For the Northbrook Lions, this year’s annual ‘Thank You’ barbecue took on added significance. It was the Club’s opportunity to publically thank the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) for a $54.200 grant that allowed the club to undergo renovations that have been needed for some time.
Lions President Kerry Skipper said the renovations included new flooring, windows and doors, new interlock brick paving around the entrance vestibule and a new roof.
“These renovations would not have been possible without the grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation,” Skipper said. “This will allow us to provide a safe and accessible centre for local community events for the foreseeable future.”
Hastings-Lennox & Addington MPP Daryl Kramp said he was pleased to be on hand Saturday to see the results of the Lions’ successful OTF application.
“Volunteer organizations like the Land O’Lakes Lions are critical to the fabric of our communities,” Kramp said. “Especially those small centres that might not otherwise have the resources to provide key services to the community as this hall does.
“Congratulations on your success, enjoy your renovated building and I hope that you use it for many years to come to service the needs of your community.”
Kramp said said the Lions Hall serves as the social centre for the residents of Northbrook and nearby communities of Cloyne, Myers Cave, Flinton and Kaladar for regular events like bingo, euchre, dances, children’s programs and community lunches and dinners. The hall has been owned and maintained by the Land O’ Lakes Lions since it was converted from an old school house in 1984.
OTF representative Shirley Van Steen said the Foundation has granted $2.8 million in this area since 2015.
Frontenac County Warden Ron Higgins probably wouldn’t be offended if somebody said he tends to go about things a little differently from most politicians.
So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Higgins decided to hold his first Warden’s Reception outdoors, at Fernleigh Lodge on Kashwakamak Lake Saturday.
Also new to Wardens’ receptions was the inclusion of area business offering everything from local maple syrup to chocolates and boat tours of the lake.
Of course what wasn’t new was the Warden’s speech and Higgins used the opportunity to point out some of the highlights of his tenure in the position.
After thanking everyone involved including his wife, Wendy, Higgins said: “Recently our Council confirmed continuation of our strategic priorities which were initially set by the previous Council which focused on
• Seniors and the aging tsunami
• the future of waste management
• long range financial planning and economic development.”
Higgins said the County was able to secure rides to medical appointments for seniors and that each township would have affordable seniors housing in their township.
“In terms of seniors housing, the Islands have completed their project, South Frontenac has an approved business plan in place and North and Central are well underway in terms of developing a business plan to meet seniors needs.”
He said the County continues to “support the public works managers and their work with Cambium to assist Council with progress towards the Frontenac County Waste Strategic Goal” which resulted in a grant to fund a study looking for ways to optimize waste diversion.
On economic development, he said: “Economic development continues to thrive as the County moves into its final year of Rural Economic Development funding including the Ferry by Foot Promotion Plan, Local Food Awareness Campaign and the Uniform Trail and Wayfinding signage program.”
Last week’s Addington Highlands Ward 2 all candidates meeting in Flinton will likely go down as one of the shortest such meetings in history with only two questions asked of the five candidates running in the October election.
After the candidates (incumbents Helen Yanch and Bill Cox and newcomer David Miles for councilor as well as incumbent Reeve Henry Hogg and newcomer Alice Madigan) gave their opening statements, one member of the audience asked about a broken swing on the playground at the Flinton Hall.
“We are looking into that,” said Yanch. “But it probably won’t be fixed for awhile.
“My wife likes the swings so it should be fixed,” said Miles.
“There’s a report coming on what all needs to be fixed,” said Hogg. “I hope we can afford to get it all done.”
When it appeared that there were no more questions from the 20 or so people in the audience, The Frontenac News asked the candidates for their views on whether or not they would support a marijuana outlet in the municipality when it become legal Oct. 17 (hey, we came all that way).
(The question turned out to be prophetic as just that evening Hogg had been informed of a legal marijuana grow-op consisting of about 800 plants just outside of Flinton. Hogg said later that Health Canada is supposed to inform the municipality of such operations “but they didn’t in this case. The land is zoned agricultural and we’ll probably have to re-zone it to industrial so we can collect the taxes.”)
Here’s the candidates’ responses at the meeting.
“I doubt that there will be any requests,” said Hogg. “I know there are some legal grow ops we didn’t know about.”
“It’s hard to see these things readily available in the area,” said Miles. “I’ve had friends use it for medicinal purposes (but) it’s sad when economics dictates our morality.”
“I’m not really for it but I’m not for alcohol either,” said Madigan. “But if it’s what our residents want . . .”
“I don’t think there will be too may dispensaries in our area,” said Cox. “We’ll know better once they tell us the rules.”
“That’s very difficult to answer,” said Yanch. “You’ll be able to buy it online and there’s already medicinal marijuana available online.
“We already have drugs in the community so if somebody had a storefront that was legal and protected, we could benefit from tax revenue and while personally I don’t want to see shops, but at least we would have some control.”
While Council did approve $1,500 to help the Malcolm and Ardoch Lakes Association get started with its battle against Eurasian milfoil and seems amenable to a further $10,000 to hire a grad student for the project at some time in the future, one of the potential weapons for the battle didn’t get approved.
Council decided that boat wash stations represented more potential issues than they might solve, not the least of which is cost.
“Didn’t we already decide this (boat wash stations) is too expensive?” said Coun. John Ingles at Friday’s meeting.
“To me, it would be too expensive,” said Mayor Ron Higgins. “And how would you police it?
“Would we have to have an attendant?”
“The concern was that it would become a car wash,” said community development manager Corey Klatt. “I don’t think it would be as easy as putting up a building and having a pressure washer in there.”
Higgins suggested they would approve the province for assistance.
Coun. Wayne Good didn’t see much point in that.
“From what I’ve seen in presentations, there’s absolutely no way you can stop it,” Good said.
“It’s in about 10 areas of the (Ardoch) lake and in other lakes as well,” said Higgins.
Property standards bylaw doesn't fly in North Frontenac
It doesn’t look like there will be anything resembling a property standards bylaw in North Frontenac in the near future following last Friday’s regular Council meeting in Plevna.
Keeping in mind that Council will be the same with the exception of Fred Fowler replacing Denis Bedard for the next four years, it is unlikely Council would entertain something it appears to be against.
Mayor Ron Higgins served a notice of motion at the previous Council meeting to discuss the issue after the Township received a complaint from a resident that a neighbouring property was in disrepair.
“I’d like to see us come up with a bylaw to deal with properties in disrepair,” Higgins said. “Neighbours are concerned about property values.”
“Tough titty,” said Coun. John Inglis. “In most cases, people knew about the neighbouring properties before they moved in.
“In this case, it’s not dangerous, there aren’t health issues, the opposition is purely esthetic.
“Generally, with these complaints, it’s about low income people who can’t afford to make esthetic repairs although sometimes it’s a personal choice.
“It’s all part of the process of living with people who don’t have the same means as you do.”
“I’m against too much Big Brother being involved,” said Coun. Wayne Good. “What are you going to do — tell them they have to go into debt?
“We already have a safe properties bylaw.”
Some councilors noted how divisive an attempt to institute a property standards bylaw in Central Frontenac was.
“Some municipalities have a property standards bylaw but we don’t have the staff to administer one,” said CAO Cheryl Robson. “And you would have to set up an appeals body.
“You’d have to involve the fire chief, the bylaw officer and the chief building official.”
“Some guy builds a million dollar house next to a shack,” said Good.
Council instructed staff to look at a policy of sending a letter to ‘offending’ homeowners.
“I would just caution about a ‘letter from the Township,’” said Inglis. “That can be pretty scary stuff.”
Lamenting the loss of Firefighter Associations
Council approved the Clarendon-Miller Volunteer Firefighters Association’s plan to purchase chairs for the training room at the Clarendon-Miller Station and thanked them for the donation.
Coun. John Inglis noted that as of right now, the Clarendon-Miller association is the only one in the Township except for the ladies auxiliary in Snow Road.
Inglis asked fire chief Eric Korhonen if he saw a need for more firefighter associations.
“That is entirely up to the firefighters,” Korhonen said.
Central Frontenac celebrated its 2nd annual Trail Day Saturday with most events happening at the Caboose in Sharbot Lake’s Railway Park. There were trail rides, historic walks, bands, little theatre, pickle ball, washer toss, story tent and end-of-the-trail stew at the Legion to finish things off.
Dep. Warden Denis Doyle brought greetings from Frontenac County.
“We started a committee 11 years ago and I was on it,” he said. “It’s turned out to be a much bigger project than any of us expected and I want to see it completed.”
A number of people were wondering when that might be.
Colin MacDonald and his wife Claire cycled up from Kingston for the event.
“We heard it went all the way to Renfrew but we only made it as far as that big swamp,” he said.
Mayor Frances Smith conceded that there are a few gaps still from Tichborne to Sharbot Lake.
“We’re working on getting rid of that swamp,” she said. “There may be some potential with beaver dams.”
But overall, most were just enjoying a sunny day and a community gathering.
“We want people to use FaceBook to report on and promote the trail,” said Doyle. “The more people that use it, the more we can justify the gobs of money we’re trying to find under every rock.”
“The takeaway from this is that this (Central Frontenac and Frontenac County) is a great place to have fun and trails are a great focus for that,” said organizer Bill Bowick.
Oh, and the pulled pork was particularly good.
It’s not unusual for candidates debate crowds to be small when the Mayor’s position is already filled by acclamation. When you take out the number of sitting Central Frontenac Council members and candidates from other districts in attendance, it was a rather intimate gathering indeed.
However, it did make for some rousing ‘discussion,’ especially when moderator Jeff Green allowed the audience more leeway that is usual for such things.
And mixed in there, the four candidates for the two seats in District 2 (Olden), managed to get their points across.
Dan Cunningham wanted to see project management applied to every issue, not surprising given his background as a project manager for Stanley Tools.
He said the septic reinspection program is a good example of something not being planned out.
“We can save a lot of money,” he said. “One way is to stop the reinspection program.
“It will cost money that would be better spent on our landfills.
“And we need more work on roads.”
Victor Heese said he thought stable leadership at the top has gone a long way in the Township.
“We’ve gone through several CAOs and Cathy MacMunn being there has allowed us to focus on other things than hiring a CAO,” he said. “I know that hiring a full-time fire chief was controversial but we do now have better equipment for our firefighters, better halls and less liability.”
Heese said he wanted to focus on better internet services to attract home-based businesses.
Bill Everett said more people likely know his truck (B Sanitation) than himself but promised to “do my best to see improvements in Olden and Central Frontenac in general.
“I’m not going to criticize anyone’s ideas — that’s for debate in Council.”
Elwin Burke, who was Reeve of the old Olden Township for six years (three as councilor before that) said he’d like to see meetings moved from the 4 p.m. timeslot to the evening so more people could attend. (Mayor Frances Smith pointed out from the crowd that one of the the reasons they were changed to 4 p.m. was to cut down on overtime costs).
Burke said he’d also like to see more recorded votes and gravel on the roads.
Environmental issues took up much of the evening with a re-use centre at landfills being generally agreed to be something worth pursuing. However, septic reinspection didn’t sit well with three of the four candidates.
“I have no issue with septic inspection but I have a big issue with more Big Brother,” said Everett. “Why are we inspecting? Do we have significant numbers of systems that are exploding?”
“Around the lakes it can be very important but up here in the hills, where you can be miles from your nearest neighbour, I don’t see it as a problem,” said Burke.
“It hasn’t been costed out and it doesn’t even meet the standards for being a project,” said Cunningham. “And, it’s separating people.”
On the potential issue of there being a marijuana dispensary in Central Frontenac once it’s legalized Oct. 17, the candidates views were mixed, other than agreeing it shouldn’t be located near a school.
“I’m not sure how much Council will have a say in it,” said Heese.
“I would go with the provincial legislation,” said Cunningham.
“I would have to vote yes,” said Everett. “A lot of people use it for medicinal reasons.”
“I’m not a big fan of marijuana so if I lost an election because of it, I wouldn’t care,” said Burke.
The purchase of two closed schools also drew a lot of attention.
“Selling them off is part of my platform,” said Cunningham.
“If I were to buy two schools, I’d want to have a plan of what to do with them, I haven’t seen a plan,” said Burke.
“The plan for the Sharbot Lake school is some sort of seniors residences, but the current building will have to be demolished,” said Heese. “The Parham school could be some sort of recreation and community centre.
“If we’d waited, they would have been much more expensive.”
“I don’t know,” said Everett. “I think I would have been against it but we’re stuck now so we’ll have to make the best of it.”
It was a considerable attendance last Thursday night at the Storrington Centre as the Battersea Loughborough Lake Association hosted a meet the candidates event for residents to ask questions of the three Mayoralty candidates (incumbent Ron Vandewal, Coun. Mark Schjerning and Phil Archambault), three of the four candidates for Loughborough Councilor (incumbent Ross Sutherland, Fran Willis and Randy Ruttan; candidate Farrah Soaft did not attend) in the October South Frontenac election.
Storrington Coun. Ron Sleeth and Norm Roberts were acclaimed but were at the table anyway.
The format was a little different from may such forums as the lake association provided candidates with three questions beforehand and asked them to answer two of them.
The first question was on the importance of clean water and if the candidate would support a mandatory septic inspection program.
Vandewal said he did not support mandatory septic inspection at this time, preferring an education program. Archambault did support it and advocated a “guaranteed loan program” to help homeowners affected.
Ruttan said he could not support such a program. “I believe that’s not our mandate, it’s the Health Unit’s.” he said.
Sutherland said they could work towards it but advocated starting with pumping tanks and making capital available to homeowners for system replacement.
The second question was about the feedback lake associations could give regarding lakeside developments and not surprisingly, the candidates who chose to answer the question (Sutherland, Ruttan, Willis and Schjerning) were all in favour of association feedback.
The third question referred to things lakeside property owners could do on their properties (ie docks, vegetation control) and specifically asked if the South Frontenac rules and regulation were vague and poorly communicated.
“Surprises should never happen,” said Schjerning.
“Each case is site specific but docks are either provincial or federal,” said Willis.
“We need some common sense and emails need to be answered,” said Archambault.
“The rules can feel complex but it’s usually a once-in-a-lifetime thing for most people,” said Vandewal. “But can it be better? Of course. We’ve got a new person in place moving forward.”
The forum was then opened up to questions from the floor which ranged from communication issues, to funding for arts programs to potential farm runoff.
When the talk turned towards cows in the water, most candidates agreed that while that had been a concern years ago, most farmers had used government programs to fence off their properties at the waterline, or in many cases, simply gotten out of the business.
“There have been rules in place for many years,” said Vandewal. “And like most residents, most farmers do the right thing.
“When I was young, there were plenty of farms with cows around Loughborough Lake but now I think there are none.”
Sleeth said he thought the question might pertain to a particular incident that he knew of and said “much of the funding that was available has disappeared (and) I’m trying to find something to help in once case.”
Perhaps the most poignant moment of the evening came when someone asked the candidates what they brought to the table. While most used the question as an opportunity to reiterate their strong suits, Vandewal started talking about his father (who was Reeve at one time) and with his voice shaking somewhat said: “This municipality has meant the world to me.”
Inverary Youth Activities came to South Frontenac Committee of the Whole Tuesday night in Sydenham asking for “$10,000 to $15,000” in financial support to offset “this year’s extreme and unforeseen expenses totalling $24,530 over normal year expenses.”
Treasurer Judy Borovskis told COW that in a normal year, the organization takes in about $30,000 from various sources mostly related to activities at Ken Garrett Memorial Park in Inverary. In a normal year, that represents the break even point.
But this year, the organization was faced with replacing foul ball nets ($16,240), underground wiring repair for diamond lights ($710), replacing a lawn mower ($7,380) and replacement of the canteen fridge.
They’ve been able to pay the bills by borrowing the $9,545 in the playground fundraising account, she said but general costs between now and the start-up of next season (insurance, hydro, bank fees, property taxes, employee wages fro September and October and the initial float for starting up the canteen) total $8.616.32. When combined with paying back the playground fundraising account, the organization is $18,161.32 in the hole.
Borovskis said they’ll continue fundraising through bottle drives and the advertising sign campaign. She said they’re looking at other possibilities such as doing lawn and diamond maintenance for the township park on Latimer Road for a fee, hosting children’s birthday events, a family fun day and a pizza dough sale. But the organization is facing washroom renovations to meet accessibility standards as well as work to the holding tank and a variety of other expenses.
Councilors were in general sympathetic to the organization’s plight.
“I would urge Council to support this application to cope with the burden they’ve got financially,” said Coun. Ron Sleeth.
Mayor Ron Vandewal had some more practical and immediate suggestions.
“There’s a lot of history here and I don’t think the youth group wants the Township to take over the fields,” Vandewal said. “But we do give them a $600 grant every year and looking at the property tax expense ($1,643.76) I think we can do something there.
“We can’t waive taxes but we could increase the grant to the amount of the taxes. We’ve done that for other groups.”
CAO/Clerk Wayne Orr said he could have a resolution prepared to that effect for next week’s Council meeting.
Vandewal also suggested that the group approach the County for information on grants available for accessible washrooms and said that if some of the financial problems could wait for budget time, they could probably help more.
“I think there’s potential for you cutting Township grass,” Vandewal said. “I’m sure you can do it cheaper than we can.
“That’s just the way it works.”
• • •
The South Frontenac Museum would like to focus more on the entire Township instead of just the “west side,” secretary Alan Boyce told COW.
He said they’ve been working with Bedford district for use of empty rooms in the basement and have been discussing ways to create an “oral history” archive.
However, like most organizations these days, lack of volunteers, particularly on the executive, remains a roadblock to many of their plans.
“The big thing for us operationally is to get more people in,” Boyce said. “There’s no doubt the support we receive from the Township is substantial.”
Boyce said one example of this is providing summer student Vanessa Kennedy, a third year museum administration student whom Coun. John McDougall described as “a crackerjack.”
Frontenac Fury hockey organization president Lynn Newton welcomed the public to the Frontenac Community Arena Sunday for a get-together that featured sizing for hoodies and socks, an equipment swap, skate sharpening and an opportunity to meet new teammates and bench staff.
“It’s also an opportunity to ask questions for everybody new to the organization,” she said.
The Frontenac Fury Girls Hockey Association will field 10 teams this year including the First Shift program for those new to hockey, as well as five house league and three competitive teams (peewee, bantam and midget).
“From atom to midget, our membership has quadrupled in the last five years,” she said. “They all drank the Kool-Aid.”
She said more than 150 children have gone through the Fury and Frontenac Flyers programs in the past three years.
Part of the reason for this get-together was registration for the upcoming season which is set to start Sept. 22 but (online) registration continues, she said.
“You can still register online after the season starts,” she said.
Another reason is for the players to get fitted for socks and hoodies.
“The hoodies have the names of our sponsors on the back and the girls can wear them anywhere,” Newton said. “We used to put sponsors names on the individual jerseys but they’d have to be removed each off season and this preserves the jerseys a little while longer.
“Plus, many of the girls tuck the jerseys inside their pants and you can’t see the sponsors’ names.”
The Arena opens Sept. 14 with a free skate from 6-7 p.m.
Josh Suppan and Jen Valberg are the new kids on the block with their Fat Chance Farmstead on Road 38 south of Harrowsmith.
So they were very pleased with the number of neighbours who dropped in during the Open Farms In Frontenac event Sunday.
“We just moved here,” Valberg said. “We were renting fields in Inverary for five years before this.
“This is a great chance to meet the neighbours.”
They were really into the event, setting up a photo booth for visitors, running a “guess the name of the farm implement” contest to win a food box, and of course the huge pile of sand that was a big hit with the kids.
The farm is a certified organic fruits and vegetables operation. From June to October, they run a vegetable box program and have averaged 50-60 subscribers per year. This year, they have 56.
“We kind of do every veggie under the sun, “Valberg, who comes from the east of Kingston, said. “I love showing people what we do and where their food comes from.
“That’s an important part of what we do.”
They’re heavily into garlic, producing eight varieties. She said they participate in the many garlic festivals around these days.
But aside from the food boxes and garlic shows, perhaps their biggest focus is on strawberries.
“John Wise, of Wise Acres, is retiring and passing the U-pick banner to us,” she said. “That will be set up for next year.
“We’ve found a day-neutral variety of organic strawberry that’s not sensitive to the amount of daylight available and so we can grow them from June to October.”
Suppan, who’s originally from the Niagara region is also optimistic about the future of their operation. He’s especially pleased to finally own the land they work.
“It’s a lot easier than renting,” he said.