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Feature Article - October 6, 2005

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Feature Article

October 6, 2005

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Letters to the Editor

Municipal funding for Sydenham Water

Dear Mr. Lake:

I am in receipt of a letter from Alastair Lamb, which was sent as a follow up to a meeting I had with representatives from the Sydenham Safe Water Association. During the meeting, they described the significant costs that would be borne by local residents to have the new water treatment system installed in their community.

They asked if there would be any possibility for additional provincial dollars to be directed towards this project. I indicated that with all such infrastructure projects, the costs are shared on a one third basis with the federal government, provincial government and the local municipality. With regard to the Sydenham Water System, I indicated that the people of Ontario would cover their third of the approved project costs.

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You will note in their letter to me, and during our meeting, the Sydenham Safe Water Association has strongly advocated that the local costs of this project should be shared more equitably by the residents of South Frontenac. Such consideration would mean instead of a few hundred people bearing several thousands of dollars in costs, per household, that if the burden were spread across all of the residents of the municipality, the burden would be less than $200 in one time costs per household. An even more attractive scenario would be for the municipality to spread the capital cost over 20 years at a cost of approximately $13 per year/per household.

You know that I have strongly supported your council's decision to provide safe water to the residents of Sydenham by constructing a water treatment facility. I believe that safe water is essential to a community's health and well-being. Sydenham is the community of interest for much of South Frontenac where children go to school, and people go to shop, worship and recreate.

When funding is provided to municipalities from the Province of Ontario it is important to note that the province does not area rate the funding, as such initiatives are funded by all taxpayers of Ontario. If area rating was applied at the provincial level it would prove burdensome, and insufficient for many parts of the province, particularly for northern and rural communities.

Recognizing that amalgamation did provide an opportunity for a greater pooling of resources and the development of a greater assessment base for municipalities, sharing the costs of the water treatment plant among all of the residents of the township would be consistent with the way the other two levels of government provides funding.

I am sure you can recall my suggestions to you in the past, that council could consider spreading the costs of the project more equitably among all of the residents of the township. Now, that the Sydenham Safe Water Association has presented me with the same suggestion and some compelling numbers to support their position, I respectfully request that the Council of South Frontenac seriously reconsider this funding option.

Such consideration would provide for a more bearable and equitable payment plan for a very valuable part of your municipal infrastructure.

I thank you for your attention to this very important matter, and I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Leona Dombrowsky, MPPHastings-Frontenac-Lennox &. Addington

Re: Hinge Lake Fire

To: Mayor Bill Lake and South Frontenac Council:

On August 8 smoke was seen above the tree line on the southeast shore of Buck Lake. Alert residents gave the Township Fire Department information to pinpoint the fire location on the south shore of Hinge Lake. Hinge Lake is only about 200 to 300 metres east of the Buck Lake shoreline, and the fire was not accessible to regular fire fighting equipment. Firefighters used pickup trucks and ATVs with trailers, and over a ten to twelve day period, the fire was finally extinguished after considerable heavy and dirty work by our volunteer firefighters.

On behalf of the Buck Lake Community I would like to express our gratitude to our volunteer firefighters for their great efforts. We are truly fortunate to have such citizens commit themselves to this often hazardous responsibility, and they deserve our utmost support and recognition.

- Crawford M. MacIntyre

Re:Sydenham Water - What can we do?

As a non-resident ofSydenham Village I wouldlike to commenton the letter to the editor from David Waugh (September 29, 2005).

I agree that it iscommon sense for all of thetaxpayers, who are participating in the "share costing" amalgamated township, to pay what is not more than the price of a daily cup of coffee for most of the water treatment project.Weshare costs forall other services!Who among us would even know, especially when we have so many other secret and public projects that benefit a host oftaxpayers and municipal employees.

Further on this theory of cost sharing,our councillors will, hire water plant treatment operators, buy chemicals,other materials and testing equipment, provide maintenance, probably purchase a vehicle or two, and as this operation grows, so will the ongoing costs escalate. Surely they are not going to expect the residents using the water to bear these back breaking expenses that they will have no control over. If they do, I hear there are two water plantoperators, formally from Walkerton Ont., who will work for beer.

As far as similar costs for other communities, common sense says that this fiasco will very likely not be repeated. When you look at recommended communitiy sizes, I even question why Sydenham village sudivisions are not included (was there even enough water in Sydenham lake to service them?)

I also agree with another responder that laws are easier to change than stubborn minds.

- Peter Svendsen

Re: The Importance of Local Foods

I am pleased to see the support that the Perth Farmers' Market has been garnering in their fight to continue selling locally produced eggs and "value added" home-made products like pickles or baked goods. In his letter of Sept. 29, MP Scott Reid presents solid arguments for amending what he rightly describes as the "poorly designed provincial regulations" which impose prohibitive bureaucratic requirements both on local farmers and on consumers. Food safety is important, and we should have no problem with government regulations that are actually needed to protect the public. But let's not be ridiculous!

Beyond the specifics of the Farmers' Market, the larger issue is the need for all of us to "eat close to home". Most of the food being sold in supermarkets has travelled hundreds, often thousands of miles before it gets to us. These "food miles" are extremely costly, in environmental, economic and human terms.

Buying lettuce from California or tomatoes from Mexico literally costs the earth in terms of fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions, and most of what we are importing is water - water from irrigated fields in naturally arid areas. In many of those areas, salination and aquifer depletion are increasing problems, and the appropriate dryland crops which formerly fed the local population have been abandoned in favour of globalization's export market.

Meanwhile, here at home, prime Canadian farmland is being paved over or sold to big corporate interests because our own farmers don't get decent enough prices for their products to be able to stay in business. And has anyone detected any taste in those massive lumps of California fibre that the supermarkets still promote as "peaches", even at the height of the peach season in Ontario when our own sweet and juicy fruit is abundantly available?

So let's support the farmers markets whenever we can do the rest of our shopping locally where possible, and make sure we demand Canadian food products where ever they exist. With a little awareness we can kick the habit of food from afar, support our neighbours and our own economy, and enjoy quality food that's both tasty and nutritious and hasn't spent days in a truck.

- Helen Forsey

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