The Golden Links Hall in Harrowsmith was packed with friends, family and well-wishers as Portland Dep. Fire Chief Bill Babcock officially retired Saturday night.
“Everybody knows that anyone who volunteers for 54 years — your heart has to be in it,” said Mayor Ron Vandewal.
Babcock’s tenure dates back to the Portland Fire Department days.
“Those are some pretty big boots to fill,” said Dep. Chief Stan Ritchie, who replaces Babcock.
“He was a mentor to myself and every other firefighter,” said firefighter Kyle Reynolds. “We’ll deeply miss him coming through the door.”
Firefighter Ellen Steele read a letter from another firefighter who wished to remain anonymous.
“He was inspiring and made us feel safe,” the letter said. “And we won’t have him to go to when we need to know where somebody lives.
“He often said (things like): ‘I’ll be that’s Bob’s place, he lives around there.’”
When it was Babcock’s own turn to speak, he pretty much stole the show.
After thanking firefighters past and present, wives, kids and families, as well as the businesses who supported efforts to raise funds for things like the jaws of life and 4X4s, Babcock launched into one of the more entertaining retirement speeches in memory.
“We’ve gotten cats out of trees, a cow out of a frozen pond and a horse out of a swimming pool in winter,” he said. “It was a helluva ride.”
He told a story of one call, which may or may not have been true, given the glint in his eye.
“A fella calls dispatch,” he said. “He tells dispatch ‘you gotta come, my house is on fire.
“The dispatcher thinks for a minute and says, ‘how will they get there?’
“And the fella says ‘do they not still have all those big red trucks?’”
He summed things up by saying “Now I can sleep all night through and do what I want all day.”
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.”
When you think about, it’s kind of a mystery as to why we didn’t come up with this earlier.
It’s simple, the winter ice melts and anything that doesn’t float will sink to the bottom when it does.
That’s the principle behind a walleye spawning bed restoration project which took place on Long Lake last Saturday morning (February 2).
The big advantage of placing rocks that will form the (actually add to an existing) spawning bed on the ice is that they can be driven to the spot and placed rather precisely. When the ice melts in the spring, the rocks will sink.
On this day, the Long Lake Property Owners Association (LLPOA) members organized an army of snowmobiles, 4-wheelers and side-by-sides, all with sleds or trailers, to ferry the rocks out to locations, where other volunteers including the 1st Drummond Scouts Group, unloaded them and arranged them to correspond with the existing spawning beds.
“This is a great lake for this kind of project,” said Melissa Dakers of Watersheds Canada. “There’s no current to speak of and the two existing shoals get good wind.
“We’ve had other similar projects in Lanark that have worked out well.”
Dakers said the Algonquins of Ontario were also involved and they had funding from Fisheries and Oceans Canada through the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnership Program.
The rocks used are washed river stone, ranging in size from small apples to large grapefruit, supplied by contractor Peter Nedow. The beds themselves are marked with coniferous branches for safety.
Lake Steward Terry Eccles said they’ve done some spawning ground projects in the past through the MNR program, which no longer exists.
“So we contacted Melissa and she said she had some funding and all we needed to provide was some volunteers,” he said.
And provide the volunteers they did.
It was quite a sight to see: about 40 snowmobiles and ATVs hooked up with sleds and trailers, running a constant relay from the shore to the beds. In all, it took about two hours to completely move two large truckloads of rock.
“This increases the spawning area available to the walleye,” he said. “We’re really hoping this will make the walleye competitive with the bass.”
The rocks were deposited off two different islands (known walleye spawning beds) on the ice and will sink to the bottom when the ice melts in the spring.
The Sharbot Lake Legion Branch 425 had a clientele of eight people in its Meals on Wheels program but like most organizations these days, it found it just didn’t have enough volunteers to make the program work.
So, they decided to do the next best thing, supporting Rural Frontenac Community Services (RFCS) Meals on Wheels program with a financial donation of $500.
“One of the Legion’s lottery mandates is Meals on Wheels,” President June Crawford said during a cheque presentation following the regular Friday Night Dinner. “The proceeds are from our meat draws and 50/50.
“There will probably be more.”
The venue was appropriate because many of the meals the Legion provided came from the Friday Night Dinners.
Catherine Tysick, adult centre manager for RFCS, acknowledged that finding drivers to deliver Meals on Wheels can be a challenge, both in volunteer recruitment and financially.
“It’s a costly venture,” she said. “The price of food goes up and there’s mileage at 42 cents/kilometre.
“And then there’s the cost of containers.”
From April to December last year, there were 2,786 meals delivered, consisting of soup, the main meal and desert.
“Some clients will order two meals so they have leftovers for the next day,” Tysick said. “Those clients tend to be gentlemen.
“But most get meals on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”
The meals now are all prepared at the daycare kitchen by Anne Howes and Laura Wood, she said.
“Some people are reluctant to get Meals on Wheels because they feel it threatens their independence,” she said. “But there are plenty of other days to cook if you want to.
“Without Meals on Wheels, a lot of seniors would just eat toast for dinner.”
Sharbot Lake Legion President June Crawford presents a $500 cheque to Catherine Tysick, Rural Frontenac Community Services adult centre manager for Meals on Wheels. Photo/Craig Bakay
As The Crow Flies, Teilhard Frost’s first solo offering, is, if nothing else, an excellent history lesson.
A 14-song CD, it’s a consistent mix of banjo, fiddle and harmonica tunes, with some vocals and even a couple of a cappella tunes mixed in.
Like he did with Sheesham, Lotus and ’Son, Frost draws deep into yesteryear for inspiration and material, displaying both reverence and modern virtuosity for these pieces that might otherwise fade into history.
“It’s getting where I want it,” he says. “This album is similar to Sheesham and Lotus but a little higher up the mountain I think.”
Frost was raised on Manitoulin Island where he spent a lot of time with older fiddlers. He now calls Wolfe Island home.
But it’s clear those early roots took deep and now his love of Appalachian folk music is shining through.
His No. 1 instrument is probably the fiddle, and there are three offerings of minor key jiggy-reely music that maritimers will appreciate.
There’s even an old Henry Whitter blues tune, Raincrow Bill, that Frost claims was the first blues harmonica recording in 1923.
But what you may find surprising is Frost’s approach to the banjo. When Earl Scruggs made the banjo a mainstay of bluegrass country, many people tended to forget just how far back the drum-faced strings go.
Frost not only reminisces musically, but also adds a modern touch in his approach. Often, he adds five and six-note transitions and fills where most banjo players would use no more than three.
Indeed, arguably the best tune on the album, Walk in the Parlour is an excellent artist’s interpretation that is very much aided by whatever recording techniques were used (live off the floor, most likely, as there is very little overdubbing on this CD).
Sonically, the banjo strings ring out with incredible bell-like tones (at least they did on the reviewers Bose bluetooth system). The only beef about this one was it was too short.
Again, the whole album is consistent in both approach and sound quality that aficionados of the Appalachian sound, and those who look for something different, will appreciate.
By the way, in case you missed it (spoiler alert), there’s a little in-joke on a couple of tunes where Frost credits Sheesham Crow as a second musician.
Sheesham Crow is Frost’s alter ego with Sheesham, Lotus and ’Son. Gee, do you suppose that’s where the “Crow” in As The Crow Flies comes from?
The good news is that the Central Frontenac capital budget for last year came in $270,000 less than what was budgeted for.
The bad news is that the Township still owes $2,162,569 for various loans.
These loans include $301,246 still remaining on the medical centre, $25,502 on solar installations, $396,034 on the 5th Lake Road project, $722,287 for fire equipment and $717,500 for public works equipment.
These revelations were presented by Central Frontenac Treasurer Michael McGovern at a special capital budget Council meeting last Thursday at the Fire Hall in Sharbot Lake.
If the budget were passed as presented, it would represent $3,071,808. Last year, it was $1,932,114.
“The capital budget is up $1.1 million over last year,” McGovern said.
That doesn’t include the operating budget, which the Township still has meet on.
However, McGovern said that according to Ministry standards, the Township is at 34 per cent of its loan ceiling.
“We’re trying to do everything,” he said. “(But) the Ministry would like us to keep it under 55 per cent (so, in theory) we could take out another $2 million in loans.”
In a perfect world, the fire department would like about $400,000 for a new tanker and Chief Greg Robinson said they’re “looking for a new $2 million station.”
Robinson declined to say where the new station would be located but the Township has built new stations in Sharbot Lake, Mountain Grove and Parham since amalgamation.
When it was acting Public Works Manager David Armstrong’s turn to present a wish list, a request for $120,000 for ½ ton trucks didn’t raise an eyebrow.
But when it came to discussion of Crow Lake Road and Henderson Road, everybody weighed in.
“Crow Lake Road is a road that’s totally in disrepair,” Armstrong said. “I’d like to look at repairs from Road 38 to the settlement area whether we get a (~ 50 per cent) grant or not.
“It’s a bit of a portal into our Township.”
Armstrong estimated it would take around $2.5 million “to get from 38 to just past the settlement.”
“I would say it’s the worst road in our Township,” said Coun. Bill MacDonald.
“I’ve seen them patch that thing and I think that’s a tremendous waste,” said Coun. Elwin Burke.
Armstrong also mentioned Westport Road and “two others,” one of which was Henderson Road.
“I’d also like to spend more money on ditching and rock removal,” Armstrong said. “The sidewalks in Sharbot Lake are a liability but that’s next year.”
There’s also the closing of Oso Waste Facility in 2023 to consider.
Clerk-Administrator Cathy MacMunn also brought up the notion of a new Township office including a Council Chambers to the tune of $900,000.
She cited noise and security as big concerns at the current office.
“We might not want to build a new office just yet,” said Dep. Mayor Victor Heese. “I’m not sure the current provincial government is done with municipal restructuring.”
Representatives from the Flinton Community Jamboree came to Addington Highlands Council Tuesday afternoon in Flinton and to the surprise of many, they weren’t asking for money but they did have a rather lengthy list of requests.
Dave McKittrick and Gary Radford did suggest that if the Township were to wave the $100 entertainment license fee, they’d put the Township on the list of donors however.
And while it wasn’t really a request for money, they also asked that the hall rental fee be waved for their monthly meetings.
They also asked for an exemption to the noise bylaw, permission to use the canteen and if a Township water truck could be present for the canteen and food vendors.
“We should have a water truck but if you’re looking for it on Saturday, don’t expect it,” said Roads/Waste Management Supervisor Brett Reavie.
Clerk Christine Reed said the Festival committee would have to ensure that water wasn’t made available to the trailers that come as that has caused problems in the past.
“The trailers will bring their own water,” Radford said.
Lastly, Radford asked if the Township could help with volunteers as the Festival Committee needed more.
“I’ll be there but I don’t know how much help I’d be,” said Coun. Kirby Thompson.
Minor variance for dock?
Frank Smith owns property on Weslemkoon Lake. On one of his properties, he has a dock that has the foundations for a boat porch. There is no house on the seven-acre property as yet, but there is a well and septic system and he told Council he plans to build his retirement home there one day.
He also has a building permit for the dock. Addington Highlands, unlike most of its neighbours, does issue building permits for docks.
Here’s the problem. He recently received a letter from the Township telling him he’d have to remove the dock.
The position the Township took in the letter was that the building permit shouldn’t have been issued in the first place because the Zoning Bylaw states that accessory buildings can’t be built until a primary structure is built and therefore use of the property is established.
Smith doesn’t see it that way. To him, the well and septic system show that the use will be residential and besides, he has a building permit for the dock.
Further complicating the issue is that CBO Ken Buxton passed away in December so he can’t be consulted.
Planning secretary/deputy Clerk Patricia Gray said that the issue could be potentially resolved with a minor variance, assuming no further environmental impact studies were required.
Smith wasn’t having any of that either.
“I’m not paying $700 for a minor variance or anything else,” he said. “I paid for my permit and I guarantee the dock is staying there.
“I think I’m the largest employer in the Township and I know I’ve taken out more building permit than anyone.”
Coun. Kirby Thompson and others were sympathetic to Smith’s arguments.
“I’m having trouble understanding how we can turn around and tell him he can’t do that,” Thompson said.
“Let us have a bit of time to see if we can get this cleared up,” said Reeve Henry Hogg.
Council directed staff to look as a minor variance process (if necessary) to make it compliant with no cost to Smith.
Handyman for Denbigh
Dep. Mayor Tony Fritsch wants a “handyman” in the north.
“The south has one and it works out well,” he said.
Council directed staff to advertise a temporary part-time position.
Kaladar waste site
Roads and waste management supervisor Brett Reavie said they’re looking at two options for a transfer site when the Kaladar site is closed.
The first option is for the Township to buy a compactor and truck the garbage away themselves and the second is to hire a contractor to truck it away.
At its regular meeting Tuesday night in Sydenham, South Frontenac Council approved a noise bylaw exemption for the Inverary Youth Group on June 1 and 2 to hold a Spring Fling Music Festival fundraiser.
South Frontenac resident and owner of Little Texas Roadhouse Bar and Grill, Kimberley Allan told Council that the youth group wanted to do some renovations to the washrooms and some electrical upgrading to the canteen at Ken Garrett Memorial Park and as such came up with the idea of a combination music festival with softball games.
“It will be mostly classic country and some classic rock,” Allan said. “I have a lot of connections in the music business through Little Texas.”
She said the event will run from 8am to 10pm. on Saturday and 8am. to 5pm on Sunday with music slated for 11am to 10pm on Saturday and 11am to 5pm on Sunday.
When asked if they planned to use the canteen for the event, Allan said they were looking at renting space to food trucks which she believed “would put more money in the youth group’s pockets.”
The full lineup of musical acts is yet to be determined but Allan did say Sharbot Lake’s Old Habits, Chelsea Road and Picket Fences were scheduled to appear.
“I really commend you for your efforts on this,” said Dep. Mayor Ron Sleeth.
More re- closed meeting investigator
Council directed staff to consult with Township solicitors and come back with a report in line with a recommendation in the Closed Meeting Investigators report on why Council was party to litigation on the water plant in Sydenham and the pertinent facts underlying the legal claims that can be made public.
Coun. Ross Sutherland served a notice of motion that staff report back to Council on the matter at the the Jan. 22 Council meeting.
“Now that the solicitor put it out there that there was litigation, people have been asking what it was,” Sutherland said. “The closed meeting investigator said that some of it should be made public and people do know about it.”
“I believe it’s important our solicitor be a part of this and we put this to bed once and for all,” said Dep. Mayor Ron Sleeth.
Council skeptical over Post Media claims about littering
In a report to Council submitted by Clerk Angela Maddocks, she refers to a conversation she had with Rob Mclellan, Distribution Supervisor - Eastern Ontario, for Post Media, the publisher of Frontenac This Week. She called McLellan after council complained about newspapers and flyers being tossed on driveways in parts of the township, causing a littering issue.
“Mr. McLellan was very receptive to assisting with this concern and indicated that residents who do not wish to receive the newspaper can contact the distribution office by calling Mr. McLellan at 544-5000
Ext 547147 and providing their civic number and street address to have cancelled, or the service suspended” she wrote in her report.
Not everyone was satisfied with Mclellan’s assurances.
“I still get the paper and an ad bag,” said Mayor Ron Vandewal. “I know people who have called the number several times to stop delivery and still it keeps coming.
“I want staff to talk to the paper people and if we get no satisfaction, we’ll have to look to our littering bylaw.
“I want to talk to them and say ‘stop it.’”
“I agree with you completely,” said Coun. Ross Sutherland. “To me, it’s littering.”
(Publishers note – the newspaper you are reading now, the Frontenac News, is an independent publication that only uses Canada Post for delivery. As well, as opposed to 0% Frontenac County generated content in Frontenac This Week, our content is over 90% Frontenac County generated. Just saying)
“It’s the only way other than raising registration fees that we can have the kids play a season of minor ball,” said Central Frontenac Minor Softball Association President Kurtis Jackson said Saturday at the outdoor rink in Tichborne. “Registration just doesn’t cover the costs (and) we try to keep the costs down as much as possible for parents to get as many kids into minor ball as possible.”
And so it was last Saturday morning at the mighty Tichborne outdoor arena, where five teams faced off in a round robin 4 on 4 shinny set to see who’d get to brag about it for the coming year.
Saturday was a beautiful day for outdoor hockey — not bitterly cold, but cold enough for the rink to be in decent shape. The sun even shone through at time.
In the end, it was Devon Clarke’s team on top, beating out the Tichborne Termites in the final exciting game.
Jackson said they like to get minor ball underway in May but it’s usually June by the time the fields are in good enough shape to play.
He said before the season starts, there will be an election to fill seven executive positions.
For 10 years now, the Granite Ridge Education Centre (part of which it was Sharbot Lake High School) has been participating in the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI).
“We’ve been doing this since 2007 and had 10 different charities benefit,” said Randy McVety, the teacher who oversees the project at GREC. “This year marks $50,000 and across Canada, 20,000 students have participated and more than $500,000 has been presented to charities.”
The process is rather straightforward. Interested Grade 10 students research a local charity, put together a presentation on it and a group of judges from the school decide who gets the money based on those presentations.
Four charities were represented by students this year including Kingston 4 Paws, Rideauwood Addiction and Family Services, Big Brothers and Big Sisters Kingston and Addiction and Mental Health Services Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington.
Addiction and Mental Health Services will receive $5,000, thanks to the winning presentation of their advocates Mairina Jackson and Annika Putnam.
“They service a wide area and offer lots of services,” said Putnam.
“We were both interested in what they do,” said Jackson.
This year, three of the four charities focus on mental health (and it could be argued that so does Big Brothers/Big Sisters) and that fact wasn’t lost on Putnam and Jackson.
“Young people are becoming more aware of how mental health is going to impact just about everything you do,” said Putnam.