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Feature Article - November 10, 2005

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Feature Article

November 10, 2005

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Letters to the Editor

Re:Taxes maintain standard of living

I was very pleased to read the letter by Ms. Knight for 2 reasons. For one, it shows that the paper is being read and, secondly, because she gave me the address of the Sydenham Water Relief Fund. A cheque is going out to that organization and by the time this letter appears in the paper, the cheque should have arrived in Sydenham and Ms. Knight can check it out.

By sending the money to the Relief Fund, I’m fairly certain that the money will go to the people it was intended for. With taxes you never know what the money will be used for.


I wonder whether anybody has figured out what the interest would be if the money for the waterworks was borrowed and repaid over 20 years. We might find another millionaire or two among the money lenders in 20 years.

As for paying for garbage collection and the doctor, I have this to say: We have no garbage collection in Bedford. The dump to which I take my garbage is a half hour drive away, so I try to go no oftener than every two months or so, and then it is mostly recycled stuff. The advantage of living in the country is that you can compost a lot.

I can’t even be grateful that Mrs. K contributes to pay for a doctor. I’m 83 years old and can’t remember when I was last sick. I had the measles as a child and the sniffles now and then, but nothing in the last 60 years.

One last thing. I’ don’t “bemoan” what hasn’t happened yet. I object to plans made by someone who is not even from the area. And if things happen that I don’t like and can’t change, then I grin and bear it.

- Astrid Thonigs

Why would Sydenham need treated water?

I have owned a house in Sydenham for just over one year, and I asked myself, “Why would Sydenham need treated water?” I started asking people all over South Frontenac the same question. I was surprised at the answers I got. Here are some of the best ones:

Sydenham village is at the bottom of a valley, where there are only about six streets and not very many homes. How could so few homes with septic tanks pollute the ground water so badly?

The answer was simple, what's on the hill overlooking Sydenham? Why, two schools. Every school day of the year, over 1500 students from all over South Frontenac (and 30 or 40 from Sharbot Lake) have been flushing the toilets, and the septic system has never been able to handle the volume. This has been going on for decades. As the stories go, the school board has never had enough money to properly maintain their septic overload. Why should Sydenham be any different?

The council has omitted putting water pipes down the lanes in Sydenham, so the people who live on the lanes must not have that bad water, even though they are in the same valley as their neighbours who are going to get the water, I think the citizens of Sydenham are not the true benefactors of the Sydenham Water Project; in reality it's the schools.

What if we were to take a class action suit against the school board for polluting our water table instead of being shafted by a council that may have another hidden agenda. How about every time a village somewhere needs some major area-related improvement, the local council says the area affected has to pay for it. Think about this one for a moment. The province is downloading costs it once incurred for us onto the municipalities. Our elected voices don't want to raise taxes so they can get re-elected, so they download local improvements onto the related area.

We need to bind together and let council know we want to pay for our children's safety and our own security. When you think about the cost of water being forced upon 272 homes, $1.8 million estimated, divided by over 10,000 South Frontenac Ratepayers, it's only $180. That $180 will buy us so much peace of mind and future benefits when your area or some other needs improvements.

Our MPP Leona Dombrowsky wrote Mayor Bill Lake a letter (printed in The Frontenac News October 6) informing Mayor Lake how the money from the province for the water came from all over the province and was not area related, the same with the third the federal government chipped in. Why is South Frontenac council talking like we are nothing but dirt--maybe because we don't get involved or speak up. If we don't stand up for what's right now, you can't complain when it's too late and it happens to you.

- Don Wiskin

The Sydenham water 'Disaster' fund

Councillor Ron Vanderwal presented a motion at the last council meeting to set up a fund where the taxpayers of South Frontenac can donate to the Sydenham water 'disaster' (my word- it just fits so well) and subsequently get a tax receipt. Finally, there is a sign that council has an awareness of how devastating this water system is for Sydenham residents. Thank you, Ron.

Without diminishing Ron's intentions, I am compelled to point out that the fund is in lieu of spreading the water system costs over the township and the premise is that the taxpayers who don't want to contribute to Sydenham water shouldn't have to. Well, I don't want to contribute my thousands of dollars for this ill-conceived, inappropriate water system either, but that doesn't seem to matter. In fact, it doesn't seem to matter that 92% of the taxpayers in Sydenham petitioned against this 'cadillac' solution. This then begs the question: How can council justify forcing fewer than 300 taxpayers to pay up to $25,000, yet $13 per year for the other 8,000 taxpayers is out of the question?

Council's answer is that the rest of the township doesn't benefit. RUBBISH! The taxes generated from new development and increased property taxes will be spread over the whole township for everyone's benefit. So for $13 a year the rest of the township will actually realize a benefit, whereas any gain Sydenham residents might recover will have to go toward interest on our loans and the outrageously expensive water coming out of our taps!

It seems to me that if council actually believes that only Sydenham residents benefit from this water system, then any future tax revenues generated from it should stay in Sydenham for the benefit of Sydenham! Now this may seem a bit un-neighbourly, but I'm just following the lead of our elected representatives AND the other council members who do not represent Sydenham, but voted to spend our money so indiscriminately.

- Cathie Waugh

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