Whether or not the Palmerston Lake Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI) is included on the North Frontenac Township Land Use Schedule (of its Zoning Bylaw) is still up in the air somewhat, but the topic drew a crowd to last Friday’s regular Council meeting in Plevna.
And the gallery included one of the larger gatherings of the public at a North Frontenac Council meeting.
Megan Rueckwald, manager of community planning, County of Frontenac, told the meeting that planning staff have reached out to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) “for clarification of the Palmerston Lake ANSI (and) once this information is provided, should Council direct, planning staff will prepare an updated report with a recommendation.”
“We don’t have the answers today but we will have a public meeting when we get the information,” said Mayor Ron Higgins. “It’s a priority for us.
“We’ve been working on the Zoning Bylaw for five years.”
On Jan. 8, 2019, MNRF provided correspondence to the Township identifying the Palmerston Lake ANSI as “provincially significant” in response to Council’s motion at the Nov. 23, 2018 meeting. It is shown as provincially significant on the ministry’s Natural Heritage Mapping system.
However, it was not designated on the 2003 Official Plan. It is so designated on the Township Official Plan approved in 2017 and the Frontenac County Official Plan approved in 2016.
The Palmerston Lake ANSI, on the west and south end of the lake, was identified in January of 1989 (MNRF) as a provincially significant marble-based wetland, upland and rock barren complex.
Rare flora and fauna identified include the Calypso orchid (amerorchis rotundifloria) and moss (tomenthypnum falcifolium) as well as nesting ravens, a great blue heron colony and adult Cooper’s hawk, Rueckwald said in her report.
The landform itself is seated on marble, with calcareous-based hardwoods and mixed forest dominating uplands and a variety of calcareous wetlands occupying bedrock depressions, she said.
Assuming the land is designated as a natural heritage feature in the Zoning Bylaw, any development and/or site alteration would require an environmental impact assessment.
“That doesn’t mean no development but it does mean developing in a cautious manner because there is something worth preserving,” said Rueckwald.
Higgins said that during the public feedback part of the Zoning Bylaw process they received “about 50 emails” on the ANSI.
“We’re in this situation because in 1989 there was no public input,” said Higgins.
“I think as a township, we did really screw up in the ’80s,” said Coun. John Inglis.
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Rural Frontenac Community Services represented by youth program coordinator Martha Johnston made a presentation to Council asking for $5,400 to provide services this year, the same amount that Council granted in last years budget.
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North Frontenac Community Living, represented by executive director Dean Walsh, made a presentation to Council for information, not asking for a donation.
Walsh said the agency is a transfer payment agency, meaning it gets funding from clients through the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services for 40 adults, 10 children and three transitional aged youths in the amount of $1.5 million.
He said they have 35 employees, 15 of whom are full-time.
Anyone wanting to be notified of the public meeting should contact Clerk Tara Mieske in writing. Your correspondence should include your contact information and can be a letter, email or note dropped off to the Township office.
“The sooner, the better,” said CAO Cheryl Robeson. “Everyone who sends in their contact information will be notified of the public meeting.”