| Jun 02, 2005

Feature article, May 26, 2005

Feature article May 26, 2005

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Its decision time, folks

The Council of North Frontenac township has showed they are willing to work hard. They have met for hours and hours on many occasions to work on the structure of the township hierarchy and on their budget. Sometimes they meet day and night. They have also demonstrated a willingness to consider varying currents of information and opinion about issues.

Now its time for them to make some decisions and put some issues to rest. The most obvious is the Fire Hall in Clarendon and Miller Ward. The questions of whether a Hall should be built, and where it should be built if indeed it should be built, and what type of Hall should be built, as well as where the money will come from if a Hall will actually be built, has been going back and forth from Council to the Fire Hall Task Force like a ping pong ball for nine months now.


Its clear what the advocates of the MNR site on Buckshot road want - a pre-fabricated building attached to a renovated former MNR building. An estimated cost for this can be quickly determined. The Ladies Auxiliary of the Fire Department have $100,000 in a kitty set aside for a Fire Hall building Project, and its also clear what want - they want the Plevna Fire Hall, as it has been dubbed, to go ahead.

There is also a vocal opposition to this plan. It is not that clear what these people want, but it is crystal clear what they dont want - a new Fire Hall in Plevna.

Council has decided to meet with the Fire department directly, and with the Ladies Auxiliary, which is fine. After that they have to bite the bullet and do something they probably could have done a couple of months ago: decide to either go ahead with the Fire Hall in Plevna, or to reject the idea completely.

In a way Council is in a bind, because they only have a positive and a negative option. There is no fully developed alternative plan to the Plevna Fire Hall plan. If Council says yes to it, they will anger many people but the issue will be put to rest. If they say no, they will anger a different group of people, but the issue will not be resolved whatsoever.

It would mean that all the work that has been done has been wasted, and a entirely new process must be undertaken. It would be questionable if this Council, who are now at the halfway point in their mandate, would be able to resolve the Fire Hall issue before the next election. There is a risk that this will be left to the next Council to resolve, and what everyone considers an inadequate Fire Hall could remain in place for several years.

However uncomfortable Council feels about being boxed in over the Fire Hall issue, it is a situation they created for themselves. It could have been avoided if the Fire Hall Task Force had been made up entirely of Council members, and other people were brought in only to provide expertise and opinion. This would have left Council driving the issue from the start. If the Plevna Fire Hall had quickly developed as the preferred option, at least Council would have been behind that momentum. Instead, they seem to have been dragged along.

This is not to say that the Plevna Fire Hall plan is a bad one. But its not up to me or anyone else in the peanut gallery to decide; its up to Council.

Thats why they get the big bucks.

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