| Jun 09, 2005

Feature article, June 9, 2005, 2005

Feature article June 9, 2005

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South Frontenac Council sets out new trailer removal timetable

by Jeff Green and Wilma Kenny

Sometimes the voices of the people can make politicians reconsider their decisions. Thats what seems to have happened in South Frontenac, where, six months after deciding to proactively enforce decades-old bylaws against seasonal trailers being placed on vacant lots, the township has decided to give trailer owners another five years grace period.

Prohibitions against trailers were brought in at different times in each of the four townships that became South Frontenac in 1998, and in November 2004 Council decided that seasonal trailer owners who put their trailers in place after the respective bylaws came into being would be told to remove them. Trailers put in place before the prohibitions were brought in would be subject to a $220 licensing fee. At the time, several Councillors disagreed with the decision for various reasons but it passed in a vote of 5 in favour and 4 against


Subsequently there have been a series of delegations of long-time trailer owners to Council expressing anger and dismay at the decision. Many of those who came forward said they had placed trailers on their vacant lots up to 20 years ago and never have been informed about the trailer prohibition bylaw.

Council began to waver on their decision to enforce the bylaw a couple of months ago, and last week at a Committee of the Whole Meeting they came to what Township Chief Administration Officer Gord Burns described as a general agreement that we should try and find a compromise for the enforcement of these bylaws in order to provide some flexibility to the owners of these trailers.

As a result, a five-point bylaw enforcement policy was brought forward to Council for approval at their meeting this week.

The first point in the proposal says that trailers can be brought in to a location on a temporary basis for a period of 30 days. The second says that permission must be sought for allowing trailers on a location for a special event, such as a plowing match, music concert, or wedding.

The last three points deal directly with the illegal trailer situation that has caused so much concern. The time period for the enforcement of the trailer prohibition will be extended until December 31, 2010. All existing trailers will be subject to licensing immediately, at a cost of $220 per year. Finally, by the end of next year, all licensed trailers will require a certificate of approval for their waste water systems from the KFL&A Public Health Unit.

Gord Burns has been in contact with Peter Moccio of the Health Unit, who indicated the Unit would probably have a lower fee for inspection of the sites pending resolution of any remedial action that may be required.

Burns said council wanted to make it clear that by charging a licensing fee they are not allowing trailers that have been put in place after the old township bylaws came into being to remain in place permanently.

The five-year grace period will end. It gives people a reasonable amount of time to seek building permits and put up suitable buildings. Once the period ends they will be expected to remove the trailers. If they dont, the bylaw officer will go to court to force them to do so, Burns said.

All of the new policies will be enforced on a proactive basis by the township, as will the prohibition, once it takes effect at the end of 2010.

Mobile homes are also not permitted on individual lots in South Frontenac, but are permitted within Mobile Home Parks, such as the one in Bellrock. Trailers are permitted within registered trailer parks.

Other Frontenac townships have different bylaws. In Central Frontenac, mobile homes are permitted on private lots, provided they meet Canadian Mobile Home Standards and are properly affixed to the ground. Seasonal trailers are not permitted as permanent features on vacant lots, although they can be brought onto a property for short periods of time. Trailers are permitted for use, however, on lots that have homes on them.

In North Frontenac, the situation is the reverse. Seasonal trailers are permitted on vacant lots, but they are not permitted as spare bedrooms on lots that have houses on them. Mobile homes are permitted in North Frontenac.

Regulations around trailers in both North and Central Frontenac are enforced on a reactive basis, that is, the townships do not necessarily seek out people who offend against existing regulations, but react to complaints.

Other items from South Frontenac Council:

Sydenham Water: Alastair Lamb, speaking on behalf of the Sydenham Safe Water Association, decried the poor communication between Township and residents in relation to the water program. He pointed out that there was confusion about hook-up requirements and fear that the project had inadequate contingency funds. Villagers had no list of the order in which streets would be dug up, and the township has not established criteria for exemption from the program. Residents were not forewarned that construction crew members would be asking to videotape the inside foundations of homes. Lamb asked for a public meeting to allow residents to ask questions, particularly because many homes in the village have changed ownership since the last public meeting, in 2002. Mayor Lake asked why more residents didnt come to water committee meetings, so they could be better informed. Next township water committee meeting is 10 am, Tuesday June 14, in the Township hall, Sydenham.

Mitchell Creek: Councillor Stowe drew attention to a letter from William Pedersen, owner of Desert Lake Resort, in support of a higher bridge over Mitchell Creek, which would provide access for larger boats into Birch and Kingsford Lakes. Citing his "firm belief in protecting the environment," Pedersen goes on to state: "Opening up what amounts to a new fishing/recreational opportunity in the area could provide a significant boost to the local tourism industry." The majority of signatories on the accompanying petition appeared to be out-of-township tourists.

Planning Department Fees Increase: Council passed a new fee schedule raising fees for consent applications from $550 to$600, minor variances from $550 to $650, and charging $200 for site plan agreements. These increases are intended to cover the current costs of processing planning applications.

Boating Certification: Council received information from Greater Bobs & Crow Lakes Association that they will be offering one-day boating certification courses on June 11, July 9, August 20, and September 10. These are open to anyone, for a $30 fee. Further info:

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