Deputy fire chief says he's being pushed out
Bill Babcock, Deputy Fire Chief in Portland, addressed Council about his pending retirement: “I feel that I am being forced to retire: some of my duties have been removed, and I signed my agreement (to retire) under duress.” Babcock said he was 73, in good physical condition, and in the 48th year of service in the department; “April 20, 2020 is my 50-year mark, and I’d like to complete my service then.” He gave Council a document certifying good health, and letters of support from the community. Mayor Vandewal told Babcock that he had asked for a full staff report, in order to bring all council members up to date on the situation, before further discussion. Over 30 supporters left Council chambers with Babcock.
The inaugural meeting of South Frontenac Council opened with the swearing-in of Mayor Vandewal and Council members, three of whom, Ray Leonard, Doug Morey and Randy Ruttan are rookies: Pat Barr, Alan Revill, Norm Roberts, Ron Sleeth and Ross Sutherland were all on last Council. “South Frontenac Township is in a strong position, both financially and organizationally,” said Mayor Vandewal in his welcoming address; “but lots of work lies ahead. You will have to make many decisions, not always popular ones. It’s up to you to do what you feel is right.” He listed updating the Official Plan and hiring a new CAO as two of the many challenges ahead, along with the ongoing pressures of taxation and financing.
Warden Higgins brought greetings from the County.
Rezoning the Rezoning
A property on Bedford Road Sydenham had been rezoned last May to recognize a reduced road frontage and lot size for a new residential lot and a retained parcel. The intent was to remove a frame house and garage which were very close to the Bedford Road improvement area, and to permit two residential lots in their place. However this rezoning had been prematurely brought to Council by the then planning department, before the survey was completed. In October, when the survey was submitted, it was found that both lots had shorter frontages and one had a smaller lot area than had been indicated in the original information. The current rezoning is a largely technical correction, as the properties are within the Sydenham settlement area, and will be served by municipal water. Only one comment came from a neighbour: “I’d like to see them get on with (tearing it down!)” When Council passed the new amendment, they also agreed to charge the applicant only half the usual fee, for although the change required staff time and work, it appeared to have been a staff decision to initially bring the issue to Council with incomplete information.
Two motions related to the Hartington Subdivision, one requesting reimbursement of $28,792 to the Hartington Community Association for consultant fees, the other for Township funded twice annual private well testing, were deferred until the appeal period of the OMB decision is completed.
Tim Laprade, Township Recreation Supervisor, asked Council to authorize and include in the 2019 budget, the engagement of an external facilitator to help in the revision of the Recreation Committee structure in order to better meet the current and projected recreation and leisure needs of the whole Township. He also asked for budget approval for a new software package to do program registration and facility booking. The current software has been discontinued. This would be a one-time capital cost of $6,000 and an annual operating cost of $8,650.
Council accepted these reports, and Laprade assured them that the review and revision will recognize the continued importance and involvement of community volunteers. Sleeth emphasized that he is opposed to any ‘centralization’ of recreation committees, and wants to keep the local rec committees.
Private Lane Upgrades
Mark Segsworth, Director of Public Services, asked Council to approve payments totalling $78,109. for 2018 Private Lane Upgrading Assistance. It is the tenth year for this popular program which subsidizes up to 50% of completed private road work which will improve access for emergency vehicles. This year, 27 lane groups were approved to submit invoices for subsidy of completed work. Mayor Vandewal complimented Segsworth for all his work in having initiated and developed this very successful program.
2019 Budget Schedule
Council received the 2019 budget schedule which will begin Dec 11, and wind up in mid-February or early March. CAO Orr reminded Councillors that Saturday Jan 26 must be set aside for an all-day budget session.
After some minor wrangling about procedure, Council selected Deputy Mayors, and agreed that each Deputy Mayor should serve for one year, in the following order: Sleeth, Sutherland, Barr and Leonard.
Councillor Revill was chosen to serve the next four years as Township representative on County Council, along with Mayor Vandewal. (Sleeth was also nominated, but respectfully declined.)
Angela Maddocks was promoted to Township Clerk and Division Registrar for South Frontenac, and the role of Deputy Clerk was transferred to CAO Orr. Maddocks has completed Clerk I and II training in the past year, as well as training in election operations.
Emily Caird was welcomed as the new Executive Assistant, and Michelle Hanna has been hired as a Planning Assistant.
Bale Wrap Recycling
Sleeth commended Mark Segsworth on his leadership in developing a means of recycling bale wrap. Segsworth reminded him that Councillor Larry York had been the one who had pioneered the idea.
Three-way Stop a Good Start
Council agreed with Mayor Vandewal’s motion to make the corner of Latimer and Round Lake Roads a three-way stop, until completion of projected construction to improve the intersection.
January 2019 meeting Dates
Acknowledging a reluctance to hold Council meeting on New Year’s Day, Orr announced the January meeting schedule will be moved forward one week: Council will be on Jan 8 and 22; Committee of the Whole will meet January 15.