The weather cleared just a bit and a warm front broke through the early fall chill at the Piccadilly...
North Frontenac tax levy to go up by 3% Most of increase devoted to long-term needs While the levy to ratepayers in North Frontenac is going up by 3% this year, the operating budgets of township departments have been trimmed. As part of the asset management strategy that Council took on late last year, North Frontenac has set aside 2% of the money they raise from taxation to put in a fund to cover replacement costs for all roads, bridges and buildings that the township owns. That left a tax increase for township operations of $53,214 (1.06%), even as a number of fixed costs went up. “There was some new spending, including $15,000 as part of our doctor recruitment commitment for the Lakelands Health Team and $54,000 for playground equipment, which will only be spent if we get a grant that we have applied for,” said township Chief Administrative Officer Cheryl Robson. “In order to keep from a larger increase in the levy each department was asked to find cuts, which they did. There were no cuts to service, but it will be a lean year this year.” The township's draft budget, which will include a total levy of $5.2 million to North Frontenac ratepayers, was approved in principle at a meeting of council on Monday (April 7) and will be presented for public comment at the beginning of the next council meeting on April 28. It is anticipated that the budget document will be approved by bylaw at that time. The two other components of the tax bill that goes to North Frontenac ratepayers, county and education taxes, are each up by about $35,000 this year, for a total increase of $125,000 to be split among all the township's ratepayers. Pine Lake It's been almost eight years since members of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation occupied a piece of public land adjacent to a boat launch at Pine Lake, off Ardoch Road. The small property, which is managed by the Ministry of Natural Resources, (MNR) has continued to be used as a boat launch and there is a small road running over it between Ardoch Road and the lake. Back in 2006, the Ardoch Algonquins asserted an Aboriginal claim to the property by cutting trees and putting up a portable metal building. Their stated intention was to establish a band office on the property. But nothing has happened on the property for a number of years, except that brush has grown where the trees had been cleared. The portable building has remained but has not been used at all. In February, the township authorized CAO Cheryl Robson to write the MNR asking that the portable be removed. “Council requests that MNR remove this derelict portable from this property, at your earliest possible convenience,” said Cheryl Robson in a letter to Michael Gatt of the Bancroft ministry office. Last week a letter of response came from Suzy Shalla, Resources Management Supervisor in Bancroft. “I did want to respond to thank you and the Council for bringing forward your concerns regarding the structure located near the boat launch at Pine Lake. MNR is aware of the structure that is located there, however we will not be pursuing removal of the building at this time.” Township office remediation update - Township staff remain housed in portable offices as well as a temporary office in the Clar-Mill fire hall as Service Master and Concord Engineering continue to work on the heating oil spill that took place in early February. Council received a report from Concord Engineering which says that there is no evidence that the ground under the building has been contaminated, but a number of walls and some flooring has been removed as part of ongoing clean-up efforts. There is no time frame for the completion of repairs, which are all covered by the township's insurance policy. Ompah fire hall and community hall back to square one Council soundly rejected two proposals for upgrades to the Ompah fire hall/community hall property. The first proposal, which came in response to a tender for repairs and upgrades, would have cost $360,000. It was supported by Councilor John Inglis and rejected by the rest of Council. The second proposal, which was put forward by Councillor Wayne Good, would have capped spending on upgrades at $50,000, inclusive of a $10,000 accessibility expenditures that is mandated by the Province of Ontario. Although Council has put aside over $200,000 for the project, Good wanted to redirect that money to build a new township office. Good pointed out that there is only one trained firefighter living within a 5 km radius of the hall, and a limited capacity hall would serve the community needs. His proposal was supported by himself, and no one else. Councilor Betty Hunter then proposed that $180,000 be spent on the hall, and that the Ompah fire hall task force, which came up with the proposal that led to the $360,000 tender, be brought back together to figure out how to spend only $180,000 on the building, and do so this year. Her motion was accepted. An additional $50,000 has been pledged by the Ompah volunteers, and there remains an additional $10,000 available for accessibility features.
Septic re-inspection program Ed Gardiner, from Kingston Frontenac Lennox and Addington Public Health, made a proposal to council for a mandatory septic re-inspection program. Until now the township has been contracting with the Mississippi-Rideau Septic System office for a voluntary program. But each of the last two years the number of systems inspected has lagged below the target because a number of landowners have been unresponsive to repeated attempts to engage them in a re-inspection. Changes to Ontario legislation have permitted municipalities to engage in mandatory programs if they choose to do so. One of the stipulations is that the re-inspections be done by the same agency that is responsible for approvals to new septic systems. In the case of North Frontenac that agency is KFL&A Public Health. Gardiner said that it would cost the township $12,000 per year for the health unit to complete 160 inspections, with a focus on inspecting high risk systems, properties with no record of approved sewage systems, or properties with systems that are over 20 years old. He said that the program would be run out of the KFL&A office in Cloyne and that inspection reports would be sent to the landowner and the township. As far as enforcement is concerned Ed Gardiner said that if a report says remedial action is required, “a reasonable amount of time, determined by the township chief building official,” should be given. “If no action is taken the chief building official or the inspector will issue an order to comply,” he said. The township has now received two proposals, one from Mississippi-Rideau and one from KFL&A Public Health. In order to proceed they will have to choose one or the other to do all of their inspection work, on new and old systems. Planner ready to go to the OMB if necessary Joe Gallivan, the planner for Frontenac County, presented the second draft of the Frontenac County Official Plan to Council. Gallivan said the plan, which sets out a policy framework and leaves most of the detailed information to the township plan, has been submitted to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs for comment. Based on the response of the ministry to the Renfrew County Official Plan, and the North Frontenac Official Plan, Gallivan said he is concerned about how the ministry will likely respond to the approach the county is taking. “Frankly I'm not that optimistic at this point. It might be that we end up with an OMB challenge on this.” Two issues are of major concern to Gallivan, and to North Frontenac, who are at an impasse with the ministry with their own plan. One is the ministry position that no new development shall be permitted on private roads, even if there are strong rules in place about the quality and width of those roads. The other deals with the ministry's insistence that development be oriented to hamlets and villages, “which is totally contrary to the demand for development on the ground in places like Frontenac County,” Gallivan said. Construction up in 2013 Building permits were issued for over $7.3 million worth of construction in 2013, including six new inland and 20 new waterfront residences. The total for 2012 was $6.3 million. Mayor talks about County Mayor Clayton, who is also the Warden of Frontenac County, said he remains frustrated about the county budget process. “I still feel there is some push back from some of the managers at the county. When we ask them to make cuts they come back with reasons why it is impossible to make any. All we are asking of the two major programs, Fairmount Home and land ambulance, is that they bring costs to the average of costs among services of comparative size, instead of above the average. I think the administration of both programs could be a bit top-heavy,” he said. In summing up a strategic planning session, Clayton said, “There is an expression that goes 'if the people won't change, change the people'. There may be something that needs to happen like that.” War memorial funding frustration Councilor Gerry Martin has been chairing a task force that has been developing a proposal for a war memorial in the township for the past year. The task force was planning to submit an application for funding to the Community War Memorial Program, a five-year granting program administered by Veterans' Affairs Canada that was set to run until 2015. However, when the task force contacted Veterans' Affairs in January, seeking an application form for the program, they received the response that “unfortunately the Community War Memorial Program is no longer accepting funding applications due to higher than anticipated demand.” Martin prepared a letter to MP Scott Reid asking for his assistance in dealing with Veterans' Affairs on the matter. Council approved the letter.
“I don't know yet,” said Bud Clayton when asked if he was planning to seek re-election as mayor of North Frontenac after one four-year term. “If things remain the way they are now, I would say it would be no, but things can change.” Clayton added that he had not planed to run during the last election in 2010, but decided at the last minute to give former Deputy Mayor Jim Beam a run for his money since there were no other candidates coming forward. He ended up winning. “I don't want to hang on past my best-before date,” Clayton said this week, “but I have not made a final decision by any means.” Gutowski leaning towards running in Central Frontenac “In all likelihood I will be running,” two-time incumbent Janet Gutowski said when asked if she was going to run for a third term as mayor of Central Frontenac. “I'm very committed to this township and I think there is still a lot to be accomplished,” she said. Among the issues that Gutowski will be addressing during the election year are seniors’ housing and the future of service delivery in Central Frontenac. “I can see us seeking partnerships with other townships and a continued role for Frontenac County as well,” she said. “Provincial policies are always impacting us as a township, and the City of Kingston has an impact on our residents on a daily basis because they run our social services. It is only through the county that we can even talk to them; there is no other venue.”
North Frontenac pulls back from hall redundancy. After meeting with user groups from the Snow Road, Harlowe, and Clarendon and Miller halls, North Frontenac Council decided to rescind part of a bylaw they passed last July, which stipulated that the halls were to be declared as surplus property in the future. Mayor Clayton had maintained that declaring the halls surplus did not necessarily mean they would be closing, only that they would no longer be in line for re-building at the end of their useful life. However, he has also talked about a township preference for building a single, central hall and township office. Councilors have been hearing from hall users ever since the bylaw was passed in July, and at their meeting the clause about declaring the halls surplus was removed. Asset management plan finalized Vicki Leakey, from KPMG, presented the final version of the North Frontenac Asset Management Plan to council. Municipalities in Ontario are required to have these plans in place if they are to be eligible for provincial infrastructure grants next year. Some municipalities have produced basic documents that were created by sending data to a consulting firm and receiving a template-based document back. In North Frontenac's case, KPMG has met extensively with staff and council and the plan has been under development all year. The North Frontenac plan encompasses paved roads, bridges, equipment, and all township-owned buildings. Next year information about gravel roads will be added. Leakey's report concludes, as she told council last month when presenting a draft, that the township has done a good job of investing in infrastructure needs over the last 10 years, and by parceling off an added 2% in taxation towards infrastructure spending into the future, they will come closer to keeping up with the requirement for rebuilding roads, bridges, equipment, and buildings as they age and need to be replaced. Leakey costed out the rebuilding at $7.5 million. “There is not a municipality in Ontario that is not falling behind, at least to some extent, and North Frontenac is probably doing better than most,” Leakey said. One factor that is not in North Frontenac's favour is its negative growth rate, which among other things, means less money is available from property taxes. The report presented it in stark terms. “While the province's population increased by 19.5% between 1996 and 2011, North Frontenac's population dropped by 3.9%.” And those who remain in North Frontenac are ageing. Thirty-nine percent of the total personal income among township residents is derived from pensions, while the provincial average is 14%. “The greater reliance on fixed income pension reduces the ability of the municipality to raise funds through taxation,” said Leakey's report. OPP billing questions The township supported efforts by other municipalities to scuttle a proposed new billing system for OPP services that would see the township charged on a per household basis, including seasonal as well as permanent residents. Township staff calculate this would bring the North Frontenac bill from $205,000 to $1.15 million - a 458% increase. “It's funny how they bill us for the seasonal residents but when it comes to grants they look only at our permanent residents,” said Mayor Clayton. “They like to play both sides of the coin.”
New Parham fire hall in holding pattern until school property settled. Central Frontenac Fire Chief Bill Young was asked by Councilor Phillip Smith where the planning stands for a new fire hall to replace the ageing one that is located next to the Parham fair grounds. The exchange took place at a meeting of Council at the Piccadilly Hall on Tuesday afternoon (September 23). Bill Young said that money for the hall has been put aside but that settling on a location has been delayed, and the township is not in a position to make a decision on their own. The reason is that the preferred location for the hall is on the corner of Long Lake and Wagarville Roads, on the former Hinchinbrooke School property, which is still owned by the Limestone District School Board. Township Chief Administrative Officer Larry Donaldson said that staff sent a letter of interest to the board, on Council's instructions, earlier this summer. “I just received an acknowledgement today that they have received our letter, and that they will not start talking to anyone about the property until October 14th, when the expression of interest period is set to end. We will then have to consider a number of issues, such as whether the building is in a condition for us to take it over; how much it will cost; whether the building and all the property must be sold together, etc.,” said Donaldson. He added that since the school property is the preferred location, it would be unwise for the township to go ahead and build a fire hall at the other possible location, which is on the lot where the existing hall is, only to find out afterwards that the other property is available and affordable. “We will have the money set aside for it next year, and we plan to build with the same design as the Mountain Grove Hall, so we are ready,” said Donaldson. “I just wanted to make sure it is not on the back burner,” said Phillip Smith. “Oh no, it's on the front burner, but there are too many unknowns with the school property right now,” said Bill Young. K&P trail north of Sharbot Lake named for Harold Clark Marcel Giroux came to Council as a delegate, but in keeping with his past as a municipal politician (his last term of office ended in 1985) he had with him a fully drafted motion, just waiting for a mover and seconder. His proposal was to include the section of the K&P trail that runs from the Cannon Road in Sharbot Lake to Clarendon Station on Clarendon Road in the Frontenac County K&P Trail network. “The trail is in use, and is in pretty good shape with the exception of a few spots and one hole - which I have a picture of - and will eventually be an asset to the entire trail network. I'm not sure of the legalities of ownership. I leave that to you,” he said. He had one more recommendation in his motion. “Harold Clark was the Reeve of Oso in 1980 and he insisted that we buy that piece of trail at the time, If all the other reeves along the trail had his foresight, the entire trail would be complete today. I think we should name that section of trail after him,” Giroux said. Council took Giroux's advice, and the motion passed in short order. The details will be worked out later.
Fans of Elvis should mark Fri. Sept. 26 on their calendars. That's when Stephen Goodberry will be sporting everything Elvis and performing his Elvis Tribute act, Gospel/Inspirational-style at the Oso hall in Sharbot Lake for those who can't get enough of the famed jailhouse rocker. The event will begin at 7pm and tickets are $15 per person or $25 per couple, with all proceeds going to the Canadian Diabetes Association. Goodberry is no stranger to the area. The award-winning Elvis Tribute Artist grew up near Parham and is a graduate of Sharbot Lake High school. The show he performed there a few years back for a special Ladies Night event was the talk of the town for weeks after. So for those who love the King, Goodberry is sure to deliver a great night of entertainment - Elvis style.
On September 5, Granite Ridge Education Centre students and staff enjoyed an afternoon in the sun participating in colour house challenges and a BBQ. Points for their colour houses are earned through participation in theme days and special activities organized throughout the year. The events featured for the afternoon were: puzzle games to get to know some of our new staff, parachute games, obstacle courses and the very popular water sponge game. The clap challenge led by Ms Robinson was a great way to involve all students in a rousing cheer to end the day. What a great ending to the first week of school.
Central Frontenac Mayor Janet Gutowski said today that Tay Valley's gain in hiring Larry Donaldson is Central Frontenac's loss. Donaldson was hired 14 months ago after a long search and brought stability to hte position after the previous CAO left abruptly after a difficult period. “I got nervous when I found out last month that Tay Valley was hiring a new CAO, because I knew if Larry was working there he would save some commuting time,” said Mayor Janet Gutowski, who added “whole we are dissppointed that Larry is leaving we wish him well in the future. We were comfortable with him here.” Donaldson lives in Stittsville and will have shorter commute to the Tay Valley township office on Harper Road near Perth. Donaldson wife Tammy-Kealey Donaldson is the Ontario Works manager for Lanark County, whose offices are close to those of Tay Valley township. In a Frontenac News article from early August last year, whcih came out a few weeks after Donaldson took on the CAO position, he said the following: “When I first met the staff, on my first day on the job, the only question that was asked was if I was planning on staying.” With Donaldson leaving, coupled with the retirement of Public Works Manager Richardson earlier this summer, there are now vacancies at two of the senior positions at the township as we enter the election period. Donaldson is staying on at the township until the election is over. Hi last day will be October 31st. Mayor Gutowksi said that at the next meeting the township will develop a plan for a new CAO search. Because all but one member of the current council is seeking a new term on Council, Coucil can operate as normal during the election perod. Gutowski indicated that the announcement of a new Public Works Manager will take place soon.
Last weekend the Frontenac Society of Model Engineers (FSME) held a "Golden Spike" ceremony as they drove the last spike to complete the loop of their track in Battersea, just in time for the Battersea Pumpkin Festival, which is coming up on October 4. The dedicated group of model engineers worked numerous hours to complete the mission. The club welcomes new members. For further information contact the club president, Phil Ibbotson at
On September 22, in an effort to make their fundraising efforts visible and accessible to the local community, members of St. Paul's Anglican Church in Sydenham hauled out tables, chairs and all of the extension cords necessary to keep 17 pots of home-made chili warm for hungry passers-by. Music played from speakers set up outside the doors of the church on Mill Street as guests sampled the enormous variety of chilis, each donated by members of the church and the local community. The event was a fundraiser for the church and was organized by Katt Bulch, a church member involved with the church's weekly Saturday night Crossing event. Katt was pleased with the turn out and said it was not just the delicious smelling chili but also the affordable prices of $5 for adults, $2 for teens and free for children under 12 years of age that attracted over 150 people to the event. The funds raised will be used to keep the church doors open. Prizes were awarded for the best mild, medium and hot chilis as well as a prize for the best overall chili. Ginny Trousdale's entry won the best overall award and she said her secret ingredients are, surprisingly, a bit of strong coffee and cocoa powder, which she said “helps give the chili its rich, meaty flavour”. The prizes were special commemorative Sydenham Chili Fest t-shirts that were donated by Paula MacDonald, who owns a print shop called Nothing But A Tees. Those who missed the Chilifest but who would like to donate by purchasing a T-shirt, please contact Katt Bulch at 613-876-9712. This was St. Paul’s first Chili Fest but it was such a success that it will not be the last.
On September 20 the community room at Trinity United church in Verona was handily transformed into a Victorian tea house as close to 70 guests, many of whom were dressed in fancy bustles, petticoats, lace and fascinators, enjoyed tea, fancy sandwiches and dainty pastry desserts at a special fundraiser. Guests were also entertained by the local flute quartet Toute Ensemble and enjoyed the musings of a properly Victorian attired Debbie Lovegrove, who emceed the event and who mused on the era when Queen Victoria, England's longest reigning monarch, held sway over her empire for 64 years. Lovegrove spoke of the Queen’s epic reign, of her taking the throne at age 18, her marriage to Albert, their nine children and 42 grandchildren, who gave the Queen the title “grandmother of Europe”. Albert’s death at age 42 from typhoid fever sunk the Queen into a deep depression, and she wore black for the remainder of her life. Lovegrove recounted Victorian times, when “women's fashion surged to the forefront with horsehair petticoats stiffened with cane and padding”, and the popularity of crinolines, pagoda sleeves, hoop skirts and bustles. She cited the “great cultural expansion” that occurred during Queen Victoria's reign and the many advances made in industry, science, communications and infrastructure. Included in the event was a festive lunch meal that included tea served from shining silver teapots, cheese and cracker appetizers, followed by a vast array of rolled and other fancy assorted sandwiches. Dessert included fine pastries plus scones, cream and homemade strawberry jam. As an added treat, guests were also invited to have their photos taken by local photographers Carl and Sharon Sole. Numerous members of the church volunteered their time and services for the event and were also dressed to the nines as they served the guests. Noreen Peters, who organized the tea, was thrilled with the turn out and said she plans to hold another Victorian tea party fundraiser again at the church in the future.
Award-winning and much sought after groups are confirmed to perform at the Classy Country Evening, in honour of The Tristin Osborne Memorial Fund and the Limestone Learning Foundation. The evening features superb music, casual dining, and dancing Saturday, September 27, at Dreamcatcher Farms, 3185 McGarvey Road, Inverary. The Abrams Brothers will headline this year's “country” gala, September 27, from 5 p.m. to midnight, along with Grammy nominee Valerie Smith, and dancing with music by RUDY and Saddle Up! Guests will enjoy a “Taste of Tennessee” dinner along with entertainment from student musicians Emma & Sam McNichols and Brielle LeBlanc, as well as a live auction. Tickets are $125 per person and are available by contacting the Limestone Learning Foundation at
The County of Frontenac will accept nominations for the 2014 International Day of Persons with Disabilities Access Award until October 30, 2014. Community members are encouraged to nominate those individuals and organizations in the Frontenacs who are going above and beyond to help enable persons with disabilities equal access to opportunities within the County. “Eliminating barriers and promoting inclusion is crucial to building resilient communities,” says Denis Doyle, Deputy Warden of the County of Frontenac. “This award helps bring awareness to accessibility issues across the County and celebrates the forward-thinking people and organizations who are making important, tangible differences every day.” The County, in partnership with the Frontenac Accessibility Advisory Committee (FAAC), created this award in 2013 to recognize persons, groups or organizations that have made or are making a significant contribution beyond legislated requirements, towards improving access for persons with disabilities in the County of Frontenac. Improving Access can include the design of new or renovated buildings, an employment program, a transportation system, a recreational or leisure program, or anything that contributes significantly to persons with disabilities living independently. Nomination forms can be found at www.frontenaccounty.ca and can be submitted at the County Administration Office or at any Township Administration Office. The winner will be announced at December’s County Council meeting with a luncheon to follow. For more information about this award, visit www.frontenaccounty.ca or contact Jannette Amini, Manager of Legislative Services/Clerk at 613-548-9400 ext. 302 or
Emotional council to consider naming conference room after Clayton - Sept. 3 Just two days after Warden Bud Clayton died, emotions were running high at a Committee of the Whole meeting of Frontenac County Council. Councilors paid tribute to Clayton at the start of the meeting, noting his contribution to improvements at the county, his work for Pine Meadow Nursing Home, and his commitment to North Frontenac Township. Deputy Warden Dennis Doyle then suggested that the conference room on the main floor of the county offices, which used to be used as a council chamber in the first few years following municipal amalgamation, and is now used as a committee and staff meeting room, be named the Bud Clayton room. A number of councilors said they would support such a proposal. Councilor John McDougall suggested that the proposal be deferred for a couple of weeks for council to consider any implications there may be to the naming, and for Clayton's family to be consulted. Council agreed and the matter was deferred to the September 17 Council meeting. Six Sigma on a lean There have been a parade of consultants to meetings of Frontenac County over the years, but very few, if any, have a black belt. Dale Schattenkirk, the CAO of Learning to See Consulting out of Regina, Saskatchewan, is the exception. His black belt is not in Karate, however; it is in Lean Six Sigma, and it is actually a Master Black Belt. Lean Six Sigma is not a college fraternity; it is a managerial concept that results in the elimination of waste in work processes. It is a system that was adopted by large industrial corporations in the 1980s and 1990s and has been applied to the public sector in the last 15 years or so. The goal of Lean Six Sigma is the elimination of eight kinds of waste in institutional settings: defects, overproduction, waiting, non-utilized talent, transportation, inventory, motion, extra-processing, which are expressed in an acronym – DOWNTIME. For a cost of $30,000, Shattenkirk brought a team to Frontenac County this summer to look at the county's procurement processes and at logistics within Frontenac Paramedic Services. They found little to improve upon in the procurement end but as far as logistics within Frontenac Paramedic Services they found a number of what Schattenkirk called “opportunities to improve”. Most of these have to do with better tracking of supplies used by paramedics on an ongoing basis, less extra driving by managerial and support staff to ensure supplies are in place, and better tracking of supplies to cut down on the amount of materials that end up being recycled because they reach their past due date before being used. What Schattenkirk was more interested in talking about, however, was the work culture at Frontenac County, which impressed him. “You guys are in a very good position in terms of quality improvement,” he said. “You have a group that is committed to improving the operation at all levels of the organization.” He suggested training staff to do quality improvement, using the LEAN system to train a few key members of both the management and staff teams to a LEAN yellow and green belt level. “The idea is to have everyone in the county actually engaged in how the county runs,” he said. “Within 18 months you should be completely independent. You won't need jokers like us to telling you what to do.” He also said that the money charged by his company is offset by savings, either in “light green or dark green dollars” - light green dollars referring to time saved by staff that can be used for more productive work, and dark green referring to cash savings. A proposal to extend the contract with Learning to See Consulting will be considered by Council later this month.
Glenburnie ON – With great sadness, the Township of North Frontenac and the County of Frontenac received news yesterday that Warden and Mayor Bud Clayton passed away on Monday September 1, 2014. Bud was 75 years of age and is survived by his cherished wife of 53 years, Jackie, two sons and beloved grandchildren. Bud has been involved in municipal politics in the Frontenacs since 2000, when he was elected as a Councillor for North Frontenac Township. Elected Mayor of North Frontenac in 2010, Bud became a member of County Council the same year and took on the role of Warden in 2013. “Bud was an extraordinary man. He loved people and was a committed husband and father. He was dedicated, realistic, community orientated and he touched so many hearts. Bud was a forward thinker and for the betterment of our community, he initiated North Frontenac Council’s first documented Strategic Directions,” says Fred Perry, Deputy Mayor of North Frontenac Township. “He made people smile and brought laughter to their lives. He was always there to give a helping hand to anyone and he had such a positive attitude.” “As a member of County Council, Bud was always articulate in his discussions and worked hard to ensure that residents across Frontenac County received value for their tax dollars,” says Deputy Warden of Frontenac County Denis Doyle. “He always carefully listened to his peers and was pragmatic and logical in his approach to solve issues and create an atmosphere of continuous improvement and team work between staff and County Councillors. Thanks to Bud’s efforts over the past four years, the Frontenacs are a better place.” Information regarding a funeral service is not yet available.
North Frontenac Township mayor, Bud Clayton, who is also serving as warden of Frontenac County this year, remained in the Intensive Care Unit at the London Health Sciences Centre after falling ill early last week while attending a meeting of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO). He has a suspected case of viral meningitis. Cheryl Robson, the Chief Administrative Officer of North Frontenac Township, said that Clayton's family is with him. “He took sick during the AMO meeting and at the hospital they ruled out stroke and heart attack and they are quite certain it is viral meningitis and are treating it as such,” said Robson. Early this week, Robson said that Clayton’s condition had improved over the weekend. His fever had dropped and he had been responding to his wife, Jackie Clayton. Kelly Pender, the Chief Administrative Officer of Frontenac County, was attending the AMO meeting with Clayton. He remained in London after the meeting wrapped up, only returning late in the week after Clayton's family had arrived. Fred Perry, the deputy mayor of North Frontenac, officiated at a public meeting on a planning matter last Friday, August 23. At the start of the meeting Perry informed the public about Mayor Clayton's health issue. “Bud is a fighter,” Perry said after the meeting, “he doesn't give in to things.” Cheryl Robson concurred. “I expect we'll see him back here in a couple of weeks, just as before,” she said. Viral meningitis is not normally a life threatening illness, in contrast to bacterial meningitis, which often is, according to the Mayo Clinic. The most effective treatment for the disease seems to be time. “Antibiotics can't cure viral meningitis, and most cases improve on their own in several weeks,” according to the Mayo Clinic website. Bud Clayton is registered to run for re-election as mayor of North Frontenac. The registration deadline is September 12. There is one other registered candidate for mayor, Claudio Valentini. Mayor Clayton's term as warden of Frontenac County has three more months to run.
In an effort to get those with the best knowledge and understanding of the land north of Highway 7 to engage with local landowners and users, members of the Frontenac Stewardship Foundation organized a Community Day in Cloyne, where numerous groups and organizations gathered at the Barrie Hall to present information and answer questions. The event, which took place on September 6, was an informal gathering that included 20 booth displays representing Quinte Conservation, the Mississippi Conservation Authority, Friends of Bon Echo, the Kennebec Lake Association, Friends of the Salmon River, the North Frontenac Dark Skies Preserve, The Land O'Lakes Tourist Association, the Land Conservancy for Kingston Frontenac Lennox and Addington and more. Frontenac County Manager of Economic Development, Anne Marie Young, was present highlighting the North Frontenac Township’s Community Improvement Plan, which was recently approved by the county. The topics covered at the Community Day were plentiful and included various local histories, invasive species, land stewardship, local watersheds, water quality, septic systems, local biodiversity, geology, managing crown forest land, Benny's Pond and much more. Jenny Pearce and Matt Ellerbeck had several live snakes and salamanders on display for guests to visit with, and Chad Clifford of the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust offered up live recordings of various soundscapes found in the area, which are used by the organization to record and create an inventory of the animal and insect life on their properties. The Cloyne Museum was open for those interested in the human history of the area, and certified chainsaw trainer Dave Smallwood and Dave Sexsmith of the Ontario Woodlot Association gave a basic talk and demonstration on safe chainsaw practices. On one table were numerous books on related topics including “Discovering Natural Processes” by Gray Merriam and Jeff Amos, “Wind, Water. Barley and Wine: The Nature of Prince Edward County” and “Lennox and Addington”, both by Orland French. Professional ecologist Gray Merriam, who wears many hats in the stewardship world, as the founding member of the Friends of the Salmon River, as a board member with the Frontenac Stewardship Foundation and a member of the Kennebec Lake Association, said that the primary aim of the event was to engage area landowners in conversation with members of these groups. “Ultimately it is the land owners and users themselves who are going to be the stewards of the land. I believe that we are well past the point where you just call a provincial phone number to have your questions answered. In my opinion the role of volunteer stewardship groups is to talk to landowners and users, find out what their objectives are and then help them to meet those objectives.” Merriam said that the second aim of the event was to give the various groups a chance to engage with one another. “The networking that has gone on this morning between the members of the groups and organizations has been wonderful and this event provides an opportunity for these like-minded groups and individuals to engage with one another, which does not happen very often.” Merriam also highlighted the fact that the land north of 7 is some of richest land in Ontario and some of the only land in the province that remains undamaged. “It is the natural capital here that we need to be working with and we want the planners to recognize that the nature of the richness here is not in factories and shopping centers but in the land itself. The natural capital here is irreplaceable and with that in mind we should be planning all future activities here with deference to that natural capital.”
Renovations are usually not much fun but for Reverend Judith Evenden of Land O’Lakes Emmanuel United Church, designing and renovating what will be a brand new church is a dream come true. In 2009, the Harlowe, Cloyne and Riverside Flinton United churches amalgamated and became the Land O’Lakes Emmanuel congregation. In 2011 the members made the decision to sell their three churches (and one manse) and begin the search for a new place of worship. Evenden said that it was accessibility issues and/or lack of washroom facilities at the three churches that led to the decision to find a new place of worship. “The congregation came at that time to a place of knowing that if everyone let go of their churches and grieved that loss, we could then move forward and start fresh with a new vision and a new sense of coming together.” Following the sale of the Cloyne United Church in October 2011, the last of the properties to be sold, the task group appointed with the job of finding a new facility decided on the criteria that needed to be met. They wanted a centrally located, accessible, and multi-purpose facility to be purchased outright so that the church would not have to go into debt. That goal was reached in November 2013 when a three-bedroom bungalow with a three-car garage in Northbrook, which was built 10 years ago by Sandor and Eleanore Kaltner, was purchased. The building is located on a 23-acre parcel of land and is slowly being transformed into the new church facility that Evenden believes will meet all of the needs of the congregation while also serving the community. The architect working on the project is Bruce Downey of Kingston with local contractor Mike Cumming. The 2900 square foot main floor, which incorporates the former garage space. is wheelchair accessible and boasts a 1600 square foot sanctuary. “The worship space is bigger than any we have had in the past and the plan is to make it completely flexible with no permanent furniture so that we can use it for worship but also for weddings, funerals, yoga, movie nights and other community events,” Evenden said earlier this week. Also on the main floor are a servery/ kitchen area, three washrooms, a meeting room, main office and the minister’s study. In the main vestibule will hang a panting by Don Wise titled “Church Street”, which depicts the five churches in the former pastoral charge. A verandah that stretches across the entire front of the building will be a place for visiting and Evenden hopes to be able to have numerous walking trails on site. There are also plans that the indoor elevator on site will also be upgraded as well. Some of the old furnishings from the former churches will grace the new building, including the three crosses from the church's sanctuaries, the pulpit from Cloyne, communion tables from Harlowe and Cloyne, the organ from Harlowe, and the piano from Riverside Flinton. Many of the smaller worship symbols were also kept and will be used at the new church. “The aim is to create a safe, beautiful place where people can gather and be in the midst of nature. What we can do here is only limited by our available finances and by people's imaginations.” The renovations have not come without challenges since as a space of public assembly the building must meet specific health, fire and building codes. “I think people are wondering what is taking so long but a lot has to be done to make sure that everything is done properly and up to code.” While most of the major construction work has been done, the drywall and finishing touches still need to be completed. Much of the work being done and the materials have been donated by members of the congregation and the community. Evenden hopes that the community will also use the space and with that in mind is inviting members of the community at large who support the values of the church to consider donating to the cost of the renovations. Those interested can contact Rev. Judith Evenden at 613-336-2655 or by email at
Trouble with new fire hall construction in Northbrook In a verbal report to Addington Highlands Council at their Sept. 2 meeting, Fire Chief Casey Cuddy talked about a disagreement that has emerged with the construction company, Task Force Construction, that is building a new fire hall for the township south of Northbrook. Some other issues with the company have emerged as well. The dispute has to do with the wiring for an emergency generator at the new hall. To save money the township opted not to have Task Force put in a generator, which they had costed at $30,000 in their bid. “They are saying that the $30,000 was for the generator and the wiring, and by opting out of one we were opting out of the other,” Cuddy said. “The specs included the wiring. I think we should get Jewell Engineering to deal with this. That's what we are paying them to do,” said Deputy Reeve Bill Cox. Members of council also noted that the project has not been proceeding as expected. “They aren't there today,” said Reeve Henry Hogg, “and some of what I've seen is unusual.” Hogg said that he saw insulation going in on a wet day. “They said if the insulation is wet they will pull it out,” Hogg added. Township to meet with ministry over Official Plan Addington Highlands' five-year Official Plan review, which has not been ratified by the Ministry of Housing and Rural Affairs two years after it was first submitted, will be the subject of a meeting between the township and the ministry in late September. The two sides are not close to agreeing on the final wording of the document. “They are putting restrictions on waterfront lots in their wording, restrictions on hamlets; the whole document they are putting forward will tie our hands,” said Reeve Hogg. “It looks like this review won't be complete until we have to start our next five-year review,” he added. Grading, grass cutting have something in common. Deputy Reeve Bill Cox reported that the library board has complained about the lawn mowing in front of the two libraries. “The boy gets heck if he cuts it too early, or if he cuts it too late. They need more things to think about.” In his own report, Public Works Manager Royce Rosenblath said he “knows how the grass cutter feels. You grade the roads too much for some people, not enough for others. Everybody complains,” he said. On a more ominous note, Rosenblath reported that winter sand is being delivered to the Denbigh garage. “Winter is coming,” he said.
Close to 80 guests attended the official opening and ribbon cutting ceremony of the newly expanded Lennox and Addington County Museum and Archives in Napanee on August 22. Stephen Paul, director of community and development services with the county, emceed the event, which took place at the Court House Campus. County Warden and Mayor of Greater Napanee, Gord Schermerhorn, spoke of the building of the county courthouse and jail 150 years ago, followed by the registry office and the jailer’s house in 1891. Two years ago the county began a $5 million capital project in recognition of their 150th anniversary this year. The project included the expansion of the museum and archives along with a newly constructed garage to house the custodial and maintenance services for the county's 47 buildings and associated properties. Originally constructed in 1864 as the county jail, the museum and archives building was first retrofitted in 1974. The plans for expanding the facility began in 2001 when the county hired the Ventin Group architects to complete an assessment of the building. It was then that the county began putting aside funds for the project. In the fall of 2011 a strategic priority setting exercise was conducted that identified the preservation of the county’s heritage as one of seven priorities. With the approaching 150th anniversary, the Ventin Group was rehired to complete the design for the expansion and in January 2013 the project was awarded to PEAK Engineering and Construction Ltd. The new addition to the museum and archive is approximately 10,000 square feet on two levels and includes a new glazed corridor entrance that links the addition to the elevator, which provides access to the second floor of the building. The reception area and the manager’s office were both renovated, and beyond them, a new lecture/multi-purpose room was built in previously unused courtyard space. Also located on the ground floor is a new research/reading room, an archivist’s office and an adjoined compact archival storage space. New washrooms were also built as well as a freight elevator that connects a receiving area with basement storage areas. The museum contains approximately 10,000 artifacts including toys, furniture, clothing, glass, ceramics, tools and household goods and the archives holds an extensive collection of documents as well as genealogical files. CAO Larry Keech aptly described the new addition as “understated” and while tasteful, spacious, and modern, it in no way overpowers the original feel of the heritage stone building due to the fact that the primary building materials used were limestone, glass, aluminum panels and natural wood. Keech thanked everyone involved in both projects, from the designers and builders to the county planning team and museum staff. The Lennox and Addington Historical Society is one of the oldest historical societies in Ontario and a brief history was given by its president, Jennifer Bunting. It unofficially began in 1885, the year of the United Empire Loyalist centennial, and was officially established in 1904. Bunting spoke of Walter Stevens Harrington, who “was deeply moved by the Loyalist centennial” and wrote a book on the history of Lennox and Addington, collecting stories and documents from the children of the pioneers. In an effort to find a home for all of his documents, Harrington, along with Clarence Warner of Wilton, established the historical society. Following the official ribbon cutting, guests were invited into the building for a reception and to explore the many new displays, which included two exhibits commemorating the centennial of World War 1: “Fashions from the Home Front” and “The Empire Needs Men”. A third new exhibit highlighted the work of local painter Orval Madden. Also on display was an archival exhibit of photos and articles from the county's centennial celebrations in 1964. The 150th anniversary celebrations continued the following day, August 23 at the Court House Campus with live music by fiddle masters Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy as well as performances by Circus Orange and local musicians, which were well attended.
Over the weekend, Marilyn Crawford died after a battle with cancer. From what I've been told, she had been dealing with cancer for several years, but apparently was able to do some travelling with her husband and co-conspirator, Buddy. For those who don't remember, she was a founding member of the Bedford Mining Alert and a major force in the revamping of the Ontario Mining Act as it is applied in Southern Ontario. She went on to become an activist for justice in mining, particularly the impacts of mining on women around the world, as a board member and co-chair of Mining Watch Canada in Ottawa. The truly amazing thing about changes to the Ontario Mining Act, which came about a few years ago, is that groups like the Bedford Mining Alert and people like Marilyn, Mary Louks, Maureen Towaij, Peter Griesbach and Frank and Gloria Morrison and others played a direct role in bringing about reform. It all started for Marilyn, and most of the others mentioned above, when they noticed that trees had been cut down, trenches had been dug and stakes were up all over their property. That's when they found out that they did not own the subsurface rights to their properties. They also found out that the prospectors who had laid claim to the minerals underneath had a lot of rights to use the surface in order to access their mining claims. The first meeting of the Bedford Mining Alert took place in 2000. From that point on, the outrage they each felt turned into iron resolve. Everyone played their own role, and they did not always agree on tactics or even goals, but each of the people mentioned above was part of the change that took place. For her part, Marilyn Crawford studied the Ontario Mining Act. She became so well versed in the act that when ministry officials came to meetings in Bedford and elsewhere in Eastern Ontario, they found themselves being instructed on some of the details of the act as they defended ministry practices. When the mining act was changed, the initial goal of Bedford Mining Alert members, which was to protect the interests of landowners who did not own their subsurface rights, had been accomplished. Those lands cannot be staked any more. But long before those changes and others came in, Marilyn's interests in the impact of mining on individuals moved her in many new directions and brought depth to her politics. She was a resource person and a part of the struggle over uranium exploration in Algonquin and Land Claim territory in North Frontenac in 2007 and 2008. Although she initially used the resources of Mining Watch Canada, an Ottawa-based not-for-profit that works with groups in Canada and around the world to help with her own case and that of her neighbours, Marilyn ended up joining the board of Mining Watch and was co-chair between 2008 and her death last weekend. Ramsay Hart, the Canadian program director at Mining Watch, originally met Marilyn from the other side of a hiring table when he was being interviewed for the job he has held for five years. He said this week that, “Beyond her role as board member she has been a great resource person for me whenever I have had questions about the mining act. She was also a very caring and warm person and wanted to make sure that the staff were doing well.” He said that Marilyn developed educational material for schools around the Mining Act and made presentations to students. “She always took a strong interest in the various ways the mining industry is privileged over the people who live on the land that they use for its resources,” he said. This brought her attention to the plight of women and Aboriginal peoples around the world as they are subjected to international mining interests, a large issue, far removed from the interests of rural landowners in Southern Ontario. As a political activist, Marilyn could be hard on those she opposed, and even on those she was working with. She was always clear about the specific change she was seeking, and did not generally alter her goals in order to get along with others. Many of the people she worked with had their own agendas and strong personalities as well, so she could be a polarizing figure, and she made and lost friends along the way. My memories of Marilyn Crawford were of a mutual benefit situation. When she needed publicity for something, when she had a goal in mind, she called and was always upfront about what she was looking to get out of a story in the Frontenac News. When I was looking for information, she was a resource. She always shared whatever she knew or pointed me in the right direction. And she was a lot of fun. She had a sense of humour about politics and about the internal politics of the people and groups she was involved with. Peter Griesbach, one of her first allies from the very beginnings of the Bedford Mining Alert, who went on to play a role with the Federation of Ontario Cottage Association and through them the Adivsory Panel on Changes to the Mining Act, put it this way: “Marilyn kept on with her mining rights activity long after many of us were done and had moved on to other things. I think she, and her husband Buddy - he played a role in everything she did, made a real difference - even though she was fighting cancer for a number of years.”
In North and Central Frontenac there are two police officers scheduled to cover policing needs at all times. In the daytime they sometimes patrol in two cars and at night they double up in one vehicle. The same level of service is provided in Tay Valley. In South Frontenac, where there is a policing contract, the service level is a bit higher. The police who serve all these communities also spend a lot of time working directly for the Province of Ontario by covering Highway 7 and Highway 401, which are not within the jurisdiction of the townships. These levels of service are not changing, but what is changing is how much people will be charged for policing on their property tax bills. Ever since policing costs were downloaded to municipalities almost 15 years, the way costs are calculated for municipalities who are not under a fixed contract with the OPP has been shrouded in mystery. When the province announced they were going to change the formula and make it transparent it was well received by the municipalities. Unfortunately, for the small municipalities in Eastern Ontario at least, it became clear when proposals for a new formula were introduced that increases were on the way. The problem is that the main piece of information the province is using for calculating charges is the number of households in a municipality. At first the proposal was to base all the cost entirely on this, and the figure that was floated was about $350 per household. This would be very expensive locally, in large part because the formula does not distinguish between seasonal and full-time residences. North Frontenac Township paid $234,000 for policing in 2014, and with 3,500 households, the cost would skyrocket to $1.25 million. Central Frontenac, which paid $794,000 in 2014, would jump to $1.4 million. Tay Valley would go from about $500,00 to $1.35 million. The province has moderated the formula, announcing last week that 60% of the billing would be based on the number of residences and 40% based on calls for service. Municipal officials whom I have contacted are unclear about what this will mean for their ratepayers, and they will find out in early September, when information sessions are scheduled. There will also be a four-year phase-in to cushion the blow, and according to a government press release the maximum a municipality will be charged is a $40 per household increase each year for the five years. The best case scenario then, for North Frontenac ratepayers, would then be an increase of $700,000 over five years, which translates to a 14% increase in taxes over the time period just for policing costs. Central Frontenac could see a smaller increase, somewhere in the order of 10%. South Frontenac's policing contract will be affected by this change, and the details will be released in September. Since there are about 10,000 households in South Frontenac, and the township budgeted $2.7 million for policing in 2014 (up from $2.3 million in 2013) there is every reason to believe that costs will go up to about $3.6 million over five years, a $900,000 increase that represents a 7.5% increase in taxes for South Frontenac ratepayers. In conversations with some of the township treasurers about this, it was clear that they do not yet know what the announcements from the province actually means for their budgets in 2015 and beyond, but they do expect large increases. As we are about to go headlong into a municipal election campaign, these figures might temper some of the candidates' election promises.
The published photo of Kathleen Wynne greeting Dalton McGuinty at the Ontario legislature with open arms on the day of the swearing in of her new government, coupled with McGuinty being quoted as saying the recent election was a vindication of his time in office, was a bit hard to take. After saying “I am not McGuinty; we are a new party, we will rule differently” from the day of her ascendance to party leadership until the day of the election 14 months later, Kathleen Wynne's smile in that photo had a Cheshire cat quality to it. Politicians are a cynical lot. They play a hard game of front page image control and backroom deals and counter deals, and Kathleen Wynne has turned out to be a master at that game. All of us, the electorate, participated in the ruse, to be sure. We knew what had gone on under McGuinty and we knew Wynne was a loyal member of the cabinet that moved two gas plants, setting off a chain of events that resulted in a $1 billion loss to taxpayers. She sat at the cabinet table as the ORNGE air ambulance debacle unfolded. She was there all along and we know she was there all along. As his replacement, she profited from McGuinty's most cynical act, a prorogation of the legislature for a full six months after his resignation, for no other reason than to create distance for his party as they selected a new leader. By all rights we should have chucked the Liberals out of power, but since the other parties, for different reasons, did not provide a safe haven for many voters, enough of us decided to swallow Kathleen Wynne's claim that the new Liberals would give us good government, keep up our social programs and somehow balance the books over the next four years. Even so the decision to rehabilitate McGuinty right after the election came off as a slap in the face. I recall another Liberal politician, one who in his heyday demonstrated toughness and a common touch in a bit of the way the Kathleen Wynne does, Jean Chretien. At one point he was asked about the Liberal party's past and all the miscues it made when governing in the 1970s and 80s, while he was a cabinet minister “I will not apologize for the past; I was part of it and I am proud of it,” he said. Kathleen Wynne made a point of apologizing for the past during the recent election campaign. Now, if we ever had a doubt before, we know that it was the thinnest of apologies. In fact she was simply saying whatever she had to in order to give her party the best chance at re-election. No wonder then, that voices as disparate as Susan Delacourt from the left-leaning Toronto Star and libertarian MPP Randy Hillier are now questioning the political party system. Hillier wants parties to respect the electorate by granting MPs and MPPs a greater role in all aspects of political decision-making, while Delacourt wrote about the idea of eliminating political parties altogether and running provincial and federal governments the way municipalities run, with independent representatives voting their conscience on every proposal that comes forward. In the short run at least, neither of those things are likely to happen. We live in an era of power politics. To the victor goes the spoils and Kathleen Wynne now holds all the power in Ontario in her own hands.
Far be it from me to praise the City of Toronto, under any circumstances. But I have to make an exception. Last week the City hosted the World Pride conference, which culminated in a parade that was attended by 2 million people. Compared with all of the difficulties that result from hosing just 8 world leaders a couple of years ago, by all accounts World Pride was a roaring success. We live in a time where nations as diverse as Russia, Uganda, and others, have ramped up institutional and legal persecution of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people in recent months. LGBT people have faced persecution to the point of death in the most extreme cases for no other reason than their sexuality for centuries and still do. For Canada to be at the vanguard of those nations whose legal systems have closed the door on institutional persecution of individuals on the basis of sexual orientation, as well as race and religion, is a point of pride for me as a citizen. For the City of Toronto to host such an event as World Pride and to demonstrate a willingness to celebrate diversity is even more gratifying, and I daresay Toronto is ahead of many other communities in Ontario and Canada in this regard. Watching coverage of the parade also jogged a personal memory for me. As it happens, I found myself in the middle of one of the first Pride parades in Toronto in the early 90’s, and the contrast between the this most recent parade and that one could not be more stark. I was with my wife Martina and our young daughter at a small art show in a courtyard behind a church near the corner of Bay and Bloor on a cold Sunday in June. It was 22 or 23 years ago. Someone said that a parade was coming by and the show opening would be delayed, so we went to the corner to see. What we saw was more of a low-key march than a parade. A hundred people or, some of them with placards, walked by. They waved, called out a few slogans, and kept on walking. Many of them were thin, even gaunt, and were walking with the help from friends. 20 years ago AIDS was in full swing in Canada. What I saw on that day was a community fighting for its life against a deadly disease that at that time had no effective treatment. No none lined the street to watch the parade. The busy City carried on its business as usual. What has since been dubbed the LGBT community has developed and thrived in unexpected ways over the past 20 years, to the point where, in Toronto at least, Pride is a celebration and a premiere tourist event in the City Canada Day in our communities is about pancake breakfasts and the parades and games and food and music at ball-fields and beaches. It is about wearing red and white and the maple leaf and family and friends and enjoying the official start of all too short Canadian summer. And it about fireworks at the end of the day. It is also a time to reflect on all the benefits we enjoy as Canadians. Of the things we can be proud of in Canada on Canada Day, chief among them are the personal liberty we enjoy, our commitment to live together in peace, and the celebration of diversity has become the hallmark of this country. As the world threatens to slip into intolerance, this is something we all need to protect in our words and deeds throughout the year.