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.”
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.
Municipal expert Fred Dean packed the Oso Hall in Sharbot Lake on Sept. 4 for a public meeting highlighting the reasons of why and why not to run for council in the upcoming October municipal elections. Dean did not mince his words and gave listeners much food for thought. On the “Do not run" side of the conversation, Dean targeted those who may have been thinking they could make a fast buck for a minimal amount of work. I am taking liberty here and summing up what I remember Dean stressing. “If you don't like meetings...council is not for you. And if you don't like reading reports, and receiving irate phone calls at all hours of the day, council is not for you.” Dean said also that if you think it won't impact your family life, council is not for you, especially if you are running for mayor. If you have motives of pecuniary interest (meaning your spouse, children or parents might benefit financially from your votes as a member of council), council is not for you. He advocated reading books regarding the laws on pecuniary interest. On the "Do run" side, Dean did state the heart felt reasons as to why those interested should be throwing their hats in the ring. “It requires someone who is really committed to their community, someone who is a good listener, who loves meetings and who is willing to advance the issues that are important to the community and who can also work well with other people. Those elected to council do not get to chose who they play with in the sand box; they have to work well with all of the other electorates.” Hat in or hat out, Dean definitely opened up a dialogue for those considering putting their hat in for the upcoming municipal race. Photo-2006-
Hurdles cleared for Arden Court transformation The Arden Court Group Home, which closed earlier this year, may be turned into a housing complex for seniors. Central Frontenac Council approved an Official Plan amendment for the building and the lands adjacent to it, which make multi-residential use permissible. The rest of the large property will remain zoned as rural. This Official Plan amendment, in addition to a corresponding zoning amendment, has been requested by the property's current owner as well as a prospective new owner who is planning a new housing development in place of the group home. “This will have the effect of dealing head on with our identified need for seniors' housing,” said Mayor Janet Gutowski in supporting the proposed amendment, “and it is being done by the private sector, which is ideal.” The Official Plan amendment is going to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing for approval, at which time the township will approve a zoning amendment. Township applies for road grants in Sharbot Lake Recently retired Central Frontenac Public Works Manager Mike Richardson came back to Council to talk about two grant applications he has agreed to spearhead for the township. The first one is for a change to the bridge on Road 38 in Sharbot Lake, just south of the high school, which goes over the former CP rail line. The bridge needs repair, which would cost $325,000. But even if that repair were done, the township is facing future maintenance costs on a bridge that is no longer necessary as the rail line is now only used as a recreational trail. The Small Communities fund, which would cover the repair, covers 90% of the cost of projects that are approved. Given that, Richardson recommended that instead of repairing the bridge, the township remove it, lower the road to highway grade, and install a large culvert to allow for crossing on the trail. That would cost between $500,000 and $900,000 depending on the mode of construction, but would result in a safer roadway for pedestrian traffic and a lower maintenance structure for future councils to maintain. The second grant is for a long contemplated reconstruction of Elizabeth Street in Sharbot Lake. It is a $1.2 million project, which would cost $400,000 to the township if approved. Council decided to apply for both grants, as recommended by Richardson.
Over 90 paddlers from across the province endured the less than ideal weather conditions at the Ontario Canoe Kayak Sprint Racing Affiliation’s (OCSRA) O Cup Fall Classic event, which took place at the Point in Sydenham on an unseasonably cold and rainy September 13. The classic was hosted by the Sydenham Lake Canoe Club (SLCC) and 92 paddlers competed in a number of 200 metre canoe and kayak races as well as open and masters events. The event also included a 6000 metre team pursuit race open to paddlers of all ages. The fall classic was the fourth race in the OCSRA's Ontario Cup series and it was a chance for paddlers to gain points that could lead to their joining the Ontario paddling team. The SLCC to date has 60 members, and thanks to a grant from the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation that the club received in November 2013, it also now has a nationally sanctioned regatta course, which menas that major paddling events can now take place on Sydenham Lake. Five paddlers from the SLCC competed on Saturday. Sebastien L’Abbe placed fourth in his heat in the 200metre K1 under 14 event. In the same event Ian Ramzy tipped his kayak and unfortunately was disqualified. Twin brothers Nicholas and Mathieu Symons, who competed in the under 12-200metre K1 event, placed fifth and sixth in their heats respectively. George Willes placed 2nd in his heat in the Boys K1 200m Helen Parfitt, SLCC vice-commodore, explained that for the SLCC paddlers the event is not really about winning or even placing since the majority of the paddlers are quite a bit younger than many of their competitors. “The benefit of this event for our younger paddlers was to have the opportunity to compete on “home turf” and to have one additional opportunity to compete with paddlers from all across Ontario. Our young paddlers have had only one All-Ontario competition to date so our aim was to see how they fare ‘racing up’ with older paddlers in the U15 events”. That being said, one Sydenham paddler, Genevieve L'Abbe, who is currently a member of the Ontario Team and who competed on Saturday as a member of the Ottawa River Canoe Club, placed first in the U 17 women's K200 event and her result will go towards her Ontario team's ranking status. Genevieve also raced in the 6000m team pursuit event and though her team did not place in the top three, it looks as though L'Abbe as a solo paddler is poised to make waves. The seven clubs who participated on Saturday were Balmy Beach, Richmond Hill, Cobourg, Gananoque, Carleton Place, Ottawa River, and Sydenham. One of the primary concerns of those competing, coaching, officiating and observing on Saturday was trying to stay warm. Prior to their races the Symons brothers chose to paddle around in their boats in an effort to keep their muscles from tensing up. One coach told me that wearing the right clothing is key. “It's all about layers and choosing the right kinds of fabrics. Wool is good, cotton is a no-no,” one coach said. This year’s Ontario Cup was won by the Balmy Beach Canoe Club of Toronto, who took home the highest number of points overall. Saturday’s event attracted over 160 visitors to Sydenham and organizers wish to thank the many generous local sponsors and volunteers. For more information visit www.sydenhamlakecanoeclub.com
Ten local artists displayed their unique creations at the second annual Art in the Saw Mill show in Verona on September 7. The venue is perfect for such an event, spacious and roomy and the show attracted a large crowd of art buyers and enthusiasts to the historic old mill. Five painters covered a wide array of subject matter including landscapes, flowers, and wild life and five artisans displayed their more functional wares: gorgeous quilts, metal lawn and garden ornaments, photographs and woolen items. Ted Stewart of Newboro, an award-winning wildfowl sculptor who is self taught and who has made over 1400 bird carvings over his 20-year career was on hand carving a basswood wood duck. His display included numerous wild fowl, including loons, Niska (Canada geese that he carves out of single piece of cedar), pied-billed grebe Stewart carves mostly basswood but also cedar, tupelo, pine and he paints the carvings with acrylic paints. He taught for 15 years at the Kashechewan school in James Bay and also does archeological work. Stewart has won over 135 awards for his work across Canada and in the United States including a first place award at the 2014 World Championships in Ocean City, Maryland. His work can be seen on his Facebook artists page at tedstewart-art.
Golfers Chad Van Camp, Ken Treadgold, Brad Barton, Mike Hurren, Johnny Knoxx who posed at the hole in one prize offered by Revell Ford Lincoln in Verona were five of the 92 golfers that participated in the Frontenac Minor Hockey Associations Rinks to Links golf tourney fundraiser at Rivendell Golf Club in Verona on September 6. Funds raised from the event will go towards supporting and building the various programs the association runs including their Learn to Skate and Tyke Initiation programs. The association is also hoping to buy new sweaters for their players this year. Following the tourney was a roast pork dinner at the club, which was included in the $100 ticket price. Al Pixley, president of the association, said that they were hoping to raise $6,000 this year and that he hopes to get more local sponsors out this year. “This is really all about supporting the kids in the community, building their confidence, getting them active and healthy and building sportsmanship and team work. “ Anyone interested in sponsoring the association can email Al Pixley at
It's one of those classic underdog stories, but in this case it was a horse, her rider and their trainer who beat the odds recently in Fort Worth, Texas. Brittany Doyle of Sydenham, her eight-year-old mare Pearl, and their coach Cindy Steele of the North Fork Equine Center in Piccadilly, traveled to Fort Worth, Texas to compete in the 2014 Appaloosa Youth World Show on July 3, 4 and 5. Brittany and Pearl placed 8th in the Hunt Seat Equitation Over Fences, 10th in the Hunter Hack event, and 5th in the National Snaffle Bit Association competition. Brittany is a graduate of Sydenham High School and is currently studying for a bachelor’s degree in science and nursing at St. Lawrence College in Brockville. She has owned Pearl and has been riding her since she was seven years old and Pearl was six months old. The two have been training with Cindy Steele for the last two years. The Appaloosa Youth World Show was Brittany's first time competing at an international level at a world class event, one that attracts thousands of riders and horses from all over the world. Brittany and Pearl have been competing nationally for the last five years and currently they are leading the nation in the Hunter Under Saddle and Western Pleasure. Internationally Brittany currently stands in first place in the Hunter Under Saddle and third in the Western Pleasure, and with one more show to go this year, which takes place in Bethany, Ont. on September 13 & 14, she is hoping for first place finishes in both events. Brittany first came in contact with Steele and the North Fork Equine Center when she did a co-op placement there as a grade 11 student at Sydenham HS. “I really enjoyed the experience and saw that it was a really well run facility so I decided to board Pearl here and also receive training and coaching from Cindy”, Brittany said when I interviewed the two at North Fork earlier this week. Cindy Steele has over 30 years experience in the industry and opened the centre 20 years ago. She boards, trains and coaches and also sells horses. She trains and coaches in both English and Western styles and boards close to 30 animals, some of which are champions. She said it is the “small farm-type atmosphere here and the one-on-one coaching” that she has become well known for. The underdog part of this story came out later in our interview when Brittany informed me that her standings in Fort Worth came quite unexpectedly. Pearl had been in a car accident in August of 2013 when a driver side-swiped the trailer she was riding in, causing the horse serious injuries to her back right leg and hip. As a result the vet said the horse would never jump again. “We talked about how to proceed and in mid-December 2013 we started Pearl back and with the help of a chiropractor and veterinarian we slowly and carefully brought her along'”, Brittany explained. Cindy spoke of the special bond between the horse and her rider. “This mare has a lot of heart and I really believe that she would jump to the moon for Brittany”. Both Cindy and Brittany are thankful to their many sponsors, Brittany's parents and everyone involved who made it possible and helped raise $10,000 to cover some of the costs associated with their trip to Texas. Brittany dedicated her world-class win to Cindy Steele's sister, Lisa MacDonald, who passed away in August 2013 and who loved to watch Pearl jump.
If you are a cottage owner and a crackerjack carpenter to boot, skip this article. If, however, you are a cottage owner who is a bit DIY-challenged, there may be a reality show starring role in your future. Mountain Road Productions, an Ottawa-based TV production company that produces shows with a home renovation theme, among others, is casting for a new cottage renovation series for Cottage Life Television. The show is called Reno Rescue and is filming later this fall. Reno Rescue features carpenter Dave Depencier, who will bring his team to cottages with disaster reno projects that are going nowhere fast and turn them into “a little piece of cottage perfection” while teaching skills to the not-so-handy homeowner along the way. To apply to be featured on the show, eligible cottagers must send interior and exterior photos of their cottage, a photo of themselves and their loved ones, a brief written description of their renovation situation, and their contact information to
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
Addington Highlands Central Frontenac Lanark Highlands North Frontenac Tay Valley Tay Valley NORTH FRONTENAC TOWNSHIP Ron Higgins, who had been registered as a candidate for councilor in Ward 2 of North Frontenac in the upcoming municipal election, is now running for mayor. Higgins' decision came about as the result of the sudden death of incumbent mayor, Bud Clayton, who was running for re-election. This left Claudio Valentini, the owner of Tomvale airport on Road 506 and a recently retired teacher at Sharbot Lake High School, as the only candidate. “It is rather awkward to be making the change so soon after Bud's death,” said Higgins last week, “but there is little time before the nomination deadline and once I took the decision I felt I should make the change right away." Higgins said that he contacted Jackie Clayton, Bud's widow, before making the change. “It was a difficult phone call for me to make, but she said she had no problem with it,” Higgins said. Although he was running for council, Higgins said he had been planning to put his name forward for mayor later on, and had talked to Bud Clayton about his long-term political ambitions earlier this summer. He is the founding chair of the North Frontenac Lake Association Alliance, a member of the township's Economic Development Task Force, and a former board member of the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation. Betty Hunter, who is currently one of the councilors for Ward 3 in North Frontenac, has decided to run again, this time in Ward 2. She had indicated earlier in the summer that she was not going to run for council this time, saying "I've done my time". She has served on council in two of the last three terms (she ran for mayor in 2006 and lost, which put her on the sidelines for four years). “A number of people have encouraged me to run again, and I consulted with my family and decided to put my name forward again,” she said. Hunter lives in Ward 2 of the township, just metres from the border with Ward 3. She represented Ward 2 between 2003 and 2006, before running and winning in Ward 3 in 2010. She put her name in as a candidate on Friday, September 5, after Ron Higgins had switched his candidacy from Ward 2 councilor to mayor. With Hunter's inclusion, there are three-way races for the two council seats in both Wards 2 and 3, as well as for mayor. Ensuring there was a race for council in Ward 2 was one of Hunter's considerations. “I think people should have choices,” she said. With these changes there are now three candidates in Ward 2 (Gerry Martin, Vernon Hermer, and Betty Hunter) and three candidates (John Inglis, Denis Bedard and Fred Fowler) in Ward 3 (Palmerston-Canonto) There are only two candidates (Fred Perry and Wayne Good) for the two Ward 1 (Barrie) positions In other townships there are a number of competitive wards as well as some acclamations, as the final day for nominations approaches. The deadline is tomorrow, Friday, September 12. ADDINGTON HIGHLANDS: In Addington Highlands, the race for Ward 1 (Denbigh) just heated up. There are now four candidates. Joining Eythel Grant and Alice Madigan are Kirby Thompson and incumbent Tony Fritsch. There remain two candidates for reeve, incumbent Henry Hogg, and Gerald Bray. As of early this week Bill Cox and Helen Yanch are the only candidates for the two Ward 2 (Kaladar) positions. CENTRAL FRONTENAC In Central Frontenac, there has been a two-way race for mayor between incumbent Janet Gutowski and Councilor Frances Smith for several months. Ward 1 (Kennebec) is a relatively straightforward three-way race for the two positions between current councilors Tom Dewey and Jeff Matson, and former councilor Logan Murray. The other three wards feature crowded fields. In Ward 2 (Olden) Justin Gray, Victor Heese, Jamie Riddell, Cory Thompson, and incumbent John Purdon are seeking two positions. In Ward 3 (Oso) incumbent Wayne Millar has been joined in the race by four others: Bob Olmstead, Bill MacDonald, Sherry Whan, and Dennis Scott. Finally, in Ward 4 (Hinchinbrooke) there are six candidates, including current councillors, Heather Fox and Phillip Smith (who was appointed to Council following the death of Bill Snyder) as well as Brent Cameron, Kirby Bertrim, Sharon Shepherd and Jim Lowery. SOUTH FRONTENAC South Frontenac features a three-way race for mayor that includes both sitting Loughborough councilors, Ron Vandewal and Allan McPhail as well as John McEwen. The vacancies in Loughborough seem to have sparked a lot of attention, as there are six candidates seeking the two positions: Mark Schjerning, Fran Willes, Stephen Bach, Ross Sutherland, Dave Plumpton and Terry Thake. By contrast, the Portland race looks tame, but it will be contested. Incumbents Bill Robinson and John McDougall are being joined in the race by Bradley Barbeau. In Bedford, Pat Barr (who was appointed to Council following the resignation of Mark Tinlin), and Allan Revill are the only candidates for the two positions, and a similar situation is shaping up in Storrington district, where the only candidates are Norm Roberts and Ron Sleeth. Cam Naish, one of the current councilors, had been running, but he has withdrawn from the race. TAY VALLEY In Tay Valley, the Sherbrooke ward may see acclamations as well, as Roxanne Darling and Mark Burnham are the only candidates. Keith Kerr is the only candidate for reeve and Brian Campbell the only candidate for deputy reeve. LANARK HIGHLANDS Finally, for our readers in Elphin/McDonalds Corners, there are no candidates for Ward 5 of Lanark Highlands, but there is a race for mayor between Peter McLaren and Brian Stewart, and for deputy mayor between Bob Mingie and John Hall. (Note – the above was written after office hours on Tuesday, September 9, leaving three days for new candidates to come into the race and for candidates to change the position they are seeking. Any resident of a township, whether they are full-time or seasonal, can seek a council position in any ward or they can run for mayor. The only other restriction in addition to residency is Canadian citizenship. Candidates can change the position they are running for up until the nomination deadline at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, September 12 – we will post the final line-up at Frontenacnews.ca on Friday) A number of all-candidates meetings are being set up by various parties throughout the region, and the Frontenac News will be sponsoring meetings unless others have come forward. A meeting for Loughborough Council candidates is scheduled for Wednesday, September 17 at the Perth Road Sunday school hall in Perth Road Village at 7 pm. The full schedule of meetings sponsored by the Frontenac News will be announced in next week's edition. Meetings will be taking place during a three-week period, from September 30 to October 17 in all districts with contested races. Candidate profiles for South Frontenac will be published on September 25; for Central Frontenac on October 2; and for North Frontenac and Addington Highlands on October 9. A dedicated election section at Frontenacnews.ca will be up and running in the coming days.
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.
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.
North of 7 Community Day on September 6 The brainchild of ecologist Gray Merriam of the Frontenac Stewardship Federation, the Community Day is an attempt to bring people together who live North of 7 in North Frontenac and Addington Highlands to talk about the landscape and watershed where they live, how they use it, what they value about it. By inviting guests to talk about various aspects of the land and waters, the community day will also allow for knowledge to be passed around. “Everyone is invited to this event,” said Merriam, “and there will be a lot to find out, but it is really those who live North of 7 that we want to see, because we need to talk to each other about what we have learned, what works here and what doesn't, even what we need to worry about and what we don't need to worry about.” Merriam has called in a few favours to bring a large number of guest presenters to the event to give a full picture of the region. The event is being held at the Barrie Hall in Cloyne and at the Pioneer Museum next door. It includes a timely chainsaw maintenance session presented by the Ontario Woodlot Association, which will include information about boosting forest value. The Pioneer Museum will be open from 10 until 3, and will be hosting a question and answer session all day. Among the people who will be available at the hall will be some who have made particular studies of the area, including geologist Dugald Carmichael and writer Orland French, who will talk about the origin of Benny's Pond. Jenny Pearce and Matt Ellerbeck will present local snakes and salamanders. Other presenters include: Leora Berman, Mat Mertins from the Mazinaw Lanark Forest, Guy Nason, Anne-Marie Young, Ron Pethick and more. In addition to all this, Debbie Deline's famous Dead Creek tarts and muffins will be available. For further information, call 613-335-3589
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.