and present generations”. Prior to the late 1990s the management of Crown land forests was performed by the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), after which time and under the Harris government that management was transferred to the private sector. The MNR still retains the overall responsibility of making sure companies operating in the Crown forests comply with current legislation, which the MNR achieves by requiring management companies (like MLFI) to provide them with regular audits, inspections and reviews. They also are required to seek MNR approval for forest management plans. Because these local forests have for generations been logged by small family businesses, it was deemed in their best interest to hire a small team of professionals to carry out the management side of their businesses. Trying to manage the boots on the ground and the blades to the bark is enough to keep these small companies busy year round, so the shareholders hired MLFI to do the management side of their business. A big part of that management deals with in-depth immediate, short and long-term planning. Jan Smigielski has been working as a silvicultural forester with MFLI since 2000 and his job is to develop site-specific forest operation prescriptions showing exactly how particular blocks are to be prepared for harvesting. Smigielski said that the most challenging part of his work is also what makes it the most exciting: dealing with the natural complexity of the area. “The natural bio-diversity of this area challenges you in such a way that you can not do anything uniformly. You have to develop prescriptions on a very small scale. First you have to identify the different patches of eco-systems and address them accordingly,” he said. The companies working with the MLFI supply mostly maple, oak and poplar to a variety of local buyers within a 100-150 km radius and they primarily sell pulpwood, firewood, and saw logs. Matthew Mertins, who is planning and operations forester with MLFI, said that he is currently working on a forest plan for April 1, 2016 through to March 31, 2021, a plan that will detail all of the operations that will happen during that period including the locations of the harvesting blocks and renewal areas, and that will also include the various types of protections put in place for wildlife and other natural features, which the public want to see protected. “The whole idea behind the planning is to make sure that we know where we are doing the forestry operations while having the appropriate safeguards in place to make sure that the operations have no negative impacts on human activity and enjoyment and wildlife. The whole idea behind forest management is that you can run sustainable forestry operations while other things are going on around it. Cottaging and wild life can occur simultaneously as long as you strike the right balance,” Mertins said. According to recent statistics put out by the MNR, 450 people are directly employed by forest operations on the MLFI's management area, proving that the industry is a large employer in the area. Staff said that in an effort to keep the public informed about the current MLFI plans and operations, they are in the process of launching a new website that should be up and running by the end of this week. The site will include information about the business, its staff, its operations, along with profiles about the shareholders, and information about the local businesses working with MLFI with links to their websites as well as links to the MNR's forest management plans for the area. You can find the new website by googling Mazinaw Lanark Forest Inc.