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August 11, 2005

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Gray MerriamLegaleseGeneral information and opinion on legal topics by Rural Legal ServicesNature Reflectionsby Jean GriffinNight Skiesby Leo Enright

Central Frontenac Council meeting - July 8

by Jeff Green

A representative from the township’s auditor KPMG of Kingston made an informative 45-minute presentation to Council.

In short, everything seems to be in order. All eight township Councillors, the Mayor and two senior staff in attendance, remained attentive and awake throughout the presentation. The same cannot be said for the audience.

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L&A County Trails – Eric Roberts and Hollee Kew from Lennox and Addington County appeared before Council to clarify an earlier request. As part of a fitness trail initiative by L&A County Council, Roberts and Kew requested that Central Frontenac permit the posting of signs on the Trans Canada Trail between Kaladar and Arden, and along the Arden-Tamworth road to the L&A borderline. This will allow the creation of the Sheffield trail, the second longest of 12 trails being created throughout L&A.

Councillor Jack Nicolson said, “I think this means we are going to have ATVs on the Arden-Tamworth road.”

“This has been under development for four years,” Eric Roberts assured Nicolson, “and it’s a fitness trail, not an ATV trail.”

Other councillors had also confused the Lennox and Addington fitness trail initiative with ATV trail initiatives. Once Steve Roberts had pointed out the difference, all previous objections disappeared.

“I think it’s an excellent proposal,” said Councillor Janet Gutowski. “Statistics bear out the benefits to these kinds of trails.”

Hollee Kew, Economic Development Manager for L&A, said, “What’s in it for us is we want a loop. People prefer to keep going in one direction rather than having to turn around and go back.”

As part of this initiative, Lennox and Addington County has embarked on a program of adding paved shoulders to their County roads as they get re-paved. However, this is not taking place on County Road 15, the part of the Arden-Tamworth Road that is in L&A. It is being repaved, but a paved shoulder is not part of the reconstruction plans.

“On this particular trail, it is being made clear in our publicity that there are no paved shoulders on that part of the trail,” Kew said.

“There are parts of the Arden - Tamworth road in Central Frontenac that are gravel, and very narrow,” Councillor Logan Murray pointed out, referring to one of his most enduring peeves with the rest of Central Frontenac Council.

The 12 fitness trails are designed for cyclist, runners, and walkers, and are designed to highlight tourist attractions throughout L&A. Only three of the trails are located north of Tamworth; the Sheffield trail at 78 km. and the Buckshot Trail, 102 km, being the two longest trails in the system.

The Sheffield trail is described as “the transition route” between southern farmland and Canadian Shield landscape in a proposed trail publicity map. “As you travel north, the landscape changes rapidly. The hard road surface and fields give way to gravel road, granite, and evergreens as the trail meanders along the southern edge of the Canadian Shield,” the publicity continues on to say. Although it contains warnings about the construction on L&A County Road 15, the publicity makes no reference to the condition of the portion of the Arden-Tamworth road that is located within Central Frontenac.

A resolution allowing Lennox and Addington to post signs along the Sheffield Trail within Central Frontenac was approved unanimously.

Garrison Shores - Maurice Woodcock, a resident of the Garrison Shores development on Garrison Lake, west of Arden, came to Council to find out whether there has been any progress in resolving a long-standing legal problem at the development. The Garrison Shores development, a remnant of the early 1980’s, originally included in excess of 100 lots on the small lake, now down to about 35, and has been in legal limbo for many years. Woodcock expressed his frustration over the situation.

“We haven’t had an update or any correspondence from your attorney for a long time,” Woodcock said. “We still don’t have deeds to our properties, even though we’ve been paying taxes to the township for many years. Kennebec and Central Frontenac have refused to give us a deed.”

Bill MacDonald said he understood Woodcock’s frustration.

“It’s a work in progress. Our planner and our lawyer have been working on this. We expect a report from our planner in early September.”

Maurice Woodcock said that the township wanted the existing lots at Garrison Shores to be 1.5 acres in size. “There is no way to accomplish this,” he said. “There isn’t enough land available.”

Councillor Jack Nicolson, brandishing a thick folder that he said contained his Garrison Shores files, pointed out that this issue has been before Council for way too long.

The development has never conformed to zoning bylaws, and has been the subject of litigation in the past. The original developer is long gone, and an attempt to legalize the lots by setting up a plan of condominium was sent to County Council 2 years ago. That was apparently rejected, and Woodcock’s frustration seems to be shared by Council.

“Meanwhile, people don’t have deeds and their properties are worthless. You can’t sell a property without a proper deed,” Woodcock said.

“All I can ask is for a bit more patience,” said Bill MacDonald. “We want this resolved as well.”

Business Signs – the Ministry of Transportation has rejected a request from Central Frontenac Council to have a “business section” panel added to the sign for Road 38 at Hwy. 7.

“The Ministry only signs ‘Business Section’ where there are multiple access points off a highway into a municipality. In this case, there is only one access point off Highway 7 that the Ministry has already placed signs. Therefore we are unable to comply with your request,” wrote Christine Smith, Traffic Operations Analyst, in a letter to the township.

This response did not please Council.

“The problem is that people driving by on Highway 7 do not know that there is a business section in Sharbot Lake. This is something that comes up at every business breakfast we hold,” said Councillor Janet Gutowski. “I think we should pursue this further.”

Building boom gathering momentum – A report from Chief Building Officer Ian Trickett for the month of June shows that building activity for the month, and the year thus far, have far exceeded activity in previous years. The total number for permits in June, 39, was up 17 from June ’04, the construction value for those permits, $1,826,000 is up from $545,000 in ’04, and the number of new residential units in June is 12, compared to 3 in ’04.

The figures for the year date show that permits for 29 new homes have been issued, as compared to 20 for the same period in 2004 and 14 in 2003, and the total construction value was $5,151,000, as compared to $2,693,000 for the same period in 2004, and $2,171,000 in 2003.

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