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Feature Article - October 20, 2005

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October 20, 2005

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Letters to the Editor:October 20, 2005

Sydenham water – does anyone know where this project is going?

Township council has a bylaw in place to proceed with “safe water” for Sydenham village with the costs being borne by the small group receiving the “benefit.”

Now (October 6, page 3) the local MPP “sees the light” where the entire township should share this cost.

Is council now going to change the bylaw to involve the entire township? Will there be public meetings to allow all residents to voice their opinions on this project?

What do the elected officials plan to do about the fact that ground water will continue to be polluted by the end product of municipal “safe” water?

This is an ill-conceived plan to correct the problem of polluted ground water.

- Robert Fish, Harrowsmith

Superior local service


This letter is to express my gratitude and delight with the superior service I received from ‘Doug’s Antenna’ this week. After 19 months of frustration with Bell ExpressVu, I found it necessary to call in an ‘outsider’. Doug’s Antenna was able to fit me in within three days. They showed up exactly on time and proved to be friendly, competent and professional. It seemed they were happy to “go the extra mile” to satisfy me. In spite of all that, I was still amazed when I came home the next day and found a remote left at my door, with Doug’s business card, as a replacement for the faulty one that Bell would NOT replace.

I strongly recommend that anyone thinking of buying a Bell ExpressVu satellite system buy it from Doug’s Antenna!

- Jody Duffy

Inverary Water – 3 Strikes, You’re Out

In reference to the recent Inverary water crisis, I would like to point out a few things:

First, the people of the Sydenham Water Area, in an overwhelming majority of 92%, tell the South Frontenac Council, in no uncertain terms, to stay out of the water issue. In fact we have told them not once, but many, many times, in many many ways.

And what does our mayor and council do? They completely IGNORE the people and take full control, to the point of appearing like an autocratic dictatorship, then ram an inappropriate solution to the problem down our throats. Steeerrrrike One.

Second, the costs of the Sydenham project are skyrocketing out of control, from the initial estimate of $5.6 million, with an estimated people’s share of $800,000, to the now staggering estimate of $8.2 million, with an outrageous $3.2 million share for the people. So the people of Sydenham, other people in the township and our MPP Leona Dombrowsky have asked, multiple times, in multiple ways, to spread the costs of this project across the township.

And what does our mayor and council do? They completely IGNORE the people, and maintain their incredibly stubborn stance of making the people of Sydenham pay the bulk of the township’s share of this project. Steeerrrrike Two.

Third, recently, at least seven homes in Inverary have some tragic water issues. These people, and their neighbours, bless them, all ask council to help them with this crisis.

So what does our illustrious mayor and council do? They not only completely IGNORE the people, but they pull an amazing public 180 degree contradiction and tell the people that water is not their jurisdiction? Huh? I must have a hearing problem OR does this council only get involved in water issues when it suits them?

In the last three years of having to fight with our council over the Sydenham water project, we have been told repeatedly to the point of nausea that this council had to do something about the water in Sydenham. But now when the people of Inverary are actually in a crisis situation they are being told the exact OPPOSITE? Steeerrrrike Three.

Mayor Lake and those on Council supporting him, YOU’RE OUT.

You can either start listening to the people now, or you can listen to us in the next election when we unanimously vote for someone who is actually willing to operate in the PEOPLE’S best interest.

- David Waugh, South Frontenac elector

Re:Harrowsmith closing

My first thought when I read about the closing of the cheese factory in Harrowsmith was: why don't the employees buy the place and return to making local cheeses? Then, I found out that it's all about the milk quota. We used to have cheese factories in just about every village. Then the big boys (Kraft, etc.) started buying these small locations, and before you knew it, the local factory was closed, but the milk quota stayed with the big boys who moved the quota to one of their big operations where it was more efficient(?). It certainly gave them more economic clout. I'm sure that Saputo Inc. will not transfer all 89 jobs being lost to other plants. The purpose is to improve efficiency, after all. And, will they pay to transfer those families to their other locations? Or would employees have to take the chance that once they have paid the cost of a move, that their new jobs would not be declared redundant or moved to another location? Big business is all about the bottom line. We can never forget that.

Is there a homemade solution to Harrowsmilh's dilemma without having to acquire expensive milk quota? I understand that the Harrowsmith facility could be used to produce bottled milk and ice cream without having to buy quota. The dairy closest to Kingston is Reid's in Belleville. With the cost of fuel going through the roof, it might be economically viable for local dairy farmers to purchase the Harrowsmith facility, perhaps as a co-operative.

Another question I have is: why do cheese factories have to have milk quota? The dairy farmer has milk quota which allows him/her to sell a set amount of milk. What purpose is served by having cheese factories own milk quota as well? Especially now that there are so very few cheese factories left in Ontario. Could a way be found to give milk quota at no cost to special bodies (such as co-ops) under contract?

I imagine any solution would require help from government, either as grants, loan guarantees, whatever. I hope that the stakeholders will get together (local council, dairy farmers, businesses) and see what viable solution this community can come up with.

- Irene Backholm, Amherstview

Ontario Municipal Taxes

The Ontario government’s answer to downloading of tax burden from the federal government was to pass the load on to municipal levels along with increased responsibility and a new property assessment scheme described as a “fair taxation system”.

One has to ask, however, under this “fair taxation system”, are the municipal taxes paid in Central Frontenac--mostly by waterfront property owners--intended to be 1) a tax for services provided; 2) a wealth tax; or 3) simply a tax grab by the Ontario government?

If it is the first, why is there such a disparity of services in the township? Many lakefront property owners, paying disproportionately high taxes, have none of today’s basic communication services: no maintained roads, no mail delivery, no internet access. Without municipally maintained roads they, of course, do not have ready access to other municipal services such as fire, police, and health care. Central Frontenac taxes seem to go primarily to support an extensive road network that does not reach most of the heaviest taxed property owners.

If municipal taxes are intended to be a wealth tax, why again are the rates so different across the province? In Toronto, where most of the MPs who brought in this system live, the tax rate is only 0.88895%, whereas it is 1.513% in Central Frontenac, nearly double.

I might add that the Toronto taxes provide a much higher level of services including support for a public transportation system.

One can conclude that the answer must be #3, simply another tax grab by a provincial government that does not see beyond its capital city. One could also conclude from these facts that it is the rural municipalities, not the big cities, that need support from the federal infrastructure initiative.

- Roger Henry, Sharbot Lake

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