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Feature Article - September 29, 2005

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Feature Article

September 29, 2005

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OPPto organise public meeting on child safety:CentralFrontenac Council Report

In an immediate response to a request from Central Frontenac Council, OPP Detachment Commander Gerry Salisbury will be organizing a meeting for residents of Arden and others to deal with citizens’ concerns over the threat posed by Kelvin John Fischer, a dangerous sexual offender that is living near the village.

Commander Salisbury was in attendance at a Central Frontenac Council meeting, along with Sgt. Jeff McCann of the Sharbot Lake detachment, to give a report on OPP activities in the region over the past nine months. He was asked to remain in order to hear a delegation of citizens from Arden, led by Rhonda MacFarland, who were bringing community concerns about Fischer to Council’s attention.

She had Councillor Jack Nicolson read a letter, signed by nine concerned parents in Arden, outlining the fear and dismay they felt about Mr. Fischer living among them.

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“As I drive through town I see the Watch for Children signs and think they should now read GUARD YOUR CHILDREN or PROTECT ALL CHLDREN,” the letter concluded.

Mayor Bill MacDonald said that while he sympathised with Rhonda MacFarland’s concerns, “the matter is not something that as a municipal Council we have any jurisdiction over. I can request that the OPP set up a meeting to deal with this if you like.”

MacFarland said yes, and MacDonald looked over at Gerry Salisbury, who said he would have to arrange for the right people from the OPP to come to the meeting, but that sometime in October it would be done. (Look to the News for details as they become available)

Crow Lake Schoolhouse refurbishment plans – Joe Slater led a delegation that included the entire Board of Directors of the Crow Lake Schoolhouse. Slater informed Council about a Trillium Grant application the Association is planning to submit next month. He also made certain requests to support the application. Since the township owns the building, a written commitment leasing the building to the Crow Lake Association for at least the next five years is required. As well, the Association requested that the normal building permit and debris dump permits be waived. Finally, a commitment of $2,500 for new wiring and the installation of a generator package was sought. The schoolhouse will then be capable of serving as an emergency centre for the township should a major power outage occur in the future.

Council approved all the requests without hesitation.

Free ice time for Grade 5’s – Wes Garrod from the Limestone District School Board came to Council to request that Council endorse a program whereby Grade 5 students will receive a pass for free skating time during public skates at the North Frontenac Arena. Garrod said this was part of a project to encourage active living among students. Grade 5 students have been chosen because the patterns set up at that age are more likely to take hold than at other ages. Mayor MacDonald said Council could endorse the plan but it is really the Arena Board that must make the decision. Councillor Bob Harvey, who chairs the Arena Board, said the Board was already in favour.

FEWR seeks leasing deal – Jim MacPherson of the Frontenac E-Waste Recovery Centre (FEWR) brought a four-minute video that was prepared when FEWR was awarded a prize for Community Development Projects by the Ontario Community Futures Development Corporations. MacPherson highlighted the activities of the Computers For Schools Program of FEWR, which has been involved in the establishment of computer refurbishing centres in over 15 countries. MacPherson introduced Mary Kahora, a Network Administrator from Strarehe Boys Centre with Computers For Schools Kenya, who is spending the next two and a half months in Sharbot Lake at FEWR learning new technology. A representative from Computers for Schools Sierra Leone, in Sharbot Lake to pick up a load of computers, was in attendance as well. MacPherson admitted that, in spite of all the endorsements from institutions and government officials, FEWR has been facing a funding crunch. FEWR signed a one-year lease for the use of the former township garage on Wagner Road for $1300 a month. MacPherson is seeking a lease extension, but at a lower rate. Council decided to have staff determine what the maintenance costs to the township of the facility are in order to determine a new rental fee.

Public Works Service Hotline – Township IT Manager Chris Matheson made a presentation to Council on the Service Request Hotline, which is now up and running. Township residents can phone the township office at 279-3935, push 5 when the recorded message comes on, and leave a message with a request for the Public Works department. The message is accessed by the Public Works Department before the start of the next shift. It is designed as a way of allowing the public to access service in the most direct way possible. The township will be presenting public information about the new service soon.

Arden dump to remain in service for two years – At their previous meeting, Council was unable to decide what to do with the Arden dump. It was agreed that the dump would have to close in the near future, and that a waste transfer station would not be set up, but two competing proposals were being considered. One, favoured by a waste management task force made up of three Councillors, called for closing the dump to garbage immediately, and maintaining the site as a recycling centre only, to be open on Saturdays. The other proposal, favoured by Public Works Manager Bill Nicol, would have seen the dump kept open for two or three years as a garbage collection site alone, with recycling being diverted to the Olden site.

Nicol was not present to explain his position at the previous meeting but he did attend this meeting. He explained that in order to get the maximum use of the Arden dump, it would be necessary to use of some of the space now occupied by the recycling bins.

“We developed a closure plan for this dump over a period of time, at great cost to the township, and it is based on the idea that we will max out the facility as a dump site before closing it.”

Nicol then said that it might be possible to move the recycling bins and keep the dump as both a waste disposal and recycling site for the time being, but that eventually the recycling bins would have to be moved to get the entire dumping life out of the site.

Councillor Logan Murray, who favoured turning the site into a recycling centre and entering into other measures designed to encourage recycling, noted that several emails in support of his position had been sent to Council.

Nonetheless, Nicol’s position prevailed. The Arden dump will remain a dump site until it is filled, and will then be closed down entirely.

Plan to Pave Roads - A report from Bill Nicol was presented to council, recommending that Council consider a 7 to 10-year plan to establish a budget to surface treat the township’s more heavily travelled seasonal roads that lead to waterfront properties. If the township continues to budget $400,000 per year for construction, $200,000 could be spent on pavement preservation and $200,000 to upgrade these gravel roads for surface treatment. Roads being considered are: Arden, Burney Point, Clement, Clarke, Eagle Lake, Elm Tree, Fall River, Guigue, Henderson, Kirk’s Cove, Mary Moore, Shibley, Second Depot, Wilkinson, Wagner, White Lake and Zealand.

Councillor Gutowski objected, calling the proposal a knee-jerk reaction to waterfront owners’ perceptions of lack of services. She said a strategic plan was needed and there should be consultation with the public. She also said she has received calls from waterfront property owners who do not want their roads paved because that would increase speed and perhaps bring accidents. Gutowski brought forward a motion to table the proposal, but it was defeated and the debate continued.

Councillor Murray said it was a good idea to pave roads, but a bad idea to pave certain roads just because 58% of CF taxes are generated from waterfront properties. He said the regular taxpayer also needs good roads to go to work.

Councillor Jack Nicolson pointed out that better roads would lead to economic development, and Councillor Frances Smith said that these roads were in the township’s initial plan.

It costs $300/km/yr more to maintain paved roads than gravel roads, but Mayor MacDonald pointed out that the difference might be offset by the cost of replacing some aging township graders at about $200,000 each.

The 7-10 year plan would not begin for a couple of years, and the proposal was accepted.

Truck to Van - The township’s mechanic currently uses a 1 ton diesel township truck, but it is too expensive to operate and council is looking into buying a smaller van. Councillors Murray, Snyder and Gutowski all disagreed with the policy of the mechanic using a township truck, but the motion to buy a smaller van was passed.

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